What I wanted from the Google Nexus 5X (as a Nexus 5 owner)

What I wanted from the Google Nexus 5X (as a Nexus 5 owner)
Compared to many other handsets out there, Google's Nexus smartphones aren't exactly hot sellers. Nevertheless, they are important devices: they're always the first to run Google's latest major iterations of Android, and to receive updates.

With the exception of the first two Nexus handsets (the HTC-made Nexus One from early 2010 and the Samsung-made Nexus S from late 2010), Google released just one Nexus smartphone per year: Galaxy Nexus (2011), Nexus 4 (2012), Nexus 5 (2013), and Nexus 6 (2014). Yesterday, however, was a special day, as Google announced two new Nexus phones at the same time: the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P.

The 6P is made by Huawei, and is the successor to the Motorola-made Nexus 6 from last year. The 5X is manufactured by LG, obviously succeeding the Nexus 5 from 2013. Both new devices run stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box - an important aspect for many users, including myself.

Despite the fact that there are lots and lots of fancier and more advanced handsets out there, I currently use the Nexus 5 2013 as my main smartphone. I wanted to buy the Motorola Nexus 6, but I realized that this was simply too large for me. It's not that my hands are small or anything - they're normal. But I just don't feel comfortable with a phone the size of the Nexus 6 (159.26 x 82.98 x 10.06 mm, or 6.27 x 3.27 x 0.40 inches). The Nexus 6P is about as large as the Nexus 6, so, once again, it's not for me. Before the Nexus 5, I've owned the Nexus 4, also manufactured by LG. Thus, I was more than happy to find out about a possible new and relatively compact LG-made Nexus. Of course, this turned out to be the Nexus 5X, which I'm planning to make my next smartphone, as it's offering most of the things that I've been expecting from a Nexus 5 successor. Read on to find out more.


Design and construction
 
At 147 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm (5.79 x 2.86 x 0.31 inches), the Nexus 5X is obviously larger than the Nexus 5, but it's still OK for me to feel comfortable with in hand (and pocket). When you first lay your eyes on it, the Nexus 5X might trick you into believing that it has dual front-facing speakers - after all, there's a grille at the top, and another one, symmetrical, at the bottom. Weirdly, only the top grille is hiding a speaker. The reason behind the existence of the bottom grille is a mysterious one, though we do know that it hides an RGB notification LED light (which is a good thing, since the notification LED light on the older Nexus 5 is a feature that I really like). All in all, this new dual grille setup makes the Nexus 5X resemble a Motorola handset, at least from the front. I'm not yet convinced that I like this design, but perhaps it'll grow on me. In any case, I would have preferred a cleaner appearance for the front, à la Nexus 5 2013. As for the back of the 5X, this is a bit crowed at the top, but it doesn't look bad to me anyway.

Although it's not a metal device (it's made out of polycarbonate, to be precise), the Nexus 5X seemingly has a better build quality compared to the model from 2013. It's not that the Nexus 5 is terrible in this regard, but there are some questionable things about its construction, like the flimsy volume and power buttons, which often feel like they're about to fall off.


Display

Like the Nexus 5, the 5X is a handset with a 1080 x 1920 pixels IPS LCD screen. However, the screen size has been bumped from 5 inches to 5.2 inches, so the ppi density is now a tad lower: 423 ppi vs 445 ppi. Still, this is a perfectly fine ppi density (for example, it's higher than the ppi density of any iPhone), so I have no complaints regarding the new screen. From what I'm seeing, color accuracy is good - just as it is on the Nexus 5.

Processor, RAM and storage space

The Nexus 5 is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor coupled with 2 GB of RAM, which does an excellent job at providing a smooth overall performance. The Nexus 5X obviously has a newer and better processor: a 64-bit, six-core Snapdragon 808 processor (also used on LG's G4 flagship), so it's definitely superior in this regard. What's a bit disappointing is that the new Nexus also has 2 GB of RAM. However, since we're talking about a stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow device here, I don't think this should be a cause of concern for anyone.
      
I wasn't really expecting the Nexus 5X to feature a microSD card slot (and it doesn't), but I was hoping the base model would have 32 GB of storage space, so the more expensive one would offer 64 GB. In reality, the cheaper Nexus 5X model ($379) only has 16 GB of internal memory, which will likely translate into about 12 GB of storage space that you can actually use. That's far from being great, so I'll certainly stay away from the 16 GB model, instead going for the Nexus 5X 32 GB ($429).

Camera and fingerprint sensor

I don't think I'm using my smartphone's camera as much as most people do, but I did want the new Nexus to be good at taking photos. And it looks like its main camera is not just good, but excellent! Like the Nexus 6P, the 5X has a brand new 12.3 MP rear camera (with f/2/0 aperture) which seems to be utilizing a 1/2.3" Sony IMX377 sensor. The camera's pixels are larger (1.55μm) than what you normally find on mobile cameras - this should allow it to take better photos in low light situations, despite the fact that there's no Optical Image Stabilization on board. First photo samples from Google's new camera look very promising - this could be one of the best smartphone cameras we've seen thus far (not just from Google). The Nexus 5X can also shoot 4K video at 30fps, which is a nice addition.

To be honest, the absence of a fingerprint scanner wouldn't have been a deal breaker for me. But I do appreciate the fact that Google has packed a fingerprint sensor on the back of the Nexus 5X, just like on the more expensive Nexus 6P. Fingerprint sensors are becoming the norm on high-end smartphones, and, with the arrival of Android Pay, Google wanted its new Nexus family to be safe and future-proof from this point of view.

Battery and phone calls

Battery life on my Nexus 5 (currently running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop) is not horrible, but, obviously, there's room for improvement. The Nexus 5X comes with a 2700 mAh battery which, according to Google, lasts "all day." This is larger than the 2300 mAh battery of the Nexus 5, and, paired with the new Doze feature of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, should provide satisfactory usage and stand-by times.

Since the Nexus 5X is a phone at its core, I do hope that it's going to handle voice calls without any problems. And it most likely will, seeing that it includes 3 microphones (1 front, 1 top, 1 bottom) with noise cancellation.

Final words

Unfortunately, the Nexus 5X may not start shipping before late October, so it looks like I'll have to wait about a month to actually own one and see if it's as good as I expect it to be. Right now, though, after checking out its official features, and plenty of hands-on videos (starting with ours, which you should watch), I think this will be a worthy successor to the Nexus 5, and I'm pretty excited about its upcoming launch. Of course, my Nexus 5 will soon be updated to Android 6.0 Marshmallow, so I'm getting new software features anyway, but I do need newer and better hardware, and that's where the Nexus 5X comes in. What about you? Is the Nexus 5X a smartphone that you'd consider buying?


Related phones

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)

FEATURED VIDEO

38 Comments

1. murron

Posts: 162; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

Off topic, but where is your guys's moto x style/pure edition review?!?

4. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

Good question. Maybe they're still office infighting over what to choose in Moto Maker.

17. murron

Posts: 162; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

Lol probably

30. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

Coming up!

37. Paximos

Posts: 283; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

Your comment is like reviews on an app criticizing what the app cannot do rather what the developer claims it will do!!...stay ON topic.

38. murron

Posts: 162; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

These are comments not reviews. I was just asking if they had a moto x pure edition review on the way and Chris P. answered me.

2. Xperia_droid

Posts: 42; Member since: Nov 07, 2013

As a previous Nexus 5 owner - 5X is clearly not for me . i was hoping for a Micro-SD card slot. and Battery is a big let down on my Nexus 5 things aren't looking better in this case too. + Speaker is so so poor on my Nexus 5 and i don't know what to say about this. 6P is looking good but again it is so big for my liking . Final verdict - No more Nexus this time :(

5. Florin.T

Posts: 318; Member since: Dec 16, 2013

I really think battery life on the 5X will be great. But we'll see about that.

6. SamsungPhanboy

Posts: 765; Member since: Mar 31, 2015

The problem is the 5X just doesn't feel like a true Nexus 5 successor.

15. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS

Posts: 418; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

Then try the Lumia 950. It has everything ds card bigger battery oled screen. Removable battery. 4 mic stereo recording windows 10. Need I go own history will be made 6th October. I am the prophecy.

16. IAMBLCKJ3ZUS

Posts: 418; Member since: Sep 29, 2015

sd card

3. Teejay1100

Posts: 115; Member since: Aug 16, 2012

No one cares about that phone anymore. Not even these sites.

7. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

A rational, reasoned decision, Florin. I'm wrestling with some of the same concerns about what to upgrade from my Droid Maxx. It bothers me that, apart from the Galaxy S6 which is too TouchWizy for my tastes, flagships are so big this year. I like the size of the 5X, but I would feel more comfortable if there were a 64 GB storage option. It's as if they want to force people to buy the more expensive 6P instead. And while I'm sure 2 GB would be plenty for now, it makes me wonder about future-proofing. I might just skip 2015 entirely and wait and see what 2016 brings.

8. Reza.N

Posts: 77; Member since: Sep 06, 2015

but Guys it's gonna be overpriced..check out GSMArena

9. Dimass

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 09, 2015

I will love to have a 5X, but 479€ in Europe is too expensive for me. Maybe the LG G4 or the future Mi5

11. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Same here, European price is too much. Better pay the extra money for the 6P or just get something else.

10. WeezyF

Posts: 155; Member since: Jul 09, 2015

nice !

12. natypes

Posts: 1110; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

I would love to have one as a second device, but I want some bells and whistles on my phone too. I really don't know why Google doesn't make a killer Nexus each year. Even if they lose a little money on it, it would speak volumes about how much they truly care about Android. Give it the vessel it deserves! That being said the Nexus devices are very solid devices, but I just wish there wasn't an article about what was needed from it...

13. TyrionLannister unregistered

The processor enough is a deal-breaker for me. SD 808 shouldn't be a 2015 flagship processor at all. It's weaker than even the 805 from last year, which is absolute shame. Add to that the ugly design and the very close price tag to 6P( 70$ between 32 GB variants), it makes absolutely no sense. What I would have preferred would be a 6P scaled down into the size of 5X. No one would have minded the price increase( 70$ is non-issue). Also. these prices are US only. I'm pretty sure the 6P will cost 600-700$ in my country, and 5X will cost 500$+ for 16 GB.

18. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

I agree the SD-805 is still a solid performer, but it is built on 32bit architecture. I believe that LG made the right decision to use the SD-808 because it is built on 64bit architecture and it is the best SoC that is currently available considering all of the issues that have plagued the SD-810. There are other areas that LG and Google could have improved the 5X though. One being that after the 2014 Nexus 6 and its 3GB of ram a Nexus should not have gone backwards to 2GB in the 5X. Storage should have started at 32GB and gone to 64GB or all the way up to 128GB. 1080p screen I think is perfectly fine but the battery should have at least seen a jump to 3000mAh. But alas, the Nexus 5X is the device that has been given to us this year...Not a compelling enough reason for me to upgrade (or in my mind downgrade) to the new device even though I find the N6 2014's size to be ridiculous...

31. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

I've gathered the SD808 is roughly equal to the 805 both in CPU and GPU performance. It's not a bad choice by any means, but it's going to be blown away by the 820 in a few months.

33. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

That's assuming that Qualcomm has actually fixed the overheating issues instead of throttling or denying the problem exists....

14. aasifmaqsood

Posts: 29; Member since: Sep 30, 2015

Florin what is SOT on your nexus 5?? did it lag??

35. Florin.T

Posts: 318; Member since: Dec 16, 2013

There's occasional lag only when there are many processes open simultaneously (10+, including Chrome tabs, Gmail, etc.). Nothing too bothersome anyway. As for screen on time, I haven't really measured that. But the battery always lasts at least a full day (as in, from morning to night, not 24 hours).

20. Awalker

Posts: 1982; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

I had high hopes for this phone and I was willing to pay top dollar for it but Google really let me down.

21. cfprelude

Posts: 140; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

im a current n5 user too and cant see "upgrading" to this... i really wanted to like it but it just misses the mark for me. if the 32gb was the base model and sold for 299 id sing another tune but ignoring the 16gb its a 429.99 phone yet so many other phones are on par with it for cheaper or the same. the battery life will likely be fine because of 6.0 but that also means my n5 will be better in about a month (by far my biggest and really my only complaint about the n5). i think moto has a lock on the best perf to value from a big name right now on unlocked phones. the 6p is way to big for a 5.7" phone... go moto x style with expandable sd card for less money and smaller footprint if that your thing.

22. TezzaBP

Posts: 274; Member since: May 18, 2015

What would be the best thing ever would be if Google pulled together the brands built on Android, like Samsung, Huawei, HTC, LG and more, and got them all to help build one phone that would be the ultimate killer Nexus, perfect in all places, the best smartphone possible, one to truly kill Android. They could get all of the brands to work on specific parts of the phone they're known really well for, they could even give it advertisements, something to really show what Android is capable of. But unfortunately, that's just my little dream for now...

23. geodude074

Posts: 99; Member since: Mar 05, 2013

Too many whiners and complainers in here, expecting a top-tier flagship phone at a mid-range price. I think what you're looking for is the Nexus 6P, which comes with the SD 810 and 3 GB of RAM. It also comes with a top-range price, since it's a top-tier device, as it should. The Nexus 5X is a bump in specs in every category (except for pixel density) from the original Nexus 5, and it's only $30 more. Name another device that comes with an SD 808, top-tier camera, for less than $380 retail.

24. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

That's been my argument as well. This isn't a lower-midrange phone like the Moto G with a Snapdragon 4xx and a 720p screen. The price is right. If it weren't for the similarly priced Moto X Pure, there wouldn't be much complaining.

28. Lauticol

Posts: 404; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

LG G4 has much better specs and you can get it for about $380-$400

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