Mobile World Congress 2016 is over. It was a great conference this year with a ton of brilliant new devices announced. We saw LG announce the first modular flagship with the G5, and we saw Samsung take an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary (but important), step with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge.
But, those weren’t the only phones released. There were many companies like Archos and Alcatel there showing off its flagship spec’ed phones that didn’t get the press that LG and Sammy got. Head over to our breakdown of the most important phones from the conference to check them all out.
I recently wrote about why I recommend the Nexus 6P to all of my friends and family, and even though there were plenty of exciting devices announced at MWC, none of them want to make me switch from my Nexus 6P.
My first issue is one I have with almost all non-Nexus phones, not just the ones announced at MWC 2016: Skins. No, not skins like dbrand, but software skins. More specifically LG’s UX 4.0 and Samsung’s TouchWiz. I’ve been through enough phones in the past few years to have tried out all the major manufactures. This process has taught me that Samsung and LG skin its phones as heavily as anyone else.
Stock Android isn’t perfect, but I do prefer it to the blocky UX 4.0 and the overly colorful TouchWiz. An unintended consequence of these skins is that they can hide important settings and features that are otherwise easily accessible in stock Android.
I will, however, have to give Samsung props for putting quick toggles in the default notification shade. I miss that while using stock Android.
Second on my list is software updates. This is actually more related to the first reason than you may think. LG and Samsung are pretty notorious for taking forever to update its phones to the newest version of Android. It takes a lot of man-hours to make sure everything LG and Samsung have added into the software will continue to work with a new version of Android.
Last year’s flagships from Samsung, the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Note 5, are still on an older version of Android for most customers. Samsung JUST released 6.0 for unlocked versions of the S6 and S6 Edge, but that covers a very small minority of owners.
I have a friend who owns a Samsung Galaxy S6 on Verizon Wireless. He may get the update about the same time I’m getting the next iteration of Android later this year.
LG isn’t that much better. It has just begun the rollout of Android 6.0 Marshmallow now to LG G4 customers. Waiting over 6 months to be upgraded to the newest available software is flatly unacceptable.
If I were to tell you there is more usable space on my 128 GB Nexus 6P than a 32 GB LG G5 or Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge with a 200 GB micro SD card installed, you would probably wonder how much I’ve had to drink.
But, I’d be right. And no, this isn’t about LG and Samsung taking up much, much more space for the system OS than stock Android. This is all about adoptable storage, and the lack thereof.
Adoptable storage was introduced in Android Marshmallow. It allows the phone to treat micro SD cards as internal storage. That unlocks a few features, most important of which is installing apps onto the micro SD card, just like your internal storage.
We now have games reaching over 4 GB of space, this becomes very important. The micro SD card slot will be important for users to transfer and store music, pictures, and videos, but they still may run out of space depending on how many apps they have installed. I can install anything I want on my Nexus 6P with no fear of running out of space.
Using a 32 GB Nexus 6P as the baseline here, I think we see how much of a better value the Nexus 6P is than the G5 or Galaxy S7, and especially the Galaxy S7 Edge. The 32 GB version of the Galaxy S7 Edge is almost $800! That’s over $100 more than my 128 GB Nexus 6P.
The Nexus 6P starts at $499 on Google’s store, and you can routinely find it on sale at Best Buy for $450. I think the LG G5 is a brilliant phone with a ton of potential, but I don’t think it’s $150 better than the Nexus 6P, and I certainly don’t think the Galaxy S7 Edge is worth $300 more.
In terms of value, I’d say the LG G5 is probably going to come closest of all the phones we’ve discussed so far. The modular design is going to add a ton of functionality, and functionality increases value.
If the purchasable modules are in the $50 – $150 price range, I think that they will add significant value to the G5. If they’re more in the $200 – $300 range, no one will buy them and they will offer zero value.
When I was watching the presentations put on by LG and Samsung my main question was, who are these phones an upgrade for?
LG’s G5, in my opinion, is a huge step forward from the G4. The G4 used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor because LG couldn’t get either the price or performance from the Snapdragon 810 (last year’s most powerful Qualcomm processor).
According some AnTuTu benchmark scores, the Snapdragon 820 is scoring around 130,000. For context the Nexus 5X that has a SD808 in it scored around 54,000. It’s that big of an upgrade.
The 820 also crushes the 810 I have in my Nexus 6P (130k vs. 85k). But, then I look at my daily use of my phone. This phone has only lagged a handful of times since I’ve owned it. I don’t play a ton of graphics intensive games, but I have no doubt it could push them as well.
There’s a point where owning the latest and greatest has diminishing returns because nothing can take advantage of that hardware yet.
Running down the important specs, you see there’s not much case to upgrade here. As I mentioned, my 128 GB Nexus 6P will cost roughly about as much, or even less, than either 32 GB (with expandable storage) phone. I have no need for an extra gig of ram, I have a 2K screen just like they do, and the cameras are similar.
I’d love to have a curved edge like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. I owned an S6 Edge for a while and truly loved the curved edges. It’s fun to use and looks beautiful. Holding the device can be a bit uncomfortable sometimes due to the lack of a bezel, but it’s worth it. Is it worth $300, though? I don’t think so.
So there you have it. There’s my case for sticking with the Nexus 6P. It’s completely subjective and personal. I do think LG and Samsung should really be applauded for what they’ve brought to the table this year. Both companies made better phones than a year ago and will give most customers a compelling reason to upgrade.
I’m just not one of them.
I’d love to hear what you have to say. Do you have a Nexus 6P? Are you “upgrading?” Should I be pre-ordering my Galaxy S7 Edge right now? Let us know down in the comments what you have to say.
- What you may have missed in the LG G5 announcement
- What you may have missed in the Samsung Galaxy S7 announcement
- The best Android phone showings from MWC 2016
- Mobile World Congress 2016 wrap-up
- Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Galaxy S6: Should I Upgrade?
- LG G5 vs LG V10: What has changed, and was it for the better?
OK, but the 6p is only a 6 month old phone. Most people upgrade every 1-2 years. I really like that 6p. If not for the SD810 in it, I would have it now… But I wanted to wait for a more efficient chip and am very glad I did based on the GS7 Edge and G5 alone.
Shouldn’t have let the sd810 scare you away. Google and Huawei did a good job of tuning this setup for some of the best performance on a device with sd810. I have no complaints witg 6p performance as far as 2015 Android standards go.
It’s kind of funny to think that this is basically the same chip that killed performance for the HTC One due to thermal throttling. Like I said in the piece, I don’t play many games but during even the few small games or processor intensive stuff I do perform on here, never even gets hot.
I can remember playing with m9 at store when it first came out. It was getting hot from just minor work loads. Opening apps , and navigating around ui. Benchmark scores I ran was lower than my 6p as well. Yeah the sd810 behaves in the 6p nothing like the earlier versions in the one m9. I’ve played with the galaxy s7 at at&t. It’s even faster but not smoother. plus for $7 – 800, I’m fine with my Nexus that delivers 90% of the experience for much less. I’ll wait on the next Nexus for a 14nm SOC and such.
I am having the same debate with an LG g3, which is ancient! I like big screens but hate big phones, both the s7 and g5 have screen to body of ~70%. They are smaller than the g3 but only because the screens are smaller. Have you actually used the adoptable storage? It’s a waste of an SD card considering nothing else can read it once it’s formatted. Plus SD cards are slow and, for me, more useful as storage for movies, music, backups, and everything but apps. I almost pulled the trigger on a 6p but just couldn’t do it because of how big the phone is, I need to be able to text one hande… Maybe I’ll change my mind about the new phones once I actually have one in hand. Plus there’s no rush, it always takes a few months for new phones to get rooted.
Are the SD cards slow because of a poor interface with the phone, or because you bought a low end SD card? SD cards from decent vendors can easily do 100MB per second.
I bought a MOTO G for the kids, a $99 phone, with Android 5 and it allows apps to be stored o the SD card. Seems like LG made a design choice with the G5 to not do it.
I had the Nexus 4 then Nexus 5 then went to Note 4 because of the S-Pen. I ended up barely using the S-Pen but really liked the removable battery and the IR blaster. After 1.5 years with the Note 4, finally dropped it one to many times and at $150 for a replacement digitizer I decided to just buy a new phone. Went back to Nexus with 6P, and aside from the lack of IR blaster and removeable battery, definitely can’t say I miss anything else from the Note4. I just don’t think the value of the Nexus line can be beat. I’ll probably just stick with Nexus going forward, just wish I could turn on the TV with the phone, and I suppose I’ll have to go back to external battery pack, which does suck, but whatever.
Seriously, you won’t need the external battery. I work in IT so I’m on my phone from 5am when I leave the house until I get back around 6pm and I’m fine. That is, I usually get home with 20 – 25% left. BUT, if you think you will need more juice, don’t carry a heavy extra battery! Bring a charger! In 10 – 15 minutes you can raise your Nexus’ power % by 25 – 40% (depending on how low you are)! I’ve NEVER seen anything charge as quick; it’s awesome! -Eric
I purchased my Nexus 6P a couple of weeks ago and I just can’t be happier! I don’t know when I’m going to upgrade again, definitely is not going to be soon, but definitely I will go for another Nexus!
I couldn’t agree more about the “skin” problem! They take a great device and make it, for me, unbearable. I would get the G5 or S7 in a second if they still offered a Google Play Edition (I wouldn’t get the Edge, too gimmicky for me. Plus I hate how the hamburger button, in say Hangouts, curves off the screen. Nah, you can keep that; but I digress…). My plan is to give my wife my 128GB 6P and get the next Nexus that comes out. I really feel, now more than ever, that the Nexus brand can’t be beat! Thanks for reading, -Eric
It can, only because the BlackBerry Priv has a more secured Android kernel with thousands of security patches, and that physical keyboard puts any virtual keyboard to shame.
Except the Priv is already behind on security updates. A few of them actually.
I have the patch from Feb 1.
Do you know what a launcher is? Next.
Launchers (and themes) only fix so much.
They fix everything you’re likely to be using on a daily basis.
Matt Adams is 100% right!
I bought the cool new LG G3 because I loved the specs and found it aesthetically appealing. After trying to use LG’s new “lighter” skin (later named Optimus), I found that, for me, it took away from the mobile experience. I looked in to, and tried, three different launchers including Nova and the Google Now Launcher. I settled for the Google Launcher although at the time it was hardly 1440p optimized (icons looked big and that’s saying something for Kit Kat!). Although the Google Now Launcher made it appear that I was running stock Android on the surface, it was anything but. LG’s software would pop up, trying to lure me in to one of their “services” that, if I wanted, I would get it myself. I could go on but really, it was all of the little things that no launcher can fix (after all, a launcher is just sitting on top of the OEM modified OS), the interactions with the device and other intangibles, that, in the end, made me sell my G3 on Craigslist and switch back to my Nexus 5.
The LG G3 was (like I’m SURE the G5 and S7 (non-Edge) will be) a great device, I wish LG (and Samsung, for the S7) would have given it the software it deserved. To this day I don’t understand why the “Google Play Edition” option is gone. Actually, I guess I know the answer. The real reason why OEMs like LG or Samsung spend money on developing their own Android skin is so that you can be directed to their services & software. After all, businesses don’t spend money on anything unless there is a promise of a return. Still, the GPE would open up sales to a market that otherwise would not consider them as an option.
Sorry… Yes, I know what a launcher is. :-) Take care, -Eric
I bought the galaxy S6 edge plus on T-Mobile jump program and I hate that phone, worst battery life ever and I will never buy another Samsung because of it (I tried the S5 & S 6 edge too with same results!). I am making payments on the Samsung still so I have to get rid of it. I’ll probably trade it in for the new LG G5 and keep using my Nexus 6P as my daily driver. I absolutely love the Nexus 6P and I don’t see any features of this year’s generation phones that have anything I can’t live without that would make me want to get rid of the huawei beast!
I like the Nexus as much as you, but I think you’re judgement of Samsung based on the S6’s battery life is in poor taste at worst. If that’s your only problem, then go for the S7 edge. It’s pretty much the same with a few improvements, such as a bigger better life. 3600 mph to be exact. Samsung heard your complaint and fixed the problem you had.
To be fair, the S6 and S6 edge had some of the worst battery life on a flagship phone I’ve ever seen. 3 hours of screen on time for a flagship released in 2015 is pretty unacceptable.
I will agree they made the battery bigger and with marshmallow it should improve on the devices battery life. But Samsung’s UI just uses more power than most other flagships and with the always on screen I think it will just be a wash with the larger battery, if they doubled the battery size it would almost compare to the moto Nexus 6 or even the 6P. But it is a beautiful device with an amazing screen and since they brought back the SD card and water proofing it should be a big seller. It’s just not for me!
I wonder if I could get a 64gb nexus 6p for $400 or less by the summer….
The cheapest 64 GB on Swappa is $470 right now. Coming down $70 by summer may be a bit much, but I bet it’ll be close.
All the reasons also hold true for me except for storage. Three reasons:
1. When you enable adoptable storage, the memory card gets reformatted and you won’t be able to use it for anything else. For those who like to keep music files, photos, movies, and backups on their SD card so you can easily transfer them to another phone, tough luck.
2. Even if I had a choice where to install apps, I would always choose internal storage because in most cases it will be faster (more so if it’s UFS) and more reliable than an SD card (especially if you buy a generic one to save money).
3. I don’t ever have gigs of games on my phone. At most I have 2-3 casual games that keep my interest at any point in time and they total no more than 150 MB on average. The heavy duty stuff I save for my dedicated Android gaming machine, the GPD XD ^^.
Samsung galaxy phones is second worst next to iPhone. Overpriced junks.
I have the Note 4 & I hate it. It has horrible battery life and the camera crashes so often. I had a Nexus 5 before this that was 2 years old and had none of those problems compared to a 3 months old Note 4. Now I just wanna trade this phone for the 6P. I realm want that 6P
Horrible battery life? You’re full of shit. It’s an all day phone plus you can swap batteries.
Cliff, be respectful. You can disagree, but there’s no reason to be disparaging.
You gave me sigh of relief.. i bought my 6p just about a month back at heavily discounted offer and was thinking if it has become non-flagship level now. But then looking at it objectively, especially with my stovk Android stickler, i really think i am better off at the price i got my 6p. These new phones are surely going to be intruduced in India at about double the price i got my 6p. So I am laughing all the way…
Stock android notification drawer has quick toggles too. You just need to pull down twice. With a app called Custom Quick Settings, you can even add your own after enabling System UI Tuner in settings. No root needed either.
Or, just use two fingers to pull down instead of one! It’s cool and you go right to the “Quick Toggles”. :-) Take care, -Eric
rajendra82, you don’t need a 3rd party app to add, remove, and re-arrange the Quick Settings tiles in Android 6.0. It can be done easily with the “System Tuner UI”… :-)
First, enable “Developer Options”: Head into Settings > About phone. Scroll to the bottom and tap on the Build number 5 or 6 times. After a number of taps, you’ll unlock “Developer Options” menu under Settings.
Then enable “System Tuner UI”: You have to first enable the developer settings (as above). Then you swipe down the Quick Settings and press and hold the settings cog at the top next to the battery. After a long press, the “System Tuner UI” will now be under Settings.
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