When my co-blogger-cum-partner said, “Never ever Nexus”, he was right except he said it one Nexus too early. The Nexus 6P, the greatest smartphone I have ever owned, is a work of sheer genius and even top tier smartphones of the future will find it hard to improve on its features in any meaningful way. This, together with the advances in wearable technology will mean that Nexus 6P will not just stop you from wanting another Nexus, but I suspect it is the last smartphone, as we recognise them today, that you will own.
I briefly owned an LG G4 before trading it in for the Google/Huawei Nexus 6P. The LG G4 had an amazing display, QuadHD, but the 5.2″ screen was so small that the higher resolution display was utterly pointless.
Huawei have taken a high quality QuadHD display, the same resolution as in the 5.2” LG G4, but made the display of the Nexus 6P a far less pokey 5.7”. The QHD resolution is simply a dream on a 5.7” screen, thanks in no small part to the Samsung AMOLED display unit used. Even on this larger display, QHD does not show even the merest hint of pixellation. All text is gorgeously pin-sharp and any curves are god-damned smoother than a baby’s bottom.
Now, it may be possible to put a higher resolution display into a Nexus 6P-like form factor, but what would be the point? As my experience with the LG G4 showed, it is possible to have a resolution so high it serves no function on normal sized screens. QHD is brilliant on the Google Nexus 6P display, there is no need to go higher. Even when some manufacturer crams a 4K display into this size of screen (I do know that it has been done by Sony and their frankly laughable Sony XPERIA Z5 Premium with its ‘occasional’ 4K display) I cannot see how this would improve the smartphone experience.
Apple, never shying away from swiping other manufacturers’ ideas, when they can tell It will add to their pile of ill-gotten lucre, now have HD displays in their iPhone 6+/6s+. But they are just that, HD displays, the QHD display on the Nexus 6P has 73% more pixels. Once more Apple iPhones lag behind in the specification game when it comes to premium phones.
Now, I am a fan of aesthetically pleasing technology, stuff that not only has high numbers in benchmarks, and I will promise I will provide the ever–lengthening BeyondThePC Device Benchmark Charts below. However, I have something far more important than that to demonstrate below in a little video:
There are loads of good User eXperience tricks like that. An example: Because the screen is AMOLED it doesn’t use much power to display dark colours. So if your phone is on your desk and you cannot be bothered to turn on the screen to check your notifications, just give your phone a little nudge and they will show up in dark text on the screen. A top bunny method of checking notifications without much effort on your part and a negligible drain on the battery.
As you can see in the video above, the responsiveness of the fingerprint scanner is tremendous – it is faster than the fingerprint scanner of my iPad Air 2. The whole system speed is brilliant, thanks to the Nexus 6P SoC, a 64-bit, octacore, 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. I am yet to experience any slowdowns even when performing processor intensive tasks like gaming or taking photographs. Reports of the Qualcomm’s 810 overheating have been greatly exaggerated.
Here is the ever-increasing chart of BeyondThePC of CPU benchmarks. As we have commented before, we are not entirely convinced of the precise validity of these results, particularly when it comes to Intel processors, but it is the best multi-platform benchmark there is, alas. It will give you a very vague idea of CPU speed in various services:
As you can see, the Nexus 6P is not the fastest device we have tested, that crown belongs to my iPad Air 2. However, it is quite easily within the same speed bracket as the very fastest Android devices. It is approximately the same speed as the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet; that is not too surprising as both of them have the same SoC, the Qualcomm 810. The speed to the Nexus 6P is probably compromised by the fact that I loaded the tablet up with apps, and so had a lot of background tasks running, before I ran the Geekbench benchmark. No, I am not erasing the contents of my wonderfully set up Nexus 6P to generate a number.
Here is the graph of 3D benchmark scores. Again, same caveats apply about the strict-accuracy of the numbers:
Unsurprisingly an Intel Core processor wipes the floor with the 3DMark graphs test, but the Nexus 6P holds its own being in the next speed bracket. It stands toe-to-toe against some extremely fast devices. Again, my score for the Nexus 6P would probably be higher if I had tested a clean system rather than one with loads of background tasks running.
If I may summarise, the Nexus 6P is a pretty impressive speed monster!
The Nexus 6P has 3Gb of system memory, which is a perfect amount to run Android and even keep a several applications multitasking in the background.
The version of Android merits a special mention. The Nexus 6P runs Android 6, Android Marshmallow if you prefer. Android may only be the second best mobile Operating System (after Windows 10 Mobile, of course!) but the extra polish given to v6 makes it a perfectly useable second runner.
Android 6 has many visual enhancements – eye candy you may dismissively think – which not only are aesthetically pleasing but they also aid the navigation and usability of the Nexus 6P. Android 6 is far more stable than even v5.1.1 and its reduced the resource demands make the operation of the Nexus 6P as meltingly smooth as pan fried foie gras. Google have put a lot of effort into reducing the battery drain of Android 6. I cannot do meaningful comparisons here, my Nexus 6P is usually plugged in (through its USB Type C port) when I’m at home; but when I’ve been away it has managed two days without a recharge. Battery life is largely dependant on what for and how frequently you use your phone.
One final comment on Android 6 on the Nexus 6P: Google have committed themselves to making monthly security patches of Android 6 (so I’m running v6.0.1). In the malware-rife vipers’ nest of manufacturer bastardised versions of Android I cannot over-estimate the importance of having regular security updates. A few other companies have committed to make the monthly patches available on their devices – this could mean, for some users at least, the great Android malware apocalypse just will not happen.
You will also have seen in the video how wonderful the Nexus 6P looks. A tough metal sheet provides more than adequate protection from scratches and scrapes. The Gorilla Glass 4 front to the screen is quite tough enough.
The Nexus 6P is not too heavy weighing 179g, nor is it overly thick at 7.3mm deep; all but a toddler could fit one, along with a good set of active noise cancelling earphones, in their pockets – well, this toddler can fit one into his pockets!
My service provider set me up with a 32Gb storage Nexus 6P, you can also get 16Gb (DO NOT get this one) and 64Gb storage equipped versions. I feel less need for large internal storage as my music comes streamed across the Internet by the kind Mr Spotify. I am told some people still buy CD’s and rip them to put them on their computers or smartphones – Good lord! I have a little cache on the Nexus 6P of a couple of hours of music, also provided by Spotify, should the horrific happen and I am away from an Internet connection!
The stereo speakers at either end of the phone are of too high a quality to do anything but mildly annoy your fellow passengers on a bus or train if you are one of those vile pieces of distended rectum who think everyone should be forced to listen to your invariably moronic and dismal musical selections as you travel.
The camera is housed in a little extended ‘visor’ at the top of the Nexus 6P which also holds the dual LED flash and the laser focusing mechanism (no, you don’t get a red dot appearing where you point the camera).
The pictures it takes are tits, man! It may only be 12.3 megapixels, but we are told, by people sad enough to understand this kind of dreariness, that the aperture is very wide and the pixel sizes on the sensor are very large, meaning it has improved light gathering qualities and so produces. All I really know is that the pictures it takes are vastly better than on any other Smartphone I have owned. Take a butcher’s at some random pictures I have taken with it.
The front facing camera is an 8 megapixel job and produces photos like this:
To summarise, I bring myself back to my starting statement: there could not be, in any substantive way, a smartphone that could be any better than the Nexus 6P. Yes, you could have an OctaHD display, you could have a 40 megapixel camera, but would there be, in any real sense, any point? The Nexus 6P has a brilliant ergonomic design, that fits perfectly with its usage paradigm, it is perfectly fast enough for any task you are likely to use it for, Android 6(.0.1) is a great improvement over its predecessors versions Android, making second best not so bad (but, as I’ve often stated, the grid of icons view that came in with Windows 3.0 desperately needs to be updated) and the cameras are top tapir.
Furthermore, Google Glass is going through FCC certification; a whole new class of wearable device will soon be available for the consumer that is free from smartphone tethering. Moreover next Samsung Exynos chip is designed specifically for wearable devices, with a range of on-body sensors for an array of body physiological factors engineered in from the very start – devices powered by these, and Google Glass and its clones could be the end of the smartphone entirely!
You will note that this review contains remarkably few numbers and measurements; this is because I like my reviews of devices, especially premium ones, to articulate how I feel using the device, how it affects my moods and engages my faculties when I use it, and what position it sets its stall up in my mind relative to other similar devices both from now, the past and how I perceive the future developing. I find endless graphs of obscure numbers as loathsome as I find wine tasting notes that just seem to be endless lists of different fruits (vis. the utter drivel spouted by noted wine reviewer and prize arse (well, noted as a prize arse by me anyway) Robert M. Parker before he lost his marbles (“He once had marbles?” I hear so many wine loving friends of mine who read this page asking incredulously)). I don’t write wine tasting notes like that.
If you really want to read the number of Nits the display is capable of displaying and other, frankly turgid, details about the Nexus 6P that may be measureable but have no influence on the glorious experience that is using the Nexus 6P then go to Anandtech and attempt the remarkable feat of staying awake whilst reading their incredibly detailed but largely opinion- and tangible character assessment-free review.
The Anandtech review I unwisely link to there – not because I want to punish you, my beloved readers, just do not read click that link – goes far beyond the worst pieces of technical writing I have had the misfortune not to have avoided reading. Indeed, a more witty, urbane and characterful assessment of the Nexus 6P‘s qualities could be produced by a four year old typing words at random by slamming her/his drool-soaked hands onto a keyboard and autocorrect trying to translate the dribble-coated, keyboard-mashings into real words (see above).