This post was published 1 year, 6 months ago. Due to the rapidly evolving world of technology, some material it contains may no longer be applicable.
This year Google announced two new Nexus devices, the Nexus 5X made by LG and 6P made by Huawei. The 6P is the more premium of the two, and so carries a higher price tag. Now that I have been using the 6P for several weeks, I feel confident I can write a fair review.
Unboxing the 6P is a standard affair. The P on the box is stylised with the stock wallpaper the device comes with, but otherwise the box is minimal and elegant.
Inside you find the device itself, the manuals, a sim removal tool, a USB type-c to type-c cable, type-c charger and type-c to type-a cable that is tragically short.
The device itself is very nicely designed. Mine is frost and the white almost glows in its brightness. It also makes the glass at the top of the device stand out prominently, which I think is a good thing. That visor is quite attractive to my eye and gives the device a unique look. Inside that visor you’ll find the camera and most of the radios. The Nexus branding is etched into the metal this year, so gone are the days of Nexus logos falling off of your device. On the right hand side you’ll find a textured power button and your volume keys. On the back between the visor and the Nexus branding you’ll find the fingerprint scanner.
On the front of the device it’s business as usual. Two stereo speakers, an 8MP camera, LED flash and the usual sensors. Underneath is the type-c connector, on the left the sim card tray and up top the headphone jack.
Something you immediately notice about the 6P, especially if you’re coming from the original Nexus 6 as I am, is that the device is much slimmer and thinner, although ever so slightly taller. The slim design makes it easier to use one-handed – it’s actually possible now – and in general it’s comfortable in both hand and pocket.
The 6P features a QHD Super AMOLED display that comes in at 5.7 inches with an exact resolution of 1440 x 2560 and 518ppi. It’s a latest generation Samsung panel, the same one found in the Galaxy Note 5, so it’s sharp and crisp. As you would expect from an AMOLED, colours are over saturated and pop. If that isn’t your thing, there’s an option to switch to sRGB in developer settings which tones things down to something more accurate and true to life.
The speakers on the first generation Nexus 6 were truly great, but the 6P edges ahead here too. They’re louder, don’t distort and have a greater volume range. I found that the original Nexus 6 would be quiet or loud with no in between. The 6P on the other hand has a full range, allowing you to find the volume that’s perfect for what you want. Combine this with the 90 day free All Access trial the 6P ships with and you’re onto a winner.
Performance And Battery Life
On paper the 6P should be an absolute beast and it doesn’t disappoint. It has a Snapdragon 810 backed up with 3GB of ram. Some may point out that the Note 5 has 4GB of ram, but as has been proved in many a test, it’s less about the quantity of ram and more about how it’s used. The first generation Nexus 6 still manages to run rings around the Note 5 in day-to-day use, especially multitasking and the 6P takes things to a whole new level.
Apps open in an instant, scrolling is smooth and everything generally runs without a hitch. Couple this with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and you really get the feeling Google have turned things up to eleven with this one.
The battery is larger than last year coming in at 3,450mAh, despite having a smaller frame to fit inside. Thanks to the power saving efforts of Marshmallow, the new Android Sensor Hub and the general efficiency of the CPU package the 6P carries on working like a champ. Standby life is sublime and screen on time is impressive too. Users are easily reaching 5-7 hours screen time depending on use which is more than acceptable. With work and college, where the phone is used a lot, I still manage to get home with at least 60-70% left. Considerably more than my old Nexus 6.
The 6P has a 12MP IMX377 Sony shooter backed up by dual led flash and laser auto-focus. The laser really does the trick and you’ll find the 6P focuses in on macro shots with ease. The pixels are also far larger than they usually would be on most competing smartphones at an impressively large 1.55µm, which allows more light be captured by the sensor. For comparison the original Nexus 6, Galaxy S6 and LG G4 have of just 1.12µm. This difference really shows in low light situations. Sometimes the phone can see better than my eyes can, which is pretty impressive. Throw HDR+ into the mix and you’ll be getting stunning night shots from your 6P.
Video is great too. The electronic stabilisation does a remarkable job of keeping things watchable. It records 4K, which is pretty standard on smartphones now. It’s the slow-motion that really shines. It can record at 120 or 240fps which looks stunning slowed down. OIS would help keep things more stable but the EIS is more than adequate.
The front camera is an 8MP unit, massively upgraded from last year, and has HDR+ capabilities. For the first time on a Nexus phone both cameras are truly stellar. They haven’t once let me down. The speed with which they open, especially if you use the double tap of the power button, is incredible. The burst mode is pretty damn good too.
The improvements to the front camera also greatly aid face unlock. Obviously this device had a fingerprint reader, more on that later, but there are times when it’s inaccessible due to being on the table. For this I have face unlock which is extremely fast and accurate with the new front camera even in poor lighting.
Both of the 2015 Nexuses have Nexus imprint on the back beneath the camera. Although this will differ greatly based on personal preference, I find the placement of the reader to be perfect. It’s exactly where my index finger sits when I hold the phone which makes it convenient. Often when pulling the phone out of my pocket, my finger will find the reader without thought and my homescreen will be waiting for me. Add in the ability to pay for apps on the store, LastPass integration and in the US Android Pay and it’s a great addition to the device.
Setting it up is dead easy, allowing you to easily set up five fingers for quick access. It literally only takes fifteen seconds. My main concern with the fingerprint readers was whether it would be fast and accurate enough to compete with the units from Samsung and Apple. My concerns were completely unfounded. This is the fastest and most accurate fingerprint reader I have ever used. It’s as fast, if not faster, than all the others I have used.
“Not just the best Nexus yet but quite possibly the best Android device ever made! Our top pick for 2015!”
The Nexus 6P is the best Nexus yet and, in my opinion, the best phone of 2015 hands down. It has storage options that will cater for all, a camera that outshines everything else, and internal specs that makes this phone a true powerhouse. The truly optimised operating system means there are no slowdowns, stutters or lag. No matter what you are looking for in a device, the 6P should be top of your list. Look below for some quick ratings I have given the device.
Connectivity & Storage Options8/10
- Stock Android
- Top-end performance
- Immediate updates from Google
- Great low-light camera
- Premium build
- USB C
- Stereo front-facing speakers
- No wireless charging
- No optical Image stabilisation
- No storage expansion
- Quite pricey