I like this phone. I like this phone enough that although it was supposed to replace my secondary phone (the Nexus 5), it’s pretty much been my main phone while I wait to get my Nexus 6P.
After 2 weeks with it, I think I’ve pretty much gotten a chance to really see how it runs and where I have gripes bubbling up.
Let me go through the various parts of it:
Setting It Up
Like all previous Android devices I’ve owned, setting this up has been very straightfoward – turn it on, choose your language, log in to your google account and you’re pretty much done. Your apps from your previous phone start installing and whatever needs syncing starts to sync.
Size & Build
If you’ve ever used 5 inch devices then this phone will feel ‘just about right’. I’ve been on a Nexus 5 and Nexus 6 setup for quite a long time now and after holding the Nexus 6 device for an extended period of time, it’s always nice to hold a smaller device that you can operate with just one hand…
The build of the phone feels better than the Nexus 5 – retaining the solid overall feel (albeit plasticky exterior) but having slightly more curves to the edges. But as with all my phones, I place mine in the Official Case which not only makes everything feel so much more durable but has a really nice textured rear. I definitely recommend getting it.
This has been a huge gripe of Nexus users (that they have shitty cameras). With the Nexus 5X, it’s now equipped with a 12.3MP rear camera, 5MP front facing camera. What I really like is how images are now more detailed and the phone actually performs much better in low light conditions. Snapchatting and Instagramming has never been better! Autofocus was also very quick making it easy to just whip out the phone and take a quick shot of something interesting that you see.
When HDR is turned off, you can also take several shots in succession without it lagging. If you’re using a 3rd party camera to take RAW images, do expect it to slow down while its writing the file.
There are some downsides that I’ve experienced though.
– Taking HDR+ photos has on occasion slowed down the phone quite significantly even after the leaving the camera app.
– On several occasions, the camera has malfunctioned refusing to load the app (and any app requiring the camera). This required a reboot of the phone to resolve. This has probably happened 3-4 times over the past 2 weeks that I’ve had the phone. Not a big issue to me since the overall enhancements make up for it but it does get annoying when I just want to take a quick shot and it runs into this problem.
Ok. So it’s the first time I have a phone equipped with a fingerprint sensor so it’s pretty cool to be able to just unlock the phone with my finger. It performs really well and I haven’t run into any issues with this – just place your finger on the sensor and you’re in.
It did take me a few days to get used to the sensor placement though. Because it’s placed directly beneath the rear camera and is also round, I spent the first day or two placing my finger over the camera instead. Not a biggie now though.
By many measures, I don’t think I’m the typical user so my battery life on any device never lasts a whole day. Built with a 2,700mAh battery, it could probably last me 3 quarters of my day though (I’ve never really tested) but what I do end up doing is charging it midway through the day and I’m pretty much all set for the rest of the day. Thankfully with the USB-C rapid charging, charging it for 15-30mins tops it up by about 40-50%. It does depend on whether you leave your phone on, or if you’re actively using it while charging but it generally achieves 1.x% per minute of charging.
This isn’t something I’m good at reviewing (because I’m really no audiophile) but the Nexus 5X’s front facing is…well…functional. Maybe it’s because it only has a single set of speakers or maybe it’s because it’s just lower quality speakers (someone enlighten me) but I’ve owned a HTC One M8 and those were good. The Nexus 6 sounds better too.
Adapting to the USB-C
This isn’t so much about the Nexus 5X as it is about using a USB-C device for the first time. It is something I’m pretty happy with but is also quite a bitch to get used to.
So why am I happy about this?
Well, it charges faster and that’s always good to me. It’s reversible so I don’t really have to care which is the right side up. And with USB-C, I can use one device to charge another – particularly useful when I have both the 5X and 6P. Better still because my good friends will be using the 6P too so we can ‘share power’.
But why is it a bitch to get used to?
Firstly, the 5X comes with a charging adapter and a USB-C to USB-C cable. This effectively means I have only one way to charge this phone – through the wall. And I hate being chained to a wall socket.
Secondly, to free myself from the chains of the wall socket I could easily just get a USB-A to USB-C cable, right? Wrong. This cable is really tough to find and when you do find it, it’s really expensive. And shortly after buying it, I was alerted to this: https://www.reddit.com/r/Nexus6P/comments/3r7ted/psa_according_to_a_google_engineer_the_juiced/
So not all USB-C cables are made equal and might damage either your USB hub or your device. Damn.
Lastly, because not all my devices (phones, tablets, laptops, etc) are on USB-C, I now have to carry around multiple types of USB cables.
So yeah. I’m not saying USB-C is bad…. In fact I like it. It just kinda sucks when you’re so used to having a universal micro-USB cable for everything and you now suddenly have to bring extra stuff.
Do I like the phone? Hell yes. It’s a marked improvement over the Nexus 5 (which was a pretty solid device on its own). But when it comes to price, I do think that it’s much more worthwhile getting the 6P unless you can get the 5X at the US pricing. (I got mine at the Japanese Google Store which was going for JPY63,400 (USD514))
Anything specific you’d like to know or have us test? Leave a comment below!