LG Nexus 5X On Sale In US Starting Today At $379

25 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google Nexus 5X (Unlocked).

Google, who’s Android operating system enjoys more than 80 percent global smartphone market share, is pushing even further by launching not only a new mobile version of Android, but also two new Google branded phones and a new Google phone service called Project Fi.The Nexus 5X ($379, 16GB) is an affordable unlocked Android smartphone sized for one-handed use—something that’s becoming increasingly rare in a market dominated by phablet-sized flagships.

I’ve had a chance to try Google’s new 5.7-inch Nexus 6P and 5.2-inch Nexus 5X as well as its new Project Fi service that provides talk, text and data via cellular and WiFi and, I pretty much like what I’ve seen. The Nexus 5X is the successor to 2013’s Nexus 5 – Google’s most popular Nexus device to date – and like 2013’s Nexus smartphone, the 5X is made by LG.

Surprisingly, even at the 5X’s low price (it starts at $379 unlocked), there are very few places where Google and LG cut corners in a way that diminishes the device’s value. It’s still a relatively compact smartphone, but now has a 5.2in screen and a longer body than the Nexus 5, which lets it fit in a front-facing speaker at the bottom. It measures 5.79 by 2.86 by 0.31 inches (HWD) and weighs 4.8 ounces, making it a bit bigger, but lighter, than the Apple iPhone 6s (5.44 by 2.64 by 0.28 inches, 5.04 ounces). But I’m more interested in how a phone works and feels in your hand than what it looks like, especially since I almost always protect my phone in a case, which pretty much hides its back, no matter how pretty it is.

But there’s enough goodness here (especially for the price!) for me to recommend the 5X to anyone wanting a not-huge phone that still has many of the trimmings of upper-class devices. You can activate the LED in the phone’s settings, but if you want to customize it for different notifications, you’ll need to download a third-party app like Light Flow. Unlike the iPhone 6S Plus, which starts at $749 for only 16 GB of storage, the $499 Nexus 6P comes with 32 GB but you can pay more and get 64 GB or 128 GB.

The phone feels snappy, switching apps is rapid, and while it’s not quite the fastest-feeling Android smartphone currently available – that would be the Galaxy S6 – it is on par with the best of the rest. I never strained my thumb trying to reach something, and the fingerprint scanner is easily accessible (though it did take me some time to get used to its placement; I had a habit of overshooting and smudging the camera lens at first).

In fact, I’d say that only hardcore gamers will even notice that it’s not the fastest processor on the block and only has 2GB of RAM when competitors have three or four. It uses the same ambient display feature as the 6P, showing notifications on a darkened screen, but you won’t get as much battery benefit since all pixels have to be lit on an LCD as opposed to an AMOLED display. More importantly, it’s deadly accurate—in five days of constant use, the sensor never once failed to recognize my finger, and it’s never opened for anyone else who’s tried to unlock it.

I used it as my primary device, with hundreds of emails, push notifications and messages coming in, 2.5 hours of browsing, five hours of listening to music via Bluetooth headphones, around 20 minutes of gaming and a couple of photos per day. The phone has the same sensors as the Nexus 6P, including the Android Sensor Hub (which powers Doze), an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a barometer, a proximity/ambient light sensor, a hall sensor (to sense magnetic fields), dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, and a compass. Where I live there is no T-Mobile service, moderately OK Sprint and really fast WiFi which means when I’m home, the phone is connecting through WiFi to give me great call quality and fast data.

The processors are a Snapdragon 808 with an Adreno 418 GPU supported by 2 gigabytes of RAM (a step down in performance from the 6P) but aside from generating a lot of heat during videos, I experienced no problems. In our battery rundown test, where we set screen brightness to max and stream a full-screen video over LTE, the phone’s 2,700mAh battery lasted 6 hours and 32 minutes. The biggest downside is that you’ll end up having to buy some extra cables as LG only ships a USB-C to USB-C cable in the box, which means you will likely not be able to plug it into your computer. After leaving the fully charged 5X unattended for a 14-hour stretch, connected to LTE and with a number of apps open, I came back to find it still had 89 percent battery.

And since the charger is of the USB-C variety and about as rare as a kitten that shits gold nuggets, I have to carry the power cable all times. (If I bought this phone, I’d buy two chargers.) The battery life under normal use sits at about seven hours, though beware of games: I managed to demolish 50 percent of a full charge in a single two-hour session of Crossy Road. It covers 120 countries and in many countries talk is only 20 cents a minute with data charged at the same $10 per GB rate as in the U.S., although at slower 3G speeds. I would strongly recommend you just buy the 32GB version and avoid the terrible frustration of constantly running out of room, having to delete apps, or being forced to regularly prune your photos and videos. Google’s strategy with its Nexus phones is to set a standard for other companies to match and beat so — stay tuned — we should be seeing a whole bunch of new and high-powered Android phones over the next few months. I found I unlocked the phone simply by picking it up and I never felt like I was going to drop it when unlocking it, as I have done with home button-style fingerprint scanners.

In good light the level of detail captured in photos is fantastic, and when blown up to full size suffers none of the over-sharpening or artefacts that many other do. Now that the days of the $200-with-an-asterisk phone are waning, $429 is a great price for a capable, sensibly sized, unlocked phone running pure Android. For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S6 with 32GB of storage currently costs £390, the 32GB Sony Xperia Z5 costs £540, and a 16GB iPhone 6S costs £539. Along with zero bloatware, Nexus devices are guaranteed to get a minimum of 14 months’ worth of Android updates, though you’ll probably get longer support than that based on the three years that Google supported the Nexus 4. We’ll have a full review of Android 6.0 Marshmallow in short order, but for now I made note of some of the most interesting new software features I came across while testing the 5X.

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