First Look: The magnificent new Nexus 6 and Nexus 9

Google introduced a wow-provoking new stable of Nexus devices Wednesday.

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Nexuses big and, um, bigger

The newest members of Google’s Nexus line of “stock” Android devices are the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 – a phablet and tablet, respectively. Made by Motorola and HTC, the new Nexuses are impressively well-stocked with high-end hardware and software features. Have a look.

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1440p!

Not to be outdone by Apple’s splashy move into the world of very large “handsets,” Google reminded us all that humongous phablets were an Android thing first. Is the Nexus 6 outsized? Check. Sporting a full 1440p display? Double-check.

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QXGA!

Somewhat surprisingly, HTC has packed fewer pixels into the Nexus 9’s display, and gone for a less-common (but more Apple-ish) 4:3 aspect ratio with its 8.9 inch, 2048x1536 screen.  

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Mobile work

The Nexus 9 will support the use of a magnetic keyboard-case-thing, for serious road warriors and people writing detailed Yelp reviews of airport restaurants. Unfortunately, like the Microsoft Surface line, said keyboard-case-thing will be sold separately.

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Cameras

The Nexus 6 sports a 13MP, optically stabilized rear camera, while the Nexus 9, presumably designed with less emphasis on photography, has an 8MP unit. Both devices have less-powerful front-facing shooters as well, at 2MP and 1.6MP respectively.

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CPUs

The Nexus 9 boasts a 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 2.3GHz processor, which has hardware aficionados choking on their Mountain Dew in excitement. The Nexus 6 will have to make do with a more standard, but still very powerful, Qualcomm Snapdragon 805.

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Nexus Player

Also launched today was the Nexus Player, the search titan’s latest attempt on the living room. Packing a voice-activated remote and the ability to stream Netflix, Hulu and a host of other streaming services directly through your TV, it’s also a gaming console of sorts, thanks to Google Play. (Controller sold separately.)

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Android 5.0 Lollipop

The Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 will be the first devices to run the latest version of Android – 5.0, or Lollipop, which includes heaps of new features like a battery-saver mode, redesigned interface, improved touch controls and 64-bit support.

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The nitty-gritty

While the Nexus 6 will be available in either 32GB or 64GB storage configurations, the Nexus 9 will be limited to 16GB or 32GB. All the devices will ship Nov. 3, and will be available for pre-order this Friday, Oct. 17. No prices were disclosed, but the Nexus 6 will be available subsidized by all four major U.S. carriers, or unlocked if purchased directly from Google.