Google’s latest flagship Android smartphones, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, have been met with a warm welcome from early reviewers as they go on sale to the general public.
The handsets, made by LG and Huawei respectively, were announced in late September. They are leading the rollout of the latest version of Google’s Android software, 6.0 Marshmallow.
The Guardian is in the process of reviewing both devices, but in the meantime, here is a quick roundup of initial reviews.
Drew Olanoff at TechCrunch praised the design, display and camera performance:
For me, the 6P is the crown jewel of all Android devices, regardless of who’s designed them. Google VP Bradley Horowitz let me know that this is the device he’s going for.
It has a few quirks, but it’s a well-made device and takes full advantage of Android’s latest operating system, Marshmallow. I imagine that when Google imagined hardware and software working in perfect harmony one day, the 6P was the device they unknowingly fantasized about. It’s gorgeous, fast and sturdy.
Chris Velazco at Engadget noted the quirks too, but was impressed overall with the quality of the 6P:
The Nexus 6P isn’t a perfect phone. Its power button is frustratingly touchy. Its design is a little lacking in charm. The camera, while better, isn’t a huge leap over last year’s. And yet, what Google and Huawei get right, they get very right. Android 6.0 Marshmallow is a thoughtful, valuable update even if it’s not as outright dramatic as Lollipop was.
The fit and finish of the all-metal body is top-notch. The fingerprint sensor works like a charm and the phone packs plenty of oomph into a package you can actually use comfortably with one hand. There’s plenty to like here, even if the phone isn’t for everyone.
Mark Sullivan at VentureBeat drew the obvious comparison with Apple’s iPhone 6s, and was even-handed in his assessment:
The iPhone 6s is a better phone than the Nexus 6P. It’s created by more talented designers and engineers who are without equal in hardware and software integration. That’s why the iPhone 6s shoots better photos and video with its 12-megapixel sensor than phones with 20-megapixel sensors, for example.
But … I walked out of the Apple Store the other day with the sinking feeling of having just dropped 5 for the iPhone 6s. Pain like that can make you philosophical: It made me reexamine the role these powerful little devices play in our lives — it may be too big for our own good.
So if I can get a phone like the Nexus 6P – with equal or better specs – for 0 less, well, I’m going to think very seriously about that.
Wired’s David Pierce, who like most reviewers has only had the device for a few days, provided some notes from the first weekend of usage:
This is Google’s high-end, ultra-premium device, the one it made to show partners, developers, and the world just how good an Android device can be. It has new software and new hardware. It has a spec sheet you can’t beat. And in something of a first for Google, it’s really nicely designed.
ZDNet’s Matthew Miller delivered a glowing review, struggling to find anything to criticise in the device:
The Nexus 6P is an awesome device and earns a near perfect 10. It has great specifications, provides you with the latest version of Android and the promise of first updates in the future, and is priced less than other flagship phones.
I usually expect to be let down in some area with a Nexus phone, but that is not the case this year with the Nexus 6P and I struggled to find any cons. If you want to save some money over the current Samsung and Apple products, you can’t go wrong with the Nexus 6P. It’s a rather large phone, but if size isn’t an issue then the Nexus 6P is tough to beat.
TechCrunch’s Olanoff also took the 5X for a spin, but wasn’t as impressed as with its more expensive companion:
I picked up the 5X at last month’s event and thought “Wow, this is really light.” Before I got to spend real time with both the 5X and 6P, I thought that this was going to be the device that drags me away from the iPhone 6. Not the case.
The more time I held it in my hand, the cheaper it felt. I’ve tried out a boatload of devices and being light is a good thing … but feeling like cheap plastic totally turns me off. Google and LG calls it “premium injection molded polycarbonate,” but that’s not changing my mind.
Engadget’s Nicole Lee drew a different conclusion, focusing on the value-for-money in the cheaper 5X:
For those who yearned for the days of budget- and pocket-friendly Nexus handsets, the 5X is for you. No, it’s not quite as premium as its rivals and it doesn’t have the higher-end specs of its bigger 6P brother, but it more than makes up for that with its affordable price.
And you do get quite a lot of phone for the money: The display is sharp; the fingerprint sensor works as promised; the performance is smooth; and you get a decent camera too. Even though the OnePlus 2 and the Moto X Pure offer a better deal and slightly better specs, they lack that speedy fingerprint sensor and don’t deliver a pure Android experience.
VentureBeat’s Jordan Novet appreciated the device’s camera and performance, although like other reviewers, drew attention to relatively short battery life:
Were it not for the 6P, it could have handled the spotlight perfectly well on its own. It commands respect from the second you rest your finger on the fingerprint scanner, and the niceties in Android Marshmallow are on display long after that. It is a commendable phone being sold for a commendable price.
With its 5.2-inch screen, the 5X is not too big, and not too small. The phone is slim and not too heavy for you to hold with one hand. You can get a grip on it. The camera on the back is a joy to use.
It does not lie flat. The battery could last longer. You can’t change the name of the phone for speech recognition purposes, unlike on, say, Moto X Pure Edition. But you’ll get a very good little computing device if you choose to buy a Nexus 5X.
Mashable’s Raymond Wong suggested that even at this price, the Nexus 5X may be outgunned by some competitors:
The 5X is a rock-solid Android smartphone – the closest thing to a Google phone there is – but there’s also a lot of hard-hitting competition in the 0-something space. You could just as easily get a third-gen Moto X for 9 with 16GB (and expand that storage via a microSD card) and you’ll get a larger and higher-res screen, stock Android with Motorola’s useful software tweaks, and a fairly capable camera. The OnePlus 2 is another great option at 9 for a 64GB model.
Buying an Android smartphone isn’t as easy as it used to be, so do your homework and decide for yourself if a more pocketable size and fingerprint sensor is important enough to pay a slight premium for.
Nexus 5X and 6P
Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo considered the two smartphones together, and claimed them worthy flagships for Android:
Before, buying a Nexus meant you had to deal with a bad camera or poor battery life, but the Nexus 5X and 6P are the first Android devices built with few to no compromises. The one thing you could complain about is the lack of wireless charging, but we can deal with that. The camera on a Nexus is finally good. The 12.3 MP cameras can hang with phones that are nearly twice the price of the 5X.
In some ways these devices feel like a combination of the best ideas from the Android ecosystem. You get Motorola’s ambient display and always-on voice commands, LG’s laser auto focus, and Google’s software design, security, and fast updates. This year’s crop of Nexus phones are devices that stand alone atop the Android ecosystem, with a combination of features you won’t find anywhere else.
- Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ review: the curvy ‘iPhone 6 Plus killer’
- Sony Xperia Z5 review: good but not exceptional
- Motorola Moto X Style review: cut-price quality phablet
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