After some headache dealing with FedEx this past weekend, we finally got our grubby little hands on the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. We’ll admit, we were a little less than enthusiastic about handling these devices during Google’s Nexus event a few weeks ago. Why you ask? Well, aside from the cramped quarters and terrible lighting, we have to say we just didn’t feel pricing for the devices lined up with their touted spec sheet. But, after spending some much needed alone time with these device over the weekend, we’ve officially fallen victim to their charms. Well, one of them anyway…
On paper, the Huawei Nexus 6P may not sound like such a huge leap over last year’s Motorola-made Nexus 6. Which would have been fine if the phone didn’t come with such a high price tag. Unlike the last year’s Nexus 6, you wont be able to get the Nexus 6P through your carrier, meaning you’ll have to dish out all the money upfront in order to get it direct from Google. At $500 for the 32GB model and jumping $50 for every storage size increase, it simply wasn’t the reasonably priced flagship device we were expecting from Huawei, especially considering the hardware.
Snapdragon 810? Here we go…
We’d be lying if we said we weren’t expecting the worst out of the included Snapdragon 810, especially after experiencing other devices using the same processor ( HTC One M9, OnePlus 2) which heated up quickly, and generally weren’t as snappy as other devices (this had to do with OEMs throttling down the CPU to keep temperatures low). We’re not sure what they did, but Google’s elves were somehow able to tap the 810 to its full potential, all the while keeping heat down. Sure it gets a little warm when doing a hundred things at once and/or snapping pics, but it cools just as quickly. And the speed. Oh, man. We could go on and on about the speed. We don’t care what you read in X benchmark — It’s by far the fastest Android device we’ve ever experienced. Hands. Down.
AMOLED without all the suck
Another area we weren’t too thrilled about initially was the AMOLED display. Typically AMOLED tends to be a tad on the over saturated side, with yellow whites and terrible outdoor viewing. After our Nexus 6 — which also uses a Samsung AMOLED panel — experienced screen burn-in after only 5 months of use, needless to say we weren’t too excited when we heard Google would also be using AMOLED in this year’s Nexus 6P.
What we later learned is Google and Huawei paid top dollar to use the latest Samsung AMOLED panels in the Nexus 6P, not the previous year’s scraps. Although they didn’t say which current Samsung devices employed the use of the same display, the 5.7-inch size leads us to believe it could be the one found in the Galaxy Note 5, although Google wasn’t able to confirm this. This means the whites are white (a little on the cool side, colors are saturated, blacks are super dark, and you shouldn’t have to worry anymore about burn-in. We would have loved to see a robust display mode picker like on the Samsung devices where you can choose varying levels of saturation or color temp according to personal tastes, but I suppose you can’t have it all. Edit: There is a low-saturation sRGB picture color mode tucked away in the Developer options. (Thanks, DNagooyen!)
All we can say is “Wow”
In our brief time with the device (48+ hours), we walked away incredibly impressed with the Nexus 6P. And that’s saying something given we were looking for any reason to hate on the phone and keep from upgrading our Nexus 6 from last year. The new “Nexus Imprint” fingerprint scanner was lightning quick and accurate, battery life has been great so far (still need more time to give you accurate charge/discharge averages), and the speakers are crystal clear.
We really couldn’t find a single area where the Nexus 6P fell flat. Sure, OIS or the usual micro SD card expansion/removable battery would have been nice, but the phone excels in every other area that you likely wont even miss it. Again, we’ve only spent a few days with the Nexus 6P and already it’s not only the best Nexus device to date, but the best Android device we’ve ever laid hands on. Huawei, Google — you guys knocked this one out of the park.
With the Nexus 5X being the successor to 2013’s phenomenal — and reasonably sized Nexus 5 — the 5X has some pretty big shoes to fill. Like many of you, we were hoping for that same beloved form factor (or at least something close to it), only with substantially upgraded hardware. Unfortunately, while there are some improvements, the 5X follows the trend of most other smaller-sized devices on the market today. That means the 5X is Google’s smaller, more affordable Nexus offering for 2015 and with that comes lighter hardware as well. Bummer.
That’s not to say the Nexus 5X is bad by any means. It just didn’t blow us away. The 1080p LCD display gets the job done, but it’s nearly identical to the one found on the 2013 model. Storage and RAM is also the same, coming in at 16/32GB and 2GB, respectively. Remember that terrible bottom facing speaker on the 5 2013? It’s been replaced with a slightly less awful single front facing one (more clarity, but still low on volume output), so that’s nice.
It’s no all mediocre. Google and LG were able to improve that awful Nexus 5 camera with a much improved 12.3MP rear, 5MP front facing camera. In fact, it’s the same rear camera as the one found on the Nexus 6P, meaning photo quality should be equally as good. The new “Nexus Imprint” fingerprint sensor on the back is also a nice upgrade with quick recognition and great accuracy. There’s also a larger 2,700mAh batter which should have little trouble taking you to the end of your day with moderate to light usage.
Still too expensive for what it offers
All of this combined with a snappy Snapdragon 808 processor (the same one as found on the LG G4 and Motorola Moto X Pure Edition) and you have a Nexus that delivers in the 5 key areas consumers look to most: somewhat affordable pricing, great camera, fast performance, good battery life, and constant software updates directly from Google. We just wish it priced a little more aggressively considering the hardware/build quality isn’t much better than most other 2015 flagships. Save your $400 and grab a Moto X Pure Edition instead.