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Hands-on: Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are two good reasons to stay on stock Android

Florence Ion | Oct. 1, 2015
Google listened to all the feedback from the last few Nexus generations and produced two of the best Nexus phones ever.

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Credit: Florence Ion

Remember how underwhelming the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 turned out to be? This year will be entirely different. The Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X are both evidence that Google’s back on the path to greatness. The Android maker hooked up with LG again and invited Huawei into the fold, each vendor throwing their own stock Android phone into the ring. Both phones boast 64-bit processor performance and an improved 12.3-megapixel camera sensor with low-light abilities. Two new handset designs prove that Android's modern candy-bar smartphone aesthetic isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The smaller Nexus 5X

Google said it partnered up with LG again because the Nexus 5 was one of its best selling phones. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nexus 5X ended up selling just as well.

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The black LG Nexus 5X is a bit of a fingerprint magnet. Credit: Florence Ion

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The camera lens protrusion on the 5X is a little annoying. Credit: Florence Ion

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That circle on the back is its fingerprint sensor. Credit: Florence Ion

The Nexus 5X is exceptionally light—about 136 grams, according to Google. While I appreciate that it's light as feather, it makes the phone feel like one of LG’s mid-range devices. I doubt it will be a bother to anyone—because who doesn’t want a lighter phone?—but compared to the Nexus 6P, it feels sort of cheap. The phone is also completely plastic, so while you might not feel too bad about dropping it, it’s hardly a premium flagship like what Samsung and HTC put out earlier this year.

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The Nexus 5X in white.  Credit: Florence Ion

That’s what Google is going for with the Nexus 5X, though: a phone that isn’t overly pretentious, but works really damn well. Because it’s running stock Android, the Nexus 5X is speedy and responsive. It comes with all the same trimmings as most stock Android devices, too, like Google’s suites of apps. Beyond that, it’s really up to you to install the apps you like, which fits in perfectly with Google’s philosophy. Carriers, please take note.

The larger Nexus 6P

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This is Google's version of a premium flagship. Credit: Florence Ion

The Nexus 6P is a serious breath of fresh air after last year’s less-than-stellar Nexus 6. It feels more premium than its cheaper counterpart, the Nexus 5X, though it also feels similar to the Huawei Mate S I handled in Berlin earlier this month. That protruding camera sensor on the back isn’t so bad, by the way—I know we were clamoring about it after the press renders leaked out, but the lens protrusion is actually a bit worse on the Nexus 5X.

 

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