Google’s Nexus lineup has been a great way to show off pure, stock Android. One of the more popular Nexus devices was 2013’s LG Nexus 5, it offered a great value at a reasonable price.

After using the Nexus 5X for a few weeks now, this is a true successor to the Nexus 5.

In this review, I will cover the following areas:

  • Design & Hardware (hardware and specs)
  • Software (all about that Android)
  • Camera (a picture is worth a thousand word right?)

Design & Hardware

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The Nexus 5X may not have as high of a resolution display as it’s bigger brother, the Nexus 6P but the one on the Nexus 5X is still a great one. It is a 5.2-inch IPS LCD display with a resoltion of 1920×1080, which is 423 pixels per inch (PPI). The 1080p display on the Nexus 5X helps that 2700mAh battery last longer.

The display looks good from most angles, no matter how you look at it.

The Nexus 5X is smaller than last year’s Nexus 6 but the Nexus 5X is bigger than its predecessor, the Nexus 5.

The build quality of the Nexus 5X is great. The volume and the power buttons have a great feel to them. When you hold the device, it feels smaller than it is. It has a great feel to it even though it’s made of plastic to help keep costs down, it feels like a high-end device even though it’s a mid-range device.

LG Nexus 5X (left) and Huawei Nexus 6P (right)
LG Nexus 5X (left) and Huawei Nexus 6P (right)

The Nexus 5X is sporting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, clocked at 1.44 GHz along with 2GB of RAM. It comes in three colours, Quartz (aka white),Carbon (aka black) and Ice  (turquoise) and two capacities, 16GB or 32GB. Just like other Nexus devices, there is no MicroSD card slot for expandable storage.

The Snapdragon 808 provides plenty of power to help light the 1920×1080 display (which looks good). It also is enough power for everyday tasks as well as playing games. The 5X’s 2GB of RAM is a good amount to help the Snapdragon 808.

To power all of this, is a massive 2700 mAh battery, in my daily usage the Nexus 5X last all day. I would take it off the charger at around 6:30 AM and it would be at around 40-50% at the end of the day. The battery life lasts longer with the help of the Doze feature in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which puts your apps to standby so then they aren’t using your battery when you aren’t using your device.

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Motorola Nexus 6 (left) and LG Nexus 5X (right)

You won’t need to charge your Nexus 5X as often or in the middle of the day because of the Doze feature.

The Nexus 5X does not support for Qualcomm’s quick charge technology. Instead, Google has put in something called Fast Charge because the Nexus 5X (and the Nexus 6P) have USB Type-C and it is still relatively new technology.

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Another reason as to why someone would buy a Nexus phone is that it is sold unlocked and  can be used on any carrier in the world. This means that you can pop in a nanoSIM from a local carrier and you’re good to go. It even has support for LTE around the world.

One of the prominent feature on the Nexus 5X (as well as the 6P) is the introduction of a fingerprint sensor. It’s called Nexus Imprint and it works really well and it’s quick too. It is located on the back, right below the camera and just above the Nexus branding.

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The sensor is the perfect spot because when you take the device out of your pocket, your index naturally rests near the sensor’s location. After using through my testing, it became more natural and almost second nature and the phone was unlocked as soon as I pulled it out of my pocket.

However with the Nexus 5X, this comes at a cost. The Nexus 5X starts at $499 for the 16GB model (in any colour) or $559 for the 32GB model. These prices are in Canadian dollar and are before taxes (if applicable).

Software

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The Nexus 5X is one of the first smartphones to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow (the other being the Nexus 6P). This update is more of a minor one and not as major as 5.0 Lollipop (which had a complete overhaul). The 6.0 update still continues the design language, ‘Material Design’ that was introduced in 5.0.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow seems like a more stable version of Lollipop. Some of the new features in 6.0 such as Now on Tap are great but I didn’t end up using as often as I thought it would. Also in 6.0, are custom app permissions, improved microSD support, granular app & memory management and better battery performance.

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The Nexus line of the devices have always been a great way if you want the latest version of Android without any skins (like TouchWiz, HTC Sense, LG’s custom skin). You’ll be getting your updates straight from the source (Google) and you can expect updates for at least two years once the device is released.

In years past, each Nexus phone would have some  sort-of downfall that would prevent them from being the best all-around Android device. Some of these cons would include, hardware compromises, buggy Android updates, terrible camera, so-so battery life and uninspired design.

The Nexus 5X was released without any of that.

Camera

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Each year when Google along with a hardware partner release a Nexus phone, they make improvements to the camera sensors and software. And each year, they seem to fool us.

The cameras on the past Nexus phones were just considered to mediocre to good but not great and people would still consider the camera on the iPhone to be the best of the best.

It’s understandable that when Google said that this year’s Nexus phones has great camera, we all take this in with a grain of salt.

But it turns out that Google actually was telling the truth. The Nexus 5X has a great camera. It has a 12.3 megapixel rear-facing camera with 1.55um pixels (micron pixels), a f2.0 lens and laser-assisted autofocus. It is capable of recording 4K video at 30fps. The front-facing camera is 5 megapixels and as Google puts it, should be “great for selfies”.

The Nexus 5X can also take slow-motion video at 120fps (frames per second).

The Sony camera sensor was a great choice made by Google and it’s on par or better than the camera on the Galaxy S6 or the iPhone 6S.

The camera app on the Nexus 5X is fairly straightforward and simple to use. Some have had some issues with the app but in my testing, I didn’t experience any issues.

Google has also added the ability to quick launch the camera by double-pressing the power button (it is something you might find on the Galaxy S6 by double-pressing the Home button). You also have the ability to turn this off but then again why would you want to especially if you are trying to get shot and need access to the camera quickly.

The camera also has Auto HDR+ which is Google’s version of High Dynamic Range photography. Taking HDR+ photos will take a few seconds longer as compared to taking pictures without it.

Here are some sample shots taken on the Nexus 5X.

Another thing to point out is that neither the Nexus 5X or the Nexus 6P have optical image stabilization, Google instead implemented software-based image stabilization, it’s not ideal but it’s still nice to have.

Final Thoughts:

If you are looking for a solid smartphone that runs stock Android, has a great camera and can be used on basically any carrier in the world, the Nexus 5X is worth looking at.
The Nexus 5X may not be perfect but it is a great mid-range device and a great way to experience pure Android. It pairs solid hardware with great software. You are getting a great smartphone for a great value.

9_EC_CT_Review

Pros
+ Appropriate price

+ Solid performance

+ Stock Android experience

+ Great camera

+ Good battery life

+ Feels like a higher-end device

Cons

– Still a bit pricy for some (due to higher Canadian prices)

– No bigger storage capacities

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