Nexus 6P assessment: Google will get higher at huge telephones

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

Yearly, like clockwork, Google and a few fashionable telephone maker prepare dinner up a handset to be an ordinary-bearer for the most recent model of Android. Nicely, perhaps not yearly: This time round there are two of them. Whereas the LG-made Nexus 5X is a direct successor to the beloved Nexus 5, issues aren’t fairly as simple with Huawei’s Nexus 6P. It is a sleeker, smaller, extra highly effective tackle the phablet components Google and Motorola tried to crack with the Nexus 6, and it appears to hit all the suitable notes. Hell, with a price ticket that begins at $499, it is even cheaper than its predecessor. All that stated, there’s by no means been a greater time to be out there for a brand new telephone — Android or in any other case — which suggests the Nexus 6P faces some stiff competitors.

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Huawei

Nexus 6P

Execs

  • Snappy efficiency
  • Android 6.zero is a worthy replace
  • Strong battery life
  • Fingerprint sensor is superb

Cons

  • Design is slightly drab
  • Overly delicate energy button
  • Improved digital camera nonetheless outclassed by its rivals

Abstract

The larger of this yr’s two Nexus handets looks like a dream on paper, with premium construct high quality, prime-tier specs and entry to the newest software program updates straight from Google. Most significantly, Google lastly has made an enormous telephone that is snug to make use of with one hand. It is nice for die-arduous Android lovers, however we’re all are spoiled for selection this yr and the Nexus 6P does not do a lot to outshine the competitors.

Hardware

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

I really like that not one of the earlier Nexus telephones actually seemed like one another — they’re simply as a lot a mirrored image of our altering tastes in hardware as they’re showcases for Google’s newest and biggest software program achievements. The evolution is unattainable to overlook: After generations of plastic telephones, Huawei’s sturdy, all-metallic 6P is svelte (7.3mm thick) and surprisingly mild, at 6.28 ounces. The truth is, the monolithic slab of aeronautical-grade aluminum used right here is principally the polar reverse of final yr’s Motorola-made Nexus 6. Whereas Moto hoped its telephone’s curvy form would offset its measurement, Huawei takes a special strategy, emphasizing sheer thinness to realize consolation. This plan labored. I used to be somewhat cautious of the 6P’s general really feel once I first noticed it, however I’ve grown to understand its mild weight and dimensions — nicely achieved. And the seems to be? Eh. The graphite-coloured evaluation unit I have been testing has rather less character than the white or silver variations, however some individuals will recognize the spartan aesthetic utilized to the entire 6P line.

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

A fast look across the 6P’s edges reveals a headphone jack on the highest, a nano-SIM slot on the left and a USB Sort-C connector on the underside. The 6P and 5X are the primary main, extensively obtainable smartphones that use Sort-C, and Google says you need to rise up to seven hours of use from a ten-minute cost with the included 3A charger (extra on that later). Since anybody shopping for a brand new Nexus might be beginning an entire new telephone cable assortment, Google included each a Sort-C-to-Sort C and a Sort-A-to-Sort-C cable within the field. In the meantime, there is a quantity rocker and an influence button nestled on the telephone’s proper edge, and I have been having critical issues with the latter. See, it is obtained a pleasant, grippy texture that helps it stand out from the quantity keys, nevertheless it takes hardly any strain in any respect to truly use it. Meaning even glancing blows have been sufficient to by chance shut the display off whereas I used to be in the midst of a Hangouts dialog or thumbing by means of a guide — I requested a couple of pals if it bothered them as a lot because it did me and acquired a variety of solutions, so your mileage might differ. Nonetheless, I maintain shutting off the display accidentally a minimum of twice a day, and I do not see that altering quickly.

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

Given the telephone’s tendency to fireside up its 5.7-inch WQHD AMOLED display each time one thing brushes the facility button, it is a good factor it additionally packs what Google calls the Android Sensor Hub, a secondary processor that screens knowledge from all of the telephone’s sensors so the primary CPUs do not activate the display and burn energy when it isn’t vital. Talking of the primary CPU, Google and Huawei went for a well-known one — it is a newer (assume v. 2.1) hardware revision of Qualcomm’s octa-core Snapdragon 810 clocked at 2.0GHz, together with 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM. We have seen that configuration pop up earlier than, and with good cause: It makes for a complete powerhouse. Our evaluate unit is a $549 64GB mannequin, which sits in the midst of the 6P hierarchy with a $499 32GB choice under it and a $649 128GB model on the excessive finish. Take my recommendation: You will need to splurge on additional storage since there is no strategy to increase it by way of a microSD card. A minimum of the bottom mannequin comes with 32GB of area, one thing Apple undoubtedly, undoubtedly wants to think about.

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

Onward and backward! You’ll be able to’t miss the 12.three-megapixel digital camera on the prime of the 6P’s again as a result of it is surrounded by a spacious, glassy again bar. Seems that curious expanse solves an important engineering challenge: Whereas the digital camera and two-tone LED flash are plainly seen, you possibly can’t see the laser autofocus module or the coils and antennas Huawei crammed in there to mitigate the connectivity points which may come up from utilizing a completely metallic physique. That is additionally why there is a dearth of antenna strains etched into the 6P’s body — solely 4 small ones are seen extending out of the black bar, and none of them assist break up the telephone’s clear strains. Simply south of the digital camera meeting is the now-normal Nexus emblem and a curious, shallow dimple etched into the metallic body — say hiya to the Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor. To make use of a cliché, it really works like a allure. Positive, from time to time it’s going to complain that you’ve got moved your finger too quick, however it’s usually snappy and correct. And that is a great factor, as a result of after discovering how flaky the facility button is, I used that fingerprint sensor virtually solely to fireside up the telephone.

Show and sound

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

As talked about, the 6P sports activities a surprisingly fairly 5.7-inch, WQHD display. In case you have not been preserving tabs, that takes the identical variety of pixels as final yr’s Nexus 6 and squeezes them right into a barely smaller display. All advised, that leaves us with a pixel density of about 518 pixels per inch, so it is no shock, then, that textual content and detailed pictures seem extremely crisp; good luck making an attempt to select particular person pixels throughout your day-to-day routine. It isn’t as vibrant because the display on the Galaxy Observe 5, however the distinction is principally negligible. Be careful, although: The adaptive brightness choice in settings may throw you off. The utmost brightness can fluctuate fairly dramatically relying on how brilliant your environment are, and I used to be completely dissatisfied within the 6P’s show till I remembered this function and turned it off. My solely actual gripe is that the shiny end of the Gorilla Glass four panel can typically make glare a problem when utilizing the telephone outdoors.

Saturation ranges have been nice to my eyes — pictures of an evening market in China have been equally punchy on the Galaxy Notice 5 and Nexus 6P, though the latter makes some hotter colours and earth tones look somewhat extra… full-bodied? Substantive? Anyway. Whites on the 6P’s display are cooler and a bit of blue, particularly in comparison with the papery whites on the Moto X Pure. Longtime readers will know I am kind of a sucker for oversaturated colours. If that is not your factor, although, you are in luck: Should you allow Developer Choices within the gadget’s settings, you’ll be able to select an sRGB mode for extra correct, if much less thrilling, colours. The 6P’s display is tuned in a different way than others I want a bit extra, however it’s hardly a dealbreaker and the power to modify right into a extra correct mode may make the 6P extra palatable to individuals who want the extra shade-correct Nexus 5 show.

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

In fact, what’s an honest display with out high quality audio to go together with it? The Nexus 6P is the primary within the line to pack twin entrance-dealing with audio system for a extra gratifying media expertise… or a minimum of, that was the thought. The twin drivers get surprisingly loud and are greater than ok for podcasts and YouTube movies, however they nonetheless sound slightly too ethereal for my liking; there is a lack of substance relating to mids and lows that makes the audio really feel lifeless. BoomSound audio system these ain’t. Be warned, although: I’d care slightly an excessive amount of about cellular audio system, particularly contemplating most individuals will (and will) simply use headphones with their smartphones.

Software program

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

We’ll have a deeper, extra nuanced evaluation of Android 6.zero Marshmallow for you quickly, however this is what you might want to know concerning the new OS and the Nexus 6P. At first look, Marshmallow does not look a lot totally different from final yr’s Lollipop, apart from the up to date Google emblem that lives within the ever-current search bar and a bolder font for the time show on the lock display. A lot of the different modifications you will discover, just like the vertically scrolling app launcher, hit units operating the Google Now launcher late final month so some individuals have had time to get used to them.

Past these minor beauty modifications, customers lastly get a better solution to cope with app permissions. Within the previous days, individuals have been introduced with an inventory of all of the potential actions an app might take and needed to comply with them earlier than even downloading it. Shock, shock: Few individuals truly learn by means of that listing earlier than hitting “Settle for,” and whereas that wasn’t an enormous safety concern for most of the respectable apps floating round within the Play Retailer, it created a blind spot that allowed some customers to be ensnared by shady builders. In Marshmallow, apps now ask your permission each time they really attempt to do one thing new, like when Twitter needs to determine the place you’re or when Chrome needs entry to your media. It might sound extra annoying to should cope with popups each time an app needs your consideration, however customers may come away with a greater understanding of their gadget safety. And that may be a welcome change certainly.

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

Google’s Now on Faucet function is among the most blatant additions, to not point out some of the useful. Say you are studying an article about famed anime studio Dawn. Urgent and holding the 6P’s residence key invokes Now on Faucet, which shortly scans what you are taking a look at and brings up contextually associated topics so you’ll be able to dive deeper. In Dawn’s case, Now on Faucet introduced up outcomes for TVTropes (the time-devouring supply of the article) and playing cards that provided search, YouTube and picture outcomes for a slew of collection the corporate labored on. Extra importantly, the function is not restricted to textual content, or first-get together Google apps. I have been plowing by means of the superb Hamilton forged recording on Spotify over the weekend, and Now on Faucet fortunately introduced up playing cards for the Broadway present itself together with two of its key actors. It is a considerate function that is sure to get higher as Google makes again-finish modifications and extra builders construct help for it.

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

In fact, a few of the most necessary modifications are those that are not instantly obvious. Along with the battery-saving Android Sensor Hub, Marshmallow additionally has a function referred to as Doze that places the 6P right into a sort of deep sleep when the accelerometer can inform the telephone is not going anyplace. On common, the battery drained about three or four % an hour whereas the 6P was hanging out on my desk, so that you should not have to fret about waking up and dashing to the workplace with a lifeless telephone in tow. What’s extra, some apps will go “inactive” to save lots of battery if you have not launched them shortly, or if they are not operating a course of or producing notifications. Whereas that is principally an autonomic perform, you’ll be able to all the time pop into the developer settings and toggle apps into inactivity your self. Talking of apps, Google inbuilt a approach for apps to mechanically again themselves as much as Google Drive so your saved knowledge will get pulled down onto the telephone if and if you reinstall it. It is a Marshmallow-solely function, so I have never gotten to check it with different units, however I am going to replace this evaluation if additional testing reveals something new.

Digital camera

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

So far as I am involved, that is the one factor Google and Huawei actually wanted to nail. Simply look again on the annals of Nexus telephone historical past — we beloved their speediness and inventory software program, however sort phrases about their cameras are harder to return by. In an try to vary the Nexus line’s photographic fortunes, the businesses selected a 12.three-megapixel rear digital camera with an f/2.zero aperture and 1.fifty five-micron pixels that permit the sensor to seize extra mild than earlier fashions. That ought to imply good issues for low-mild efficiency (which is particularly good because the Nexus 6’s digital camera had pixels that have been 1.12 microns and type of sucked in the dead of night) however let’s speak about daylight circumstances first.

Normally, the 6P is a robust performer when there’s loads of mild — I am not likely a fan of cameras that default to capturing in four:three, however that is a “me” drawback. Colours in my pictures have been usually vibrant, though there have been a number of instances the place photographs got here out a bit drabber than I anticipated. Nonetheless, there’s loads of element within the ensuing photographs. Focusing was fast because of the 6P’s laser autofocus module; in truth, I squeezed off loads of fairly pictures with out tapping to focus in any respect.

In fact, you will should manually focus sometimes, and that is often once I noticed the automated publicity get somewhat funky — the 6P would sometimes wildly overexpose the sky to the purpose the place a usually shiny blue turned out just a little neon. No, it isn’t HDR both — I left that off. The 6P additionally sports activities an eight-megapixel entrance-dealing with digital camera, which produced crisp selfies, in the event you’re into that kind of factor. Most of my time was spent capturing with the 6P and the Galaxy Word 5 aspect by aspect and whereas the variations have been notable — the Notice clearly captured extra element — the 6P by no means felt completely outclassed by Samsung’s superior imaging. For a Nexus telephone, that is big.

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

Now, about that darkness. Loads of telephones (perhaps even nearly all of them) are weak at capturing these stray photons when the sunshine will get dim, and the Nexus 6P manages to distance itself from the pack only a bit. In reality, a couple of occasions I used to be stunned at how shiny a few of its low-mild pictures turned out contemplating it was almost pitch-black to my eyes, though you are by no means going to flee the grain that pervades these types of photographs. The autofocus additionally will get just a little flaky at the hours of darkness, so tapping to focus is generally the best way to go.

Colour accuracy at the hours of darkness was surprisingly strong more often than not too and there is a respectable quantity of element to be seen in case your topic is at the least partially lit otherwise you’re utilizing the twin-LED flash. Whereas I might give the nod to the 6P over the usual Nexus 6 normally, this up to date digital camera nonetheless leaves lots to be desired in the dead of night. This can be a strong all-round performer, nevertheless it’s not considerably higher than the Nexus 6, and it does not maintain a candle to cameras from rivals like Samsung. On the very least, the Google Digital camera app requires principally no photographic information to make use of properly. Apart from simply pointing and capturing, you’ll be able to swipe over on the display to shoot comparatively spectacular 4K video, or hearth off a panorama or a Photograph Sphere. (Yep, these nonetheless exist.)

Efficiency and battery life

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

Relating to sheer horsepower, there are extra surprises right here than you’d anticipate. The mind of the operation is a more moderen revision of Qualcomm’s acquainted 2.0GHz octa-core Snapdragon 810 chipset with an Adreno 430 GPU. Meaning the 6P is firmly within the prime tier of excessive-efficiency smartphones, and it definitely feels prefer it… though that is not all the time borne out within the benchmarks. The outcomes have been a combined bag in comparison with the remainder of this yr’s strongest Android telephones, though the Nexus 6P usually fought them to a standstill when it got here to graphics.

Nexus 6P Samsung Galaxy Notice 5 Moto X Pure OnePlus 2 AndEBench Professional 7,377 9,995 9,686 9,945 Vellamo three.2 5,a hundred and five four,564 four,401 three,025 3DMark IS Limitless 21,847 21,316 18,474 23,598 GFXBench three.zero 1080p Manhattan Offscreen (fps) 25 25 15 25 CF-Bench (general) forty eight,796 fifty five,267 seventy four,237 seventy nine,168

Make no mistake, although: The Nexus 6P nonetheless feels quick. The mixture of unfettered Android and excessive-finish silicon makes for a significantly buttery expertise as I leapt between plenty of operating apps and swiped by way of lengthy webpages. Efficiency in video games like Asphalt eight: Airborne and Lifeless Set off 2 (each with graphical high quality cranked up all the best way) was wonderful too, with nary a hiccup or an excessively heat a part of the telephone to be noticed. I am truthfully unsure easy methods to sq. away a few of the telephone’s weak benchmarks with its seemingly robust actual-world efficiency, though it means that the kind of clean expertise we have come to anticipate from our smartphones does not require as a lot energy to realize as we used to assume. I am going to hold digging into the state of affairs and replace this evaluate as I study extra.

In our commonplace video-rundown check, which includes looping an HD video with the display brightness set to 50 %, the 6P caught round for eleven hours and 34 minutes. That is higher than Google’s 10-hour video playback estimates (though you have to think about it makes use of totally different testing methodologies than we do). It additionally fared higher than the Moto X Pure Version, however not fairly in addition to the Galaxy Notice 5 and its three,000mAh battery.

In day-to-day use, the Nexus 6P routinely lasted via thirteen-hour workdays with round 30 % left within the tank. Keep in mind these workdays are crammed with Slack conversations, emails, geeking out over music on Spotify and the occasional YouTube video and video games — what I might think about fairly heavy use. The factor is, when our inner chat room quieted down and emails tapered off for the weekend, battery use dropped dramatically because of Marshmallow’s Doze function. Leaving the telephone alone on my desk for a short while I learn a ebook led to notable dips in energy consumption, and the telephone typically solely burned by means of 1 % an hour whereas related to WiFi whereas I slept.

Whereas we’re speaking about energy, the inclusion of USB Sort-C means the Nexus 6P can even act as an exterior battery for units with the identical energy port. Positive, it isn’t the quickest factor on the planet, however I used to be capable of convey a totally lifeless OnePlus 2 again to life utilizing the 6P for a bounce-begin. This will probably be a completely unimaginable function as soon as we get extra telephones with Sort-C ports.

The competitors

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

For those who’re considering of shopping for a 6P, you are in all probability itching for a telephone with inventory (or very near inventory) Android and the promise of fast software program updates. Properly, there’s the Moto X Pure, which guarantees a software program state of affairs that is virtually as compelling as Google’s… though the corporate’s perhaps not as ahead-interested by updates because it as soon as claimed. You will be working with very barely pokier hardware too — the Pure version runs a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 chip with an Adreno 418 GPU, making it barely much less useful for gaming and graphically intensive duties. The benchmarks may recommend in any other case, however the Pure Version exhibited extra fast hiccups when multitasking than the Nexus 6P did after each have been utterly reset. Nonetheless, it is a extremely customizable telephone with helpful software program options that really add worth to the inventory Android expertise, and its base-degree 32GB mannequin prices $399, or $one hundred lower than a 32GB Nexus 6P. And did I point out it has expandable reminiscence, too?

Since we’ve two new Nexus telephones this yr, you will additionally need to determine whether or not you are higher off with the 6P’s little counterpart. Each are equally mild and pack the identical 12.three-megapixel cameras. Although the 5X has the identical Snapdragon 808 chip because the Pure version, it lacks a 128GB mannequin for the digital hoarders on the market. The larger battery and WQHD show will make the 6P a extra apparent selection for a few of you, however there’s nonetheless one thing to be stated for a extremely pocket-pleasant design, the complete breadth of Marshmallow’s considerate modifications and a price ticket that begins at $379. In fact, in the event you’re simply in search of a excessive-finish Android telephone and are not bothered by custom-made interfaces, you may just like the Galaxy Notice. The proposition is usually a robust one to swallow (particularly because it prices round $720 from a service sans contract) however in trade you are getting a modern design, top-of-the-line cameras I’ve ever seen on a smartphone and a few significantly highly effective efficiency.

Wrap-up

Nexus 6P review: Google gets better at big phones

The Nexus 6P is not an ideal telephone. Its energy button is frustratingly sensitive. Its design is a bit of missing in allure. The digital camera, whereas higher, is not an enormous leap over final yr’s. And but, what Google and Huawei get proper, they get very proper. Android 6.zero Marshmallow is a considerate, priceless replace even when it isn’t as outright dramatic as Lollipop was. The match and end of the all-metallic physique is prime-notch. The fingerprint sensor works like a appeal and the telephone packs loads of oomph right into a package deal you possibly can truly use comfortably with one hand. There’s lots to love right here, even when the telephone is not for everybody (not that it was ever actually meant to be). Should you’re right down to see the place the bleeding fringe of Android takes you, that is the telephone for you. In case you’re simply in search of an wonderful Android telephone, this could possibly be the telephone for you too… together with any variety of robust options.