This year Google announced two Nexus devices: Nexus 6P and Nexus 5x. 6P is clearly a high-end, all-metal premium device whereas 5x is an inexpensive all-plastic phone suitable for developers and enthusiasts who want a pure Android experience.
Good ol’ Nexus 5 is back
Nexus 5 was one of the best Nexus devices I used, and the jump to the expensive Nexus 6 was disappointing (I still regret that $800 purchase). Apparently, I'm not the only one who missed the Nexus 5. In its media kit, Google introduces Nexus 5x with the opening lines: ‘Miss the Nexus 5? We did too’.
Nexus 5x is made by LG, which manufactured the previous Nexus 5 device. The 5x is less curvy and rounded than Nexus 5 (I loved that design) and is a perfect rectangle with rounded corners. The frame protrudes just a nanometer over the display, protecting it from contact when you put the device face down.
The camera is in the center of the device, right above the fingerprint sensor. It’s a 12.3 MP camera with 1.55μm pixels. There isn’t much difference in this camera and the one on the Nexus 6P, other than a few missing features.
The image quality, in my shoots so far, is as good as that from Nexus 6P. It takes good pictures in low light conditions and is capable of shooting 4K videos. There are some notable differences between the cameras of the two devices though: 5x can’t operate in burst mode and its slow motion capture is limited to 120 FPS compared to 240FPS of 6P.
The front facing camera is 5MP and does a good job at video chats. However, I don’t get the idea of taking selfies with low res front facing cameras when there is a more powerful main camera. I wish there was a secondary screen at the back just for selfies from the main camera. (Between you and me: I use my Apple Watch to capture selfies from the main camera of my iPhone.)
Nexus 5x features a 5.2 inch 1920x1080 LCD display at 423 ppi, which is clearly not as sharp and bright as the WQHD 2560x1440 AMOLED display on the Nexus 6P, but it is comparable to that of the iPhone 6S Plus which has a 5.5 inch LCD with 1920-by-1080-pixel resolution at 401 ppi.
While the 6P screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4 enclosure, 5x is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
Nexus 5x features the Type-C USB for charging and data transfer. Though unlike 6P, the 5x doesn’t come with type-c to regular USB adapter, so you need to get one if you plan to connect it to your PC.
It’s strange that neither of the Nexus devices come with any headphones!
The fingerprint sensor of the 5x is as responsive as that of the 6P and Google claims that more you use it the better it will get over time (it uses some algorithm to learn and improve).
The device is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 1.8Ghz hexa core 64 bit processor and it’s pretty fast and powerful. Watching high definition movies or playing games are breeze, though you actually don’t run multiple programs at the same time on these mobile phones so you really can’t compare it with the desktop experience.
The device comes with 2GB or RAM and is available in two storage options: 16GB and 32GB. The 16GB model starts at $379, making it one of the most affordable smartphones.
If you don't care about high-end features and a metal body, Nexus 5x is the best pure Android smartphone you can get. I expect we'll see it in the pocket of every enthusiast and developer.
Once I send my review unit back to Google, I may buy one of my own. The size, the price and the hardware is just what I look for in a great smartphone.
The good ol’ Nexus hardware is back.
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