Google Nexus 5X review: Google’s 2015 phone will NOT get Android P or any more major updates

Price when reviewed

The Nexus 5X is no longer the hardware champion it once was, considering it’s been three years since its release, but it did come with the added benefit of getting access to the latest Android software each time a new operating system rolled around. 

Sadly, that ship has now sailed. The first developer preview of Android P has revealed that Google is dropping support for some of its older models, including the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P and the Pixel C tablet. The phones will still receive security updates each month, until November, but Google has confirmed that Android 8.1 was the last major Android release being rolled out to its LG phones.  

Nexus 5X review: In full

The Google Nexus 5X might well prove to be the last of its breed: quality phones from Google that don’t go for flagship prices. Along with the Nexus 6P, Google no longer makes its 2015 beauties, instead putting all its eggs in the Pixel basket. Now the Pixel and Pixel XL phones are both brilliant handsets, but affordable they are not. Retailing at £599 for the Pixel and £719 for Pixel XL, there are not directly comparable with the Nexuses of old. 

this new breed sits neatly between the low-cost Moto Gs and the flagship iPhones of this world in an attempt to offer the best of both – a smartphone that aims to have everything you need, but none of what you don’t.

That, in short, is precisely what the Google Nexus 5X delivers, and it represents a welcome return to form for Google, after the Motorola-manufactured Nexus 6 last year. That was a phone that, while far from a disaster, failed to recapture the success of its predecessor, mainly because it was too big, too flashy and too unwieldy to appeal to fans of the stripped-back, basic Nexus 5. The £287 on Amazon UK (or $320 on Amazon US) inc VAT 16GB Nexus 5X (manufactured by LG) goes back to basics, and fans of the Nexus everywhere will rejoice at the new no-nonsense approach.

Google Nexus 5X review: Design

Given the price, it shouldn’t surprise you to discover that the Nexus 5X is no supermodel. Available in black, white and light blue, it has a smooth, eggshell finish to its coloured plastic back. Although this feels pleasant in the hand, it makes an ugly contrast with the phone’s all-black frontage.

Google Nexus 5: Logos

In terms of its shape, the 5X moves away from the Nexus 6’s extensively curved rear and chiselled edges, instead preferring a flat rear panel with only short radius curves at the sides. It’s a more practical design than the Nexus 6 – you can place the phone on a table and tap away without it wobbling annoyingly – but it’s far less pretty. The autofocus sensor and flash are above the camera, while the LG and Nexus logos alongside each other look as if they’ve been thrown on randomly rather than thoughtfully placed.

Google Nexus 5: Buttons

More seriously, perhaps, the cheap feel also extends to the mechanical aspects of the design. The power and volume rocker on the right edge feel plasticky and insubstantial. The nano-SIM drawer doesn’t close with a positive click. Tap the rear panel and the whole thing feels somewhat hollow. Overall, it’s a far cry from the Motorola-built Nexus 6. The only advantages that the Nexus 5X holds from a physical point of view is that, for a phone of its size, it’s astonishingly light, weighing a mere 136g, and is very comfortable to hold and slide into a pocket.

Google Nexus 5: Front, left side showing

The front is less of a design disaster, mainly because – as with most smartphones – it’s reasonably featureless. Importantly, the speaker is on the front, a design choice I thoroughly approve of. I’m sick and tired of having to be careful how I hold a phone like the Apple iPhone 6s for fear of blocking the grille and muting the audio. However, although it looks like there are two speakers here – one above and one below the display – only the one at the bottom actually works, and sound quality isn’t great. 

Google Nexus 5X specifications

ProcessorHexacore (dual 1.8GHz and quad 1.4GHz), Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
Screen size5.2in
Screen resolution1,080 x 1,920, 424ppi (Gorilla Glass 4)
Screen typeIPS
Front camera5MP
Rear camera12.3MP (f/2, laser autofocus)
FlashDual LED
Memory card slot (supplied)No
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2
Wireless data4G
Size (WDH)73 x 7.9 x 147mm
Operating systemAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Battery size2,700mAh

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