Google has recently added two new smartphones to its Nexus family - Huawei Nexus 6P and LG Nexus 5X - amidst rumours of plans to manufacture its own smartphones. We got our hands on the flagship Huawei Nexus 6P launched in India at Rs.39,999 (32 GB variant) and here is what we think of it:
What is good?
To start off, the phone's design is impressive, to say the least. It has a fresh look and feel to it. The rear panel of the phone gives it an elegant look with the aluminium finish, fingerprint sensor and the nexus logo (which is embossed) on the panel. The phone is relatively thinner than most flagships in the market. The thicker top part of the phone with a black differentiated part that houses the camera and the flash also elevates the phone's look.
The display is superb. The 5.7-inch quad-HD display has a 518 pixels per inch (ppi) density and provides a good viewing experience. The pixel density is higher than most other devices and so images seem to be sharper.
Google is actually right to claim that this Nexus has the best camera yet. The rear camera is very fast and accurate, taking it closer to rivals like iPhone 6S and Galaxy S6 when it comes to shutter speed. Due to the larger 1.55 micron pixels that let in more light, the camera does well in low-light conditions although my personal opinion is that other flagships still are better in this regard. The camera comes with only three other modes including auto - photosphere, panorama and lens blur.
The Nexus 6P's 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, combined with 3 GB DDR4 RAM, is an industry-grade performer. There are only a handful of situations when the phone lags. Multi-tasking, changing between games and other functions are lightning fast on the device. The stock pure Android also helps in this experience.
Coming to the highlight of the phone, the latest Android operating system (OS) Marshmallow or Android 6.0. The OS has been modified to make the experience much faster and better. Quick actions and menus make the phone more intuitive. Google Now on Tap, an artificial intelligence programme or machine learning programme uses the raw power of the search engine to show more info about the user's search input. The feature works with movies, places, people and music bands.
The operating system also offers a 'doze' mode which is instrumental in saving battery drain. The phone essentially shuts down all app background activity when it is left untouched for a long time. Another noticeable feature is the app drawer on the top of the apps menu. The most used apps are reflected on top in the drawer followed by apps in the alphabetical order. The OS also comes with a search bar to allow users to look for specific apps.
The phone comes with a 3,450 mAH battery which, in spite of the phone having a quad-HD display, manages nearly 24 hours. This is again aided by the doze mode. The phone also supports quick charging, which is also a plus.
Interestingly, the Nexus 6P also comes with a fingerprint scanner which is very fast and responsive. The OS also allows storage of up to five fingerprints. Other features on the device include GPS-A with GLONASS, NFC, Wi-Fi, 4G-LTE support and Bluetooth along with a host of sensors.
What doesn't work for the phone?
The phone has curved and thicker edges. Due to its big screen size, the phone might not easily fit into all pockets. Also, the screen and the buttons have a distinct Huawei-made look and feel, which was a little buzz kill. One can in some way relate to the design of the Honor 7 as the Nexus 6P looks like a crossover between the two with its rear-sided fingerprint scanner.
The display is a little too reflective for use as it takes up light sources in front of it, which is sometimes irritating. Then, there are also smudges which need to be cleaned for use during daylight hours.
Although the camera comes with larger pixels to allow more light, the phone camera suffers performance in dark conditions. The red eye effect was immediately seen in pictures although the camera seemed to capture more details perfectly. There is no professional mode for the camera which is present in rivals' flagship models. I missed being able to edit the picture on the device and share it immediately as I would have wanted to.
Gaming on the device for longer durations could be a problem as it heats up a lot.
We faced a lot of problems with charging the device mainly because the new Nexuses comes with a Type-C USB at both ends rendering the phone not chargeable via USB. A user has to invest a minimum of Rs.200 to get a converter to charge it via PC or a power bank.
Verdict: In our opinion, this is the best Nexus that Google has ever produced, including all departments like the design, camera, performance and software (operating system). In comparison to other flagships in the market, the phone packs a decent punch to unseat a few given its price and performance. Also, if you are a pure Android experience fan, it can't get better.
Full specifications: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 2GHz octa-core processor | 3 GB LPDDR4 RAM | 5.7 inches quad-HD display (518 ppi pixel density) with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 and oleophobic coating | Storage - 32/64/128 GB | 12-megapixel rear camera (4608 x 2592 pixels) with laser autofocus and dual-LED (dual tone) flash with 1.55µm pixel size | 8-megapixel front camera |
Android Marshmallow 6.0 | NFC | Bluetooth Module 4.0 | Wi-Fi | A-GPS and GLONASS | 3,450 mAH battery | 4G-LTE