Review: Updated: Nexus 6P

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Review: Updated: Nexus 6P

Introduction and design

Update: Our Nexus 6P review has been revised to reflect the latest version of the Android Nougat Beta is now available to download on the handset.

The Nexus 6P is Google’s current flagship Android phablet, and with a 5.7-inch display and lower price it doesn’t stretch your hand or your wallet quite as far as its predecessor, the Nexus 6.

If you’re considering the 6P you may want to hold off for now. Talk of a duo of new Nexus handsets is currently rife on the web, and they currently look to be on for a September or October launch. Even if the new phones don’t take your fancy, the likelihood is their arrival will reduce the price of the 6P further, allowing you to get yourself a bargain.

The ‘P’ in the Nexus 6P’s name stands for ‘Premium’, thanks to its all-metal unibody design that’s meant to rival the aluminum iPhone 6S Plus and glass-and-metal infused Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Samsung Galaxy Note 7. It’s the bigger and more sophisticated-looking version of the plastic-coated Nexus 5X.

However, the P could’ve stood for … a lot of things: ‘Plus’, since it requires two hands to operate the phone properly, or ‘Palmable’, as it’s still way easier to clutch in one hand than the 6-inch Nexus 6.

It could also have easily stood for ‘Photos’, considering the Nexus 6P camera benefits from a 12.3-megapixel (MP) sensor that does a better job than many other cameras in low light; ‘Power’, as the device uses USB-C for fast charging; or ‘Performance’, given the top-of-the-line specs and inclusion of Android 6.0 Marshmallow and Android 7.0 Nougat beta.

Finally, the ‘P’ should be popular among bargain hunters for its ‘Price’. It now starts at $ 499 (£449, AU$ 899) thanks to an early 2016 price drop, and with a little shopping you can find it for a bit cheaper in the US and UK. This makes tempting upgrades to the 64GB and 128GB models easier to pull the checkout trigger on – as does the fact that it’s a SIM-free unlocked phone.

All of that said, there seems to be an endless number of 5.3- and 5.7-inch phones vying for the same phablet audience: iPhone 6S Plus, LG G5, Moto X Style and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Note 7.

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While the Nexus 6P price is down, the specs have been upped just enough to make this a cost-effective Android contender for our best phones and best Android phones lists.


Huawei built the Nexus 6P to be different to any other Google-commissioned phone. Its metal design is undoubtedly a step up from the plastic Nexus 5X, and every previous Nexus.

Although relatively flat around the back with barely tapered edges, it feels comfortable in one hand, yet it still takes two hands to operate it properly. This is, after all, a phone with a 5.7-inch display.

Google Nexus 6P review

Its dimensions are 159.4 x 77.8 x 7.3mm, making it just one tenth of a millimeter taller than the Nexus 6, but notably narrower and thinner than its predecessors measurements of 159.3 x 83 x 10.1mm. My overly stretched-out, phone-wielding hands appreciate this change.

It went on a much-needed diet to become palmable, weighing in at 178g compared to 184g a year prior, despite Huawei raising the bar on the Nexus 6P specs.

Clearly, it was hard to fit everything in. The 12.3MP camera creates an unsightly-looking rear bulge with a black strip, but this eyesore is a fair trade-off given the better low light photos.

Google Nexus 6P review

Everything else has a luxurious look to it. There’s a riveted power button with a unique texture, and a smooth volume rocker, on the right side of the frame. There’s little chance of mixing up these buttons in the dark.

Since arriving on the scene though, we’ve seen a flurry of new flagship phones sporting similarly impressive premium bodies including the Huawei P9, HTC 10 and Samsung Galaxy S7 – all of which are also easier to grasp with a hand. Of course, their screens are also smaller, so you’ll need to decide how big you want to go.

There’s also no chance that I’ll ever put the charging cable in the wrong way. A reversible USB-C port sits on the bottom of the frame, replacing micro USB for faster charging.

While a 3.5mm headphone jack rests at the top, I dig the front-facing stereo speakers enough to use them. Too many Androids put the speakers on the back, which makes no sense at all.

Google Nexus 6P review

There’s no off-beat color here, in a year when the Nexus 5X has a minty-looking Ice Blue color and the iPhone 6S debuted a popular rose gold option.

The Nexus 6P colors keep it simple with Aluminium (gray), Graphite (black) and Frost (white), although at CES 2016 manufacturer Huawei launched the illustrious gold variant of the 6P.

Want to customize or protect it? Google has already rolled out multiple cases. I tried out the microfiber 6P case and the very rubber 5X case, and prefer the microfiber option hands down. A leather folio case and elastomer are also options in the Google Store.

Display, fingerprint sensor and USB-C

The Nexus 6P challenges the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Moto X Style with a 5.7-inch display and Quad HD resolution, as it keeps pace with its fellow Android juggernauts.

That’s because it’s backed by similar technology – a 5.7-inch AMOLED display, which contrasts with the IPS LCD found in the Nexus 5X, LG G4 and iPhone 6S.

The screen has a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution with a dense 518 pixels per inch, and, all around it looks brighter and more colorful than the Nexus 6, which also had a dimmer Quad HD display at the same resolution.

Brightness is undoubtedly higher when "adaptive brightness" is turned off, and color accuracy is a step in the right direction compared to what we saw from its predecessor.

Google Nexus 6P review

Without diving into the developer settings and changing things around (which most people won’t do), I found that the screen is still more saturated than it is true-to-life. Heavy saturation works on some subjects, like vibrant-looking red strawberries, but looks unnatural on actors faces if they with a slight Hollywood tan.

The Nexus 6P retains the Adaptive Display functionality from Motorola’s Nexus 6. Whenever the phone is picked up or a notification arrives, it flashes a grayscale notification lockscreen.

I prefer the gesture-sensing Moto Display, which uses tiny IR sensors embedded in the front of the phone to detect motion or a hand wave and then display the time and peekable notifications.

The screen also doesn’t have the common double-tap-to-wake function found on the LG G4 and HTC One M9. That would’ve helped, given the rear-facing fingerprint sensor.

Fingerprint sensor

The Nexus 6P’s aluminum unibody doesn’t attract fingerprints like the smudge-filled Nexus 5 in black with its soft-touch coating. But it does have one spot where fingerprints are wholly acceptable.

Google’s Nexus Imprint Sensor is introduced in the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, and it works a lot like other biometric fingerprint sensors out there, including Apple’s Touch ID home button.

Google Nexus 6P review

There are two key differences. Registering a new fingerprint takes no longer than eight seconds, whereas Apple and Samsung’s methods require too many long presses and pauses.

More strikingly, the fingerprint sensor is on the back and static – it doesn’t double as a button that you can press down. Google’s hypes this spot as a natural location for your fingers.

My index finger, usually resting along the frame, disagreed at first. I had to learn to bend it around back to unlock the phone, and it was initially awkward, but I eventually got used to it.

It’s a little easier to pull off on the smaller Nexus 5X, but the tradeoff is that I didn’t smudge the Nexus 6P camera, which is off-center and further away than on the 5X.

Nexus 6P review

On either phone, it takes half a second to unlock the phone and, even with the fast setup time, the sensor is just as accurate as Apple’s and Samsung’s.

However, I still find myself using archaic unlock methods, simply because it’s easier than picking up this 5.7-inch phone whenever it’s resting on my desk or a table.

This is where front-facing fingerprint sensors work best. However, between you and me, I find that the Nexus 6P is ideal when ‘talking’ to someone, but really nonchalantly unlocking my phone in back. Sneaky, sneaky.

USB-C connection

Google’s Nexus design evolution is reflected in more than just the matte aluminum build. The Nexus 6P makes the jump to charging and transferring data via USB Type-C.

This means your stash of micro USB cables is useless, and you’ll have to tout around this new connector and charging block. Forget it – or worse, lose it – and your phone’s battery life is in jeopardy.

Changes like this are always a bit jarring, and I feel like I have too many cables already. Every other Android phone and tablet I have uses micro USB, and my Apple devices use Lightning.

Google Nexus 6P review

My Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatches take advantage of multiple inductive chargers, and a few holdouts like GoPro still require a USB mini. My bag is full of chargers, and this is just one more.

But, once everyone gets on the same page, the advantage is clear: USB-C offers faster charging times, and the connector is reversible – I never fumble around with inserting it into the Nexus 6P.

Google at least made the transition easier. The Nexus 6P comes with a USB-C-to-USB cable, so you can still charge and transfer files into a computer with normal USB-A port. The Nexus 5X doesn’t offer the same accessory for free.

Specs and performance

The Nexus 6P has been built to be a cutting-edge phone, and it succeeds with more advanced architecture than the Nexus 5X and several top Android phones.

This is because it harnesses the power of the Snapdragon 810 v2.1, which doesn’t run as slow or hot under pressure as the Snapdragon 810 when it debuted in the LG G Flex 2.

Qualcomm’s 64-bit, octa-core processor combines a faster 2.0GHz quad-core chip and a slower, but more energy efficient, 1.55GHz quad-core one. The results finally strike the right balance.

Google Nexus 6P review

Saving even more power, the Nexus 6P includes what Google calls the Android Sensor Hub, a dedicated motion chip that alone drives all sensors on the phone. This leaves the core processing unit more bandwidth (and thus power) to run the operating system.

The Android Sensor Hub accomplishes orientation and motion tracking tasks, all without taxing the processor. It goes hand-in-hand with the battery-saving, Android Marshmallow Doze feature.

There’s an Adreno 430 GPU embedded into this System-on-a-Chip, too and, more importantly, 3GB of RAM. The hardware is fit for multitasking through a whole bunch of apps without painful slowdown. With Android Marshmallow or Android Nougat beta onboard the 6P, it hardly flinches.

It’s certainly not future-proofed with the most RAM out there. 4GB of RAM became the standard among phablets in the latter half of 2015, including the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+ and OnePlus 2, then in 2016 with normal-sized phones like the LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. Meanwhile, Asus Zenfone 3 and OnePlus 3 are taking it to the next level with 6GB of RAM.

Google Nexus 6P review

The Nexus 5X is technically even slower, with its stepped down Qualcomm 808 processor and just 2GB of RAM. In most – but not all – cases, apps loaded more quickly on the Nexus 6P.

Huawei’s phone also benefits from bigger internal storage sizes of 32GB, 64GB and 128GB, while the 5X is limited to 16GB and 32GB. The latter’s low entry-level price is attractive, but deceiving.

There’s no microSD card slot in the Nexus 6P, so it’s important to pony up enough money for the storage you need both now and down the road.


So how did all of the Nexus 6P’s silicon fare when put under the pressure? The good news is that the Snapdragon 810 v2.1 didn’t buckle after running a bunch of Geekbench 3 tests.

Nexus 6P review

With a score of 4,073, it’s plenty faster than the HTC One M9 (3,595) and LG G4 (3,499), but trails the iPhone 6S Plus (4,418), Samsung Galaxy S6 (4,975) and Note 5 (4,849).

It’s exactly what I hoped for, given the souped-up specs, but bargain price compared to top tier phones from Apple and Samsung. It’s definitely a step up from the Nexus 5X (2,990).

There was an off-chance that the Snapdragon 810 v2.1 processor wouldn’t be the fix Google and Huawei were hoping for. While there’s some slowdown, it’s not the dramatic trouble that made the LG G Flex 2 so disappointing nine months ago.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow and apps

Google and Huawei’s Nexus 6P’s refinements apply mostly to the hardware, but are also found in its software, with the Android Marshmallow operating system pre-loaded onto the phone.

It’s an even smoother experience from boot up to battery drain with the Android Nougat beta onboard if you’re willing to download Android Nougat beta

There are actually few obvious changes. It’s mostly behind-the-scenes adjustments, like longer battery life when the phone is on standby and app permission tweaks.

Android 6.0 Marshmallow makes for a smarter version of Google’s mobile operating system, and that’s ingrained in its one noticeable, front-facing feature, Google Now on Tap.

Holding down on the on-screen home buttons brings up Google Now on Tap, which scans what you’re currently reading, watching or hearing, and it tries to educate you on the topic.

Nexus 6P review

Reading about the new Star Wars movie poster in the news and holding down the home button instantly brought up a short description and series of links for both Star Wars and Lucasfilm.

They’re in the form of icons, but lead to Star Wars-appropriate Google searches, Wikipedia entries, social media content and Google Play Store apps. It’s a neat shortcut for more information on whatever you’re currently looking at.

This works best in messaging apps, wherein someone references a show, actor or newsmaker you know nothing about. Google Now on Tap is a simple way to cross-reference the internet.

Everything else about Android Marshmallow is straightforward in that Nexus 6P is a phone with stock Android. It really contrasts with the two dozen worthless apps, say, Asus phones levy on you.

Nexus 6P review

It’s filled with your favorite Google apps out-of-the-box instead: Gmail, Google Maps, Contacts, Drive, Calendar, Photos, Hangouts, YouTube, Photos and so on.

Pinned to the home screen are Google’s camera, SMS Messenger and Play multimedia apps in a folder. Inside is Play Music, Play Movies & TV and Play Games.

The Google Play Store acts as your portal to downloading everything else, from Facebook and Instagram to LastPass and Pandora.

The last thing I’ll touch on before getting into specific apps is the all-encompassing app drawer. Prepare your brain, since it now has you scroll up and down (no longer left to right). There’s a handy recently used apps row at the very top to take away some of the pain.

Android Nougat

If you fancy getting an insight into the future of Android you can download the beta version of Android Nougat onto your Nexus 6P right now, for free.

Google’s made it super easy to install, just head to on your 6P and follow the instructions on screen.

Nexus 6P review

Of course, this is still an unfinished build of Android Nougat. It’s in beta and work perfectly, as smooth and as feature packed as has been running on my 6P. Some apps don’t work just yet, so be prepared to want to revert back to Android Marshmallow if you’ll miss them too much.

I haven’t witnessed any battery improvements thanks to the improved Doze mode, but again the software is yet to be optimised so hopefully it will be more noticeable come the find build in a few weeks.

  • Android N beta tips and tricks


I’ve never been a big fan of messaging on Android, because so many of my contacts use different apps. Nothing ties them together, and the Nexus 6P software doesn’t fix this.

It does, however, offer a clean and simple SMS app called Messenger (different from Facebook’s identically named Messenger app). It’s fast and lightweight.

Nexus 6P review

Google, of course, still packs in Hangouts, which was redesigned over the summer for both iOS and then Android. It’s better, but can’t really top Apple’s iMessages way of doing things.

As I explained in my Nexus 5X review, text messages are isolated on my Nexus 6P when using the Messenger app, and Hangouts confuses people by integrating my work email or my Google Voice number.

Group messaging with a number of iPhone users is also a problem (this one problem isn’t necessarily Google’s fault). My messages go to the original messenger and no one else.

It’s a shame, because Google has a fantastic keyboard by default, with finger swiping enabled on the frontend and a smarter autocorrect system in the backend.

Movies and music

The 5.7-inch display of the Nexus 6P is a better fit for watching HD movies in a 16:9 aspect ratio when compared to the old Nexus 5.

The screen size isn’t as big as the 6-inch Nexus 6, but the color is more accurate. I don’t find the hues to be overly saturated, though some people may find this to look washed out.

Nexus 6P review

Really, you can see the difference in side-by-side comparisons of actor’s faces. Orange is the new tan, when I watched "Big" on the Nexus 6P compared to the Nexus 5X.

The latter doesn’t have the artificial pop of the Nexus 6P and doesn’t boast that quad HD display, but it’s colors are more true to life. Nexus 6P, however, beats the 5X when it comes to sound quality.

Listening to music and movies is a bit one-sided on the Nexus 5X. The speaker for all media is located in the bottom of the phone, whereas the multimedia-friendly Nexus 6P has stereo speakers at the top and bottom.


The Nexus 6P can handle all of the game apps I throw at it, with no discernible slowdown or imperfections in the graphics and color. Real Racing 3 and Asphalt 8: Airborne get along just fine.

Nexus 6P review

Slight variations between Nexus displays favor the Nexus 5X when it came to movies starring real people, but game apps I test look, oddly, a tad more muted in color on the 6P display.

Bezel has become a bad word among smartphones, but I find games in landscape mode easier to control, thanks to the slightly thicker bezel of the Nexus 6P (the same is true of the Nexus 5X).


The Nexus 6P camera, along with the Nexus 5X, is the best of any Nexus phone, Google said to no one’s surprise. After all, we only saw subpar results from the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6.

What’s different here is that the 12.3MP Nexus 6P rear camera captures 1.55-micron pixels, which is larger than the normal 1.4 microns. Translation? Bigger pixels and more light captured.

This allows me to take superior indoor photos, especially in low-light situations like restaurants, bars and outdoors after dark. I’m pleased with the results compared to older Nexus phones.

Google Nexus 6P review

This isn’t to say that the Nexus 6P camera is always better or brighter than the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, LG G4, iPhone 6S Plus and Moto X Style I awkwardly carry around.

It’s also identical to the 12.3MP Nexus 5X camera sensor, save for processing speeds. I had to double check the files when comparing my photos to make sure I didn’t load the same ones.

Both new Nexus phones lack optical image stabilization (OIS) and the nifty camera software that is offered by Samsung and LG.

Google Nexus 6P review

You won’t find options to shoot in RAW, gesture controls to snap selfies without touching the display or software-manipulated wide selfies for group shots.

Google, to its credit, has improved its default camera software in a year’s time. You can switch between the front- and rear-facing camera with just one tap instead of two confusing taps.

You can also set the timer with one press, too, and turn on video recording with an easy swipe. This Nexus 6P camera records video in 4K at 30 frames per second, while the front-facing camera is 8MP with the normal 1.4 microns and the same f/2.0 aperture.

In fact, the only thing hidden in a side menu are returning modes: Lens Blur, Panoramic and Photosphere.

This is where Google’s camera failed to impress me more than Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5, as much as I saw impressive results from both. The extra modes and post-production processing found in recent Samsung phones is still top-notch, even with the normal 1.4 microns.

Camera samples: close-ups and landscapes

The Nexus 6P camera is certainly the best of any Google Nexus phone today, with strong performance in proper light. To dig deeper into what proper light means, you can see that photos with too much direct light and low light don’t come out as well.

Yes, Google claims that Nexus 6P is a low light performer and to an extent that’s true. But dimly lit bars and outdoor nighttime shots aren’t going to compare to something like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5. Let’s dive further into the Nexus 6P camera review.

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

It take take excellent close-up shots with medium light and delivers a rich bokeh effect. But as you can see below, its biggest weakness isn’t quality with medium light, it’s autofocus. I tried three times to take this bar scene beer photo, but autofocus kept wanting to focus on the background and not the more obvious subjects in front of me.

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Nexus 6P

Here’s what the Samsung Galaxy S7 did, without me needing to adjust the focus.

Samsung Galaxy S7

View original Samsung Galaxy S7 photo

Samsung Galaxy S7

Autofocus worked fine on the iPhone 6S, too.

iPhone 6S

View original iPhone 6 photo

iPhone 6S

Outdoors, it’s able to autofocus without a problem, I found. It’s just when you turn down the lights a smidge that it wants to focus on the least interesting parts of a picture.

Nexus 6P. Not sure if... newspaper is really popular and sold out, or out of business

View original Nexus 6P photo

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

In fact, it can look like a postcard at times. It has a little more saturation than more realistic colors of the iPhone 6S, but people prefer punchy colors (I do too). After all, you know this pic is going to Instagram in a second.

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

That said, it’s nowhere near as punchy and vibrant as the Samsung Galaxy S7, which takes stunning photos, even if they make the landscapes seem unrealistic (in a good way)

Samsung Galaxy S7

View original Samsung Galaxy S7 photo

iPhone 6S falls toward the more realistic side when it comes to reproducing accurate colors. That means Nexus 6P falls somewhere in between. Google’s camera software is definitely on the darker side compared to the bright Samsung camera.

iPhone 6S

View original iPhone 6S photo

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Too much light can overexpose photos, but generally, that was a rare occurrence with the Nexus 6P rear camera. As you’ll see on the next page, the Nexus 6P front-facing camera didn’t perform as well with too much light present. It needed to be just right.

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Low light photos and selfies

Google claims that the Nexus 6P takes excellent low light photos, and it does, when there’s a good amount of light involved. It actually looks stunning for a smartphone camera. These trivia night photos during Back to the Future day are keepers.

However, turn down the lights too much, like at a karaoke bar and you’ll see much different results.

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

All of your awkward dancing during karaoke looks worse when moving in low light on a photo captured by the Google Nexus 6P. There’s no hiding its inability to catch up with moving subjects.

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

If everyone stays still, it looks passable for social media posts, but still not good enough compared to what I’ve experienced from Samsung and LG phones. The same noisy results occurred in outdoor nighttime shots.

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Selfie photos

Like it or not, selfie photos are becoming more of an everyday habit, and front-facing cameras have to look as good as possible. The Nexus 6P default app doesn’t have as many nifty tricks as Samsung or LG and the 8MP here has varying results. It’s loads better than the Nexus 6, but there’s still room for improvement.

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Nexus 6P

View original Nexus 6P photo

Battery life

The Nexus 6P is a big phone with a big battery. At 3,450mAh, it’s capacity is bigger than most other phones we’ve reviewed, save for a few, like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active and Moto X Play.

Google’s phablet lasts slightly longer than one day with heavy use, so you’ll have time to get back to that all-important USB-C charger before it’s completely drained. It lasts just long enough.

Our battery life tests indicate that how quickly the battery drains heavily depends on the display settings you have the phone set to: for example, is adaptive brightness on or off?

Turning it on saves battery life, with our 90-minute HD video running the 100% charge down to 84%. That’s just shy of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 that ran down to 86% at full brightness.

Google Nexus 6P review

However, this isn’t the true full brightness of the Nexus 6P. Diving into the settings menu and switching adaptive brightness off drains the full battery life down to a less impressive 75%.

What helps, if you’re not constantly turning on the display, are Google’s new software tricks: Doze mode and App Standby. They essentially put the phone into a semi-sleep mode.

When you go to pick up your phone after waking up, and it wasn’t on the charger, you should see minimal battery drain and breathe a sigh of relief. It’s a handy tool, and beats the pants off of straight battery life tests.

Even better, when you do charge the Nexus 6P, it takes just 1 hour and 37 minutes to juice the battery up to 100%. That’s faster than the Nexus 5X and it’s smaller and weaker battery.

It’s marginally slower to charge than Samsung’s Fast Charging and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 standards, which use a micro USB cable along with a larger-than-normal charging brick.

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Note 5, for example, fill back up in 1 hour and 20 minutes. Thus, USB-C is nearly as fast with the added benefit of being reversible.

What’s missing here are any sort of wireless charging capabilities. Samsung’s phones are leading the way via their 88-minute "Fast Charge Wireless Charging Pad."

Google, on the other hand, didn’t include any sort of wireless charging in its two Nexus phones. It recently yanked the Nexus Wireless Charger in its Google Store because of this reason.


Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+/Galaxy S7 Edge

Galaxy S6 Edge+

Samsung is an old hand at phablets, so it’s no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and newer – and slightly smaller – Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge present the Nexus 6P with some stiff competition.

The name might be a bit of a mouthful and with a 5.7-inch screen the S6 Edge+ is too, but what a screen it is. Like the Nexus 6P it’s QHD, but unlike the 6P it’s also curved, leaving it looking absolutely gorgeous.

Sadly, those curves are little more than eye candy and the S6 Edge+ is pricier than the Nexus 6P, but with a stylish metal and glass build, a class-leading 16MP snapper, a powerful octa-core processor, 4G of RAM and a fingerprint scanner it goes a long way towards justifying its price tag.

It’s more powerful and more stylish than the Nexus 6P and it also has better photographic chops, but with underwhelming battery life, a high price and a more cluttered take on Android than the 6P’s stock offering it won’t be a better buy for everyone.

Meanwhile the Galaxy S7 Edge offers up a more palm-friendly 5.5-inch dual-curved display in a far more compact body and even more power stuffed under the hood. It’ll cost you an arm and a leg though.

  • Read our full Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge review | Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ review

iPhone 6S Plus

iPhone 6S Plus

The iPhone 6S Plus is Apple’s second stab at a phablet and it’s quite an achievement. It’s actually barely a phablet by Android standards, and certainly smaller than the Nexus 6P at 5.5 inches. At 1080 x 1920 it’s also not as sharp, but it’s bright, clear and vibrant, so you probably won’t miss the extra pixels too much.

It also sports 3D Touch, which hasn’t reached its full potential yet, but is still an exciting new way to interact with the phone.

With a decent camera, a premium design and slick performance too the iPhone 6S Plus doesn’t feel particularly lacking in any area. But it’s a lot more expensive than the Nexus 6P and if you want a true phablet it’s a little on the small side.

  • Read our full iPhone 6S Plus review

Moto X Style

Moto X Style

The Moto X Style is another 5.7-incher with a QHD screen and like the Nexus 6P it’s fairly affordable for a flagship.

It’s got a lot going for it too, with strong performance, a bright and vibrant screen, a good camera, powerful speakers and Moto Maker customisations, allowing you to create a good looking handset that fits your own style.

Like many recent smartphones the battery life is a bit on the low side and at 11.1mm thick it’s a little chunky. But otherwise it’s a strong and stylish alternative to the Nexus 6P and with near stock Android on board the interface is pretty similar to Google and Huawei’s latest offering too.

  • Read our full Moto X Style review

Nexus 5X

Nexus 5X

The Nexus 6P isn’t the only 2015 Nexus handset, as we also got the Nexus 5X. This is aimed at a very different audience though. For a start with its 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 screen it’s not a phablet.

It’s also lower end than the Nexus 6P, with a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor, 2GB of RAM, a plastic build and just a 5MP front-facing camera, where the Nexus 6P has an 8MP one.

The rear camera is the same spec though, it has the same fingerprint scanner, the same stock build of Android Marshmallow and a lower price tag.

If you’re after stock Android but don’t want a phablet or can’t stretch to the Nexus 6P then the Nexus 5X is a great option, but it’s no flagship.

  • Read our full Nexus 5X review


The Nexus 6P is one of the best Android phones around, given its top-of-the-line specs for a more affordable price. It’s easier to hold and takes better photos.

That wasn’t a big surprise to me in this review. This phone was always going to be better than the Nexus 6, as much fun as I had with the ridiculously big screen. Where the 6P fits into the current crop of Android phones remains the biggest question over my week of testing it out.

Google Nexus 6P review

We liked

I can hold the Nexus 6P in one hand without dropping it, although it takes two hands to operate. That’s a relief for anyone who couldn’t adjust to the Nexus 6. The back of the phone has a fast and accurate fingerprint sensor and the front fits in loud-sounding stereo speakers.

It has Android Marshmallow 6.0, which is worthwhile simply for its battery-saving tricks. The best part is that you get all of these features and a fast processor for a lower-than-average price. For these reasons, this is the best Nexus phone and one of the best Android phones right now.

We disliked

That said, this phone is not for everyone. There are more full-featured phones out there from familiar names, like Samsung and LG. The Nexus 6P’s hardware isn’t as fast as those rivals’ flagship phones, and it’s missing a few of their best camera software tricks.

There’s no wireless charging or optical image stabilization integrated into this phone. These are two things that are becoming standard among the best smartphones. Really, though the biggest problem for this new Nexus phablet is that there’s so much competition.


The Nexus 6P is a luxury phone without the premium price to match. Behind its aluminum finish are powerful phone specs that nearly keep up with Apple and Samsung’s flagship phablets. That’s because the Snapdragon 810 v2.1 processor gives Qualcomm’s troubled chip new life, plus 3GB of RAM is just enough to future-proof the phone.

As for USB-C… it may be ahead of its time. Consider yourself an early adopter when it comes to this and Android Nougat. The Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor is right on time, even if it landed on the back of the phone, and Google finally catches up to Apple’s Touch ID. This method offers just as much speed and accuracy.

Google’s super-sized phone is thinner, lighter, stronger and easier to hold, making it a true step up from the Nexus 6 in every way imaginable. No, it’s not fast as the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ – and the 12.3MP camera is comparable, not always better.

But this is one of the best phablet for the price, and returns the Nexus brand to its more affordable and palmable roots. Things could be about to get even better though with the introduction fo the new Nexus devices very soon.

First reviewed: October 2015

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