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Last year, when I reviewed the Nexus 6, I said that it was a good phone and I am generally happy with it. But at the same time, I mentioned that for Google to take the Nexus range to the forefront of the Android flagship market, there is more to be done.
This year, I had a chance to use the Nexus 6P for over two months and this article will summarise my final verdict about this flagship by Huawei/Google.
At the end of this review, you will have a better understanding of how this smartphone feels to a common user in a day to day scenario.
To me, no phone is perfect.
Perhaps there can never be a mobile phone which is perfect for everyone and caters for such a huge customer base. There are always strengths and weaknesses. In this article you will know my opinion about the Nexus 6P strengths, passes and weaknesses to give you a flavour.
To assist you in making your decisions.
Let us start with the strengths first.
Table of Contents for Quick Navigation
- Strength No. 1 – Big, Bold and Solid Performer
- Strength No. 2 – Simple, Fast and Impressive Camera Performance
- Strength No. 3 – Additional Features (Fingerprint Scanner, Fast Charging and Good Internal Speakers)
- Pass No. 1 – Overall Design, Feel and Look
- Pass No. 2 – Battery Life
- Pass No. 3 – Value for Money (Price to Specifications Ratio)
- Pass No. 4 – Stock Android Experience (Marshmallow)
- Weakness No. 1 – No Multi-Window Support by Default
- Nexus 6p Strengths and Weaknesses – Overall Verdict
Strength No. 1 – Big, Bold and Solid Performer
Big phones have blurred the boundaries and the word Phablet is loosing its shine day by day.
However, anything bigger than 5.5 inch screen-size is a phablet for me. Whether you want to call it a phablet or not is up to you.
What does it mean for you?
It is a big phone and you need to have a natural likeness and affinity to use and enjoy large screen phones. When you hold it in your hand and manage it on a day to day basis, you will know what I am talking about.
It is big, bold and full of power.
Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810 processor with 3GB RAM and Adreno 430 GPU are strong specs for a late 2015 and early 2016 flagship. You will always find that there is enough power for your normal use on a day to day basis. Remember it won’t be fair to compare it to the likes of the fresh breed of smartphones in 2016 such as Galaxy S7/Edge, LG G5 and HTC 10 etc. as they are relatively newer models and all come with Snapdragon 820 processing unit.
Nexus 6P is a solid performer.
Playing games, watching videos, enjoying social media or plain browsing internet on this device is fun. Thanks to its 5.7 inch AMOLED screen with 2K resolution.
Device never crashed on me in these two months and it does not get significantly warm either with normal use. I have had this problem on some other devices with Snapdragon 810 processors before which just kills the whole user experience of the smartphone.
Well done Huawei for keeping the basics right.
Strength No. 2 – Simple, Fast and Impressive Camera Performance
The 13 mp main shooter didn’t impress me in macros and close-ups. However, when it comes to general day to day photography, I said in my
However, when it comes to general day to day photography, I said in my detailed camera review that it was an excellent user experience for overall camera performance.
The default Google camera app is simple but extremely practical and pleasing for those who like quick and hassle-free picture-shooting. Perhaps Google can jazz up the things a little bit in next model such as introduction of manual mode etc.
I posted a question on Nexus6P sub-reddit and asked people if they prefer to have more controls (manual mode) in their next Nexus device.
The opinion was split however the majority voted in favour of having some sort of manual camera controls on their next Nexus device.
The picture quality of the photos was rich, deep and natural looking. The colours were accurate and focus was generally fine. Although the camera is only capable of taking photos at 13 mp, it is the picture quality which matters for most of us – not mega pixels in most of the cases.
I have seen a few flagship cameras lately which are high in pixel count but low on quality of the images.
I believe Huawei has done a decent work here to bring quick, hassle-free and pleasant camera experience for Android lovers.
Camera is the strength of this device.
If you want to see my detailed review with 15 sample shots, head over to this article here.
Strength No. 3 – Additional Features (Fingerprint Scanner, Fast Charging and Good Internal Speakers)
In this highly competitive market of Android flagships, extra features make a big difference.
All big players in the market have always paid attention to stand-out features in their devices. There is in fact a constant effort to introduce more useful and unique features for the end-user in flagship devices.
Some of these features have now become norm and a given in high-end devices.
One such example is the fingerprint scanner.
Nexus 6P comes with an imprint scanner at the back of the device which is perfectly located to pick up your index finger. It is a touch-only type so you don’t need to press it. I found it to be extremely accurate, fast and useful.
I am not hesitant to say that I get 10 out of 10 on accuracy while using this scanner. Although the front-bottom (with thumb) is still my favourite location for a fingerprint scanner, this back-approach is a very close-second.
The important factors are accuracy and responsiveness which 6P didn’t disappoint on.
The included charger and USB Type-C cable are capable of fast charging the device. Something I find to be extremely useful in today’s busy lifestyle. I believe that having the ability to fast-charge our device is a must-have in flagships without the need to buy extra chargers or cables separately.
The front facing speakers are stereo type and produce loud, clear and rich sound. Yes they can not reach the quality of BoomSound (by HTC) but 6P’s internal speakers are impressive and it is fun to watch movies or listening to audio through front speakers.
All of these features give Nexus 6P a boost to create a great user-experience for the end-user.
Pass No. 1 – Overall Design, Feel and Look
I wrote about the Nexus 6P design in detail a few days back.
With the dimensions of 159.3 x 77.8 mm and the weight of 178 grams, 6P is a big phone and is not light.
Make no mistake, if you have never tried a phone this big, I would strongly recommend to pop into your local smartphone shop and try one in your hand if it is available on display.
Although, Huawei has done a good job by keeping it only 7.3 mm thick, it is still a substantial piece of gadget in your hand which you can not take lightly in your day to day use and handling. If you are like me who does not mind trying big screen phones and phablets, you will soon become familiar and comfortable with its size.
If you have small hands or have any other ambiguities, you have been warned. I have always said that for anyone to use a device with a screen bigger than 5.5 inches, they need to have a natural likeness and affinity for large devices. Same rule applies here.
Enough said about the size of it.
Let us talk about the build quality and overall look of the device.
Huawei has definitely done well by giving us a metal design. For those who have read my articles before know that I am a “metal-construction-lover” when it comes to premium and high-end devices. I loved the M8 and M9 by HTC and on a similar trend, I like the approach taken here to go for the metal back.
However, there are couple of elements which I didn’t like.
1) The glass bar at the top housing camera and flash is a total misfit and dents the overall look and feel of the device. Sorry Huawei, this should have been avoided.
2) The plastic strip at the bottom is again slightly differentiated from the rest of the metal due to a slight colour difference, this reduced the overall feel as well.
Overall, a nice effort but still didn’t create a wow-effect for me.
With large footprint and metal build, Huawei just managed to give as a good design but not great. It is a pass for me.
It is a “pass” for me.
Pass No. 2 – Battery Life
Nexus 6P comes with a 3450 mAh Li-Po built-in battery.
On paper, this is a huge capacity for a smartphone device but don’t forget that it has to cater for a 5.7 inch AMOLED screen with 1440 x 2560 pixels @ ~518 ppi pixel density. This resolution is sometimes referred as 2K and comes with its own baggage, which the built-in battery has to manage.
- With my light use, I managed to run the fully-charged device for a full day without a charge.
- With my light to moderate use, I frequently felt the need to charge the device in the evenings.
- With my moderate to high use, I occasionally felt the need to charge the device even in the afternoons.
Thanks to the fast-charging feature, it has been extremely helpful. In a couple of hours, your device is fully charged again if plugged to the AC charger that comes with the device.
Overall, the battery life is acceptable.
I have not found a single high-end Android yet which has significantly impressed me with the battery life. I am sure there is a plenty of scope here for the manufacturers to surprise us in the future with something ground-breaking in the battery-life sector.
We will wait and watch.
Pass No. 3 – Value for Money (Price to Specifications Ratio)
Traditionally, I have associated Nexus devices with cost-effectiveness and value for money.
This time I am having a mixed feelings at the time of writing this article.
Nearly 8 months on from its first release in September 2015, it is retailing at approximately £430 for a 32GB version on Amazon UK. This is a touch higher than my expectations.
But at the same time, let us not forget that it is a high-spec machine and with the “P” tag attached this time, Huawei and Google are trying to tell us that this Nexus has some additional and differentiating features in it as compared to the older Nexus devices.
Generally, I agree with this logic.
What are your thoughts on the price of the Nexus 6P?
Pass No. 4 – Stock Android Experience (Marshmallow)
Nexus devices boast pure stock Android experience and guarantee us the use of the latest and most up to date Android version released by Google ASAP.
When I tried and used the Android Lollipop last year on Nexus 6, I clearly said that there was more to be desired.
It hasn’t changed much this year either.
After using the Android Marshmallow on Nexus 6P for more than 2 months, although I have nothing against it, I still believe that it fails to create a stunning and wow-effect in the mind of the end-user.
Perhaps pure stock experience is more for developers and for those who like bare-bones operating system generally offered in Nexus devices. I might be wrong here but I personally prefer personalisation and elegance in my user interface.
I did find occasional lag and jerkiness here and there.
Nothing major and worrying though.
Other than that, the user interface (UI) and operating system (OS) were generally fast, responsive and practical.
My complaint is that not much is done to make it an elegant and strikingly beautiful interface which in my opinion plays a significant role in winning the hearts and minds of the Android users.
Weakness No. 1 – No Multi-Window Support by Default
Nexus 6P is a solid device with lots of attractiveness built into it. I was struggling to find a real weakness in it.
Then after a lot of thought, I came up with something which is purely personal. It might not be a weakness at all for you.
I believe that for a large screen device such as 6P (5.7 inches), the operating system and the user interface should allow for multi-tasking as a default option. Other players are already doing this (Samsung, LG, Sony etc.) and I am wondering what is stopping Google to include it as a standard offering.
Other players are already doing this (Samsung, LG and Sony etc.) and I am wondering what is stopping Google to include it as a standard offering?
As a common user, I can tell you that I need it desperately and frequently when I want to put a YouTube video in the background (listening to audio only) and check my emails in the main window.
And many other combinations like this, which unfortunately, I can not do on stock Android in Nexus 6P.
Just heard the news that Android N will have the multi-window support built into it.
A step in the right direction.
Nexus 6p Strengths and Weaknesses – Overall Verdict
Before I give you my verdict, have a look at the following short-poll results highlighting the key areas which matter the most. This poll was closed after receiving 200 responses in November 2016.
Back to the 6P.
It is a solid performer.
It is big, bold, responsive and efficient.
I must say that I enjoyed using this device especially using the AMOLED screen for media which is sharp, crisp and vivid. Although I missed “true-Whites” but I enjoyed “solid-blacks” which are the key characteristics of the AMOLED technology.
I also enjoyed its fast and hassle-free camera experience. Yes, the default camera app could have the manual mode included as a feature but Google has clearly kept the things simple here for a common user. The picture results were impressive, rich and natural looking.
Design could have been better but I welcome the initiative by Google and Huawei to go with the metal. Many will disagree with me but I think every flagship should be made with premium quality metal (keeping practicality in mind though)
“Overall, I will give it an 8 out of 10 for the complete user experience – feels good.”
Let me know what do you think after reading this review of the Nexus 6P.
Have you used the Nexus 6P and have your highs or lows to share with us?
Is there any important factor there which I have missed including in this article but it is an important one for you to consider?