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Nexus 5X and 6P deep-dive review: Google's dynamic duo

JR Raphael | Oct. 28, 2015
Google's latest Nexus devices set a new standard for how good Android can be -- and how much a standout smartphone should cost.

04 android 60 do not disturb now on tap
The new Do Not Disturb setup and Now on Tap.

The Nexus 5X and 6P also support always-listening voice control: Once you've trained your phone to recognize your voice, you can just say "Okay, Google" -- whether the screen is on or off -- and then ask questions or issue commands. It can really come in handy when you're driving or at home, though the option to enable it is strangely buried deep within the system settings. Some sort of prompt following the phone's initial setup procedure would be helpful; as it stands now, I suspect many users won't ever realize the function is available.

Nexus 5X vs. Nexus 6P: Which do you want?

Nexus 5X Nexus 6P
Size 5.8 x 2.9 x 0.31 in. 6.3 x 3.1 x 0.29 in.
Weight 4.8 oz. 6.3 oz.
Material Plastic Metal
Color choices Black, white, blue Black, white, silver
Screen 5.2-in. 1080p LCD 5.7-in. WQHD AMOLED
Processor 1.8GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 (64 bit) 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1 (64-bit)
RAM 2GB 3GB
Storage 16GB or 32GB (no SD card slot) 32GB, 64GB or 128GB (no SD card slot)
Software Android 6.0 Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Front camera 5MP 8MP
Rear camera 12.3MP 12.3MP
Rear camera features 4K video w/140fps slow-mo option Smart Burst, electronic image stabilization, 4K video w/140fps and 240fps slow-mo options
Speaker(s) Single front-facing Dual front-facing
Fingerprint sensor Yes -- rear-facing Yes -- rear-facing
Battery 2700mAh 3450mAh
Charging USB Type-C -- up to 4 hours from 10 minutes of charging USB Type-C -- up to 7 hours from 10 minutes of charging
Included accessories One USB Type-C wall charger/cable One USB Type-C wall charger/cable, one USB-C-to-USB-A cable
Carrier compatibility All major U.S. carriers + Google Fi All major U.S. carriers + Google Fi
Price $379 (16GB), $429 (32GB) $499 (32GB), $549 (64GB), $649 (128GB)

Other new touches

Software stuff aside, Android 6.0 enables some significant new hardware-level features that are relevant to both new Nexus devices. First and foremost is the newly added support for USB Type-C, an up-and-coming standard that'll soon be used across all of Android as well as on laptops and even Apple products. It has plenty of advantages over Android's previous micro-USB standard, the most immediately noticeable of which is that you can plug a cable into the phone either way and have it fit (huzzah!).

USB Type-C also creates a more secure physical connection and allows for super fast charging -- 10 minutes on the outlet gets you up to four hours of extra battery life for the Nexus 5X and up to seven hours of power for the 6P. (Neither phone supports wireless charging, however, which is a shame.) You can use one USB Type-C device to charge another, too, which could eventually be a very useful capability to have.

The challenge for now is that the new Nexus phones are among the first devices to support the standard -- so that means you're going to need to stock up on extra chargers and adapters, as your existing ones won't be compatible. The 6P (but not the 5X) comes with one USB-C-to-USB-A cable that'll let you plug the phone into a computer and both phones come with a single USB-C wall charger. But beyond that, it's up to you to get what you need.

 

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