We live in a world where there are more options than ever as it pertains to mobile phones. New players have come onto the field and budget phones have exploded options. We’re far beyond just Samsung and Apple and that’s such a good thing. But, with so much choice, it can be a bit overwhelming to someone who doesn’t follow the space closely.
I love writing about and playing with phones. My family and friends know this so I tend to be the person they come to for suggestions on new hardware (and technical support!). There’s nothing more that I love than helping out anyone who comes to me for advice. Whether that’s someone I’ve known my entire life or someone I’ve never met before, I like to be the expert.
More often than not, one of the most common questions I get is the “which phone should I consider?” kind. Lately, I’ve found myself recommending the same phone over and over again: The Nexus 6P. Why? I’ll tell you.
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Not All Phones Are Created Equal
Not all phones are created equally and not everyone has the same needs. I try to find the perfect balance of price and features for whomever I may be helping at the time. The biggest reason (and there are many) I tend to recommend the Nexus 6P is the ratio of price to performance.
The concept of value is highly subjective but we’ll still touch on it. You can pay top dollar for a phone that absolutely crushes any task you can throw at it. True. You can buy a budget phone for half of the price of a flagship, and still perform most tasks, albeit a little slower. Also true.
In both scenarios, you may find a decent price for the desire performance. The Nexus 6P happens to be priced somewhere in between flagships and budget phones, yet performs better than almost all smartphones. This, in my opinion, gives it the best price for performance of any phone on the market.
The Nexus 6P has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM. Until the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 come out next month their rumored hardware configurations, this is the most powerful chip from one of the biggest chip makers in the world. It’s about as much as you’ll find on the market.
Although the Snapdragon 810 faced its share of less-than-stellar publicity at launch, it seems that problems have been tamed and the processor has turned out to be quite solid. The chipset and memory configuration are a very respectable tandem. I have no doubt that in 2-3 years we’ll still see a lot of people still using the Nexus 6P. Much like there are plenty of people still using the original Nexus 5 (2013), it’s plenty of bang for the Average Joe buck.
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Software is one area where Nexus phones simply can’t be beat. No Android phones receive software updates longer than Nexus devices. Even when Google decides to stop supporting a phone with updates to the newest version of Android, a community of dedicated developers put together their release and offer it to the public free of charge.
Not only can you expect at least two years of software updates for Nexus phones, but you can expect timely software updates as well. Even if you don’t care about the newest user experience tweaks or added features, you likely care about security.
Recently, Google started pushing monthly security updates to patch holes in Android (and give us new emojis!). Phone makers like Samsung and LG have put forth admirable efforts to keep up with the security updates, but it’s typically only going to select models. For example, I got the February security update on my Nexus 6P in the first week of the month. With other brands you run the risk that it may take a few more weeks — or get skipped entirely.
Google makes Nexus phones as reference devices to point the industry where it wants it to go. It’s a statement of what hardware is going to be supported, as well as the software capabilities that are important. Google makes it a priority to keep its phone’s software running as fast as possible while supporting as many features as they can. It’s the perfect mix of bleeding edge technology and stability. You won’t find this level of software support in any other line of phones, no matter the price.
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I don’t necessarily need to convince people how good the Nexus 6P’s hardware is, I just have to remind them from time to time. Aeronautical grade anodized aluminum, USB Type-C port, fingerprint sensor, QHD screen, excellent camera? All of these add up to one of the most attractive, and well built phones on the market. Forget price. It’s a total package phone.
The smooth, curved back leads you from the glass camera and sensor bar at the top, down to a round fingerprint sensor. Also helping the cause is that the fingerprint sensor is one of the fastest and most accurate on the market.
Following the design further down the back we run across a subtle but present “nexus” logo above Huawei’s own branding. Nothing feels out of place or is presented in a way that distracts your eye or comes across as obnoxious. It’s a thing of beauty.
The front of the phone is just as simple and inviting as the back. To me, the front-facing speakers should be talked about more and used as a selling point. Strangely, there’s so much to talk about with the Nexus 6P that the speakers often get overlooked.
Watching media and having the audio come directly at you instead of blasting in the opposite direction or out the sides is the way it’s supposed be. It just feels right. Once you have front-facing speakers, you may never want to go back to a phone that has anything else.
Moving along, the speakers flank one of the best displays on a phone, ever. I am constantly reminded as to how good the panel on the Nexus 6P is. The colors are gorgeous and engaging. It gets bright enough to see in sunlight and dark enough to read in bed. It is power efficient (for a QHD panel), and has enough pixels packed in that you’ll never be able to pick one out. Whether it’s text, moving images, or bright game graphics, I’m in love with the screen.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention just how good the camera is. While there others on the market that could make a case for taking better pictures, the Nexus 6P has one of the best cameras around. Not only that, but it’s probably $150 less than those phones with higher-end camera.
The camera app is solid, if unspectacular, but there are plenty of third party apps out there that will unlock more of the potential of the Nexus 6P’s camera. Low light pictures are simply awesome. There can be a bit of a delay when you’re using HDR+, but it’s worth it. The pictures come out looking fantastic in even dimly lit areas. Even turning HDR+ off will still supply you with good pictures taken by one of the fastest shutters around.
Read the full review of the Nexus 6P here
All of this hardware is held together by an aluminum body that will withstand drops. Moreover, it genuinely feels like one of the best in-hand experiences I’ve ever held. There may be better feeling phones on the market, but this feels premium in every sense of the word. It certainly goes above and beyond what some expected for a Nexus phone, and it’s anything but budget.
None of the aforementioned stuff matters if the battery is awful. If you can’t actually use the phone, what good is it? Luckily, between new software features in Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and the huge battery inside, battery life is stellar.
I use my phone a lot — easily more than five hours a day. And, while I can get the phone down to about 10% each night, I never end up outright draining it. I use my phone for things like reading Reddit, watching YouTube, streaming music, and staying in contact with my friends and family. I don’t carry a battery pack with me anymore because there’s simply no reason to. Even if we’re out doing touristy things and using navigation and taking lots of pictures, the phone is so efficient that I never have issues getting through the day.
This is where the power of quick charging comes in. The Nexus 6P has a USB Type-C port that supports some of the fastest charging around. Plugging it in while I go to take a shower before dinner will easily get me through the rest of the night, even if it’s close to dead.
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These are just some of the reasons that come to mind as to why the Nexus 6P is the best phone out there right now. I didn’t even touch on Google’s excellent customer support, or the fact that the Nexus 6P is unlocked with support for any GSM network. Also, hackers and modders will definitely appreciate the simplicity in the root access.
The Nexus 6P certainly isn’t perfect. There isn’t a MicroSD Card slot, there’s no removable battery, and it can be a pain replacing all your cables with the new USB Type C cables. But, what the Nexus 6P does represent is the best phone you can buy right now. There is no combination of specs, build quality, and long term support for the money.
I recommend the Nexus 6P to all of my friends and family, and to you too.
Purchase Links: Google, Huawei, Best Buy, Amazon
Maybe I’ll get one later on if price goes below $400 for 64gb.
Interesting to see what all the lg g5 has to offer.
Project Ara, where are you?
Wishful thinking is what makes the World go around.
Just bought mine Monday at Best Buy. My old Nexus 5 was start to be nothing but problems. I love the size for everything until I am busy and need to try and text with one hand. That never going to happen, it’s just too big. I’ll live with that because web browsing, YouTube watching and playing games are all way better on the bigger screen.
My NEXUS 5 was as good as on day one as at the end of 24 months. I sold it for half of what I paid in Dec 2013. Got the new NEXUS 6P, 64 G and am enjoying it immensely. However, still am getting used to the size of this premium phone. I missed my N5. So, after searching on the Internet for about 5 – 6 days I found on Amazon a seller “commerce star” who offered a brand new N5, sealed, unlocked with 12 months LG warranty. I got it for $189 three days later. Imagine my delight while unboxing it. I updated to Marshmallow 6.0.1 and registered with LG for the warranty. The way it fits my hand is perfect. The 2300 mAh battery is more than adequate and so is the camera, thanks to the Marshmallow. While I get a lot of mileage from the 6P, my N5 is my very personal phone and source of joy. While the 6P is a superior device, the N5 is just as fast and almost just as smooth. That is on account of the pure Android IOS, the Marshmallow and the way the 800 processor cores work. (There is an excellent article on Android Autority, explaining why the Snap Dragon 800 and 801 processors are still some of the best). So, I am all for the Google pure Android. ?
If you really like the Nexus 5 form factor, then why would you have chosen then newer Nexus 5x instead. It is also made by LG and came out the same time as the Nexus 6p. Also like the Nexus 6p, the Nexus 5x has a 64 bit processor (hexacore), a 12 mp camera with great low light capabilities, and the same usb-C port. Even the price of the Nexus 5x is very reasonable.
You must be mistaken. I did not choose 5X. I wanted the Flagship 6P and got it. NEXUS 5 is still superior to 5X except for the camera but the difference is very small due to the improved performance of Marshmallow. See the videos in U Tube. 5X stutters, often lags and generally underperforms. Its 808 processor is not as good as the 800 and 801. That is evident in the LG G4 and LG v8. That is why there are many complaints about the 5X. See the article by Android Authority about the core performance of 800/801 vs. 808. It is quite interesting and explains why the 800/801 is still very best, fast and reliable. Remember that a “new model” is not necessarily a better one. It is expected that quadro 820 will perform better than octa 810. (You have got to read the scientific articles about core performance, dynamic voltage, the interaction of GPU, CPU and Mega Hertz, etc.)
Each and every video test/comparison between NEXUS 5 vs. 5X shows that the 5 is faster and never lags nor hesitates regardless of what you throw at it. That is why the NEXUS 5 earned the its LEGEDARY reputation at a super reasonable price of $349.00 initially, now $189.00 brand new. It is still possible to find a new one
The Nexus 5X is crippled by the 32GB storage limitation. But, the 6P is simply too big to comfortably use as a phone. If the 5X were offered in 64GB and 128GB options, then it would be worth looking at.
Also bought mine at BB and it has had a horrible battery drain since day one. Unsure if its a phone issue or a issue based on 6.0.1. I have read lots of mixed results, but I am really considering returning it.
I have actually been impressed with the battery life so far. I was expecting way worse with such a big screen. Beats the pants off my Nexus 5.
Is yours on 6.0.1 as well and is there LTE coverage in your area? I would really love to keep this phone, haven’t actually fallen in love with a phone in 2 years until now.
Yes, I’m on 6.0.1 I have T-mobile and get a strong signal in my city.
Maybe my Nexus 5 was just that bad on battery is why I’m impressed with the 6P. Just playing podcasts all day with a little texting in between my N5 would be in the 40% area. Tuesday at work, the 6P was 85%.
It’s not even a week yet so it will take time to see for sure. If it’s that bad for you maybe replace it with something else. It doesn’t matter how much you love the phone when the battery is dead.
I had the Nexus 5 and the battery on mine did not get better until 5.1.1. I am also on 6.0.1 (out of the box) latest February security patch, T-Mobile (LTE) AND have kept all settings on default (except for haptic feedback on both touch and keyboard, I have turned off). I read reviews on this guy running for hours on continuous battery tests, but most we’re 6.0 based, and battery complaints didn’t arrive until 6.0.1. Mine will only last about 4-5 hours of continuous use, simply browsing the web reading and a bit of texting and Facebook.
Nexus 6P, 6 etc are now available at a discount only below
You can’t say t is the best phone out there because it depends on the perspective of a person. There are some that prefer iPhones than smartphones. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.crittermap.watchface.redlava
Did you not read the facts?
I feel embarrased to say this, but i’ve never owned a smartphone before. As a university student, i hope to buy the Nexus 6P soon. I prefer stock Android and the new Nexus feels almost perfect to me. Hope to buy it at Best Buy (Gold). At least i’ll feel good because all my friends have old phones and i’ll have a pretty new one..!!
If you cant spare the price, a 32 GB Nexus 5X would help you out as well. That is if you want the latest software updates. But if price isnt a factor then by all means get the 6P
Buy from Google directly, more money upfront but more choice for carriers, and no bloatware
Still rockin the 6 after the 4&5. Wouldn’t mind upgrading to the 6P. However, still owe $120 utilizing T-mobile’s jump/rip-off plan.
What kind of price and aftermarket insurance is avail? Planning to buy ALL future phones outright + private insurance.. Seems less expensive in the long run.
Google offers Nexus Protect. $89 for extending warranty to two years of mechanical failure and adding two years of accidental drops. $79 deductible, and you can use it twice.
Crossing fingers for another black Friday lightning sale on amazon except featuring the 6P later this year, lol.
Unfortunately, this article does not cover issues with emergency numbers in 6P outside US. 3 my colleagues and early adopters confirmed that they couldn’t call Police, fire resque and ambulance in Ukraine. Which means that this will be a problem when you travel Israel, Russia and many other countries. And it seems pure Nexus 6P bug, because 6 and 5X do not have it. And when Huawei fixes it finally, there may be more interesting models to choose from.
Best phone I’ve ever had! I saved and got the 128GB version… Storage has not been an issue and this is my main entertainment center (I don’t own a TV). I think this review is spot on; my only comments are: 1.) I don’t think there is a higher-end camera phone right now unless you mean “higher megapixel”, which isn’t the same thing. 2.) Non-removable battery is a plus. Besides, it has rapid charging so why would I need/want to carry around another battery. ?. Great review, gotta’ go…
I don’t understand how the 6p can be so hyped. Yes, I too had it, loved the physical design immensely, the front speakers were nice and the charging was fast. But anything software side was horrible, and that’s what runs the phone folks.
Every stock android app crashed on use or forced closed. It could not hook up stable connection to my laptop and the screen, no matter what the numbers say, is no where near the Note 5. And charging us pretty much the same speed on the Note 5 or better.
Here’s a quick comparison of the show motion camera, click the bubble in the first video to see the same from the Note 5. Incredible difference.
Retired my n5 and got the 5x, could not be happier, fast, great pictures, easy to deal with screen size. Battery life is all day under normal use. My two sons both have the 6p and are happy with their choice. So 3 for 3 new Nexus users
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