The New Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X Phones From Google beep boop bleep boop

At a live conference yesterday, Google announced a plethora of new products: A new Chromecast with better Wi-Fi reception, Chromecast Audio designed to connect to speakers—both $35—and a new Android tablet called the Pixel C, which is the first tablet made by Google. The Tablet looks really good, but starting at $500 and $150 for the keyboard it’s also costly. Or at least seems like it until you compare it to the iPad Pro, which starts at $800. Although I want to get my paws on the Pixel C for review I want to concentrate on the new Google Android 6 phones.

Google Nexus 6P
Google Nexus 6P

Nexus phones are not designed to be the bleeding edge devices when it comes to power, but they are the bleeding edge when it comes to Google software. The hardware, though, is the first thing people care about, and yet again Nexus is stock Android. This means no pre-loaded bloatware/spyware that you can’t uninstall. No carrier messing with the UI of Android that Google spent millions developing. Also on Nexus you get OS patches, including security patches, right away. Some carriers take months to update critical security holes.

Nexus, though, has limitations, and these are also carried through to the new devices that Google is launching. Both of the 5X and the 6P do not have MicroSD slots or an easily replaceable battery. 32GB is enough normally, unless you load your phone with lots and lots of music (what about the cloud? What are you doing?!) or movies, but of course your needs might vary so be aware of the lack of expansion. It’s never bothered me; I’ve had a personal Nexus 5 from 2013 and it’s been a solid device with no hardware problems. My work device is an iPhone 6, and it’s also a good device.

Google Nexus 5X
Google Nexus 5X
Bum of the 5X
Bum of the 5X

I use an Android as my own device for flexibility, Nexus devices are easy enough to root, mess around with and rebuild if things go wrong. I like just throwing on my music without going through iTunes, same with videos, comics, whatever. Things are more open and that suits an ex-techie like me. I don’t mind poking about. These days though you don’t need to be a tech, anyone can use an android device as easily as an iPhone. Android and Apple copy from each other very heavily so cross pollination is strong.

The new Nexus 6P is the larger of the two devices; if you’re heavy video watcher or just have big hands, this could be the device you need. It has a 5.7 inch screen, 2560×1440 resolution at 518 PPI and 3GB RAM to drive all that. The Nexus 5X is smaller, at 5.2 inches, 1920×1080 resolution at 423 PPI with 2GB RAM. Not a huge size difference between the two so picking the one you need depends as much on you budget as anything else. The 6P is from a wallet frightening $699 for 32GB, the 5X from $379 for 16GB. You’ll want the $429 32GB version of the 5X if you go for that model.

I have three main needs for my smartphone: I need a responsive smartphone, one that gets security patches quickly, and it must take good photos. My old Nexus 5 is still responsive enough, is patched by Google but only takes OK pictures in daylight while outside (and the wind is in the right direction, the moon needs to be waxing, and so on). The camera on the 2013 Nexus 5 was, with some understatement, not the strongest feature of the device. The new phones are faster, patched by Google and have better cameras, in fact much better cameras. The sensor is a Sony made 12mp f/2.0 aperture sensor with IR laser-assisted autofocus and it’s from their digital camera line-up. The new Nexus phones take a lot better low light photos, the quality improvement should bump them up to the top tier smartphones for taking photos. Google even cheekily copied Apple’s Live Photos feature where a photo is a short video, too.

I didn’t upgrade to the last Google Nexus 6; it was too large for me. I’m really glad that they’re doing a choice of two device sizes this time and excited to try out the new camera. I’m aiming to get myself a Nexus 5X as my next phone, as it hits my sweet spot on functionality and price.

The full specs for the Nexus 6P and 5X are below:

Nexus 6P Nexus 5X
Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Display

5.7 inches

WQHD (2560 x 1440) AMOLED display at 518 ppi

16:9 aspect ratio

Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4

Fingerprint and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating

 

Rear Camera

12.3 MP

1.55 µm pixels

f/2.0 aperture

IR Laser assisted autofocus

4K (30 fps) video capture

Broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual flash

 

Front Camera

8MP camera

1.4 µm pixels

f/2.4 aperture

HD video capture (30 fps)

 

Processors

Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 810 v2.1, 2.0 GHz Octa-core 64-bit

Adreno 430 GPU

 

Memory & Storage

RAM: 3 GB LPDDR4

Internal storage: 32 GB, 64 GB, or 128 GB

 

Dimensions

159.3 X 77.8 X 7.3 mm

Weight

178 g

Color

Aluminium

Graphite

Frost

 

Media

Dual front-facing stereo speakers

3 microphones (2 front, 1 rear) with noise cancellation

Battery⁴

3,450 mAh battery

Fast charging: up to 7 hours of use from only 10 minutes of charging

 

Wireless & Location

LTE cat. 6

Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO, dual-band (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)

Bluetooth 4.2

NFC

GPS, GLONASS

Digital compass

Wi-Fi use requires 802.11a/b/g/n/ac access point (router). Syncing services, such as backup, require a Google Account.

 

Network

GSM/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz

UMTS/WCDMA: B1/2/4/5/8

CDMA: BC0/1/10

LTE (FDD): B2/3/4/5/7/12/13/17/25/26/29/30

LTE (TDD): B41

CA DL: B2-B2, B2-B4, B2-B5, B2-B12, B2-B13, B2-B17, B2-B29, B4-B4, B4-B5, B4-B13, B4-B17, B4-B29, B41-B41

Phone is carrier-unlocked with wide-range band support for service providers worldwide. Check with your service provider for more information.

 

Sensors

Fingerprint sensor

Accelerometer

Gyroscope

Barometer

Proximity sensor

Ambient light sensor

Hall sensor

Android Sensor Hub

 

Ports

Single USB Type-C

Single Nano SIM slot

3.5 mm audio jack

 

Material

Anodized aluminum

Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Display

5.2 inches

FHD (1920 x 1080) LCD at 423 ppi

Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3

Fingerprint and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating

Rear Camera

12.3 MP

1.55 µm pixels

f/2.0 aperture

IR laser-assisted autofocus

4K (30 fps) video capture

Broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual flash

 

Front Camera

5 MP

1.4 µm pixels

f/2.0 aperture

 

Processors

Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 808 processor, 1.8 GHz hexa-core 64-bit

Adreno 418 GPU

 

Memory & Storage²

RAM: 2 GB LPDDR3

Internal storage: 16 GB or 32 GB

 

Dimensions

147.0 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

136 g

Color

Carbon

Quartz

Ice

 

Media

Single front-facing speaker

3 microphones (1 front, 1 top, 1 bottom)

 

Battery

2,700 mAh Battery

Fast charging: up to 3.8 hours of use from only 10 minutes of charging

 

Wireless & Location

LTE cat. 6

Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO, dual-band (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)

Bluetooth 4.2

NFC

GPS / GLONASS

Digital compass

Wi-Fi use requires 802.11a/b/g/n/ac access point (router). Syncing services, such as backup, require a Google Account.

Network

GSM/EDGE: 850/900/1800/1900MHz

UMTS/WCDMA: B1/2/4/5/8

CDMA: BC0/1/10

LTE (FDD): B1/2/3/4/5/7/12/13/17/20/25/26/29

LTE (TDD): B41

LTE CA DL: B2-B2, B2-B4, B2-B5, B2-B12, B2-B13, B2-B17, B2-B29, B4-B4, B4-B5, B4-B7, B4-B12, B4-B13, B4-B17, B4-B29, B41-B41

Phone is carrier-unlocked with wide-range band support for service providers worldwide. Check with your service provider for more information.

 

Sensors

Fingerprint sensor

Accelerometer

Gyroscope

Barometer

Proximity sensor

Ambient light sensor

Hall sensor

Android Sensor Hub

 

Ports

Single USB Type-C

3.5 mm audio jack

Single Nano SIM slot

 

Material

Premium injection molded polycarbonate housing

 

All prices are in USD.