2 Nov 2015

Nexus 6P Review: Google’s Finest Android Phone Yet

Google’s Nexus 6P is by far the best Nexus smartphone ever released and possibly the best Android phone in general. It’s that good. The Nexus 6P has all the makings for a top-tier “flagship” smartphone. The P stands for premium and that is exactly what buyers will get with an aluminum design, along with a beautiful 5.7-inch Quad-HD display and a great camera.
For a long time the best smartphone available has been an iPhone or Samsung, but times are changing. This year Google came to win, rather than sort of compete. The Nexus 6P has it all and does so while costing less than the competition. In fact, it’s only $499. The price, premium build quality, excellent camera, fingerprint scanner, option of 128GB of storage .
Google’s Nexus 6P delivers several features the iPhone and other Android competition can’t. Not all phones have dual front-facing speakers or fingerprint scanners. These are just a few of the features that make this a fabulous device. Nexus phones have always been good, but were missing a feature here or there. This year is completely different. Google is finally playing in the big leagues. The Nexus 6P is a smartphone I’d recommend without hesitation.

There’s no getting around the fact that this is a big smartphone. It may be too oversized for some users. It has a smaller screen than last year’s 5.96-inch Nexus 6, but physically the phone is bigger. It is taller, but easier to use because it is thin and not as wide. That said, this year Google and Huawei packed in all the latest and greatest technology. It has a fingerprint scanner, a huge battery and a quality camera all in a phone that’s thinner, faster, easier to use and cheaper than the prior model. It’s quite impressive, really.
What We Like:
  • Beautiful 5.7-inch Quad-HD AMOLED display
  • Finally, a good camera in a Nexus smartphone
  • All aluminum design that feels as good as it looks
  • Nexus Imprint (fingerprint scanner)
  • Excellent battery life

    What We Don’t Like:
    • Camera bulge on back
    • USB Type-C isn’t common, and can be confusing
    • Bezels make it bigger than it needs to beBottom Line: The Nexus 6P retails for only $499. For that price, no phone currently on the market is better. Not one. Make no mistake, it isn’t perfect and it’s a big phone, but that is the trend these days. It’s a huge phone that delivers everything a buyer would want. Pure Android with the promise of quick updates, great hardware and software, with no compromises.
      Samsung’s Note 5, a competing phone, is another good option in this size category, but it costs over $200 more. That demonstrates how Google evened the playing field when it comes to how a Nexus phone competes with Samsung or Apple. It did this while also lowering the price. The Nexus is finally in the big leagues with a premium “flagship” smartphone, unlike any Nexus before it.

      Nexus 6P Display

      The Galaxy Note 5, a competing phone to the Nexus 6P, has the best screen I’ve ever used in any smartphone, period. It has a 5.7-inch Quad-HD screen with a resolution higher than most HDTVs. The screen features vibrant colors, dark blacks and stunning viewing angles. Nothing has been able to come close to this screen… until the Nexus 6P.
      In fact, the Nexus 6P might have the exact same display. We’ve not been able to confirm that, but there’s hardly any difference. Huawei and Google spent a lot of money, time and effort on tweaking the screen. They nailed it. It looks amazing!

      The Nexus 6P and its 5.7-inch Quad-HD 2560 x 1440 resolution AMOLED screen look better than the iPhone 6s Plus and its Retina Display. It’s just as good as the Note 5 and is a joy to use. Google made a point to mention that they worked hard on making the AMOLED panel look fantastic by tweaking the colors and white balance. Some love AMOLED screens, while others think the colors are often over-saturated. Turning the brightness down typically results in odd blue or yellow hues on white screens. We’ve also heard complaints of a red tint if you look close, but we’ve noticed none of that on the Nexus 6P. Those who hated the faded and cloudy LCD on the Nexus 5 will absolutely love the Nexus 6P.
      Google really did a good job on the display. It’s one of the best screens on any smartphone. It looks good outdoors, gets very bright, has stunning colors, good viewing angles and more. Whether users watch movies, play games, send texts or browse the web everything is bright, crisp and clear.

      Another aspect of the display is the dual front-facing speakers on the top and bottom. They sound great. Google may not beat HTC with the front-facing speakers, but they’re some of the best on the market.
      The amazing colors of the big Quad-HD screen combine with the crisp, clear sound of the front-facing speakers to make this one of the best phones on the planet for watching movies or playing games. My biggest complaint about the competing phone, the Note 5, is the small single speaker on the bottom. It’s right where a user would hold it and was always muffled. The Nexus 6P doesn’t have that problem. As a result, users will have an amazing viewing experience and great sound to go with it. This is the ultimate gaming or consumption smartphone. Especially for $499.

      Nexus 6P Design

      We said Google was finally in the big leagues and this phone’s design is one area where that is very apparent. There is no fake leather on back, soft-touch plastic that feels cheap or lightweight like other phones, or odd designs. It’s all aluminum. We have the graphite black model, but it still is a premium phone made of aluminum. It comes in White, Graphite Black or a silver aluminum color option. They all look wonderful.

      The Nexus 6P is made primarily of aluminum and glass with a few areas of plastic. These allow for better reception, WiFi signals and improved call quality. It isn’t rounded on the sides or corners, but the aluminum sides have chamfered edges that are comfortable in the hand. The buttons on the right side are also made of aluminum and the power button is textured for ease of use.
      It also has a fancy new feature which we’ll talk more about below. Double-tap the power button (whether the phone is off, or you’re reading an email) and it launches the camera in less than one second. It’s a great feature, and launches faster than the LG G4 or Galaxy Note 5. This might be the fastest camera to launch on any smartphone.

      The bezel on the top and bottom of the screen is a little bigger than we’d like, especially considering how small they were on the Nexus 6. As a result this phone, with its smaller screen and similar dual front speakers, is noticeably taller than the Nexus 6 from 2014. It’s big. Really big.
      Then the Nexus 6P is covered in durable, strengthened Gorilla Glass 4 on the front and back. This means it won’t scratch easily and probably doesn’t even need a screen protector.

      Around back and up top is the “hump” or “bulge.” It looks awful in photos, but in real life it’s actually barely noticeable. It’s almost unfair to dock points about this because it’s barely noticeable in your hand. It serves a purpose, too. Inside this glass visor on back is the awesome 12.3 megapixel camera with a huge 1.55 um sensor, two-tone dual LED flash, laser auto-focus, NFC antennas, WiFi and more.
      I was worried that the bulge would make the Nexus 6P feel top-heavy. That doesn’t seem to be the case because its weight is distributed properly. If anything, the visor and little panel give the phone character.
      Although people didn’t like it at first, Google’s subtle curve to the back of the phone is actually quite pleasant. It’s something no one should worry about if considering this phone. However, it is a fingerprint magnet, so make sure to wipe it clean before snapping photos.
      And just for fun, take a look at the original Nexus One compared to the new Nexus 6P. Things have changed a lot in 4-5 years.

      Nexus Imprint

      There is one more design aspect to talk about and that’s the fingerprint scanner, which Google is calling Nexus Imprint. It’s a simple, barely noticeable and perfectly placed recessed circle on the back of the phone and it does wonderful things.
      Just like Apple’s TouchID or recent Samsungs, the fingerprint scanner on back is one of our favorite features. Google’s decision to put it on back may bother some, but it’s so perfectly placed you’ll have no problem using it. While holding the phone, most users’ index fingers neatly rest right on recessed circle which instantly unlocks the smartphone.
      Tap the power button to check notifications on the lockscreen or tap your finger to instantly jump into the phone for use. No passwords, pins, patterns or anything. Just tap your finger on back and it instantly turns on and unlocks. You can’t do it while the phone is laying on a table or desk, which is a problem Samsung and Apple users don’t have.
      All said and done, Nexus Imprint works wonderfully. It’s faster than the Galaxy Note 5 or iPhone 6s when it comes to unlocking the phone, easier and faster to setup, and the accuracy is amazing. I constantly have to tap my Galaxy Note 5 more than once because it didn’t read my fingerprint, but not with Google’s Nexus Imprint. Six taps of your finger is all it takes to save it during setup and it learns the fingerprint more during use, which means it continues get more accurate over time. As a result, it unlocks on the first try every time.
      If owners don’t leave their finger on the scanner long enough for it to register a print, it won’t work. Since it unlocks in less than a second, so that’s not really an issue as its easy to press again if you misjudge it. Overall it’s lightning quick.
      That isn’t all either. Using Android Pay, users can sign into apps, websites, make purchases on the Google Play Store or make wireless payments by tapping the phone and tapping a fingerprint for security. This works like Apple Pay and is accepted at hundreds of thousands of locations around the United States.

      Nexus 6P Camera

      The worst part of any Nexus review has always been the camera. That is no longer the case. This year Samsung, LG and Sony all showed us that Android can have excellent cameras. The Nexus 6P has an excellent camera as well, one that even beat the iPhone 6 in camera reviews.
      The previous generation Nexus 6 had a 13 megapixel camera with optical image stabilization, but it was still awful and didn’t hold a candle to Samsung or the iPhone. In 2015, Google worked with Sony to use a brand new 12.3 megapixel camera with a big 1.55μm sensor, one typically not used for smartphones, and it takes amazing photos, as well as even better video.
      Sony’s bigger sensor allows the Nexus 6P to capture more light and more details more quickly, which produces excellent photos. There is no optical image stabilization. This had many worried at first, but the Nexus 6P takes some of the best photos around.
      Whether indoors or outside in direct sunlight, the Nexus 6P camera does great. Colors are wonderful and rich, maybe too rich at times. The color accuracy is excellent. Indoors and low-light are good too, because that big sensor captures more light. HTC tried this and failed, but Google got it right. Even the new iPhone 6s has a big 1.22μm sensor that was shown off when it was announced back in September. So Google and Sony are on to something here and it shows

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