Google Nexus 6P review

Product Google Nexus 6P
Website Google Play
Specifications 5.7in AMOLED, 2560×1440 at 515ppi, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1 processor (four 2GHz cores and four 1.5GHz cores), Android 6.0 Marshmallow, 3GB RAM, 32GB/64GB/128GB non-expandable storage, 12.3MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, 3450mAh battery, 159x78x7.3mm, 178g
Price From £449

BACK IN SEPTEMBER, we had a quick hands-on with the Nexus 6P, Google’s then newly announced Android 6.0 Marshmallow phablet, last year.

A thoroughly premium device, hence the ‘P’, to complement the more mid-market Nexus 5X, the huge handset made a confident first impression with its enhanced OS and comprehensively high-end hardware.

We’ve finally had the chance to give it the full INQUIRER review treatment, and there’s good news: the Nexus 6P surpasses the expectations we formed at that first launch event.

The Nexus 6P gets off to a strong start against arguably its biggest competitor, the iPhone 6S Plus. Google’s device measures 159x78x7.3mm and weighs 178g, so it’s 14g lighter than Apple’s phablet while sharing the same width and thickness. The Nexus 6P is also only a mere 1mm taller, despite cramming in a larger, 5.7in screen. We wonder whether it could have been even more compact as there are only two instances of questionable aesthetics, and one of them is the somewhat chunky top and bottom bezels.

Nexus 6P design 1

The other is a glass-covered camera panel that juts out of the rear. It’s not outright ugly but it gives the handset a weird, asymmetric profile that looks top-heavy even if it doesn’t really feel it. Still, on the whole, this is a very well-built smartphone, with a matte aluminium body that feels durable and comfortable, and nice little touches like the textured lock button and the integrated fingerprint sensor.

The Nexus 6P was designed and built by Huawei, and this spacious circular sensor shows it more than anything. It’s mounted high up on the back panel, as the same feature would be on Huawei’s Mate and Honor devices, and it works with the same kind of speed and reliability as the Chinese manufacturer’s best. The only occasions where it wouldn’t unlock the screen near-enough instantly were down to clumsy finger placement rather than the hardware.

Nexus 6P design 2

Sadly, the recent Nexus tradition of forgoing microSD compatibility continues here, so you’ll be stuck with whatever amount of internal storage you choose. However, Google is at least partly looking to the future by including a USB-C port. This uses the USB 2.0 platform, so data transfers won’t be as swift as with the top-of-the-line USB 3.1, but fast-charging is possible thanks to a bundled AC adapter. The Nexus 6P is also equipped with an NFC tag, so it will work with Android Pay if and when the contactless payment system arrives in the UK.

The big and bold 5.7in screen runs at QHD resolution, or 2560×1440, producing an outstanding pixel density of 515ppi. There are diminishing returns at such high densities, but there’s no denying the supreme razor-sharpness of images, videos and text. This level of clarity easily puts the Nexus 6P on par with the displays of more expensive smartphones.

Nexus 6P display

AMOLED pixel-charging tech ensures that this is the best kind of smartphone screen in terms of colours. Hues are vibrant, whites are bright and blacks are deep, all without any sickly oversaturation, and the model we tested didn’t suffer from any backlight bleeding.

If there’s a downside – and frankly, we struggled to think of one – it’s that the sheer size might prove troublesome for those with smaller hands. The 5.2in Nexus 5X is more manageable in this regard but comes with significantly lower overall specs. We’re happy to stretch our thumbs a little further in exchange for such colourful, pixel-perfect media playback, browsing and app use.

Next: Operating system, software and performance


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