Hands on with Google Nexus 6P

Here, the P stands for premium

nexus 6p3
Credit: Swapnil Bhartiya

I have been a Nexus user from the early days. Between then and now there have been all kinds of Nexus devices from different OEMs, including Samsung, LG, Motorola, HTC and now Huawei. I love all of my Nexus devices, with a couple of notable exceptions: The Nexus 4, which tends to get hot, and Nexus 6, which was way too expensive (and huge).

In fact, Nexus 6 almost made me quit on Nexus hardware, but then Google came out with Nexus 6P. This is a device that will make a hardcore Android user fall in love with Nexus again.

Google was kind enough to loan me review device, and here is are my first impressions of the Nexus 6P. I will come back with a detailed review after using the device for at least 15 days to talk more about battery life, software and other features.

The Body

Nexus 6P has a good balance between size and comfort. It’s a few mm longer than Nexus 6 but less wide, which makes it great to hold and operate in one hand.

Display size is 5.7" (compared to Nexus 6's 5.96")  -- still a good sized screen.

The phone's all-aluminum body gives it a premium feel. It has a 3.5mm audio jack at the top and Type-C USB port at the bottom. Power and volume buttons sit on the right edge of the device. The left side has a slot for nano SIM.

As with earlier Nexus phones, the power and volume buttons are at the center of the device -- right where your thumb or finger goes when you hold the device, leading to a lot of inadvertent button pushing.

There is not much to say about the body design: it’s the same design we have seen in Sony Xperia phones, HTC phones and now iPhones.

Nexus Imprint

With Nexus 6P Google is bringing fingerprinting to Nexus devices (a feature that was supposed to arrive with Nexus 6). Unlike the iPhone, Nexus 6P features the sensor at the back and that’s where your finger naturally lands. A nice placement, although it could be tricky to use if your phone is in a case.

I tested the Nexus Imprint and it’s very fast compared to my iPhone and iPad. Also, Google says the sensor will get better the more you use it.

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The Camera

Nexus 6P comes with a 12.3 MP camera with 1.55Um pixels and f/2.0 aperture. This aperture means more light. In my initial testing the camera takes good images in low light (a tad better than iPhone 6S Plus). More light also means it’s a bit faster.

The camera is also capable of shooting 4K videos. One of the best features of the camera is burst mode. You can now just hold the camera button and take multiple shots. Unlike the iPhone, however, it doesn’t tell you how many shots you have taken.

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Type-C USB

Nexus 6P comes with Type C USB, which eliminates the ‘which side is up’ challenge for a user. However, in order to be able to plug it into laptops and other PCs the device also comes with a Type-C to regular USB adapter.

The display

The 5.7" display is so sharp and bright that you actually want to watch movies, play games or look at images on it. Images are crisp, rich and colorful -- but maybe a bit too colorful to appear natural.

The software

Nexus 6P introduces Android 6.x (a.k.a. Marshmallow) to the world. The OS is an evolutionary release. It comes with many new features such as ‘Now on Tap,’ which allows you to pull additional info from conversations. So if you get an invitation for dinner, a tap on that message will pull info about the restaurant, including reviews, directions, menus and even the ability to book a table.

There are many other notable improvements in Google services such as photos, which now has a built in sharing option that will keep family members updated as you add more images to your albums.

Closing remarks

I have spent only 2 days so far with Nexus 6P, and using it alongside Nexus 6, Nexus 5x, and iPhone 6S Plus gives me a very clear picture of how this phone feels compared to the others. I consider it a must have Nexus device. And Google is now offering an $89 Nexus Protect plan so if you damage your screen or break your phone you are covered.

Yes, I know many of you, myself included, regret emptying your pockets for the Nexus 6. Getting the Nexus 6P will ease that pain.

If you are looking for a Nexus device, this one is for you.

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