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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.

I've generally had no trouble making it through full days of use with either device, meanwhile: The Nexus 5X has what I'd describe as acceptably average stamina -- passable but not exceptional in terms of active use -- whereas the 6P has very good battery life. Marshmallow's ability to consume minimal power when the phones are in standby goes a long way, too.

Last but not least, the 5X comes with either 16GB or 32GB of internal space, the latter of which adds $50 onto the base price. (On my 32GB review unit, about 25GB was actually available for use out of the box -- so free space on that 16GB model will likely disappear fast.) The 6P starts at 32GB and is also available in 64GB and 128GB variations, which add $50 and $150 onto the base price, respectively. Neither device has an SD card slot for expandable storage.

Bottom line

Google's Nexus brand has been a lot of different things over the years. With the Nexus 5X and 6P, it's fully living up to the idea of representing true universal flagships for the Android platform. Both devices serve as demonstrations of just how good Android can be -- not only for power users but also for ordinary folks just looking for an outstanding all-around experience.

This year's offerings manage to pull together the greatest pieces of the Android ecosystem into cohesive packages that are a pleasure to use. I've long said Nexus devices are the closest equivalents to an iPhone-like arrangement on Android -- with one company controlling the whole kit and caboodle, from hardware to software and ongoing upgrades -- and the benefits of that approach have never been more apparent than now.

And unlike past years, this duo of devices allows Google to address two very different needs: a simple and mundane phone for most people with the 5X and an elevated option for more demanding users with the 6P. (It'd be nice if we had a third option that offered the premium elements in a smaller size, but alas -- can't win 'em all.)

Add in the fact that each device costs significantly less than most competitors in its class and it's basically a no-brainer. If you want the best overall user experience Android can provide -- at an exceptional value -- the only question you need to answer is which of these two phones makes more sense for you.

At a Glance

Nexus 5X


Price: $379 (16GB), $429 (32GB)

Pros: Compact form that's light and comfortable to use; bright, clear display; pure Google software; fast software updates directly from Google; always-listening voice control; reversible USB Type-C port; super-fast charging; fast and accurate fingerprint sensor; superb camera quality, even in low light; generally solid performance; decent battery life; unlocked and compatible with any U.S. carrier (including Google's Project Fi service); excellent value


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