Google Nexus 6P hands-on: Huawei joins the Nexus club


Huawei is joining the special group of Nexus manufacturers with the Nexus 6P. Nexus smartphones are known for running pure Android and receiving updates before all other Android powered devices. With few exceptions, Nexus smartphones are sold directly by Google and unlocked.

LG arguably had two successful runs with the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 devices, but both Google and its South Korean partner struggled for a while to keep up with demand. Nevertheless, the Nexus 6 by Motorola saw similar sales bottlenecks, but that was offset by the fact that all the major carriers were offering the device through their retail channels as well.

The latest installment of the pure Android devices, the Nexus 6P by Huawei, brings a complete feature set that should appeal to consumers as well as the niche-geeks alike. Hoping that its initial distribution will go much smoother than that of its predecessors, let's take a look up-close at what Huawei has assembled for the Nexus 6P.


The most obvious visual feature of the Nexus 6P is the glossy black camera module on the top-back of the device, with a gentle slope to a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. There will be a few color choices available, aluminum (silver-ish), graphite (black-ish), frost (white-ish), and gold. During the initial launch period, the latter color will only be available in Japan.


After the Nexus 6, it looks like Quad-HD resolution is here to stay with the new Nexus flagship. At 5.7 inches diagonal, you can bet there is more than enough pixel density to deliver crisp images. Once again, the big Nexus will utilize AMOLED screen technology. Last year's Nexus 6 had some decent visual characteristics, but also suffered from a few issues as well. Here's to hoping that when the Google Nexus 6P hits the market in about a month, its screen will delight us with much better colors and brightness!

Processor and memory

Under the somewhat unassuming appearance is all the right stuff to keep things operating smoothly. A powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CPU v2.1 is on board along with 3GB of RAM memory. The proven Adreno 430 GPU will, naturally, take care of any graphics-oriented tasks you may throw at it. There will be a few different non-expandable storage options available: 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB – a choice that sounds reasonable enough.

Interface and Functionality

The stock Android experience remains impressive thanks to all the optimization that has been built into the platform the past couple years: Project Butter, Android Run-Time, and the Material Design motif continue to provide what appears to be a splendid user experience. And, now that fingerprint recognition is part of the OS itself, it will be interesting to see where the Android team takes the feature beyond Android Pay.

Functionally, Android 6.0 Marshmallow arguably does not have the breadth of features that might be found on a heavily skinned Samsung, or LG, the light-polish of HTC Sense, or even the near-stock experiences of OxygenOS, but that plays to stock Android's strengths of smooth operation and integration with Google's services without other apps and "layers" getting in the way.


Cameras have not always been the strong point for Nexus devices, but they have not been in the gutter either. With such a pronounced bump on the back of the Nexus 6P, Huawei has put in place all the ingredients of a competent camera. The 13-megapixel unit is aided by a laser-assist auto-focus, and dual-LED flash. On the front is an 8-megapixel sensor for sharp selfies and crisp video calling.

Video recording up to 4K resolution is also part of the package. All-in-all, nothing new per se, but the camera has all the makings to be a fine picture taker.

Pricing, release date, and expectations

The Google Nexus 6P will start at $499 for the base 32GB model, and go to $549 and $649 for the 64GB and 128GB models, respectively. With pre-orders being open now, the Nexus 6P is expected to ship sometime next month.

That is all good, but we know what you are thinking: will Google and Huawei be able to handle the initial demand for the device? Every year we witness the rare occurrence of the Google Store going into some weird "safe" mode, and then within minutes, everything is sold out. Even with a second Nexus device in the stable, we see no reason why demand will be any easier this year. Are you excited about the new Nexus 6P? Will this be your next Android smartphone? Sound off in the comments!

New reasons to get excited every week

Get the most important news, reviews and deals in mobile tech delivered straight to your inbox

FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless