Nexus 6P or Moto X Pure – Which is the best Android flagship phone?

Google Event - Nexus 5X and 6P

Google today announced a pair of two Nexus phones in San Francisco. The event, as is increasingly common, was also live-streamed (replay on YouTube).

The smaller Nexus 5X is made by LG, features a 5.2-inch 1080p screen. Starts at $379 (16GB).

The Nexus 6P is made by Huawei (a first), features a 5.7-inch 1440p screen. Starts at $499 (32GB).

Both phones come with the new USB Type-C connector, which means no more fiddling about trying to figure out what side of the cable is “up”. For some this could be a pain, though, as it means either replacing existing USB cables lying around the house, or buying an adapter.

Read about today’s Google Event: S’more to love across all your screens (Google Blog)

Both are unlocked (the trend of 2015), carrier free (i.e. no bloatware!), and are available for pre-order today from the Google Play Store.

But, the biggest comparison will likely not come between the two Nexus phones, but rather amongst the competition. The most interesting to me, and I suspect for many others will be:

Nexus 6P vs. Motorola X Pure Edition.

Both are large screen phones, and both are positioned at the top end of their respective product line-ups. So, how do they compare?

First, the Motorola X Pure.

Moto X Pure Edition (Motorola)

Motorola Moto X Pure Edition vs Nexus 6P

There’s a lot to like here. First, there’s that unmistakable Moto design language — a nicely curved backside, relatively small bezels, clean surfaces. Buttons are where you expect them to be (nothing funky like we’ve seen on something like the LG G3), the camera is pretty sweet (21MP) and has 4K recording.

Dimensions: 153.9mm H x 76.2mm W x 6.1 to 11.06mm Curve

Weight: 179g

The Pure X uses a Snapdragon 808, has 3GB RAM and — this will please many — has a Micro SD card. Battery is rated at 3000mAh.

Screen-wise, the Moto X Pure has a 5.7″ 1440p Quad HD display and front-facing speakers (thank you, so handy in the car for nav, and at home for videos!).

Bonuses include TurboPower charging. Plus the X Pure in for about 15-20 min, and you get about 10 hours of extra battery. Perfect for a Starbucks refuel.

Moto X Pure Edition pricing:

$399 / 16GB
$449 / 32GB
$499 / 64GB

Overall, a really nice job by Motorola on this phone. With several inlay styles (18) and a variety of accent colors (7), you can customize to your heart’s content. Also, don’t forget you also get the Moto Display which allows you to see notifications in a low power ambient mode while your phone is resting on a table (still, I wish these new phones still came with LED notification lights).

Nexus 6P (Huawei)

Huawei Nexus 6P


The Nexus 6P is positioned as a flagship phablet. Fortunately it’s priced more like a conventional Android phone, and not like Samsung’s (well regarded) Note range. Like the Moto X Pure, this is looking like a great device, save for a few missing bits, which I’ll get to in a sec.

Nexus 6P specs include: 5.7-inch AMOLED 2560×1440 display, Snapdragon 810, 3GB RAM, front-facing speakers, 12.3MP camera.

Dimensions: 159.4 H x 77.8 W x 7.3mm

Weight: 178g

USB-C is also here as well — like it or not, reversible connectors are the way forward, so order up some new cables.

Missing features are a bit of a disappointment, though not surprising given the endless “leaks” over the past few weeks. Most notable is the absence of QI wireless charger. Bummer that. I love dropping the phone onto a charging pad at night, as I was able to do with the Nexus 6 (and Nexus 5 before that). Also, there’s no SD storage slot, nor removable battery. And — this could be huge omission for series photogs — there’s no optical image stabilization (OIS) for the camera. Ugh. Big miss there.

Nexus 6P pricing:

$499 / 32GB
$549 / 64GB
$649 / 128GB

Moto X Pure or Nexus 6P?

Choosing between the two is a close call. Obviously if budget is the primary decision criteria, go with the Moto X Pure. At $399 for the base 16GB model, you’ll pay $100 less than the 6P’s $499 entry price.

But you know what?

Pricing aside, I’d still go with the X Pure.

The Moto X has a better camera, wallet-friendly pricing, and an SD slot which I like for loading on movies and music (great when travelling too, when a network or wi-fi aren’t readily available). Also, the Moto X Pure comes in a more compact package — narrower and not as tall as the 6P — and, like past Moto X phones, feels pretty sweet in the hand thanks to that curved back.

If you want Android Marshmallow right away, or if you really want a fingerprint sensor, the Nexus 6P (or 5X) should be top of mind.

Neither phone has Qi charging which is a shame. Then again, Qi seems to be on the way out. Not sure why that is, I love the convenience.

If you want Android 6.0 Marshmallow right away, or if you really want a fingerprint sensor, the Nexus 6P (or 5X) should be top of mind of course. Also, you might even want to consider the Nexus 6 (2014) which still packs a lot, especially considering a 32GB Nexus 6 can be had for only $349 (and will likely receive Android Marshmallow update next week).

More Android on Stark Insider: Top 5: Best unlocked Android smartphone deals

Both the Moto X Pure Edition and Nexus 6P are solid Androids. Although I’d save $100 and go with the X with its awesome Moto Display feature and svelte ergonomic, I’d suspect I’d be pretty happy too with the Nexus 6P and its rapid-fire OS updates.

Heck, with phones like the Moto G ($179!?), and Huawei Ascend Mate, and Asus Zenfone 2, and Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, we really are living in a new era of unlocked greatness.

I remember when I got my first Android phone in 2009, the now historic Motorola Droid. I entered my Google credentials, and, boom, everything synced; a far cry from my aging BlackBerry. That phone came with a 2-year Verizon commit. I was happy as a clam. But, now, in 2015, the choice for budget-friendly Android devices is staggering. Moto X Pure Edition? Nexus 6P? Nexus 5X? Choice is all so very good.

WATCH: Google Press Event 9/29/15 ft. Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P

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  • David

    Uhh… The Moto X Pure has a 1440p display, which you even mention at first in the article, but then you go on to say that it has a 1080p screen, and that the larger battery will be “a wash” on the 6P because it has a 1440p display. I think you’re a bit confused here.

    For the record, BOTH devices have a 1440p display, and the larger battery on the 6P will definitely benefit the user.

    • Right. Confusion on my part mixing up with 5X (which has 1080p). 6P and X Pure have 1440p.

  • Luke Taylor

    GREAT article. Nexus 6P has 9 less megapixels and no OPT, however…..Nexus 6P camera actually outscores X Pure camera on DXOMark (84 v. 83). X Pure video wins (83 v. 79).

  • Henry

    Nexus Phones are now available at a discounted price only at

  • tazmanian200

    personally like the N6P better, both are pretty close, but Motorola’s humpback whale look just doesn’t look as premium as the N6P. The camera on the N6P is way better than the moto, sorry you have to look at more than just megapixels, the moto does horrible in low lite situations. after the google update for the N6P camera, it will be no contest. plus the bigger battery of the nexus trumps the moto.

  • Brian Stewart

    good comparison – I have the pure and its great. the only thing missing is the fingerprint scanner. but right now the only advantage with the scanner is quick and secure phone unlocking.. app support for the scanner is gonna take a while and by that time the next Moto will be announced ;-)

  • Wizznilliam

    The SD card and Moto Display seals the deal for me. I love the Moto Display feature from my OG Moto X and would hate to not have it. And life without being able to expand memory when I needed it has been terrible. I literally HATE not having the ability to offload some apps or large files to an SD card. That is especially the case if buying a 16GB phone. I think 32GB + SD card slot is perfect and future proof. The print reader would be nice… But not at the expense of not having a SD card slot.

  • Sa Scha

    I have got both phones and am struggling to deside which oñe in going to keep.
    I prefer the screen to body ratio of the moto x much better its easier to handle and has more grip . and the surprisingly the battery life is not so much worse .the speaker are phenomenal, and the fact that it has micro SD card support is great. The p6 is a bit too big the top and bottom bezel are huge its very slippery and appart from the software the finger print reader and the gorgeous yet very hard to see in sunlight display not sure what to do still using both but hope to deside soon

  • markwebb

    After owning both, kept the 6P! Better camera for lowlight pics and though less megapixels, we all know that doesn’t mean a thing, and the screen is VERY viewable in sunlight even at 50% setting. Moreover, Pure Edition runs slower compared to 6P and battery life is not very good. With a few tweaks, 6P has better battery management. I don’t care about sd cards and have USB OTG’s for that when needed. Fingerprint scanner is now a requirement. Moto is no longer quick with software updates and that is a shame.