Google Nexus 6P (Unlocked)

21 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google Nexus 6P (Unlocked).

The unlocked Nexus 6P ($499, 32GB) isn’t perfect, but it’s the closest Google has come to fulfilling the wish list of Android users who want a true flagship-level Nexus smartphone. Everyone seems to agree that the latter is the preferred choice of the pair, but that superior quality comes with a cost: the base price is $120 more. Namely, greatly improved cameras (never Nexus’ strong suit), convenient fingerprint sensor placement (on the backside of the devices, rather than the front), and, above all, bargain prices (starting at $379 for the 5X and $499 for the 6P).

Both run Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Google’s GOOG -2.24% latest mobile operating system, and come with Google Now on Tap, a contextual search tool that acts like Apple’s AAPL 1.83% Siri. “…it looks like Google (and LG) have finally narrowed the camera gap with Apple’s iPhones. That alone is a huge win for the Android camp.” (Mashable) “Hardcore fans may be difficult to please and even fickle at times, but if you give them what they want, they can be your biggest supporters. On top of these upgrades, you also get a fingerprint scanner, a USB-C port with quick charging, dual front-facing speakers, and a crisp 5.7-inch AMOLED display. With the Nexus 5X, Google is giving those die-hard Nexus 5 fans all that and then some.” (Verge) “The more time I held it in my hand, the cheaper it felt.

It measures 6.27 by 3.06 by 0.29 inches (HWD) and weighs 6.28 ounces, putting it roughly on par with Apple’s iPhone 6s Plus, which measures 6.23 by 3.07 by 0.29 inches and weighs 6.77 ounces. Hell, with a price tag that starts at $499, it’s even cheaper than its predecessor.” (Engadget) “When Google imagined hardware and software working in perfect harmony one day, the 6P was the device they unknowingly fantasized about.” (TechCrunch) “[T]he 5X is very obviously the lesser one. And though it fights really well in its mid-tier price bracket, if you bump it up to the next weight class, it doesn’t quite hold up to the true flagships from companies such as Apple or Samsung.” (Verge) “The Nexus 5X and 6P are two of the best Nexus devices ever produced. It’s not very noticeable on the graphite phone, but it will definitely stand out on the aluminum and white models, so keep that in mind if it bothers you.

Getting around to the front of the phone, the Nexus 6P has an RGB LED notification light at the top, to the left of the front-facing camera, though it’s not activated by default. Huawei does try to help you distinguish between the two with feel—the Power button is ridged, while the Volume rocker is smooth—but I prefer to have those two controls placed on opposite sides of the device. The 6P has the full set of connectivity bells and whistles, including a sensor hub (which powers Doze, the power-saving feature in Marshmallow that puts apps into deep sleep when unused), an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a barometer, a proximity/ambient light sensor, a hall sensor (used for speed detection), dual-band (2.4 and 5GHz) 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, and a compass.

There’s single nano-SIM slot on the left side and a 3.5mm audio jack up top, which offers good sound quality, free of crackling, pops, and skips when connected to wired headphones. Evening shots in Manhattan, as in the image above, were clear and surprisingly bright, though there was some unavoidable grain at the margins of the image.

The rear-facing camera is also capable of 4K video capture at 30fps, 1080p video at 60fps, and 720p video at 120fps. 4K video was gorgeous, even in low-light settings, but a lack of optical image stabilization (OIS) reared its ugly head from time to time in the form of some blurry movement. Facial features and skin tones come across clearly, and the lens is able to capture background detail without suffering from the washed-out look that can plague selfies taken outdoors. With 32GB ($499), 64GB ($549), and 128GB ($649) storage options at relatively reasonable prices, the lack of expandable storage shouldn’t be a problem for most users.

One of the greatest advantages is that there is no bloatware, which helps keep the phone light and lean, and the best representation for Google’s vision of Android. Along with a bloatware-free experience, Google promises a minimum of 14 months’ worth of Android updates, though it has supported devices like the Nexus 4 for nearly 3 years. We’ll have a full review of Marshmallow up soon, but here’s a quick feature rundown: Google Photos automatically handles pictures, backing them up for you. We’ve already touched on Doze in the battery section, but App Standby limits the number of times apps can access the Internet if the app hasn’t been used recently, saving you both data and battery. That’s a useful feature that Samsung has put on its devices for some time now, so it’s disappointing that we still don’t see it on stock Android, especially with so many large-screen devices on the market.

For most people, one-handed use isn’t possible with this phone; you can’t reach across the screen with your thumb, so actions like pulling down the notification shade and accessing the Settings menu will require the use of a second hand. Given the Quad HD displays on the Moto X Pure and ZTE Axon Pro, it’s clear that we’ve reached the point where even modestly priced phones can be expected to boast 2,560-by-1,440 panels. Noise cancellation is decent, dampening background sounds like music and traffic, but there’s the occasional distortion when loud noises are continuous.

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