Google Nexus 5X: the specs review

After a few weeks of intense leaks, the moment finally came for Google to take the stage and announce the Nexus 5X, a smartphone that the many fans of the original 2013 Nexus 5 by LG and Google will probably find very interesting! Although the "revived" Nexus 5 doesn't feature the most powerful or innovative spec sheet on the market, it nevertheless packs some interesting and very promising technology, such as a Sony camera sensor that the company kept strictly for camcorders. So, let's dig right in and see what this puppy is made of!


The LG Nexus 5X is a heartfelt homage to 2013's much beloved Nexus 5 smartphone, also made by LG. However, outstanding design isn't exactly what the 2013 Nexus phone went down in history with. In fact, it was widely showcased as an example of purposefully boring, utilitarian design — made to please Android developers first and foremost. But we love it anyway! So, where does the Nexus 5X take things? Well, it does a great job with refining the original concept and making it more palatable, while staying true to it. The original Nexus 5 was only available in black, but the Nexus 5X comes in white and mint green as well. 

The 5X is also a more elegant (although heavier) handset compared to its predecessor. The Nexus 5 measured 5.43 x 2.72 x 0.34 inches (137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59 mm) at a weight of 4.59oz (130 g). With its slightly bigger, 5.2-inch display, the new Nexus 5X sees an increase in size to 5.78 x 2.85 x 0.31in (147.0 x 72.6 x 7.9mm) at a weight of 4.79oz (136g), but as you can see, it is also considerably thinner! But, save for the addition of stereo speakers on the front, the Nexus 5X's looks are delightfully "same old". Plastic is still the build material of choice, of course, and it's the same rubbery kind, which means the smartphone won't be as slippery as most handsets out there.


Continuing in the spirit of its venerable redecessor, the Nexus 5X comes with a 5.2-inch, 1080p resolution IPS LCD display whose pixel density measures an "it's enough" 424 pixels per inch. Knowing the original Nexus 5, which had a 5-inch display of the same properties, we expect the one on the Nexus 5X to exhibit a color temperature that's very close to the reference 6500 Kelvins, along with improved brightness levels and gamma response. Hopefully, LG's done a good job with the display, because the original's legacy still carries on — two years down the road, the Nexus 5's screen is still great! Moreover, the Nexus 5x's display is covered in Gorilla Glass 3 and features a fingerprint and smudge-resistant oleophobic coating — but these were present in the original as well.


Interestingly enough, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 SoC which powers the Nexus 5X has proven itself a viable choice for smartphone makers, following its debut in the LG G4. It has also popped up in the Moto X Style, the Xiaomi Mi 4c, and Lenovo Vibe X3 — all ambitious, but not exactly premium-tier devices. The Snapdragon 808 is a bit like the Snapdragon 810 in chains, running six cores as opposed to eight, limited to LPDDR3 RAM support, and equipped with an Adreno 418 GPU that's presented itself as pretty modest in actual use. 

Regardless, the Snapdragon 808 is a competent SoC. It has two Cortex-A57 and four Cortex-A53 cores, operating at a 2GHz maximum speed. It's also got a built-in X10 LTE modem that supports download speeds of up to 450 Mbps. The graphics unit isn't very impressive in how it handles complex 3D games, for older Snapdragon 805-based devices managed better and more consistent framerates, but it does have support for hardware-based video playback at 4K resolution. The chipset also includes Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 tech for faster charging times, and a pair of image signal processors to make the most of whatever camera sensor is handling photography.

Carrying a single nanoSIM slot, the Nexus 5X is also equipped with 2 gigabytes of LPDDR3 RAM, which doesn't make for a substantial upgrade over the original Nexus 5, but should be enough for comfortable usage and multitasking. Then again, there are 3GB or even 4GB RAM smartphones already on the market, so the Nexus 5X isn't particularly impressive with the amount and type of RAM memory it's got. Speaking of memory, the Nexus 5X is available in 16GB and 32GB variants with non-expandable storage. Nope, there's no microSD slot on this phone, neither a removable battery.

Overall, Google and LG's choice of SoC is sensible, given the Nexus 5X's reasonable price point and "mass user" appeal. We expect this smartphone to be an excellent daily driver that runs the latest Android smoothly enough, but lacks the processing muscle to handle "power user" apps and complicated multitasking.

Finally, the battery unit that powers this whole contraption is of 2700mAh capacity. It should be sufficient, considering the Snapdragon 808 SoC is pretty efficient. The original Nexus 5 too employed a reasonably efficient CPU for its time, the Snapdragon 801, but the 2300mAh unit definitely sold the smartphone short, resulting in unfavorable on-screen time. Hopefully, the 17% increase in battery capacity and Qualcomm's technology will lead to an improvement in this important regard.

Speaking of battery, the Nexus 5X comes with a USB Type-C port and fast charging technology, which sounds like two bold steps in the right direction.

The Nexus 5x supports the following LTE bands: B1/2/3/4/5/7/12/13/17/20/25/26/29. With its Qualcomm modem, the smartphone is compatible with carrier networks worldwide.

Fingerprint scanner

The Nexus 5X is one of the first two Nexus devices to ship with a built-in fingerprint scanner. Positioned on the rear panel, right below the camera, the circular unit supposedly takes "less than 600 milliseconds" to recognize your fingerprint pattern, which would make for a pretty seamless experience if true! The sensor is available for integration with third-party apps via Android 6.0's fingerprint security subsystem, so hopefully, we'll be seeing some finger-scanning action on Android outside Google's native applications in the near future.


Google and LG's choice for a camera setup is certainly interesting, for the Nexus 5X features an "unprecedented" f/2.0 12.3MP Sony camera sensor on its rear panel. The component in question is, most likely, the Sony IMX377EQH5, which is a sensor originally made for camcorders. This piece of tech is supposed to eat the original Nexus 5's 8MP camera alive, for it comes with improved optics and super-sized 1.55 micron pixels — not as large as HTC's UltraPixel sensor (2 microns), but certainly larger than the 1.2 micron pixels in current camera sensors. This should help it capture more light in dark shots, making pictures better exposed and less noisy. We're yet to see credible night time samples, however, so take this assumption with a grain of salt.

In addition to 12MP (4:3) or 9MP (17:9) still images, the sensor is capable of producing 4K videos, along with impressive 120 FPS slow-motion clips. The sensor can actually handle 4K and 2K video resolution recording at 60 frames per second, but Qualcomm's current chipsets, including the Snapdragon 808 used in the Nexus 5X, only go up to 30FPS.

The camera sensor is kept company by a laser autofocus system and dual-LED flash. The former will most certainly make for impressive auto-focus speed, while the latter will help the camera make the most out of situations where light is of insuficient quantity.

On the front side, there's a 5MP camera with f/2.2 lens, which makes for a substantial upgrade over the Nexus 5's 1.3MP selfie snapper.


At $379 for the base model, the Nexus 5x isn't the single most impressive smartphone this kind of money can buy, but the device seems cleverly spec'd out and engineered to deliver the full potential of Android 6.0 Marshmallow to the masses. Moreover, we like how Google and LG took the idea of reviving the original Nexus 5 as far as it could reasonably go. However, we feel that Google and LG could have been a bit more imaginitive with this project, showing off some innovative alien technology that no other smartphone on the market replicates. But that will happen some other time, it seems. 

Anyway, the Nexus 5X is arguably the perfect upgrade for those who've been holding onto their Nexus 5 and couldn't find a smartphone that holds up to its standards. We're also very curious about how the 5X's 12.3MP camera will stand up to the ones on the Sony Xperia Z5 and the Moto X Play and Style, all three of which utilize some of Sony's best and most current imaging technology. Time will tell, right?

Related phones

Nexus 5
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.3 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, Quad-core, 2260 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 2300 mAh(17h talk time)
Nexus 5X
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12.3 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, Hexa-core, 1800 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 2700 mAh(20h talk time)



1. SirYar

Posts: 351; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

What keeps me off is the underpowered Snapdragon 808 and somewhat big screen size. It's barely an upgrade over the Nexus 5 in those regards.

10. torr310

Posts: 1690; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Try to look at the bright side... the camera.probably is going to be.awesome! Similar to LG G4. The finger.print scanner.sound great too. Not to mention it supports world 4G bands!

11. Dinged

Posts: 37; Member since: Jan 12, 2012

Here's my wishlist which no one has been able to hit yet: -5" or up to 5.7" amoled display -f2 or lower aperture, sony 1/2.6" sensor or larger, ois(for video stabilization), laser focus, camera2 api compatible w/raw -4k recording (at least 30 fps), 1080(at least 120 fps), 720(at least 240 fps) -pure google experience -min 32gb w/sd storage option (for all that slow motion/4k video that is going to take too much space and too much bandwidth to store to cloud) -any processor that can drive the 4k/slow motion recording/playback and recording with no lag -front facing speakers -fingerprint scanner -nfc -water resistant -quick charge capable

19. hujan

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 30, 2015

that is quite steep. for starter not many company offer pure google experience out of the box other than google. note 5 for example meet almost all your standard except for (1) water resistance, (2) expandable storage and (3) out of the box google experience z3+ on the other hand (1) use TFT instead of AMOLED, (2) no fingerprint scanner and (3) not running pure google out of the box google phone such as Nexus and Moto series, do run pure Google, but almost usually (1) no expandable storage and (2) not water resistant if you got the budget and seems like you're focusing on photography & videography on your mobile, I suggest you get LG G4. Although it excel on the camera department, it is (1) not running on pure google, (2) not water resistance, (3) IPS LCD, (4) no fingerprint scanner TL;DR no existing company would make a phone with such specs because each of them boast on certain specs and not the other (sony > water resistant, samsung > super amoled, google > pure os).

2. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

So here's what happened: - No OIS (downgrade from Nexus 5) - No Notifications LED (downgrade from Nexus 5) - 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM - Single Speaker (Really!) - Lacks 64GB and 128GB storage - Lacks Micro SD Card - LCD screen (not AMOLED) - No Wireless Charging (downgrade from Nexus 5) Now the prices in EU are insane: Nexus 5X starting from 479€ Nexus 6P starting from 699€ Nexus 5X is essentially like a Xiaomi 4c, but 4c costs half of 5X.

5. surethom

Posts: 1729; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

No led notification light, really, that is terrible. How are you supposed to know if you missed a call or text you have to pick it up every 5 minutes.

20. surethom

Posts: 1729; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

New news the 5x Does have a led notification light hidden under the bottom speaker grill, Google will correct the specs soon. Thank goodness. I have now just placed my order for 5x. Can't wait.

3. surethom

Posts: 1729; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Did you get your specs right? Just seen clips on YouTube & 16:9 is only 8.3 megapixels which is a bit disappointing I was hopping for closer to 10 megapixels.

4. jessyi

Posts: 327; Member since: Jan 08, 2015

No notification light and 1 single that true?

6. rd_nest

Posts: 1656; Member since: Jun 06, 2010

13. iliketech

Posts: 78; Member since: Aug 17, 2011


7. cdm283813

Posts: 424; Member since: Jan 10, 2015

I had my heart set on the 5X but this effort was disappointing from LG. I don't see it getting as much love on xda developers compared to the 6P.

8. munkiep

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

this was a huge disappointment for me, the 5 (2013) was a fantastic phone. this "new" model 5 has the same storage capacity and same resolution LCD screen...2 years later! they totally failed on this one

15. iliketech

Posts: 78; Member since: Aug 17, 2011


9. jan25

Posts: 470; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

the Nexus 5 had a the Snapdragon 800 not the 801.

12. perry1234

Posts: 652; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

It is sad that Google decided to limit the RAM to 2 GB and max storage to 32 the price is way too high if you see the current competition. Nexus 5 was a much better value for money during its time.

14. iliketech

Posts: 78; Member since: Aug 17, 2011

I'll take the Moto X Pure, it it weren't for the thing being top weighted, it is an awesome experience...

16. alterans

Posts: 15; Member since: Jun 03, 2015

Guess i'm skipping both Nexus this time. I was looking at the 5X, and have absolutely no interest in a product manufactured by Huawei. The lack of wireless charging is a huge let down for me. I already invested in wireless charging pads, battery packs, and car docks, and I am not going to let all the tech go to waste. I thought the Nexus line-up was supposed to be the 'ideal' for an Android device.

17. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1249; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

I think my Nexus 5 can get me until 2016 Nexus devices. These ones just don't have that IT factor.

23. Fellwalker

Posts: 540; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

I'm going off the idea of nexus. I've had 4,5,7,7 2013. Now they remove wireless charging, and give it a small battery, which was my major issue with all of my nexus devices. But I like pure Android kitkat rather than the skinned or lollipop variety. Might have to get something else and cyanogenmod. Meantime I'm off to town tomorrow to see about getting my wearing out nexus 5 battery replaced.

18. jeso86

Posts: 8; Member since: Apr 17, 2014

Couple of issues with this article: Nexus 5 wasn't available in only black, You say that N5X has stereo speakers, but in another article on your site it says that's not true, so what is it then...

22. Fellwalker

Posts: 540; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

Google specs page post 6 above says single speaker. The article's are being rushed put so quickly no one checks them.

21. tokuzumi

Posts: 1948; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

I'll probably pick one up next year. While not a huge upgrade to the Nexus 5, I'm not interested in the 6P, due to size.

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