Nexus 5X evaluation: Google's triumphant return to smaller, cheaper telephones

Nexus 5X review: Google's triumphant return to smaller, cheaper phones

Whereas the Nexus 6 acquired loads of reward when it debuted final yr, it additionally obtained its justifiable share of flack. Why? As a result of it was simply too massive. For a lot of, the Nexus 6 was the dimensions of a tiny big, with its 5.ninety six-inch show and 10.1mm-thick profile that dwarfed smaller palms. Moreover, it began at $649, whereas the earlier-gen Nexus 5 value simply $349. Not eager to disappoint its clients, Google determined to launch two handsets as an alternative of 1 this yr: the pricier 5.7-inch Nexus 6P (made by Huawei and beginning at $499 for 32GB) for many who do certainly need a bigger telephone, and the cheaper 5.2-inch 5X (made by LG and beginning at $379 for 16GB) for many who needed a sequel to the unique 5. Whereas it might definitely be the smaller and decrease-finish system of the pair, I discovered the 5X to be much better than I anticipated, delivering loads of worth for the cash.


Nexus 5X


  • Nice worth for the cash
  • Fast and correct fingerprint sensor
  • Android is a incredible improve
  • Suitable with Google’s Fi community


  • Mediocre battery life
  • No microSD card slot


With a lower cost and a smaller type issue, the Nexus 5X signifies Google’s return to a extra reasonably priced telephone that is additionally friendlier to these with tinier palms. Beginning at simply $379, the 5X gives a stunning show, a speedy new fingerprint sensor and a surprisingly respectable digital camera. It does falter a bit with sub-optimum battery life and specs that are not nearly as good as its rivals, however the 5X continues to be a strong telephone — particularly for its worth.


Nexus 5X review: Google's triumphant return to smaller, cheaper phones

The Nexus 5X is on no account a premium smartphone. Its polycarbonate, light-weight shell and vanilla design make it really feel extra sporty than posh; extra household sedan than luxurious sports activities automotive. In comparison with the bigger, all-metallic 6P, the 5X and its plastic hardware appear downright homely. Nonetheless, taken by itself, the 5X is not precisely missing within the seems to be division. Quite the opposite, it is moderately lovable, with gently rounded corners, a slender profile and clean, curved edges that result in an extremely snug really feel within the hand. I just like the look of the creamy white backplate — which additionally is available in an attractive robin’s egg blue and the usual black — particularly in distinction with the black entrance body. Positive, it will not win any design awards, however for an reasonably priced telephone, the 5X’s easy fashion is greater than acceptable.

A part of the 5X’s attraction is its smaller measurement. Whereas there is definitely a rising development towards bigger telephones just like the Nexus 6P, there’s nonetheless a phase of the inhabitants that’s far more snug with one thing extra pocket-pleasant. Measuring 147 x seventy two.6 x 7.9mm, the 5X is certainly tinier than each the Nexus 6 and the 6P, and would probably please anybody who was a fan of the unique Nexus 5. As somebody with comparatively small arms, I’ve to say I recognize the shape issue. I might simply faucet by means of apps whereas holding the telephone one-handed and it matches into my again pocket with solely a tiny bit protruding. And though it could be small, the 5X nonetheless manages to squeeze in a roomy 5.2-inch show, because of some comparatively slim bezels.

A lot of the telephone’s hardware does not appear too totally different from different Android telephones — there’s the quantity rocker and energy button on the best aspect and a SIM card tray on the left. Sitting above the aforementioned display is a 5-megapixel, entrance-dealing with digital camera plus an ambient mild sensor. Beneath the show is the entrance-dealing with speaker grille, which hides an RGB LED indicator behind it. On the backside is a headset jack plus a USB Sort-C port, which is newly supported by Android Marshmallow. For the uninitiated, USB Sort-C is a reversible connector that may match within the port regardless of how you set it in, and it guarantees to transmit knowledge at quicker speeds too. That is nice, however Google has solely included a USB-C-to-USB-C cable within the field. Meaning you will have to get a further USB-C-to-USB-A cable so as to cost the telephone with most computer systems. In fact, you possibly can simply use the included USB Sort-C energy adapter to cost the telephone, however it’s much less handy.

Flip the telephone round and you will find the 12-megapixel digital camera together with a broad-spectrum CRI-ninety twin flash and an infrared laser-assisted autofocus sensor (You will discover extra ideas on the digital camera under). Beneath that’s one thing model-new to the Nexus line of telephones, and that’s the Nexus Imprint fingerprint reader. To start out utilizing it, relaxation your fingertip contained in the metallic ring. The telephone will then instantly launch the fingerprint setup wizard, which requests that you simply contact the sensor a number of occasions in several positions in order that it could possibly learn your fingerprint precisely. And voila — from then on, you possibly can simply relaxation your finger on the reader to unlock your telephone. All the course of is straightforward and easy. The reader itself works actually quick — it takes lower than a second for it to set off. And, just like Contact ID on the iPhone, the sensor may also be used to authenticate funds by way of Android Pay.

So far as internals go, each the Nexus 5X and 6P have one thing referred to as the Android Sensor Hub, a low-energy, all the time-on co-processor devoted to knowledge from sensors just like the accelerometer and the gyroscope. The thought right here is that it will routinely collect knowledge for health stats like steps and distance with out you having to wake the telephone and with out involving the system’s fundamental processor, probably saving you fairly a little bit of battery life. Moreover, it’s going to know whenever you’ve picked it up and can routinely show the time and any missed notifications with out you having to press something.

Apart from that, the Nexus 5X has fairly strong specs for a sub-$four hundred handset. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 1.8GHz hexa-core sixty four-bit processor, an Adreno 418 GPU and 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM. Sadly for media hoarders, you will not discover a microSD card slot right here — you will need to make do with both 16GB or 32GB of inner storage.

The Nexus 5X is suitable with all main US carriers in addition to most networks across the globe because of its large-vary band help. Of word right here is that identical to the Nexus 6 and the Nexus 6P, the 5X is one of some telephones to help Google’s new Fi service service. As a reminder, the service depends totally on WiFi for calls and knowledge, and it piggybacks on prime of each Dash’s and T-Cellular’s networks, alternating between the 2 when mandatory. The genius behind Fi is that it is very reasonably priced — you solely have to pay $20 a month for the essential plan. So in the event you purchase each the price range-pleasant 5X and join Fi, you may get away with an excellent deal.

Show and sound

Nexus 5X review: Google's triumphant return to smaller, cheaper phones

Contemplating the 5X is a extra mid-vary telephone, I used to be pleasantly stunned by the standard of its show. Positive it isn’t a WQHD AMOLED just like the 6P, however the 5X’s 5.2-inch LCD continues to be pretty in its personal proper. It boasts full HD decision (1,920 x 1,080), leading to a pixel-dense 423-ppi show that is sensible, sharp and pops with wealthy colours. Darks are deep and whites are virtually blinding in case you max out the brightness. The display is completely usable in direct daylight and the viewing angles are large. Topping it off is a sheet of Corning Gorilla Glass three, which has been handled with an oleophobic coating that supposedly wards off fingerprints and smudges. Though it does not forestall streaks one hundred pc of the time, I’ll admit it does an excellent job of protecting the panel blemish-free.

As for sound, properly, all you will get with the 5X is a single entrance-dealing with speaker, so do not anticipate to duplicate a stereo system right here. Even at max quantity, the audio is very tinny, metallic and shallow, with virtually no bass or depth to talk of. Nonetheless, no less than it is fairly loud, which ought to be helpful for the occasional convention name.

Android Marshmallow

Nexus 5X review: Google's triumphant return to smaller, cheaper phones

As with each new Nexus, the 5X ships with the very newest in Android variations, which on this case is Android Marshmallow. It brings a number of improvements to the social gathering, which we’ll quickly element in a extra in depth evaluation. For our functions immediately, nevertheless, I am going to run by way of a number of the key highlights of the newest in Google’s sweet-named OSes to offer you a quick overview of the brand new software program.

First, there is a new UI. It was truly launched to the Google Now launcher in September, so it won’t be so new to a few of you. The app launcher options an alphabetical record that you simply scroll by way of vertically as an alternative of aspect to aspect. On the very prime of the launcher is a row of 4 shortcut icons resulting in your most oft-used apps — this record modifications dynamically relying on what you occur to be utilizing at any given time. In my expertise, the telephone is fairly sensible at guessing what apps I am obsessive about (which is usually Gmail, Fb and Instagram). A dynamic fast-launch bar additionally typically seems if you’re typing in a key phrase within the Google search area, routinely itemizing any app that begins with the corresponding letters.

Nexus 5X review: Google's triumphant return to smaller, cheaper phones

However one of the standout options of Android Marshmallow, by far, is Now On Faucet, which helps you to dive deeper into something you are studying or watching by mentioning further info. So, for instance, should you’re watching The X-Information on Google’s Play Films app, you’ll be able to maintain down the house button to convey up the present’s IMDb web page in addition to hyperlinks to Google search outcomes, YouTube movies, Fb pages and different assorted photographs and hyperlinks related to the present. On a restaurant web page on Yelp, Now On Faucet would deliver up navigation directions, the institution’s telephone quantity, the menu, Road View and another associated hyperlinks or pictures. It is primarily a better and quicker method to discover the knowledge you are in search of, with out having to do a search.

App permissions are additionally now much more versatile and customizable. You possibly can selectively select what permissions to permit, and whether or not or not you’d fairly have these permissions on on a regular basis or simply for sure durations. A verified safety boot function exhibits whether or not or not the firmware has been modified and there is a new Direct Share perform that allows you to simply ship and obtain information together with your favourite contacts. I am additionally a fan of Auto Backup for Apps, which (because the identify suggests) routinely backs up every little thing in your telephone, even sure system settings. This makes it a lot simpler to modify out Android units. Certainly, I transitioned to the 5X from an older Nexus 6 that had Android Marshmallow on board, and with just some faucets, I had all my apps put in.

A couple of of Android Marshmallow’s options are tied to hardware. It permits for the Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor in addition to the help for USB Sort-C. It additionally boasts higher energy administration; there is a Doze mode that places the telephone in a sleep state when it isn’t in use, and apps that do not get a lot use can be put in App Standby in order that they do not take up an excessive amount of energy.

Digital camera

Nexus 5X review: Google's triumphant return to smaller, cheaper phones

Although the 5X is the lesser of the 2 new Nexus units, it has one function that’s equivalent to that of the Nexus 6P: the rear digital camera. It is a 12.three-megapixel shooter with a pleasant, large aperture of f/ and, most notably, 1.fifty five-micron pixels, which guarantees to do wonders for capturing extra mild in dim conditions. After a couple of days of placing the digital camera by means of its paces, I’ve to say I used to be pleasantly stunned by the standard of the pictures, which is a refreshing change from earlier Nexus units.

That is to not say it does not have its downsides. The colours do not pop as a lot as I might like, and indoor photographs look a contact duller than desired. Pictures taken on overcast days — an virtually day by day prevalence in San Francisco — have a grey tint, making it appear even cloudier than it truly was. General, although, picture high quality is not dangerous in any respect. Pictures are usually crisp and detailed, and daylight photographs beneath shiny daylight are particularly good. Taking pictures with HDR+ mode additionally added a bit extra pop and higher white stability, however the distinction was delicate. Additionally, HDR pictures usually take a second or two longer to snap and course of, so be cautious of that should you wish to seize an entire bunch of photographs in a single go.

Nexus 5X review: Google's triumphant return to smaller, cheaper phones Photographs from the Nexus 5X: No HDR on the left; HDR enabled on the best (Click on to enlarge)

I used to be additionally bowled over by how good the digital camera was beneath low-mild circumstances — highlights weren’t too vibrant and shadows weren’t too darkish. In fact, pictures taken in extraordinarily dim situations nonetheless had a hefty quantity of noise and the shutter does decelerate fairly a bit as properly, typically leading to blurry photographs of shifting objects. Should you insist on taking photographs with the twin-LED flash, that would definitely clear up these points, however simply know that pictures may be slightly blown out consequently.

The digital camera app itself is pretty simple and ought to be acquainted to most anybody who’s used an Android telephone. You’ll be able to toggle by means of self-timer choices, HDR mode and flash, and flip on over to video recording when you like — the digital camera on the 5X boasts 4K video-recording capabilities. For people who need a bit extra enjoyable, it’s also possible to take photographs in a 360-diploma Photograph Sphere, auto-sew them collectively in a panorama or use a function referred to as Lens Blur that allows you to selectively select an object to give attention to, and thus blur all the things else round it.

Nexus 5X review: Google's triumphant return to smaller, cheaper phones

To counter a few of the duller photographs I discussed earlier, you will possible make heavy use of the constructed-in picture editor. There’s an auto-improve button to make pictures appear brighter or you possibly can refine the pictures even additional by adjusting mild, shade, “pop” and vignette settings. You may also add quite a lot of filters to the pictures for even larger customization.

Oh, and that entrance-dealing with 5-megapixel digital camera truly takes fairly respectable selfies, too. Pictures endure from the identical problems with not being fairly colourful sufficient, however the digital camera nonetheless produces sharp, vibrant pictures which are ok to go on Instagram.

Efficiency and battery life

Nexus 5X review: Google's triumphant return to smaller, cheaper phones

As talked about up prime, the Nexus 5X ships with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 1.8GHz hexa-core sixty four-bit processor, which is not dangerous in any respect for a finances handset. It is the identical chipset within the LG G4 and the Moto X Pure, in order that makes the 5X fairly aggressive when pitted towards the opposite mid-vary telephones available on the market. In common day-to-day use, I did not expertise too many hiccups when switching between purposes or scrolling by means of navigation menus. I did sometimes encounter a slight lag when launching apps or movies for the primary time, nevertheless it wasn’t egregious. On the entire, efficiency was fairly clean.

Nexus 5X LG G4 Moto X Pure OnePlus 2 AndEBench Professional 6,519 eight,352 9,686 9,945 Vellamo three,662 four,065 four,401 three,025 3DMark IS Limitless 14,610 18,572 18,747 23,598 SunSpider (ms) 687.6 725 n/a 1,516 GFXBench 1080p Manhattan Offscreen (fps) 15 15 15 25 CF-Bench 32,376 seventy one,260 seventy four,237 seventy nine,168 SunSpider Decrease scores are higher.

Which is why the 5X’s poor benchmark scores are a bit of befuddling. As you possibly can see within the chart right here, the 5X falls far behind its rivals in virtually each one among our regular benchmark metrics. The starkest distinction is in CF-Bench, the place the rating is down by virtually forty,000. I will be trustworthy: I’ve a tough time reconciling these poor benchmark scores with what I assumed was an in any other case strong-performing telephone, so take these outcomes with a grain of salt.

The 5X packs a 2,700mAh battery, which is a tad skimpy in comparison with the G4 and the Moto X Pure. And, as you may anticipate, it does not final fairly so long as these two, both. In our normal video-rundown check, which includes looping an HD clip at 50 % brightness, it lasted eight hours and forty five minutes earlier than giving up the ghost. On a full day of use — which consisted of taking and importing loads of footage, checking e-mail and receiving fixed notifications from Twitter and Fb — the 5X lasted about 14 hours earlier than battery life fell to round 10 %, begging to be charged. Talking of charging, the 5X expenses comparatively shortly with the USB Sort-C cable. From a totally drained battery, it might attain the 25 % mark in simply 10 minutes. That must be sufficient juice so that you can name an Uber or a cab house after an evening out.

The competitors

Nexus 5X review: Google's triumphant return to smaller, cheaper phones

At $379 for 16GB and $429 for 32GB, the 5X is rather more consistent with the Nexus 5 than final yr’s Nexus 6. That’s, it is a finances-pleasant handset that is mild on worth, however not on options. As such, its hardest competitor is probably going the OnePlus 2, which has an identical pedigree. For $329 (16GB) or $389 (64GB), the OnePlus 2 additionally boasts a 1080p show, a quicker Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 (a 1.8GHz octa-core sixty four-bit processor) and a fair beefier thirteen-megapixel digital camera with an f/ aperture and 1.three-micron pixels. It additionally boasts a much bigger and longer-lasting three,300mAh battery (9 hours in comparison with the 5X’s eight hours forty five minutes in our normal check). The OnePlus 2 even has a fingerprint reader, however it’s not fairly as quick because the 5X’s. One other draw back for the OnePlus 2: It does not have NFC. And with Android Pay quickly catching on, which may tip the size in favor of the 5X in case you’re wanting ahead to the way forward for cellular funds.

The Moto X Pure can also be a worthy rival. It has that very same Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset, however boasts a crisper Quad HD show, a whopping 21-megapixel rear digital camera, a barely greater three,000mAh battery, a microSD card slot (which the 5X lacks) and NFC help. Additionally, it is solely $four hundred off-contract for 32GB, which is a greater deal than the 5X. The G4 has the identical processor as nicely, and has a 5.5-inch IPS Quantum (Quad HD) show, nice cameras, lengthy battery life and a detachable microSD card slot. However the G4 prices round $500 off-contract, though you will get it for round $one hundred fifty in the event you enroll by means of a service plan. Nearly as good as each these telephones are, nevertheless, they lack the 5X’s fingerprint sensor and the clear, cruft-free Android expertise that some shoppers need.


Nexus 5X review: Google's triumphant return to smaller, cheaper phones

For many who yearned for the times of finances- and pocket-pleasant Nexus handsets, the 5X is for you. No, it isn’t fairly as premium as its rivals and it does not have the upper-finish specs of its greater 6P brother, nevertheless it greater than makes up for that with its reasonably priced worth. And also you do get various telephone for the cash: The show is sharp; the fingerprint sensor works as promised; the efficiency is clean; and also you get an honest digital camera too. Although the OnePlus 2 and the Moto X Pure supply a greater deal and barely higher specs, they lack that speedy fingerprint sensor and do not ship a pure Android expertise, which is essential to those that need timelier upgrades. With its sub-$four hundred worth and wholesome function set, the 5X is a extra-than-worthy successor to the Nexus 5.

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