How is Nexus 5X? This is the most important question for Google Nexus fans or people who want to choose this smartphone as their new phone. Nexus smartphones came to the market to provide the newest features of Android platform with the lowest cost. However, Google preferred to use a larger display to be able to show more ads on it what resulted in Nexus 6, a large and expensive smartphone. It didn’t match the philosophy of the brand and disappointed many Android fans.
This year Mountain View-based company has changed its strategy and decided to release 2 smartphones from Nexus series to achieve their own goals as well as get satisfaction from users who want to benefit from the newest Android updates, but have low budget. Nexus 5X is the name of a smaller and cheaper model which was produced by LG and is the result of the third cooperation between LG and Google.
Although Google solved users’ issues by releasing 2 versions of Nexus, on the other hand, there’re now other products like Moto X Pure Edition or OnePlus 2 which provide similar features with a better price. Stay with me to read the review of Nexus 5X and see how this $375 smartphone can compete with other big competitors in the market.
How is Nexus 5X? LG & Google’s Hat-Tricks!
Actually, the aim of Nexus series is to provide the newest features of Google’s mobile platform with a price affordable for everyone, so there is no surprise that design isn’t the first priority for the manufacturer. Personally, I think that Nexus 5 has an appropriate design, but its appearance isn’t something that everybody like. In addition, a plastic body doesn’t feel as good as glass or metal.
On the other hand, using plastic lets the manufacturer make the device larger, but not heavier, so the new LG Nexus has only 136g of weight which has increased only by 6 grams compared to the previous generation, so it still can be considered a light device.
Dimensions of the 5.2-inch Nexus 5X is 147 x 72 and it must be said that the manufacturer has increased its display size as much as possible (the issue which Google doesn’t conceal its interest in), but it still fits well in hand. Nexus 5X is 7.3mm thick which is significantly less than in the previous generation, and now it’s even lower than in LG’s flagship.
Of course, you need to know that this appropriate thickness comes with a camera bump but if like me, you’re familiar with disappointing user experience of the previous Nexus generations (Nexus 4 & 5), you’ll be totally ok with Nexus 5X camera bump. If the camera takes quality pictures, then why not?
Type of plastic used in the body has also changed and become harder now. Of course, it’s still soft and feels like an eggshell. If you take a look at the panel’s design, you may think that it`s possible to take the back panel off, but it’s not, and it’s better not to try to access its non-removable battery.
The fingerprint sensor on the back of the device is the biggest change in design. It has circular design and its location is suitable for touching. Of course, if you got used to large smartphones, at the beginning you may accidentally touch the camera lens instead of fingerprint sensor.
The frame around the body has a very simple design. Nano SIM card slot is placed on the left side and power and volume buttons – on the right, however, it doesn’t look attractive.
USB Type-C is another big change in Nexus 5X. It`s embedded on the bottom frame, beside the headphone input. The main feature of this port is that cable’s direction (USB Type-C Cable) isn’t important, so connecting can be done much easier. On the other hand, you won’t be able to connect other cables, power banks and accessories into the new Nexus anymore.
LG has used Type-C on both ends of the cable, so until this type of USB becomes more common, you need to use a converter cable to connect Nexus 5X to the computer. There are 3 different colors available for the new Nexus’s body: blue, black and white.
Although like Nexus 5, Nexus 5X benefits of IPS display with 1080 resolution, its pixel density has decreased from 445 to 423 because its size increased from 5 inches to 5.2 inches. However, it’s enough according to the device’s size and it must be said that something more than 423ppi only consumes more battery power. Nexus 5 displayed colors a bit cool, in Nexus 6 they were exaggerated; now, Nexus 5X display is something in between.
Although the display of Nexus 5X in terms of showing details can`t compete with WQHD AMOLED display which is used in Nexus 6P, but to be honest, taking into account its price, it benefits of bright and vibrant colors and its performance is totally acceptable for seeing photos, watching videos and web surfing.
Maximum brightness of this display has decreased to 455 nits compared to the previous generation, but since gorilla glass screen protector 3 doesn’t reflect light a lot, this display offers excellent readability under sunlight.
Of course, it must be said that using gorilla glass 3 instead of newer, more resistant versions of gorilla glass increases the possibility of breaking the screen.
Nexus 5X comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and unlike Lollipop version, instead of changes in appearance, developers have improved the performance of the operating system.
The biggest changes that have been applied to the appearance of the operating system are concentrated in App Drawer. Now, apps are listed vertically and there are no horizontal pages to swap anymore.
Search bar is placed on top of the page and you’ll have access to 4 most frequently used apps in bottom of the page.
Google Now on Tap
This is the most important feature that has been added to Marshmallow. To use this feature, hold Home button whatever app you are using, and Google digital assistant will show you information and links related to the current content you were seeing on the screen.
For example, we held Home button on one of the emails in Gmail app, and you can see the results in the picture.
Efficient Energy Usage
Android Marshmallow benefits of Doze feature which stops background processes (like Internet connection) to reduce battery consumption while you aren’t using the phone.
App Standby is another feature which controls apps` Internet usage and decreases unnecessary power consumption. For example, if you’ve installed an application and don’t use it much, App Standby limits its access to the Internet.
If you haven`t had enjoyable photography experience with Nexus series like me, you’ll be happy to hear that Nexus 5X provides appropriate capabilities in photography. LG has used IMX377 sensor made by Sony for Nexus 5X which benefits of 1.55 micron pixel which is even more than its expensive competitor, iPhone.
Also, other features like f/2.0 aperture diaphragm, Dual LED Flash and Laser Focus are embedded on Nexus 5X, too, but unlike Nexus 5 and 6, it’s not equipped to an optical image stabilizer anymore. Although Nexus 5X has appropriate abilities in hardware, camera user interface in pure Android doesn’t have diverse capabilities. There’s no manual setting and photography modes are limited to Panorama, Photo Sphere (to take spherical images) and Lens Blur (to take photos with blurry background).
But Nexus 5X is certainly powerful in photography. This budget smartphone can take photos that have enough details, low noise and natural colors during the day (although weight balance has a tendency to cool colors). This smartphone benefits of HDR+ which significantly improves color and contrast of images, but slows down the shooting process.
This feature is beneficial at night and low-light conditions what helps you take photos with appropriate brightness, natural colors and very low noise. Another positive point of 5X camera is its flash performance. It lets your photos be bright and natural almost in any lighting situations. 5X is also able to record videos with up to 2160p resolution and 30fps, its slow-motion mode can record videos with 720p resolution and 120fps (it’s 260fps in Nexus 6P).
As for video quality, I must say that although they have enough details, colors, instead of being natural, seem exaggerated. In total, Google finally managed to provide enjoyable photography experience to Nexus users, and lack of features variety is its only negative point which we expect to be solved in future by manufacturer.
Sample Photos Taken by Nexus 5X Camera:
LG has equipped Nexus 5X to Snapdragon 808 processor and 2GB RAM which was used in its flagship too. This chipset benefits of 2×1.8 GHz Cortex-A57 & 4×1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 (which intended to process light tasks). Nexus 5X has Snapdragon 808 while OnePlus 2 with lower price benefits of Qualcomm flagship chipset Snapdragon 810 and 3 or 4GB RAM while Moto X Style with a similar chipset has 3GB RAM.
But benchmark results show that Google managed to improve performance of 5X with software improvements and it’s not that weaker than other competitors. This phone received 53000 points from Antutu benchmark which shows that not only it’s the same level as other competitors, but it’s also close to such expensive smartphones as Galaxy S6.
Of course, it should be noted that, unlike many competitors (like LG`s flagship), Nexus 5X doesn’t have QHD display, so it’s able to provide more processing power. As the image below shows, graphics benchmark result of Nexus 5X is better than most of other competitors. We also tested it in real world conditions by running heavy games and opening multiple apps at the same time and we can ensure you that you don’t need to worry about processing power of the device; the only issue is slow loading in some games.
In addition, Nexus 5X has been released with two storage capacities: 16GB and 32GB. Also, it’s not possible to increase that amount using the memory slot which can negatively affect professional users’ decision and they may have to pay $429 for 32GB version.
Nexus 5X’s fingerprint sensor is embedded on the back of the device, under camera’s lens. It acts fast and accurate and is well located what lets you unlock the phone while you’re taking it out of your pocket, but on the other hand, you won’t have access to it when the phone is on the table.
All in all, the fingerprint sensor of the new Nexus is one of the best in Android world. And since it’s supported by Android Marshmallow now, third-party apps can take advantage of it and provide more opportunities using this feature.
LG has moved the small speaker which was placed beside USB port in Nexus 5, to the front and now there’re two big speakers on the top and bottom of the phone. Of course, keep in mind that the one on the top is used only as ear speaker while you shouldn’t expect much from the big speaker on the bottom.
Quality of the speakers is appropriate until the volume isn’t high. When you turn up the volume, sound quality will decrease, so it’s better not to expect high quality when you listen with high volume.
New features of Android Marshmallow such as power efficiency, 2700mAh battery and display with 1080 resolution prove that Nexus 5X acts well in terms of battery performance. But keep in mind that Doze and App Standby are features which aim to increase Standby time, so they don’t affect everyday usage. In addition, battery capacity isn’t very high taking into account the size of the device. In our test, Nexus X5 managed to play a HD video for less than 7 hours what shows its charge will be enough for 1 day maximum.
USB Type-C and fast charge are two other features that let the device charge completely in only 100 minutes (compared to LG’s flagship with 130 minutes and iPhone 6 with 150 minutes). Also, you can use it for about 4 hours with only 10 minutes charging. The only drawback of USB Type-C is that you won`t be able to use your current cables and power bank on the new Nexus.
Google’s operating system is smarter and safer than ever now and if you use Nexus 5X, you’ll have access to the latest updates and features without challenging additional apps and complicated user interface.
But if you’re not interested in pure Android, Nexus 5X is still an attractive phone which provides many features with a reasonable price. You’ll have the best photography experience that you’ve ever seen in Google products in this smartphone and if you compare photos taken by Nexus 5X with other expensive competitors, it’s really hard to accept paying more for expensive models since there’s only little difference between them.
New Google’s Nexus also benefits of appropriate processing power, while its main negative points include average battery life and absence of memory slot. In total, it must be said that in terms of value for money Nexus 5X is on the same level as its competitors Moto X Pure Edition and OnePlus 2, and it’s a suitable choice for people who pay attention to the phone’s performance more than its appearance.
What do you think about new Google’s Nexus? Have you ever used any of Google phones in the past? Feel free to share your opinion in comments below.