Google Nexus 5X review
LG had the exclusive rights last year to produce the latest Nexus phone and as is traditionally the case, Google gave the new honour this year to Huawei, who have produced the Google Nexus 6P.
However, LG hasn’t been completely cut out of the picture, and in a first, LG has convinced Google to let it update last years Nexus phone, giving us the Google Nexus 5X.
This move could turn out to be one of absolute genius. The Google Nexus 5X has all of the features covered in our Nexus 6P review, but by cutting back on the over-powered processor, battery and screen, the Nexus 5X brings Android 6.0 Marshmallow to market at a more affordable price.
The Google Nexus 5X has that sleek minimalist look that will appeal to many and is supplied in a choice of three colours. The Carbon (black), Quartz (blue) and Ice (white) shells are subtly highlighted on the back with the Nexus brand and by a raised ring that surrounds the fingerprint sensor, in either a matching or opposing colour.
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The front face holds the nicely sized 5.2” display, which has an impressive resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels (423ppi). Protected behind Corning Gorilla Glass 3, the display is protected against both knocks and scratches.
Although the processor isn’t quite as powerful as that used on the Nexus 6P, the 1.8GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor with 2GB RAM, realistically gives users all the power they may need. In addition to choosing a colour for the Nexus 5X, consumers also get the option to save money with a 16GB version or buy more memory from the outset with a 32GB version.
The Google Nexus 5X is pretty slim at 7.9mm thick and feels almost weightless in the hand at 136 grams.
Phone Set Up
The set up process will introduce owners to the new Nexus Imprint Fingerprint Sensor, which is located on the back and works with the index finger through a full 360 degrees. Designed to enable ‘turn on and unlock’ in one move, the fingerprint sensor secures the handset from unauthorised use.
Set up Fingerprint ID and purchases can be made through Android Pay or from within apps and on the Play Store. Photos and emails can be accessed in a touch and the new Google Photos app will allow all existing photos held online, to be found in one searchable location.
The Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system delivers one of Google’s largest updates. Now on Tap is the most innovative addition and with a simple press and hold of the home key, users are prompted by pop-up Now cards that relate to the content on the screen.
This means that if a restaurant or hotel is mentioned on screen then the Now card will present a link to reviews. If a location is mentioned then the Now card will give fast access to the address on a map. The possibilities seem endless and really make the move from information to action as easy as it could be.
Marshmallow also brings with it a new Contextual Assistance. This simply means that the voice assistant can understand natural dialogue. Ask the Nexus phone to ‘Play some music on TuneIn’ and the TuneIn app will respond with ‘What genre?’.
With Marshmallow, Nexus 5X owners will find all of the app settings in one location. This is really handy as it allows the user to manage app memory usage, permissions and their associated push notification settings.
Camera & Video
The main camera on the Google Nexus 5X is the same as that on the more expensive Nexus 6P, which is a real bonus. The 12.3MP camera is assisted by an infrared laser-assisted autofocus and the sensor has large1.55µm pixels, which enables more light to be captured under low-light scenarios.
Looking back at the user is a 5MP portrait camera and this too has large pixels at 1.4µm. This ensure that selfies don’t get ruined with noise when taken under low-light
The Google Nexus 5X can record video at 4K quality, which is four times greater than that of Full HD. The camera experience is enhanced further by a new Google Camera App, which is faster than any before it.
The 2,700mAh battery provides all day use, under average usage scenarios. The more exciting bit of news though is that the Nexus 5X has the new USB Type-C connector and cable. This can be inserted either way up, which is a great relief, and can quickly charge the battery with 3.8 hours of use from just 10 minutes charging.
Two new features named Doze and App Standby get the best from the battery by automatically putting the handset into a sleep mode when left unused and also by restricting the background processes of seldom used apps, which tend to drain the battery.
Nexus 5X verdict: This smartphone looks good, performs well and is sensibly priced; a winning combination for the average user.
Written by: Michael Brown