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+Nexus18

Packaging:

 

The box is pretty small and minimal looking, it is fancier than previous Nexus packages. We get the following in the box:

 

  • USB Type C charger
  • USB Type C to USB Type C Cable
  • USB Type C to USB Type A Cable
  • 90 day google play music free trial
  • Sim tray removal pin

 

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Design and Feel:

 

The front of the device reminds me an awful lot of an iphone and galaxy device except with a speaker on the bottom and the lack of hard/capacitive buttons:

 

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On the back, we have subtle curves at the edges, which helps with comfort in the hand.

 

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On the right side we have the volume rocker and a textured power button, I would have liked the power button to be a bit further up as I am turning the screen on every time I pick the device up. The volume rocker feels a bit loose. In comparison, I much prefer the more clicky/tactile Nexus 5 buttons.

 

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On the left side, we have the SIM tray, which is opened by using the supplied pin:

 

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At the top we have the headphone jack and on the bottom we have the USB Type C port:

 

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There is no doubt that the "P" in the Nexus name means "Premium" as this phone is just that, the Aluminium body feels extremely nice to touch and of higher quality than plastic & glass phones, it reminds me of my old HTC one S with its Aluminium body and plastic strip at the bottom with all the logos on it, which still feels nice. The durability of the phone is still questionable and hopefully there will be some drop tests to show us how it will fare with regards to the screen, here's hoping that with the solid Aluminium construction and Gorilla Glass 4, the 6P will hold up well....

 

I have medium sized hands (length is about 7 and a half inches from the tip of my middle finger to the base of my hand) and I find the phone to be too big, I don't really have an issue with the width though, more the height, which bothers me as not only is it hard to reach the top of the screen but it is a nuisance for pockets too, as you can see below:

 

6TXWCxBh.jpg

 

Using Phonearenas size comparison tool, this is how it compares to my Nexus 5:

 

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I can't deny though that when I go back to the Nexus 5, it does feel like a toy in comparison but at the same time, it is considerably smaller with a grippy soft touch plastic, thus it just feels so much better for one handed usage.

 

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The phone is also very slippy and I'm finding it hard to pick up of a flat hard surface.

 

Regarding the colour, I would have preferred Graphite, although the Aluminium had a much earlier ETA for delivery so I just went with it. I also had some concerns with the graphite too i.e. it would show scratches and dents more easily and supposedly it is a finger print magnet. Aluminium isn't bad looking at all, it is very sleek and the silver chamfered sides look very good, a black carbon fibre dbrand skin on the back with those silver sides and the black front will look a lot better too.

 

Hardware & Display:

 

The specs of the 6P:

 

  • 3GB RAM
  • Snapdragon 810 CPU
  • Adreno 430 GPU
  • 32/64/128 GB Storage options
  • 12MP laser autofocus, dual LED flash with 1.55um pixels, 4K @ 30FPS
  • Front facing camera: 8MP, 1080P @ 30FPS 
  • USB C
  • 5.7" 2560x1440 AMOLED screen + Gorilla Glass 4 with an oleophobic coating
  • 3450 mAh battery
  • Front facing stereo speakers
  • Fingerprint sensor

 

As you can see, quite the spec list! The only thing, which I would like to have had is wireless charging.

 

As a result of the 810, 3GB RAM, adreno 430, the phone is extremely fast and smooth, it feels just that little bit more instant than my Nexus 5, which is also running Marshmallow. Also, I'm happy to confirm other reviewer's findings with regards to the lack of the over heating problem with the 810 chip, there is none and as far as I can tell, there is no throttling, if there is, it isn't causing any issues in day to day performance.

 

One of the new features on this Nexus phone is the fingerprint sensor i.e. Nexus Imprint, not only is it cool and secure, but it is super quick at unlocking your phone even when the screen isn't turned on, we are literally talking about less than 1 second for unlocking your phone. The placement of the sensor is very good too, initially it seems a bit odd but after a day of using it, you quickly realise it makes sense to have it on the back. Obviously if the phone is on the desk, you have to lift it up to use the scanner but you can also just unlock the phone like any other phone i.e. power button then enter your pin/pattern/password. You can save more than 1 fingerprint too.

 

h9eJqwhh.jpg

 

Ever since the HTC one M7 was announced, I have been wanting every device to move to front facing stereo speakers and thankfully it seems like almost every android device maker is moving to this at long last, I just can't describe just how much better the listening experience is with stereo speakers AND having them on the front as opposed to just one speaker, which is usually either on the bottom or back. In my experience, the 6P is easily up there with the HTC one boomsound stereo speaker.

 

Regarding WIFI speeds, I'm on Virgin Media 150MB package, the Nexus 6P has no problems getting that on 5GHZ, with 2.4GHZ, it gets a slightly slower speed:

 

MbccZTdh.png

 

I can't give "real world" results for the battery life as I have not put my SIM card in it yet since I'm trying to decide if I can adapt to the larger size first... however, that aside, I can give you a rough idea as to the battery life without a SIM. With web browsing, youtube videos, some camera usage, wifi on all the time and the brightness slider to about 4/5 of the way, this is my latest usage:

 

WfTVUB0h.png 

 

Considering that there is no SIM card, I would have expected better battery life to be honest. With a SIM, I suspect that my battery will get half a day to a day less. So for now, my initial impression is that battery life isn't going to be very good, you should have no problems getting a full day of heavy usage though. If I do keep the 6P, I will update this once I have a SIM card in it.

 

I can vouch for the new Marshmallow feature "Doze", it works wonders when your phone is idle/asleep as you can see from the battery graph, and yes having a SIM in will drain the phone more but my Nexus 5 with a SIM has similar results when idle/asleep.

 

Regarding charging, the phone charges extremely quick using the supplied cable and charger, to charge from 18%, to 60%, it took about 30 minutes and to get to "fully charged" status, it took 1 hour and 21 minutes.

 

With an ifixit score of 2/10, you won't be able to repair the phone yourself should you drop it or/and want to replace the battery etc. 

 

The screen on the 6P is supposedly Samsung's latest AMOLED panel i.e. the one used in the note 5. It looks absolutely fantastic with its true blacks/infinite contrast ratio, great viewing angles (although from certain angles, you will get a pink, yellow, or blue hue depending on the content being displayed and what angle you are viewing it from), pin sharp with a PPI of 518. Out of the box, the colours are rather saturated i.e. colours, particularly blue look almost neon like, however, in the developer settings, we have a sRGB setting, which might seem dull at first, however, once your eyes adjust, you will soon realise it is a lot more accurate than the default setting. The screen with the Oleophobic coating feels  exceptionally smooth and seems to hold up relatively well against finger/greasy marks. Unfortunately my photos don't do the screen any justice though.

 

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As you can see in this photo, you also see more content on the 6P than my Nexus 5 1080P screen:

 

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My only complaint with the display is the brightness, when I first put it side by side with my Nexus 5, it seemed very dull, I had to more or less max the brightness setting in order to match the brightness of my Nexus 5 (set at half way brightness) (this could also just be due to the Nexus 5 having a higher gamma so things in general look brighter). However, it seems like this is either a bug or a deliberate setting to stop the brightness from going too high, possibly to reduce the chances of burn-in. When you disable adaptive brightness, the screen is a lot brighter, the downside to this is that you have to manually control the brightness for different lighting conditions. In sunlight, the display copes well, it is easy to make out content without the need for using your hand as cover.

 

Software:

 

Not much to say about a Nexus device other than, you don't have to worry about getting updates in a timely manner or bloat, this is the sole reason I go with Nexus over any other android phone.

 

The latest version of android is called Marshmallow and there isn't an awful lot of new features over Lollipop, the main things are Google now on tap, which will essentially take a screenshot of your screen and search for any articles, accounts etc. on the person, website etc. You can also control which permissions apps can have i.e. if you download a photo gallery app and it requests access to your contacts, you can disable that permission. We have seemingly reached a stage in the development of Android's operating system whereby Google is adding incremental refinements rather than a radical overhaul.  

 

 YdICgDwh.png

 

A few nice little tweaks to the Marshmallow on the 6P and 5X is the quick camera launch where you can tap the power button twice to open it, again this is very quick.

 

We also have ambient display, which is pretty much Motorola's feature where the screen will turn on when you move the device and show any notifications on a black screen, unfortunately, this doesn't work anywhere as well as Motorola's implementation, it is hit and miss when it activates and half the time, it won't even turn on or it will be delayed by about 5 seconds.... Thankfully we can disable it and use the RGB notification LED:

 

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Camera:

 

Overall the camera is very impressive, it might not have the most feature rich software/UI, however, the "overall" quality is fantastic and easily up there with all the other good smartphone cameras.

 

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With auto mode, you will get good photos 90% of the time, the tap to focus works quickly + accurately and creates a nice depth of field effect for macro shots, however, in some scenarios, the phone will pick the wrong mode and as a result, you have exposure problems as you will see with two photos below:

 

Spoiler

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I recommend keeping HDR+ on for night shots, it takes an extra second to process but the end result, you get a clearer, brighter and a less noisy photo. First photo is a normal shot and the second photo is HDR+:

 

Spoiler

img 

 

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img 

 

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And in exceptionally low lighting, in the following order: normal, HDR+ and with flash:

 

Spoiler

img 

 

img

 

rIt2VqUh.jpg

 

There is also a GIF feature using photos from the burst feature in the Google camera app, although it isn't good quality and as you can see, rather laggy:

 

zQtzsz4.gif

 

When I got my HTC one S, I loved the slow motion video recording. With this phone, it is back but in much better quality i.e. 720P @ 240FPS or 720P @ 120FPS

 

Within the google photo app, you can control which parts of the video playback in slow motion so those parts where nothing happens can be quickly played and the exciting parts played back in slow motion, however, a few problems with this:

 

  • These changes aren't universal i.e. if you upload the video to youtube or watch on your PC through a media player, the entire video is played back in slow motion
  • When using this feature in the Google photo app, the video appears to freeze at times, however, the sound continues to play

 

Coming from the Nexus 5 camera with OIS, I was concerned about videos and low light photography but I'm pleased to report that I haven't found it to be a massive issue on the 6P, low lighting photography seems to cope ok and the videos whilst not as smooth as my Nexus 5 still look decent enough, the auto focus seems to be a bit slow though.

 

To see 4k, 1080P and slow motion 240 + 120FPS videos, check my youtube channel out:

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/Nexus201991/videos

 

As you can probably tell, the stereo recording is of very good quality and picks up sound very easily.

 

Regarding the size, a 40 second clip for a 4k video is 107MB and the 1080P video is 43MB.

 

Considering EIC is a software implementation and the Sony Xperia z5, iphone 6 have a similar method but smoother video recording, I think Google should be able to improve this as well. As for the front camera, the quality is pretty good and we can also take HDR+ shots with the front camera:

 

kF98sPhh.png

 

With a screen of this size, framing your photo is a lot easier/better, however, I'm also finding it harder to take photos due to the size of the device, I feel that this is where having a dedicated camera shutter button on the side would really be of benefit.

 

And lastly, you can take RAW shots too, however, you have to use 3rd party apps such as manual camera, camera FV-5. Once again, I suspect that Google will add this feature to the camera app sometime soon... 

 

Conclusion:

 

For the first time ever, Google have nailed it, they have made a phone, which doesn't compromise any of the keys area, at least not to the same extent as previous nexus devices! Pretty much everything about this phone is great and there are only a few niggles. Whilst they have made this smaller than their previous Nexus 6, unfortunately it is still a very big phone and I would have much preferred for it to be thicker but smaller in height. I know that we have the choice of a smaller Nexus device i.e. the 5X but the problem is, the 6P is just better in almost every area and the price of the 5X is too high in comparison.

 

As for the pricing, I feel that Google have a fair price considering every thing that you are getting with the 6P, however, if you don't care about stock android, Nexus device for updates or having front facing stereo speakers then I feel that the likes of the LG G4, Note 4 & Galaxy s6 now hitting <£400 (and in the case of the LG G4 <£300) are also worth looking at.

 

Pros:

 

  • Great camera for all conditions
  • Great screen overall (especially with sRGB setting enabled)
  • Front facing stereo speakers
  • USB C
  • Fast charging
  • Nexus Imprint is extremely good
  • Choice of 32, 64 or 128GB
  • Nexus device so you never need to worry about updates
  • Stock android, thus no bloat
  • Great performance

 

Cons:

 

  • Size, mainly just the length that I find to be problematic
  • Slippy and hard to pick up of a hard surface especially when the screen is face down
  • With adaptive brightness on, the display is quite dim
  • Power and volume buttons don't feel as good as the Nexus 5
  • Video recording quality/focus and EIC stabilization could be improved
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+JHBrown

Thanks for the review. Looks like a great phone. 

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kingroach

Bought the phone and returned the next day. It seems to get hot if you watch videos for more than couple of minutes. Its not burning hot but you definitely feel the warmth. The phone feels a little fragile; that could be because I always use Motorola droid phones which are built like tank. But the biggest reason behind me returning the phone is that the visual voice mail doesn't work with verizon. Verizon doesn't have their free basic visual voice mail app in the play store. They only have the $2.99 premium voicemail app which I downloaded but couldn't get to work. 

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adrynalyne

Bought the phone and returned the next day. It seems to get hot if you watch videos for more than couple of minutes. Its not burning hot but you definitely feel the warmth. The phone feels a little fragile; that could be because I always use Motorola droid phones which are built like tank. But the biggest reason behind me returning the phone is that the visual voice mail doesn't work with verizon. Verizon doesn't have their free basic visual voice mail app in the play store. They only have the $2.99 premium voicemail app which I downloaded but couldn't get to work. 

Interesting reason to return it...you could have used Google Voice for visual voicemail and it is free.

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tsupersonic

Nice review. I want this phone, but I think it's too big. I would love if this device had the footprint of the original Nexus 5. 

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+Nexus18

Thanks, glad you all like the review :)

I didn't have any issues with heat at all, every recent android device that I have used will always get warm to touch when doing something like watching 1080P+ videos, gaming, charging etc. The 6P was no different in my experience, perhaps it gets slightly warmer but I can't say it is something that has really bothered me tbh.

Unfortunately I couldn't get use to the size, as mentioned in the review, it was just the height that really bothered me so I returned it last week :(

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+John Teacake

Spot on review fella!!

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Depicus

Great review, shame they put the buttons in the middle as I use my phone for gps and clamp it in the car so these would be problematic but otherwise looks great.

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neo1911

Excellent review. But you are missing the biggest Con for this device.

The Snapdragon 810 puts this phone on Insta No-buy list for me. That is proven failed design no matter how nicely Qualcomm try to repackage it V1, V2, V2.1. They all heat and throttle by little intensive tasks.

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dipsylalapo

Great review, shame they put the buttons in the middle as I use my phone for gps and clamp it in the car so these would be problematic but otherwise looks great.

Not really an issue is it? I think it's just the fingerprint scanner on the back so unless you're making a purchase whilst driving :p

The LG G4 has it's unlock buttons at the back too but you can also tap to unlock so makes it less of an issue. 

Great review by the way :)

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+Nexus18

Thanks :)

@dipsylalapo

I think he is referring to the buttons on the right side of the phone. I would be surprised if there wasn't a clamp out there that supported the 6p though! :p

@@d5aqoëp

I was also very wary of going with the phone due to the 810 chip being used as pretty much every phone that has the chip shows signs of throttling or/and heat problems with "real world usage" but honestly, from my use over a week, it really wasn't a problem at all with the 6P, I experienced no performance issues and didn't feel that the phone was getting any hotter than my nexus 7 2013 or N5. Androidcentral did an interesting article regarding this:

http://www.androidcentral.com/does-nexus-6p-get-hot

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Depicus

Not really an issue is it? I think it's just the fingerprint scanner on the back so unless you're making a purchase whilst driving :p

The LG G4 has it's unlock buttons at the back too but you can also tap to unlock so makes it less of an issue. 

Great review by the way :)

 

With the power button in the middle every time I go over a bump it would turn off :) 

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MikeChipshop

Great review. I picked this phone up last week and i've got to say your review is spot on.

For the size, it's fine for me because i tend not to take it out and about in my pocket, rather i have it in my bag and use it for work related stuff with two hands. So one handed use and portability wasn't a huge issue for me. I've yet to see any throttling or heat issues, despite using it with Netflix in a doctors waiting room for 25 mins!

I constantly miss the power button though, this is just muscle memory from my old Nexus 5 though and i'm sure i'll get used to it.

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dipsylalapo

@dipsylalapo

I think he is referring to the buttons on the right side of the phone. I would be surprised if there wasn't a clamp out there that supported the 6p though! :p

 

With the power button in the middle every time I go over a bump it would turn off :) 

 Yep that would make sense! My bad

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MikeChipshop

 

With the power button in the middle every time I go over a bump it would turn off :) 

 


Lucky i don't use mine for a sat nav! The state of the roads around here i would get as far as 2mins down the road and then i'd hear... "turn left at the ne... *powers off*" 

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tsupersonic


Lucky i don't use mine for a sat nav! The state of the roads around here i would get as far as 2mins down the road and then i'd hear... "turn left at the ne... *powers off*" 

 

Well...you should charge your phone while you use GPS, otherwise you will have excessive battery drain. 

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oldtimefighter

I have a Nexus 6P (graphite 64GB) that is about to ship... I am worried about the supposed back glass cracking issue and not a fan of the unibody aluminum phones but guess it wasn't a deal breaker for me.  Why Google jumped on that bandwagon I will never know. The people talking about the 820 and getting warm is really BS. My N5 feels warm if watch videos for a little while and the 6P is aluminum so where do you think the heat goes? Yeah, the phone will feel warm.

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