I’ve always been a fan of Nexus devices because of what they stand for. Google is telling every other manufacturer, “This is what an Android phone should be.” The Nexus 6P is no exception to that — it’s sleek, stylish, advanced and damn fast. Is it the best Android device available right now? That depends on what you care about in a phone.
Big And Stylish
While not officially breaking the mark, the Nexus 6P is almost six inches (5.7″ to be exact). It’s actually smaller than the last Nexus 6 (actually 6″) but that’s actually something to look forward to. The screen is just perfect enough to handle one-handed and about the same size as the Moto X.
The metal build is solid and gives the 6P some substantial weight. It feels like a solid phone and makes the Nexus 6 feel like a cheap piece of plastic.
Fast And Furious
An Android is an Android, even with Marshmallow. Where the Nexus 6P stands apart is in speed. Everything is snappy and fast, especially voice response. Calling to the 6P with an, “Okay, Google” will give the usual expected prompt but what’s unexpected is the almost real-time response of seeing your words come on the screen as text.
The speed makes the feature actually worth using. Voice commands before were saved for the lazy but now even the fastest typist can’t compete.
Fingerprints and Game Changers
Most features that get added to phones are gimmicks. Especially if the maker is Samsung. And while Google and Android aren’t the first to toy with fingerprint recognition (Apple did it well, Samsung did it poorly) this is the first one to really get it right. Really right. I don’t want to use a phone that doesn’t work this way anymore.
What makes the fingerprint sensor on the Nexus 6P so great is simple — I don’t have to change the way I use my device. The iPhone looks for a thumbprint press that’s clearly checking your print. Samsung’s take has you sliding over a function button (it’s just awful). The Nexus 6P recognizes when I pick up my phone and rest my finger in a circle, about where I’d place it anywhere. It’s intuitive and it means the phone adapted to the way I work and not the other way around.
This is really important for the Nexus 6P (and the 5X). Aside from all the other specs, this is the one real new feature they’re adding along with USB-C (we’ll get to that). And it works, and works really well. Before going on, this is what the Nexus devices are all about. They set the standard and Google did that with LG and Huawei.
Yes, USB-C is here. No more fiddling with which way is up. And fast charging (my God, the fast charging!). While USB-C is cleaner it means all new charging cables meaning all the USB cables you’ve collected are finally obsolete.
On the topic of charging, yes this charges fast. The battery power under the hood on the Nexus 6P is plentiful (3450 mAh), more than enough to get you through a day (even at full brightness). All the additional tweaks from Marshmallow helping add longevity to battery life will rid you of FOMC (Fear Of Missing Charging). You can get through a work day without charging and make it for the commute home but, really, who would ever actually do that?
The Good Stuff
Everything I’ve touched on so far has been great. The Nexus 6P is really stylish, much more than the plastic Nexus 6. The software updates and battery size keep it chugging through the day. And, most importantly, the fingerprint sensor isn’t a gimmick. This is easily the best Nexus phone ever…
The Not-So-Good Stuff
…but not the best phone period. It all depends on how you use your phone but there were a few things that kept this from being the (hands-down) greatest phone ever. Are they terrible? No, but there are some sore spots.
Google touts this as being the best camera they’ve ever put in a Nexus device, and that’s true. The camera is really good and really responsive. From that speed we mentioned earlier, photos are almost instantaneous. This is easily the fastest camera you can get.
But the photos could be considerably better. The tone is usually a little too warm and the clarity is just a bit off. While others like the Moto X are bringing out 21MP specs, the Nexus 6P only has 12MP. While bigger isn’t always better, the Nexus 6P just doesn’t bring out the best photos or videos. While they’re not as great as they could be, they’re just not the best and that’s something I expected from Nexus.
On the plus side, the camera app is stellar and works seamlessly with (newly updated) Google Photos to bring out some fantastic and usable features. Burst mode keeps photos contained and makes handy GIFs, something that I absolutely loved (and something nobody does well since HTC did with the One). The voice over service is also a great feature. Flipping between modes are snappy and, while there are some features that may not be used day-to-day (including high-speed camera modes for slo-motion videos) they’re easy enough to flip on in an instant that it makes them really easy to use… whenever that is.
Bugs In The System
There are still a few quarks to get past. While the bugs could be from Marshmallow or the Nexus 6P itself, they’re present and that worried me. An occasional freezing or the camera app starting with squished image, there are little issues that make it clear a final polish is needed and we should probably expect a software update soon. But because of the speed in the specs, the recovery from these issues is so swift they don’t become problematic.
Honorable Mention: The Screen
The screen is great and the AMOLED screen works well under the sun. The pixel density is a few points off from the Moto X so it just gets the silver medal.
The Best (Nexus) Phone Ever
The Nexus 6P is a huge improvement over the Nexus 6. It’s a whole new phone but a whole new manufacturer. Aside from the camera, it offers the best any Android device has to offer right now. Camera aside, it’s the best device you can own right now. But the lackluster camera is a really breaking point especially when that is one of your typical uses for a phone. That aside — yes, this is the best Android device on the market.
- It's Fast!
- Fingerprint Sensor Changes Lives
- Solid Build
- Camera Needs Improvement