We pit Google’s two latest offerings against each other.
Huawei was the company tasked with building the Nexus 6P, the more premium of the two handsets, while Google’s old OEM of choice, LG, was back for the Nexus 5X — a reimagining of the now-CLASSIC Nexus 5. The Nexus 6P, though, is the new darling of the Android space and with good reason too. Not only is the handset a gorgeous piece of kit in almost every regard, but it is also one of the most powerful handsets ever to hit the Android Kingdom. Also, Huawei has had great success taming Qualcomm’s powerful, but ultimately squiffy Snapdragon 810 CPU. The Nexus 6P doesn’t suffer with overheating issues, is rapid fast with tasks and, generally speaking, out performs every single one of its peers, save for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 on account of their superb Exynos CPU.
Battery life is superb on the Nexus 6P too. As is imaging. Basically, there has never been a more powerful pure Android handset released, and while the Nexus 5X is more of a traditional Nexus handset, the Nexus 6P is a true Google phone, the likes of which many people — including myself — have been waiting for for a long, LONG time. It surpasses last year’s Nexus 6 in every regard and is, for the most part, one of the most impressive handsets we’ve ever tested.
So why do two handsets? Simple: two handsets are better than one — and everybody does dual-releases these days, so this is just Google listening to its customers and being all contemporary.
“We made Android to be an open platform that anyone can build on, and today there are 4,000+ Android devices in all shapes and sizes. Android’s diversity is why it’s become the most popular mobile platform in the world, and the latest version, Marshmallow, takes Android to a new level of performance,” said Google in a blog post. “While we love all the Android devices out there, every year we build Nexus devices to show off the latest and greatest, directly from the people who built Android. Today we’re introducing the latest Nexus treats, both running Marshmallow, sweetened by amazing apps and sandwiched by some cutting-edge hardware.”
Handsets like the OnePlus Two and Xiaomi Redmi Note 2, as well as units like the new Moto G and Moto X, have redefined what a lot of consumers expect from handsets and how much they’re willing to pay. Never before have we had so many decent — and very cheap — options available to us. Google was one of the pioneers behind this trend with the Nexus 4, so it is great to see the company getting ultra competitive again with this year’s Nexus handsets.
But while both phones stand on their own in a sea of good choices, how do they compare against each other? Let’s take a look.
Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P: Specs
Here’s the specs for the Nexus 5X:
- Display: 5.2 inches, FHD (1920 x 1080) LCD at 423 ppi
- Dimensions: 147.0 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm
- Weight: 136 grams
- Storage: 16GB or 32GB
- Memory: 2 GB LPDDR3
- Processors: Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 1.8 GHz hexa-core 64-bit, Adreno 418 GPU
- Front camera: 5 MP, 1.4 µm pixels, f/2.0 aperture
- Rear camera: 12.3 MP, 1.55 µm pixels, f/2.0 aperture, 4K video
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO, dual-band (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz); Bluetooth 4.2; NFC; GPS, GLONASS
- Colors: Carbon, Quartz, and Ice
And here’s the specs for the Nexus 6P:
- Display: 5.7 inches; WQHD (2560 x 1440) AMOLED display at 518 ppi
- Dimensions: 159.3 X 77.8 X 7.3 mm
- Weight: 178 grams
- Storage: 32GB, 64 GB, or 128GB
- Memory: 3GB LPDDR4
- Processors: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 2.0 GHz Octa-core 64-bit; Adreno 430 GPU
- Front camera: 8MP camera; 1.4 µm pixels; f/2.4 aperture
- Rear camera: 12.3 MP; 1.55 µm pixels; f/2.0 aperture, 4K video
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO, dual-band (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz); Bluetooth 4.2; NFC; GPS, GLONASS
- Colors: Aluminium, Graphite, Frost, and Gold (Japan only)
There’s no question about it, the Nexus 6P is clearly the better of the two phones from an internal spec point of view. It packs the excellent Snapdragon 810 processor and Adreno 430 GPU along with 3GB of LPDDR4 RAM. It also comes in three storage sizes starting with a respectable 32GB (hey Apple, take note) and includes 64GB and 128GB options.
That’s not to say the Nexus 5X is a slouch–it’s a great upgrade over the Nexus 5, but it’s a less premium phone and it shows in comparison with the slower Snapdragon 808 processor and Adreno 418 GPU and only 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM. Plus it only comes in 16GB and 32GB storage options–and no one should buy a 16GB phone; it’s just not enough space.
With specs Google has pretty much hit the nail on the head. It has everything you could possibly want and need on both variants but, unlike it did with the Nexus 6, Google has presented another option for consumers that are looking for more value for money. I don’t know which handset will be more popular, but if I were a betting man — which I am — I’d definitely have a punt on the Nexus 5X.
Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P: Display
Besides the internal specs, there’s two other HUGE differences between the 5X and 6P. Let’s start with the most obvious: the display. The Nexus 5X has a 5.2 inch FHD LCD with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 at 423 ppi. The Nexus 6P, on the other hand, is clearly designed for those who want a phablet. It’s got a 5.7 inch WQHD AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 at 518 ppi.
Size differences aside, the display on the 6P is superior in every way: from its higher resolution WQHD AMOLED panel to its insane 518 pixels per inch. The 6P also features a Gorilla Glass 4 display, while the 5X uses the older, less durable, Gorilla Glass 3 display.
However there have been some reported issues with the glass housing that surrounds the camera.
“A number of Nexus 6P owners have reported that the rear glass panel of their phone, which covers the camera lens and flash, has cracked and broken for no apparent reason,” reports The Independent. “Some users claim that the cracks appeared after a drop or an impact – which you’d expect with a glass smartphone. But there’s also plenty of people saying the glass cracked as the phone just sat there. One user, posting his story to Reddit’s Android forum, said his phone was “sat on a table next to me when I heard the glass snap, leaving a little snowfall of shavings on the table under it. It’s now continuing to crack away by itself.”
Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P: Design
The second major way the 5X and 6P differ is in their design. By now I’m sure you can tell that the 6P is designed to be the “premium” model of the two–it’s meant to take on high class phones like the iPhone 6s and the Samsung Galaxy S6. As a result it’s got a quality all-metal body that is sleek and sophisticated. That metal body also allows for the 6P to actually be thinner than the smaller 5X. The 6P is 7.3mm thick, while the 5X is 7.9mm thick. The 6P comes in four colors: Aluminium, Graphite, Frost, and Gold–though gold is only available in Japan.
The reason the 5X is thicker than the 6P is because its body is made of smooth plastic. That won’t be a deal breaker for some, but for those that want the sleekest phone out there, metal bodies are where it’s at. The 5X comes in three colors: Carbon, Quartz, and Ice.
Build materials and thickness aside, on the whole both devices are very similar in design and aesthetics, keeping that signature Nexus bodystyle with a smoothly rounded back panel and curvy corners. They’re quite pleasant to look at, and little accents such as the Nexus 5X’s round camera port and round fingerprint scanner side-by-side do have their charm. On the Nexus 6P, instead you have a large bar shape at the top housing the optics, and this does protrude slightly, while the round fingerprint scanner remains in the same place – while the Nexus 6P may be the more “premium” of the two in terms of build quality it has to be said the back panel is a little less elegant visually.
Perhaps more important, though also more obvious, is the sheer size and mass of each device though. Of course we’ve covered this in the display size section to an extent, but it’s also relevant in terms of design and handling properties – without wishing to state the bleeding obvious; the Nexus 6P is a MASSIVE 6in phone, so it’s going to feel very different to operate and occupy more pocket space, and to be frank this is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you have big hands you might be ok, but otherwise, expect a bit of unweildiness. The Nexus 5X, on the other hand (ha) is your typical 5in size and much more manageable for the average smartphone user. As usual, this comes down to personal preference and just what compromises you’re prepared to make for the sake of better handling, or alternatively for things like, say, a massive but beautiful display, metal bodywork, and much better battery life.
Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P: Cameras
Surprisingly even though both phones have until this point been very different, they are exactly the same in the rear camera department. Both phones feature a 12.3 MP, 1.55 µm pixels, f/2.0 aperture rear camera that shoots 4K video. They both also have dual-LED flash and laser auto-focus.
Where the phones differ is in the front camera. The 5X offers a 5 MP, 1.4 µm pixels, f/2.0 front lens, while the 6P bumps that up to a 8MP, 1.4 µm pixels, f/2.4 aperture front lens. However, all is not well in camp Nexus following reports of serious issues with the camera.
The glass seems to break for no apparent reason, and it’s not clear what caused the damage, according to one user on Reddit. “Well that was a surprise. For me, and the cat,” johny_rat wrote on Reddit. It was sat on a table next to me when I heard the glass snap, leaving a little snowfall of shavings on the table under it. It’s now continuing to crack away to itself.”
“A different user said he reported the same problem to Google, which directed him to Huawei for future guidance,” notes BGR. “If this is a design issue, it’s likely all affected Nexus 6P will be repaired or replaced. Of course, for some people it might be difficult to prove the screen didn’t crack following an accidental drop.”
Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P: Battery & Connectivity
As far as connectivity, each phone features exactly the same innards: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, and a USB Type-C connector. The 5X has a smaller battery at 2,700 mAh versus the 6P’s 3,450 mAh battery, but that won’t necessarily translate to longer battery life in the 6P. After all, it’s got a much more power hungry display to run.
In our tests the Nexus 6P had very decent battery performance, even more so when you consider the handset runs a QHD panel. A lot of this is down to the sheer size of the battery cell, granted, but there is also Android Marshmallow’s role to factor; it has a bunch of new power saving features designed to not only extend the battery life of Android phones but also boost their idle performance by quite a considerable margin. Naturally with both phones being sealed unibody devices the battery cells are not removable in either device.
Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P: Price & Verdict
The Nexus 5X is £339 for the 16GB model and £379 for the 32GB model. The Nexus 6P is £449 for the 32GB model, £499 for the 64GB version, and £579 for the128GB variant. But as usual, your choice probably won’t come down to price or even internal specs–it will come down to the display size. Do you want a big smartphone (if so, get the 5X) or a massive phablet (then the 6P is your guy).
That’s not to say the two phones are similar in other ways–they clearly are not. Spec for spec the 6P is better by a long shot in almost every way. But as I said, most of us buy based on display size–and if you’re like most of us (and you’re only deciding between these two phones) then their size is probably going to be the deciding factor for you.