Nexus 6P vs Nexus 5X: Which Google flagship phone is the right one for you?
Every year Google tends to release a new Nexus smartphone and accompanying tablet. Except, in 2015 the Alphabet-owned company had a change of heart and instead released two new phones: the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P.
While both phones may carry the Nexus brand, they are not cut from the same cloth. The Nexus 5X has been designed and manufactured by Google smartphone stalwart LG, while Huawei has its first shot showing the Western market it can make a premium smartphone via the Nexus 6P.
If you’re unsure about which Nexus phone is best for you, here’s the definitive guide to what’s good and bad about each phone.
Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P: Design
Out of the two smartphones, the Nexus 6P is by far the more luxurious. This is the first time Google has built an all-metal phone and, to quote our reviews editor Jonathan Bray, this is “truly a handsome piece of hardware”. Its body is made of solid aluminium, and it has a Gorilla Glass 4 screen to complete its frame and create one incredibly sleek phone measuring only 7.3mm thick.
In comparison, the 5X is somewhat disappointing. While its body is a little thicker at 7.9mm, it also has a body made entirely of plastic and lacks any real design choices beyond a slab of smartphone with subtle curves. It’s clear that LG has had to make some compromises with its design, but somehow it does lack the minimalist charm the original Nexus 5 had.
Thankfully, in terms of size, the 6P’s larger frame isn’t anywhere near as imposing as that of the original Nexus 6. Measuring 77.8 x 7.3 x 159.3 (WDH) to the 5X’s 72.6 x 7.9 x 147mm, both phones will slip easily in and out of your pocket, and the well-placed rear-mounted fingerprint reader means unlocking your phone as you take it out of your pocket becomes second nature.
Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P: Display
You’ll be pleased to hear that, no matter which phone you opt for, both the 5X and 6P have fantastic screens. Obviously the more expensive 6P has the better display, boasting a Quad HD 2,560 x 1,440 pixel AMOLED panel to the 5X’s HD 1920 x 1080 IPS display.
The higher resolution is definitely welcome on the 6P’s 5.7in screen, giving it a wonderfully sharp pixel density of 518ppi, rivalling that of many big-screened smartphones currently on the market. Even with a smaller screen 5.2in, the 5X’s lower resolution can’t compare, offering up just 424ppi.
Because the 6P’s display is AMOLED instead of IPS, it delivers striking colours with excellent contrast and brilliant coverage of the sRGB colour gamut. Unfortunately, in our review we found the brightness to be lacking, washing out images under direct sunlight. While the 5X’s IPS screen can’t match the 6P for contrast (1,310:1) or colour accuracy (94.8% of sRGB gamut), its maximum brightness of 415cd/m2 is decent enough to see you through the occasional sunny spell we get in Britain.
Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P: Specs
Aside from the full-metal body and display, there’s a reason why the 6P is more expensive than the 5X: the hardware.
While the 5X contains a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, the 6P has the beefier octa-core Snapdragon 810. It also contains 3GB of RAM to the 5X’s 2GB, and comes with up to 128GB of internal storage compared to the maximum 64GB offered by the 5X.
In layman’s terms, this means the 6P performs better, with apps launching faster and running smoother than on the 5X even with that beefy Quad HD screen. In our benchmark tests it, unsurprisingly the 6P outperformed the 5X, but it also managed to sit pretty evenly with Samsung’s phablet the Galaxy S6 Edge+.
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+
Geekbench 3.1 – single-core
Geekbench 3.1 – multi-core
GFXBench 3 – Manhattan onscreen
GFXBench 3 – Manhattan offscreen
While there have been multiple reports of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 overheating in other handsets, during our time with the 6P we never found it to become uncomfortably warm, and that’s even when pushing it with demanding Android games like Riptide. The 5X’s Snapdragon 808 also places it ahead of many phones within the same ballpark, giving it similar specs to that of the LG G4, but for a fraction of the price. Put simply, you won’t find better value for money in terms of cost for performance no matter which phone you decide to buy.
As you can expect, both phones also come with 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS and NFC. They also use that magical and newfangled reversible USB Type-C connector, meaning both phones hail from the future. Unfortunately, Google hasn’t reversed its stance on microSD storage, so you won’t be able to icrease your phone’s storage unless you opt for cloud services.