The Nexus 5X, a successor to the widely appreciated Nexus 5, is the latest attempt by Google to take a bite out of Apple’s smartphone market share. The phone — made by South Korea’s LG Electronics — borrows a lot from its predecessor and takes it all up a notch.
Here’s our lowdown on the device two weeks of using it constantly.
Design and display
There is nothing special about its design, but the Nexus 5X sits well in the palm with its nifty size and light weight. Unlike the Nexus 6P’s all-metal body, this phone uses a matte polycarbonate that comes in three colours — Carbon, Quartz and Ice. The edges of the device have a slight chamfer which ensures a good grip.
While it is sturdily made, the Nexus 5X doesn’t look anything like a flagship phone. If you want a premium-looking smartphone, look elsewhere.
The power button and volume rocker don’t feel crisp on being pressed, underlining the ordinary build quality of the phone. The screen is a 5.2-inch LCD which shows deep-black well and accentuates the overall sharpness of colours. The viewing angles, too, are good.
The two speaker grills on the front of the phone initially throw you off — it’s tough to tell which way is up.
The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, but big-brother Nexus 6P takes the cake again, with Gorilla Glass 4.
It’s the rear, however, where things get interesting. The phone features Google’s new fingerprint sensor, Nexus Imprint. A first for the Nexus series, the sensor is well within the reach of the forefinger, which is not the case for some users on the bigger Nexus 6P. One touch, and the action begins — there is no need to press the power button to wake up the phone.
The camera bulge, however, can occasionally be confusing for the forefinger which constantly probes the rear surface for the Imprint sensor. The Nexus logo written in landscape at the back is also a neat trick by the design team.
The fingerprint sensor is easy to setup, quick and accurate. We were able to speedily unlock the phone at various angles, placing registered fingertips partially, to get an almost perfect strike rate. Google claims the sensor learns to be more accurate over time.
Apart from unlocking the phone at lightning speeds, the Nexus Imprint sensor can also be used to authenticate transactions using Android Pay.
With a 1.82 GhZ hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor — combined with a 2GB RAM — this phone feels mighty fast, thanks to the clean Android system with no unwanted additional services or apps. Apps open quickly and switching between them is smooth. The phone handles gaming pretty well, even when there is high graphic detail, and doesn’t heat up much in the process.
Where the software slightly disappoints is the camera app — a longstanding issue in Android phones. There are lags while firing up (the power button, when pressed twice in the sleep mode, launches the camera) and using the app.
Google’s latest version of Android, Marshmallow, is far and away the best version of Android we’ve ever had. Marshmallow has added a central control section from where you can see and change what permissions you have given to apps. The ‘Now on Tap’ feature attempts to make it easier for you to get information out of Google. On the latest version of the OS, you can access Google’s Now feature inside applications by simply long-pressing the phone’s home button
The rear camera on the Nexus 5X is a bump up from its predecessor at 12.3MP. It has a dual-tone LED flash, an infrared laser focusing system and can shoot 4K videos. The improvement in the camera is striking, delivering good photos not in just good lighting but also dim conditions. Without a good camera app, however, the cherry on the cake remains missing. Also, the 5MP front camera can disappoint in poorly-lit conditions.
The phone houses a 2700mAh battery. On a full charge, the Nexus 5X barely lasts one full day, showing an average battery performance. Android 6.0’s striking new feature in this domain is Doze, which works by shutting off non-essential features to reduce power consumption. This feature boosts the standby time of the device, a blessing for light users.
The phone comes with a Type-C USB port which supports a quick-charge technology. Google claims that a 10-minute charge will give you a four-hour battery life. The phone, however, takes well over an hour to get completely charged from scratch.
In the spirit of true brotherhood, the Nexus 5X and the 6P can charge each other with the USB Type-C ports. But the latest technology means users can’t utilise their power banks without a specialised converter.
The Nexus 5X brings good news for die-hard fans of the Nexus series, but barely excites people who want value for their money. It is a good sequel to the Nexus 5, but fails to break away from the shackles of ordinary and unremarkable features. The 16 GB model costs about Rs. 25,000, while the 32 GB version costs about Rs. 32,000. At these prices, there are several phones in the market that offer more bang for the buck.
Chipset: 1.8 GHz Qualcomm®Snapdragon™ 808
Operating System: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Display: 5.2-inch Full HD IPS (1920 x 1080 / 423ppi)
Memory: 2GB LPDDR3 RAM / 16 or 32GB eMMC ROM
Camera: Rear) Up to 12.3MP with F2.0 Aperture / Front) 5MP with F2.0 Aperture
Battery: 2,700mAh (embedded)
Size: 147 x 72.6 x 7.9mm
Network: LTE-A Cat 6
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 4.2 / NFC / Type-C USB
Colors: Carbon / Quartz / Ice
Other: 4K Video / Dual Flash / IR Laser Auto-Focus / Fingerprint Sensor