First Impressions, Look, and Feel
It’s big, black, and beautiful. The first thing I noticed is that the Nexus 6p is big. The finish and metal construction look good and I like the squareness of the device. It gives my fingers good confirmation of latching onto something as opposed to rounded edges or, even worse, a slippery rounded back. The phone is very thin also and rides surprisingly well in pocket (drawing it out feels ever so slightly awkward).
I’ve found Google’s keyboard to work just fine for me, but learning to type with two hands in portrait positioning did take some getting used to. My chubby thumbs have gotten more comfortable as I’m writing this entire post from said device in review!
By now there are dozens of benchmarks such as this comparison of Android flagships by PhoneArena. I’ll just say that while syncining my entire netbook’s
~/home over WiFi (via syncthing), restoring several thousand text messages (via SMS Backup +), and fiddling with settings the device never really slowed down other than a slight stutter here and there.
The fingerprint scanner is quite handy and snappy. I’ve found, though, that you need to give it a firm press (like a long press vs swipe on the screen) to function reliably. This isn’t a problem, just FYI.
The double tap power button deploying the camera thing… bomber! Even better, the camera is wonderful (see photos on G+. I’m not a photography guru, but I appreciate crisp, clear, and rich pictures as much as the next person; especially since my phone has long since replaced my point-and-shoot camera.
As an aside, I did find the screen to be gooey out of the box and cursed several times when trying to long press as my finger oozed around. After a few days of finger gunk had built up though this wasn’t an issue.
Audio and Visual
The screen is deep and rich, no doubt due to the AMOLED construction. I don’t mind the “unnatural” colors and am really just wow-ed by the display. Video and pictures alike are vivid and splendid.
On the audio front things are good too. The built in, front-facing stereo speakers have good tone and volume. I’m a bit of a stickler here, finding HTC’s
boomsound to be “adequate.” At low and medium volumes Huawei is on par here, at least to my ear. At max volume though you’ll have to fiddle with your MP3 player’s equalizer if you prefer a higher bass and trebble as I do. The in-built speakers can get a bit tin-ish. However, lowering the volume a click or two takes care of this. YouTube and streaming services sounded rich and full at all volumes.
A phone with a dead battery is just an expensive paper weight, so this is important. I have consistently been getting 15 hours of battery life with regular use. Most excellent! Certianly noting a 10 minute quick charge while I’m in the shower can’t take care of.
Coming from KitKat, there are a lot of nice improvements here. To name a few: I like the lock screen (which isn’t really new thanks to third party apps), the two-finger swipe for quick setting tiles is great, having a search bar in your device settings is super helpful, and of course per-app permissions make me happy.
There is a lot more I could include here, but the bottom line is that you won’t regret this device. I was a long time adversary of the “
phablet fad”, but Google and Huawei have won me over here…. quite easily. Even if the Nexus 6p had a price tag more akin to the iPhone 6s Plus, or even Samsung’s Galaxy S6+, I don’t think you’d change my mind. Those bleeding edge OS updates are marquee.
This is especially true in a smartphone era where hardware performance has not been a major issue in years until eventually compatibility, bloatwatre, cruft, and outdated modules slow you down. You really are getting the most bang for your buck with the Nexus 6p, not only in retail price, but device lifespan as well.
Kudos Google! You’ve given a stagnating Android advocate something to love again.