THE BEST NEXUS YET

Nexus 6P by Huawei

HWM (Malaysia) - - TELEPORT - UNLOCKED - by Koh Wanzi

It's time to throw ev­ery­thing you thought you knew about Nexus phones out the win­dow. For the first time, we're ac­tu­ally in­ter­ested in a Nexus as a wor­thy piece of hard­ware. And that's dis­count­ing the warm, gooey bit at its core that is An­droid 6.0 Marsh­mal­low.

With the Nexus 6P, Google and Huawei have fi­nally made a Nexus phone that can truly be called pre­mium. Build qual­ity feels ab­so­lutely top-notch, and we'd put its all-alu­minium body in the same league as Sam­sung's lat­est Galaxy line of phones. Ru­mors about spon­ta­neous crack­ing of the cam­era win­dow and an un­flat­ter­ing bend test not­with­stand­ing, th­ese so far re­main un­sub­stan­ti­ated, and we re­ally wouldn't worry too much about them.

The screen is an AMOLED dis­play with a res­o­lu­tion of 2,560 x 1,440 pix­els, which trans­lates to a pixel den­sity of 518ppi. This puts it slightly be­hind phones with smaller dis­plays like the Galaxy S6 (577ppi), but on par with the Galaxy Note5. In fact, the team be­hind the Nexus 6P con­firmed that it uses the lat­est gen­er­a­tion dis­play pan­els from Sam­sung, so it might very well be the same as that used on the Note5.

As is typ­i­cal of AMOLED screens, col­ors can ap­pear a tad bit over­sat­u­rated, which should en­dear it to those who pre­fer vi­brant, punchy col­ors. How­ever, if you en­able the sRGB color mode, the col­ors im­me­di­ately be­come more muted but also more ac­cu­rate, which is just the way we like it.

The front-fac­ing stereo speak­ers are also a wel­come fea­ture, but while they were cer­tainly loud enough, they were oth­er­wise un­re­mark­able.

One of the stand­out fea­tures on the Nexus 6P is its ex­cel­lent fin­ger­print sen­sor, dubbed Nexus Im­print. The lack of a home but­ton means that the sen­sor has been re­lo­cated to a nifty lit­tle de­pres­sion on the back of the phone. You may need some time get­ting used to it if you're used to a home-but­ton sen­sor, but you'll even­tu­ally find that the new place­ment is a cinch.

The sen­sor's per­for­mance was also just about flaw­less. In our time with the phone, it read and reg­is­tered our prints in a heart­beat, re­gard­less of the ori­en­ta­tion. In fact, we found that we didn't even have to per­fectly cover the sen­sor to get our print rec­og­nized.

An­other key im­ple­men­ta­tion is a USB Type-C port for charg­ing and data trans­fer (only USB 2.0 speeds, sorry). The rev­ersible de­sign is a wel­come im­prove­ment over Mi­cro-USB

for sure, and USB Type-C of­fers 15W of out­put, which can get the phone from zero to a full charge in about an hour and 40 min­utes. How­ever, USB Type-C devices aren't that com­mon yet, which means that USB Type-C cables are still some­thing of a rar­ity. So if you for­get your ca­ble, or if you lose it, you can­not just bor­row one from any­body.

We also have to sin­gle out the cam­era, which stands out be­cause it is the first on a Nexus phone to not be en­tirely out­classed by ri­val flag­ships. The 12.3MP rear cam­era comes with laser aut­o­fo­cus and a large 1.55μm pix­els sen­sor to cap­ture more light, and it also proved fairly adept at cap­tur­ing closeup shots, bet­ter even than the built-in lens blur func­tion. We pre­ferred the cam­era with HDR+ mode off – pic­tures turned out bet­ter with­out it as its abil­ity to prop­erly bal­ance light and shadow ap­peared wonky and in­con­sis­tent.

Over­all, we were quite pleased with the cam­era as the level of de­tail was good and col­ors were ac­cu­rate. How­ever, we were dis­ap­pointed with the lack of op­ti­cal im­age sta­bi­liza­tion (OIS) as the large size of the phone some­times proved too much for our shaky hands.

In our bat­tery tests, the 3,450mAh non-re­mov­able bat­tery on the 6P un­for­tu­nately failed to keep up with the Galaxy Note5's smaller 3,000mAh bat­tery. It lasted 704 min­utes while loop­ing video and stream­ing data, over three hours be­hind the Note5 (al­though it did out­per­form con­sid­er­ably smaller phones like the iPhone 6s). This was likely due to the Snap­dragon 810 v2.1 pro­ces­sor's in­abil­ity to keep up with the more ef­fi­cient Exynos 7420 pro­ces­sor.

Per­for­mance-wise, the Adreno 430 GPU on v2.1 of the Snap­dragon 810 SoC edged ahead of the Mali T760 MP8 GPU on the lat­est Sam­sung phones in 3DMark, topped only by the new A9 pro­ces­sor in the iPhone 6s Plus. How­ever, its strong gam­ing per­for­mance was not matched by its over­all CPU, I/O, and GPU per­for­mance, where the 6P fell be­hind Sam­sung phones equipped with faster UFS 2.0 stor­age and the Exynos 7420 SoC.

But num­ber-crunch­ing aside, the Nexus 6P was over­all very zippy and fast, with no per­ceiv­able slow­downs in dayto-day use. This is look­ing very much like the mo­ment when Google truly tran­si­tions from soft­ware ven­dor to hard­ware com­peti­tor.

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