Product Review: Nexus 6P (Android Smartphone)

Say hello to the best smartphone of 2015, Huawei’s Nexus 6P. Stunning display, superb battery life, latest Android software updates, bloatware free, finger print sensor, AMOLED display, and USB-C charging all for under $450. The Nexus 6P comes unlocked and is available for various service providers such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.

With almost all products, especially tech products, it’s near impossible to find that perfect balance of quality and affordability. The Nexus 6P comes pretty damn close to perfection.

As if the 6P’s killer specs weren’t enough, you’ll also receive various perks that come with purchasing Google’s 2015 flagship. Some of these perks include exclusive access to Google’s wireless cellphone service Project Fi, affordable Nexus Protect warranty for accidental damage, and subject to seasonal perks on purchase like $50 Play Store voucher or 100GB Google Drive storage.

For complete specifications of this device, you can do a side-by-side review of other mobile devices over at phonearena.com. My review will provide a brief overview of the phone, followed by my honest hands-on experience with the device.

Pros:

Great battery life
No bloatware
Receives newest Android software updates
Fast processor
Loud, quality speakers
Fast charging
Stable build
Sleek design
Above average camera

Cons:

No multi-tasking/split screen
No all-kill app option
No wireless charging
No removable battery
No removable storage
Headphone jack located on top
No video stabilization
Slippery body
No home button

Tweeners:

USB-C charging
Large, but thin phone can’t really use with one hand
Fingerprint scanner

While it looks like we have a balanced list of pros and cons, these cons are very minor in comparison to having a near perfect phone. Most of these cons have solutions or work-arounds which I will discuss later. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the list.

Pros

  • Great battery life

The phone comes with a 3,450 mAh battery. In comparison, the Galaxy S6 edge has a 2,600 mAh battery and the iPhone 6s Plus has a 2,750 mAh. Now capacity isn’t everything as smaller phones can forgo a larger battery and still sustain decent battery life. In this case, the Nexus 6P has significantly longer battery life than most flagships and sits comfortable in the top 5 for battery life despite its large screen.

My screen on-time averages about 4 hours, which is a little above average for most phones nowadays. But where the battery really shines is in the standby time. With Android Marshmallow 6.0, they introduced a new feature called “Doze”. This allows the phone to recognized when it’s not being used, and hibernate background applications. However Doze won’t interfere with incoming notifications like text, e-mail, or WeChat. This feature effectively allows my phone almost a day and a half of standby time. I can leave my phone uncharged over night and wake up in the morning to see only 2% battery drained.

As a regular active user with light gaming, web browsing, and social media surfing, my Nexus lasts about 14-16 hours on a regular day.

Screenshot_20160406-184223.png

  • Receives newest Android software updates

The problem with many other phones, is that their carriers fail to provide software updates with the phone. They might put out a fantastic flagship, like the Sony Xperia Z3 or the Galaxy Notes 5 and make a killing in sales. What won’t make them money, is putting out the latest software updates for the phone. So, while you might have a fantastic phone, the lack of software updates will be ultimately be a deciding factor when getting a new phone. This reason alone makes the Nexus 6P future-proof.

You’ll receive the “pure” Android experience with the 6P, and be the first to get software updates as soon as they are available. Android N hype!

  • Fast processor

Equipped with a Snapdragon 810 processor and 3 GB of RAM, this phone is a beast. Ideally a future-proof phone today should have 4 GB of ram, but having 3 is not a major difference as applications have yet to reach that level of memory consumption.

My biggest indicator of a fast processor and stable build, is how well it runs the game Hearthstone. My Galaxy S6 Edge would barely run it. It would have lag spikes, sometimes bug out with the colors, and then just die from its small battery life. On the Nexus, it runs as smooth as it runs on my computer. The only stability issues I had were with the sound. Sometimes when I find a match, the speakers will play the game sounds for a split second while on silent.

Of course with all my other apps, there was no lag time in web browsing, Facebook stalking (*ahem*, I mean surfing…), or switching between applications.

  • Loud, quality speakers

Not much to say here. The two front face stereo speakers are the best I’ve had in a phone. It gets brownie points for actually being real, unlike other phones… (lookin at u Droid Turbo 2). Load up your Soundcloud and jump in the shower!

  • Fast charging

Your phone will go from 0% to 100% in about an hour. With 10 minutes of charging, you’ll get 15%. This is pretty incredible considering its monstrous 3,450 mAh battery.

  • Sleek design

This phone is an eye catcher both in design and size. The quality design of the phone itself is enough to tell you how solid this device is. There have been multiple occasions where people came up to me to ask about my phone. One thing to watch out for is that the 6P’s body is aluminum based making it very slippery. I recommend pairing this phone with a case, if you don’t mind the bulk, or at the very least a wrap.

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  • Above average camera

In a world where we’re constantly trying to reach perfection, we seem to have left behind the term “above-average”. What the Nexus 6P offers is just that, an above-average camera. The back camera is 12.3 megapixels with 1.55 um pixel size and can shoot 4K video. Selfie camera is 8 megapixels. While the Nexus 6P’s specifications might be on par with its fellow Apple and Samsung rivals, the pictures just don’t seem as crisp.

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As you can see for yourself, the iPhone and 6P look pretty similar due to similar specs. However the 6P pales in comparison to the HTC One A9, Moto X, and even LG. Unless you have over 10k followers on Instagram, this camera will be just fine for basic pictures.

The stock camera that comes with the phone is a basic point and shoot camera. To unlock the 6P’s true camera potential, try camera applications like OpenCamera.

Cons

  • No all-kill app option

If you use the stock version of the Nexus, you won’t have an option to close all your apps like in many other Android phones. This was particularly frustrating for me as I try to keep my RAM clear by killing the app in the task manager. The only way to do this on the stock rom, was to swipe away furiously at my task list. My solution, was to root my phone, unlock the bootloader, and install a custom rom. If you’re not tech savvy, or don’t want to go through the work of rooting your phone, I don’t recommend doing so. If you do want to install a custom ROM, check out the website below that contains step-by-step installation instructions. The custom rom I installed was Chroma. Please note that incorrectly rooting or unlocking the phone’s bootloader may result in bricking your phone.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/nexus-6p/general/guides-how-to-guides-beginners-t3206928

  • No wireless charging

Wireless charging is a relatively new feature implemented in Android phones, so not many users know about wireless charging. I had a wireless charger for my Galaxy S6 Edge and it was a great feature, but not a deal breaker. I made use of the wireless charging by placing the wireless charger in front of my computer screen and set my phone on top of it. Whenever I needed to check my phone, I simply picked it up, did whatever I needed to do, then put it back down to charge when I was done. Honestly it’s not much different from having a regular charger, but it does win in coolness factor. Another useful function of wireless charging is that you can take your wireless charger with you as a portable charger.

While no wireless charging itself is not really an issue, this fact in conjunction with its USB-C type charging makes this issue more apparent. In the past, if I were to run low on battery, you could ask pretty much anyone for a USB charger and they’d have one lying around. With USB-C, you won’t have that flexibility with your chargers since USB-C is a newly implemented way of charging. This makes it so that you’ll be hard pressed to find a charger outside of your original three.

  • No removable battery

I’ve never really had a need for a removable battery, but it is a necessity for some people who are constantly away from an outlet. With the 6P, you won’t really need to switch batteries because the phone will last an entire day without a heavy load.

  • No removable storage

This might irk some people who want to transfer data or who use a copious amount of storage. But with the increasing use of cloud storage such as Google Drive or Dropbox, devices with larger internal storages or removable cards are becoming a non-necessity. The base model comes with 32GB, and you have options of purchasing a 64GB or 128GB device.

  • Headphone jack located on top

Personally, I prefer to have the iPhone/Samsung design of having their headphone jack on the bottom. This design works intuitively with how you put your phone in your pocket with headphones plugged in. Having the jack on the top makes it so you need to flip your phone right-side-up before putting it in your pocket. Not a major con, but still something I believe to be a design flaw with the device.

  • Fingerprint sensor on the back

Back fingerprint sensor has its pros and cons. The sensor on the back is positioned in such a way that your finger is positioned naturally to use it. So if you have the phone in your hand or are reaching for it in your pocket, you can instantly unlock your phone using the sensor. One of the cons is that you can’t use the sensor while the phone is on a table. Not a big deal, as you can unlock the phone using your swipe, pin, or simply picking it up.

  • Large phone, can’t hold in one hand

Now I have an averaged sized hand for a guy and I have difficulty using the whole phone with one hand. I’m able to text and access everything on the bottom half of the screen, but to get to anything on the top I need to adjust my hand position. Most of the time when I’m using the phone I simply balance it on my hand instead of gripping it. I’ve gotten used to it, but it definitely feels less secure especially if you’re wearing gloves. If you have Donald Trump sized hands you’ll probably need to use two hands for this phone.

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Nexus 6P (top) vs iPhone 6s (bottom)
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iPhone 6s (right) vs Nexus 6P (left)

Final Thoughts

To review, this phone is a must-own. The 6P solves some of the biggest issues with Android devices, such as short battery life or dated software. The phone strikes a perfect balance of hardware, software, design, and afforability. With USB-C, stock rom updates, and 810 Snapdragon processor this phone comes future-proof. This phone to own this year, next year, and for the next 5 years. By combining all of the 6P’s “above-average” features, we come up with a truly incredible phone. However lack of internal storage and the phone’s size may deter you from it.

Overall this phone is the complete package, and when compared side-by-side with other flagship phones such as the iPhone 6s, and Samsung S6, after factoring in price and specs, this phone pulls out far ahead of its competitors.

 

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