Nexus 5X vs. 6P: Which Google Smartphone Is Best For You?

Google Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P


At its Nexus event, Google announced two new pure-Android phones: the Nexus 6P made by Huawei and the Nexus 5X made by LG. If you’re a Nexus fan — and like the excellent performance and unadulterated version of Android offered by a smartphone that comes straight from Google — chances are good that you’re considering one or both of the new smartphones. Which one should you choose? The Nexus 6P or the Nexus 5X? We have some advice, but first, let’s take a brief look at the upgrades that each one offers.

The Nexus 6P is Huawei’s first Nexus device, and has both a smaller footprint and a slightly bigger display than its predecessor, the Nexus 6. Jacob Kastrenakes reports for The Verge that the WQHD AMOLED display actually takes up almost three-quarters of the front of the device, which is about the same overall size as the iPhone 6 Plus. The Nexus 6P is the first all-metal Nexus device, includes two front-facing speakers, and Google is calling the device its “most premium phone yet.” It integrates the Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM, and a 3,450 mAh battery. The Nexus 6P also uses USB Type-C for charging, and Google says that the phone also supports fast charging, which will enable it to charge twice as quickly as an iPhone 6 Plus.

On the back of the device is a new fingerprint sensor, called Nexus Imprint, that takes advantage of Android Marshmallow’s status as the first version of Android to include fingerprint support. You simply need to tap the sensor with your finger to wake up and unlock your phone, or authorize payments through Android Pay or the Play Store.

The Nexus 6P also has a new camera system, which includes a 12.3-megapixel Sony sensor with larger pixels than found in most other smartphones. That should enable better low-light performance, and the camera can capture slow-motion video, 4K video, and burst mode for photos. In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to order the Nexus 6P — in aluminum, frost, or graphite — in 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models for $499, $549, and $649.

The Nexus 5X is the successor to the beloved Nexus 5, and like the 5, is the product of a collaboration between Google and LG. Vlad Savov reports for The Verge that the Nexus 5X is built around Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 808 processor and offers a “perfectly adequate spec sheet that accounts for all the user’s needs without tacking on any frills.” The phone features a 5.2-inch 1080p display, a 12.3 megapixel camera with 1.55-micron pixels and 4K video shooting, a 2,700 mAh battery, and a USB-C charging connector. The phone also features the Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor, which is perhaps its most significant upgrade. The Nexus 5X will cost $376 for a model with 16GB of storage or $429 for the 32GB version. Like the Nexus 6P, it will be offered in three different colors.

All of those specifications are a look to take in. But it turns out that the best way to choose between Google’s new Nexus phones is by looking at the prices, and figuring out how much you’re willing to spend. As you might suspect based on the price tags, the Nexus 6P is a significantly higher-end device than the Nexus 5X.

If you can afford the Nexus 6P, you should go with that one. If you’re in the market for something with the price tag of the Nexus 5X, then realize that it will likely number among the best phones available in the $400 price range — a category of phones that Dieter Bohn reports for The Verge is “a weird price category these days: not as cheap as the Moto G, not able to quite compete head-to-head with the flagships.”

Both new Nexus phones will be unlocked, so they won’t tie you to a contract, and they’ll work across all U.S. networks. Both Nexus phones will also work on Google’s Project Fi network. Additionally, all Nexus preorders will include a free 90-day trial of Google Play Music, and U.S. buyers will get a $50 Play Store credit. Both phones are also eligible for Google’s new Nexus Protect warranty program, which costs $69 for the Nexus 5X or $89 for the Nexus 6P and offers two years of coverage for accidental damage and mechanical breakdown.

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