The LG Nexus 5 was one of the best smartphones to enter the smartphone market back in 2013. The main thing going for the device was the competitive price along with pretty high-end hardware. I can still remember the choice I had to make between the Sony Xperia Z1 and the LG Nexus 5, and the Rs 10,000 price difference between the two made my choice much easier.
The need and the greed
The Nexus 5 ran perfectly fine, and is still serving me as a backup smartphone. Android 5.0 Lollipop did make me hate the phone due to the horrible battery drain. If I leave home in the morning without a power bank, I would be unreachable after 5 PM for sure. The phone never really recovered from the battery drain bug. The only saviour for the battery life issue was the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update, which Google launched alongside two Nexus devices – the LG Nexus 5X and the Huawei Nexus 6P – on Aug 29th this year. The Marshmallow update gave the Nexus 5 a new life, but the two new Nexus phones made me think about replacing the ageing workhorse.
Replacing the Nexus 5 was purely a want than a need, as it was running perfectly fine. While Marshmallow improved the standby time with the help of Doze feature, I managed to extract even more battery out of the phone, thanks to the Greenify app. The choice to stick to the Nexus 5 kept getting harder as the reviews of the new Nexus devices started to pour in. The improved hardware, the new USB Type-C connectivity, and the stellar cameras on the new devices made me swing from my decision quite a bit.
Why not the LG Nexus 5X then?
Initially, I had planned to choose the LG Nexus 5X as the familiar size and overall improvements made it a good phone. After using a 16GB Nexus 5, which had non-expandable storage, I started looking at 32GB variant of the LG Nexus 5X.
Now here was the main problem. The 32GB storage variant of the Nexus 5X was priced at Rs. 35,990, which I felt was a steep price for a phone with its specifications. Also, the Huawei Nexus 6P (32GB) was available for a little under Rs. 40,000, and carried much better specifications when compared to the Nexus 5X. After going back and forth between these two phones, I wrote why it made more sense to spend more money and get the Nexus 6P. Making the choice was easier after that, and then my Nexus 5 was replaced with the Nexus 6P.
The Nexus 6P is a beast! It truly represents the best of Android. The hardware is on par with other flagship smartphones in the market, and it is priced very well. While I was not sure about buying such a huge phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 I was reviewing gave me an idea of what the 6P would feel like. The Nexus 6P is a little taller but a lot slimmer, I sometimes miss the curvy sides of the Galaxy Note 5, which made it really comfortable to hold in my hands.
Comparisons are unreal
Compared to the Nexus 5, the Nexus 6P is an upgrade in every possible sense. The AMOLED display is really saturated, and makes everything on the display look lively. I could finally use the Ambient Display that Google rolled out in Android Lollipop, something that never really made it to the Nexus 5. The dual front firing speakers are super loud and take the audio experience to whole new level. The aluminium build justifies the premium tag that Google has put on it.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, which had got bad press all over because of its heating issues, runs cool in the Nexus 6P. I don’t know if it is a hardware revision or bucketloads of thermal paste, but it’s working well. The phone has no problem doing anything I ask it to do; I haven’t seen a single stutter or a freeze to date. While the Nexus 5 was no slouch, the Nexus 6P is even quicker.
Even when I was using the Nexus 5, I had reviewed multiple phones with fingerprint sensors, and most of them had the scanner right on the home button. Having used the technology, I couldn’t wait to have it on my next phone. But there was one thing that's different with the new Nexus devices; the fingerprint scanner's position at the back was something new, and not a lot of devices had it at the place. Luckily for me, I got my hands on the Coolpad Note 3 that had a scanner at the back and I got used to its position. Yes, it is annoying when you have to pick up to unlock when it is on the table, but it isn’t a deal-breaker.
The phone has a huge 3,450 mAh battery and gets the USB Type-C connector at the bottom. While the battery was a major pain point on the Nexus 5, this phone lasts more than a day for me. With continuous reading on the phone, I’ve got a little over 6 hours of screen-on-time. I leave my place with the phone completely charged and by the time I leave the office (say 8-9 hours later), it is still around the 60 percent mark. Now, I charge my phone only after I wake up and it takes around an hour and a half for the device to charge using the bundled 3A Quick Charge 2.0 compatible charger. I had never used fast charging before but after experiencing it, I don’t think I can settle for anything slower.
The camera of the new Nexus phones has been in the news for quite some time now and for all the right reasons. The camera is one of the best features of this phone, and honestly, I never thought a day will come where I’m praising the camera on a Nexus device. The 12.3-megapixel camera sensor by Sony has bigger pixels compared to most other smartphone cameras out there. The bigger pixels allow to capture more light and as a result, clicks good images even in low-light conditions.
I didn't shoot a lot of videos using htis phone, but the ones that I’ve shot have turned out to be brilliant. Slo-motion video can be recorded at 120 fps or 240 fps, while the Nexus 5X could only do 120 fps. Google hasn’t cut corners with the front-facing camera sensor either, and the 8-megapixel sensor clicks some brilliant selfies. The phone is also capable of clicking HDR images using the front-facing camera.
I never really gave much emphasis to a smartphone’s loudspeaker. I just want it to ring loud enough so that I don’t miss a call. None of the phones I owned had good speakers, most of them were just about average. However, the Nexus 6P is in a different league altogether. The front-facing stereo speakers are loud and offer an immersive sonic experience. Watching videos on the phone is a brilliant experience. I remember having to cup my fingers around the speaker on the Nexus 5 to be able to listen to it while the Nexus 6P forces me to push the volume down.
In conclusion, I may not have said anything different than what other reviewers have said already, but it’s worth saying it again; the Nexus 6P is one of the best Android smartphones that you can buy today. With so many changes in the Android operating system over the years, the Nexus 6P does justice to all of them. I am glad that the Nexus 6P represents the best of Android. Amid all the confusing array of options, it really is the handset Android needs right now, and also, the one that it truly deserves!
Note: The images used in this post are taken using a Huawei Nexus 6P as well.
Aditya Shenoy, the Deputy Editor at pricebaba, has contributed to this post.