Do we have a good one for you today - we are taking a look at how the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X stand up to the new Google Pixel XL and the Google Pixel and Android 7.1 Nougat. In other words, how do the new models stack up to the old ones? Was a big increase in price truly justified?
Google has been playing around with their Nexus lineup over the past few years and maybe they have finally settled on a new formula. To everybody's surprise, Google had Motorola develop the Nexus 6 - it was large, it had high-end specs, and it was expensive by Nexus standards. Some people were excited about it and die hard Nexus fans were put off by it...it was so expensive that it was even sold through the carriers so customers could make monthly payments.
Google quickly learned from that mistake and commissioned two Nexus devices in 2015 - the LG Nexus 5X for the common man and the Huawei Nexus 6P to satisfy those that wanted pure Android and high-end specs. It was a match made in heaven and all were happy. There were plenty of both models sold. The Nexus 5X still allowed almost anybody to buy one under $400. The Nexus 6P brought over many non-Nexus users who were willing to pay the price for pure vanilla Android and high specifications.
This year Google is going in yet another completely different direction. There is a new name - gone is Nexus and enter Google Pixel and Pixel XL. Google also used just one manufacturer, HTC, to build both devices, in fact, the two devices are practically identical except in the size and resolution of the display and battery size. Google also made a big move this year in the memory area and 32GB is now the standard internal memory or you can jump directly to 128GB of non-expandable memory. Let's take a look at the old versus the new and determine if Google made the right choice.
The LG Nexus 5X was the cheaper of the two Nexus' in 2015. It had a polycarbonate (plastic) backing and mid-range specs that allowed them to keep the price down to under $400. The Nexus 5X had less RAM, a mid-range processor, and only a Full HD display.
The Huawei Nexus 6P was the flagship model with an all-metal body and better overall specifications. Still, the pricing was not bad at $500 for the 32GB model. It had the top processor at the time and took great photos. It helped instill the Nexus name to many more users and also helped Huawei's reputation.
The new Google Pixels may not be the flashiest design in town, but they certainly are interesting to look at. The back is a combination of polished glass and metal with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor and a camera that does not stick out the back. They are identical except in display size, display resolution, battery size, and pricing. The 32GB Google Pixel starts at $649 and the Google Pixel XL adds $120 to that, making it $769 and it will arrive in Very Silver, Quite Black, and the limited edition Really Blue.
The Nexus 5X sports a 5.2-inch IPS LCD FHD Gorilla Glass 3 display with 423 PPI. For processing power, they used the 64-bit Snapdragon 808 Hexa-core with a quad-core clocked at 1.4 GHz and a dual-core clocked at 1.8 GHz. It uses an Adreno 418 GPU for handling the graphics. It packs 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of non-expandable storage. It is packing a 12.3MP sensor for its primary camera with an aperture of f/2.0, laser autofocus, and dual-tone LED flash. The Nexus 5X uses a 5MP sensor for its front-facing camera (FFC) for selfies and video chatting. A small, non-removable 2,700 mAh battery provides the power. It has the usual suspects – fingerprint sensor, WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and the Type-C reversible connector.
The Huawei Nexus 6P sports a 5.7-inch AMOLED QHD Gorilla Glass 4 display with 518 PPI. It uses a 64-bit Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor with a quad-core clocked at 1.55 GHz and a quad-core clocked at 2.0 GHz. It uses the Adreno 430 GPU for graphics. It is packing 3GB of DDR4 RAM and a choice of 32GB/64GB/128GB of non-expandable memory. It uses the same 12.3MP primary camera used in the Nexus 5X but bumps up the FFC to 8MP. The Nexus 6P uses a larger 3,450 mAh non-removable battery. It has the usual suspects - fingerprint sensor, WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and the Type-C reversible connector. It also sports dual front-facing stereo speakers for outstanding sound.
The Google Pixel sports a 5.0-inch AMOLED FHD Gorilla Glass 4 display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 441 PPI. It uses a 2,770 mAh non-removable battery for power. The Google Pixel XL uses a 5.5-inch AMOLED QHD Gorilla Glass 4 display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and 534 PPI. It uses a larger 3,450 mAh non-removable battery. Those are the only physical differences between the Pixel and Pixel XL.
Both the Google Pixel and Pixel XL sport a 64-bit Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor with a dual-core clocked at 1.6 GHz and a dual-core clocked at 2.15 GHz. An Adreno 530 will handle any graphics you can throw at it. They are packing 4GB of DDR4 RAM and a choice of 32GB or 128GBs of non-expandable internal memory. The camera has already scored a DxOMark 89, which is the highest of all smartphones. They use a 12.3MP sensor with an aperture of f/2.0, phase detection autofocus (PDAF), and a dual-tone LED flash. Both use a large 8MP sensor for their FFC with the same f/2.0 aperture. It has the usual suspects - fingerprint sensor, WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and the Type-C reversible connector. If you are on Sprint or T-Mobile, the Pixel phones support 3x LTE carrier aggregation. Models bought at the Google Store will work on all four US carriers and support WiFi Calling on Verizon and T-Mobile.
The Final Word
This is where we get to digest all the facts and figures and come to a conclusion. While it is a sad day for many diehard Nexus lovers, change is inevitable. The thing that Google needs to do is to pick a name, a program, a design concept and stick with it. For all the brain power that is under Google's tutelage, they seem to have a hard time making up their minds and what direction to go in.
Let us hope that the new Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL are here to stay and a winner for Google/Android. We sometimes forget that these are Google's answer to the iPhone. The specifications are there and the camera is certainly there to make these devices stand out in the crowd. Rather than having a cheap version and a high-end version (Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P) Google decided to have the same powerful specs, just a change in display and battery.
It does not look like any Google phone will have expandable storage - they want you to use the cloud storage, not your internal storage. It is disappointing that these sealed devices are not waterproofed, which in truth now almost seems unthinkable.