Build and Design: 4/5
The Nexus 6P is one of the two Nexus smartphones, other one Nexus 5X, launched in 2015. Built by Huawei, this is the Chinese manufacturer’s first tryst with a Nexus device. Expectations, as always, have been sky high, and after last year’s Nexus 6 failing to capture audiences because of its sheer dimensions. It was on the Nexus 6P, which is slightly smaller in dimensions than Nexus 6, but still larger than Nexus 5X, to appease the large-screen lovers of the Android user base. Here’s looking at how the Nexus 6P fares.
DISPLAY AND RESOLUTION
Let’s begin by addressing the one aspect that catches attention first – display. The Nexus 6P features a 5.7-inch AMOLED display, with a resolution of 1440×2560 pixels, or 2K resolution, in common terms. It is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 4, the latest iteration of the protective screen. With a pixel density of 518 pixels per inch, the Nexus 6P’s display is crisp and bright, and offers slightly oversaturated colours. Despite deviating away from true-to-life colours, the display looks really good. It is slightly warm, which makes viewing it a pleasant experience. Contrast levels are high, and despite the display featuring an AMOLED panel, viewing angles are excellent, making this one of the best AMOLED displays out there. Touch response is fluid and immediate, making the Nexus 6P one of the best smartphones to play games or watch films on.
BUILD AND DESIGN
Moving on to the build quality and design, the Nexus 6P is the first all-metal Nexus device, and is really well built and designed. The front panel houses the display, earpiece, front-facing camera, an array of sensors, and stereo front-firing speakers. The rear has a slightly raised glass panel that houses the new camera. Beneath it lies the fingerprint sensor – Nexus Imprint, and the Nexus logo. The device is rather large, and using it with one hand is nearly impossible, further because of its compromised grip. Nevertheless, it is a decent looker, and the Graphite version is rather good, actually.
The Nexus 6P is one of the two first smartphones to bring Android Marshmallow, and with it, a host of new features like Doze mode, selective app permissions, App Standby and the likes. The layout of the new OS is neat, and instead of the horizontal app screen scroll, you have a vertical layout, with the four recently-used apps lined up at the top. This is a neat ergonomic decision to aid usability. Android Marshmallow is smooth and efficient, and gets as close to iOS as it can. Employing the Doze mode, the Nexus 6P displays a monochrome screen, with the time and your recently received notifications on it. Put it down, and it disappears. This saves the innumerable times that you need to turn your display on, which in turn consumes battery. Particularly in a device as large and bright as the Nexus 6P, battery optimisation is crucial, without which battery life would have been abysmal, even with the large 3450mAh battery and the AMOLED display.
In terms of performance, the Nexus 6P uses the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, clocked at 2GHz. To begin, the Snapdragon 810 has been infamous for its heating issues, because of which a number of manufacturers have taken steps like adding thermal absorbents and slowing down processor clock cycles (like the OnePlus 2), or physical methods like twin-pipe heat dispersing (Sony Xperia Z5) and liquid cooling (Microsoft Lumia 950XL). The Nexus 6P does not clock its processor down, because of which, at heavy usage, there is a noticeable amount of throttling – play intensive games like Marvel: Contest of Champions or Asphalt 8: Airborne, and you will feel the device heating up, and showing minor signs of stress. But, the good bit is that unless you are a hardcore gamer who wishes to play for extensive hours (and the Nexus 6P can do that, too), you will not feel the stutters.
In terms of daily usage, the Nexus 6P is a sheer delight. It is fluid, and even multitasks without breaking a sweat. For instance, handling emails, personal messages along with streaming music can go on for hours without giving you a hint of throttling. Add to that the efficiency of Android Marshmallow, and you get possibly the best Android device there has ever been. To top it all, Nexus Imprint – the fingerprint sensor on the Nexus 6P, is the best fingerprint sensor found on any smartphone till date. It is fast and uber-responsive, unlocking your device at the lightest touch. The integrated fingerprint API of the Android ecosystem has paid off, and Touch ID of iPhones look slow and inaccurate.
The large display gives way for a large enough soft keyboard, which makes typing out emails, viewing movies and playing games a wonderful experience. Alongside, the front-firing speakers deliver good quality audio for a smartphone, and happen to be the best speaker in a smartphone, after Sony Xperia Z5/Z5 Premium.
Moving on to camera – the 11.9-megapixel Sony IMX377 sensor takes very good photographs, particularly thanks to the larger 1.55-mi pixel size, which holds more luminance data, thereby aiding low light and ambience photography. Additionally, to bump up colour saturations and deal with tricky lighting conditions, the enhanced HDR+ mode is present, and although it does take the Nexus 6P a fraction of a second more to process HDR+ photographs, the results are worth it. Images clicked by the Nexus 6P are crisp, true to source, and have a high level of details on them. Additionally, the Google Camera applications is fast, and has a simple layout. Shutter response is fast, enabling you to click fast-moving targets better than most other devices. Video recording is smooth – there are no lags or interpolation of video, and you can also bump up the video quality to Ultra HD, or 4K. Continuous focusing is aided by the laser-assisted autofocus module, which makes recording sports events a delight.
The battery performance of the 3450mAh battery pack is the only dubious bit about this device. There were times when it withstood heavy gaming, while at other times, light apps managed to deplete it faster than what could be fathomed. Additionally, Doze does not show its full potential here, and at best, you can last for an entire day with it. The presence of a USB Type-C port might be another downside, seeing that you will consciously need to carry your cable around with your charger.
To sum it all up, the Nexus 6P is one of the best smartphones till date, despite the large dimensions that may not please compact device lovers. It offers the best Android experience that any phone has, till date, and when Google stated at its launch event that this is Android the way they imagined it, they meant every word of it. This year’s Nexus 6P offers an excellent display, smooth performance, good camera and audio, and an overall compact, pleasing experience. This is Google’s Nexus 6P – the very best of Android.
Prices as of November 26, 2015
Australian Dollars: $899
While the Nexus 6P is a very good device, it makes sense to upgrade only if you are a fan of big screen phones. If you presently own a Nexus 5/6 or any similar device, the Nexus 6P will not bring about a whole world of change. From any previous device, however, it makes for a worthy upgrade. Be careful of where you’re buying it from, though. Prices in Europe are higher than US prices by more than $200, a bit too exorbitant for no worthy reason.