Nexus 5X Review – The Lower Limit
Nexus devices are traditionally examples of what Google wants from companies in the year to come. They are devices designed to run on the latest versions of Android keeping the performance at its best, being a design and performance benchmark of sorts that run pure Android. However this year google seems to have changed its philosophy and has launched two new Nexus devices. So is the cheaper Nexus 5X actually up to standards with what Google usually puts out, or is it Google’s shadow attempt at keeping the mid-tier market happy?
Build Quality and Design
The Nexus 5X made by LG for Google appears to have a little too much plastic, and is extremely light -so much so that it does not feel premium at all. Made entirely of plastic, barring the display, the device is rather flimsy looking. However, it does not feel like it will break easily, the plastic is rigid, but in no way feels anything close to the feel on the Nexus 6 or the Nexus 5 for that matter. No mention of IP ratings and you get an outdated Gorilla Glass 3 with a simple Oleophobic coating.
The design is not winning any points for now, the black Nexus 5X is fairly boring with a bump on the back for the camera. The back panel is extremely fingerprint and smudge-friendly and gets stained easily. Laying on a table the Nexus 5X is nothing out of the ordinary, and the complete use of plastic kills not only the aesthetic but a lot of the premium feel at the price bracket. Devices like the Moto X and Samsung A8 offer a lot more design and visual appeal. Push a little further in your budget and you get the Samsung Galaxy S6, one of the “prettiest” phones of 2015.
The great thing about the Nexus 5X is that, unlike the Nexus 6, it is very lightweight at only 136g grams and can easily used with one average sized hand.
The hardware on the Nexus 5X seems to be a compromise, with Google sticking to Snapdragon 808 and 2 GB of RAM, the only major improvements are the cameras which now stand at 12.3 MP and 5 MP.
LG Nexus 5X
|Display||5.2-inch Full HD IPS (1920 x 1080 / 423ppi)|
|Resolution||1080 x 1920 pixels (~424 ppi pixel density)|
|Chipset||1.8 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808|
|CPU||Quad-core 1.44 GHz Cortex-A53 & dual-core 1.82 GHz Cortex-A57|
|RAM||2 GB LPDDR3 RAM|
|Front Camera||5 MP with F/2.0 Aperture|
|Rear Camera||Up to 12.3 MP with F/2.0 Aperture|
|Storage||16 or 32 GB eMMC ROM|
|Battery||2,700 mAh (embedded)|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 4.2 / NFC / Type-C USB|
|Operating System||Android OS, v6.0 (Marshmallow)|
|Price||Rs. 31,990/ Rs. 35,990|
The new Nexus 5X and 6P have similar cameras, and they have to be the best Nexus cameras yet. While low light performance is questionable, the cameras do exceedingly well in good lighting. Good accurate colours, ample amounts of contrast and dynamic range are some the highlights of the cameras.
The main camera captures images just under the full resolution of 12.3 MP at 12.2 MP and UHD video. The front camera comes up with 5 MP pictures and 1920 x 1080p video. While the images are crisp and great to look at, the camera app does slow down once in a while and does not give the experience that is expected from Nexus devices. The rear camera gets laser assisted (IR sensor) auto focus, mostly seen on LG flagship phones, and works pretty efficiently in capturing focus points.
Video quality is great at 4k, but due to the lack of IS, the video tends to be shaky when shot by shaky hands. Sample below.
Android Marshmallow and Experience
The new Nexus 5X, just as each Nexus before it, comes with the latest version of Android, which in this case is Android 6.0 Marshmallow. With this new update you get improved UI features like an App search bar, a new Clock and lock screen messages.
You also get performance upgrades, a brand new RAM manager, standard support for fingerprint scanners and USB type C ports, and hence the new Nexus phones have those both.
Software updates like ‘Now on Tap’ allow you to look at Google Now throughout the UI. Apart from the usual “Ok Google” command, a long-press on the Home button makes the Google Now assistant scan whatever’s on the screen to find extra info online that might be helpful.
Privacy is now been updated and apps can no longer bypass this. A new security feature asks for passwords during boot, and not after booting to prevent unintentional battery drain if a non-owner tries to start the phone.
The new Doze feature is incredible at recognising when the phone is idle to put it in a rested state. This considerably improves battery performance on the Nexus 5X.
Performance and Battery
The Google Nexus 5X is losing out on one big thing and that is performance. Each year Nexus phones stand out as leaders defining performance standards for companies, however, this year the case is different. The higher of the two Nexus devices launched this year, the Nexus 6P, is more of a performance benchmark. The 5X is mostly being sold to cater to those who basically don’t like the idea of an expensive Nexus phone, as was seen last year with the Nexus 6.
The Nexus 5X runs dated and weak Snapdragon 808 chipset because, most manufacturers have preferred the 808 over the 810 pertaining its heat issues. The 808 scores considerably less on benchmarks achieving 48020 on Antutu which falls roughly below last year’s Note 4 by Samsung. So the Nexus 5X is not a flagship benchmark.
Battery life is assisted by the Doze feature and gives you extended use, especially if you have a long screen-off time.
The Nexus 5X will easily last a day for the average user going into the second day before requiring a charge. With a talk time of around 6 hours, we are not complaining.
LG Nexus 5X
|Talk Time||5.5 – 6 hours|
|Internet on LTE||4 hours|
|Internet on Wi-Fi||5 hours|
|Gaming and Video||5 hours|
|Standby||6- 7 days|
The Nexus 5X is available in India for a price of Rs 29,990 (at the time of review) for the 16 GB variant which is about Rs. 4,000 more than the US$ 379 price. At this price it lacks the essence of a Nexus phone. Its built in plastic lacks a QHD display and comes with 2 GB of RAM, the best advantage of the Nexus remains the quick updates. For a better hardware experience the Moto X Style offer better value for money, at the same price and has a QHD display 3 GB of RAM and better cameras, fast turbo charging and dual sim capabilities. More over you get expandability up to 128 GB. The Moto X style offers a near-Nexus Android experience and will soon get marshmallow.
You should consider one of the many other options instead of the Nexus 5X this year. For LG and Google the intent is wonderful and the phone brings back the brilliance of the Nexus 5, however the Nexus 6P is more Nexus than the Nexus 5X.