|Style & Handling|
|+ Low price||- Poor battery|
|+ Android Marshmallow||- Lacking power|
|+ Fingerprint scanner||- Plain build|
Verdict: The Nexus 5X is an affordable way to get the stock Android Marshmallow experience, but a few concessions have been made to keep the price down.
This year Google launched the Nexus 5X alongside the Nexus 6P. The 5X is smaller and slightly less high-end than the 6P, but it’s still a reasonably impressive handset with a similarly impressive price.
With stock Android Marshmallow on board, plus the promise of speedy Android updates, alongside a fingerprint scanner and a hexa-core processor, it’s an accomplished phone, but it’s far from perfect. Read on for all you need to know.
The Nexus 5X has a fairly plain plastic build. It’s quite slim at 7.9mm thick and it’s got a soft touch finish which is pleasant in the hand, but it doesn’t look or feel like a premium smartphone and it’s plain enough that it won’t stand out in any sense.
That’s a shame, especially as the Nexus 6P has a stylish metal build, but it presumably kept the cost down and a fairly low price is one of the Nexus 5X’s biggest selling points.
There’s a 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 screen on the Nexus 5X, which is reasonably sharp at 424 pixels per inch, but no match for the QHD Nexus 6P.
However, what we can be critical about is outdoor visibility, as while it’s fine inside bright sunlight will wash it out to the point where it’s pretty much unusable. Thankfully we don’t get too much of that in Britain, but if you tend to be outside a lot this still might not be the phone for you.
The Nexus 5X has a hexa-core Snapdragon 808 processor with four cores running at 1.44GHz and the other two running at a faster 1.82GHz. That’s reasonably speedy and it’s the same chip as the high-end LG G4 uses.
The fact that the Nexus 5 runs stock Android Marshmallow helps here too, as there’s no bloat in the interface, so you can zoom around with no lag.
But there’s only 2GB of RAM, which is on the low side for a 2015 smartphone and that can cause slight problems, especially when jumping between apps, as there’ll sometimes be a slight but noticeable pause which you don’t get on higher end phones.
There’s a 12.3MP camera on the back of the Nexus 5X and a 5MP one on the front. It also has a laser autofocus and dual-LED flash for the rear camera, so it’s fairly well equipped for photography.
In practice it’s not bad at all for point and shooting and is even quite adept in low light scenarios. The camera app itself could be faster and the absence of optical image stabilisation is a shame, but this is a competent day to day shooter.
The front-facing camera is harder to get excited about, but it will take a mean selfie and if you’re more into video you can shoot that in up to 2160p at 30fps, which is a match for the highest end phones around.
The Nexus 5X runs stock Android 6.0, giving you a smooth, clean interface with zero bloat. It also has the latest and best versions of Android features, such as Google Now, which in this iteration benefits from the new Now on Tap service, allowing you to pull up information relevant to whatever’s on your screen at the press of a button.
Being a Nexus phone it will also be supported with regular and speedy Android updates as they become available, which is a big bonus, as other phones tend to get updated slowly if at all.
The Nexus 5X isn’t exactly feature-packed but it does have a fingerprint scanner. This, unusually, sits on the back of the phone, which is a slightly awkward position for it, but once you hit it the results are fast and accurate.
It’s useful now for unlocking your phone and it will be even more useful in future for authorising purchases through Android Pay.
There’s a 2700 mAh battery in the Nexus 5X which is neither tiny nor massive. In practice how long it lasts depends on how you use it. Leaving the screen on for long periods will run the battery down even faster than most rivals.
But if you’re not planning on a movie marathon it should last a day of moderate use, especially as Android Marshmallow includes new battery saving features.
It doesn’t take too long to juice up again either, as the Nexus 5X supports USB Type-C. This is both faster than standard microUSB charging and allows you to plug cables in either way up, though it does render all your old microUSB cables obsolete.
There’s either 16 or 32GB of built in storage, but with no microSD card slot you’ll almost certainly want to opt for the larger of those two sizes.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC, so the Nexus 5X is not lacking there.
The Nexus 5X might seem disappointing in comparison to the Nexus 6P, but it’s an impressive phone in its own right, with stock Android Marshmallow, a fingerprint scanner, a speedy processor and a competent camera. All that and it starts at just £339, or can be grabbed on an EE contract from £36.99 per month with no upfront cost.
It’s far from perfect, with a suspect battery, disappointingly little RAM, a bland design and a screen that suffers in sunlight, but for £200 less than many flagships you’re getting a reasonably high-end phone with some standout features, so it’s certainly competitive.