The Nexus line of phones is something special in the Android world. The phone or pair of phones is released annually by Google and a chosen manufacturer as both a reference design and somewhere to release a completely unmessed with version of Android . In 2015 Google released the 6p with Huawei and the 5X with LG. LG have made Nexus phones with Google before – the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 5 both of which I had as my main phones and both of which were excellent. The 5x is designed to be a budget Nexus that is the spiritual successor to the 5 – but can it match up to the big boots of its predecessor?
The phone looks like a slightly curvier version of the 5 with a polycarbonate back and Gorilla glass front and a (these days) relatively small 5.2″ screen. Pick it up and it’s instantly obvious how much of this phone is plastic – it’s very, very light. Some have said that this makes it feel less premium but as someone who carries and holds up his phone an awful lot the reduction in weight is very happily accepted.
Internally it’s got a decent CPU, 2gb of Ram and either 16 or 32gb of storage. As long as you avoid the 16gb you’ll find this enough for most users.
The camera has always been a week point for Nexus’s but despite the lack of Optical Image Stabilisation the 5X’s camera produces decent pictures in good light and acceptable pictures in more poor light conditions. Most users will be happy with it although it is slightly overwhelmed by the market leaders like the Samsung S7 and the newest iPhone. The camera protrudes slightly which looks odd until you get used to it and I worried might lead to the lens being scratched but in a few weeks use it’s not caused any problems.
Under that protruding camera is the one of the phones star points – a fingerprint scanner in the middle of the back. It’s not the first time I’ve seen a scanner in this position but the 5x’s scanner is fast enough and the position good enough that it’s genuinely so easy to use that you almost forget that you’re signing in every time. Add this to apps like Lastpass tapping into it’s API and it’s a big winner.
One of the primary reasons to buy a Nexus device is the promise both of monthly security updates and of the earliest access to the newest clean version of Android. Currently the 5X is running Marshmallow but the next version of Android ‘N’ is available as a pre-release alpha if you are feeling bold enough to run it and the 5x will be one of the first devices to get the official version when it launches in the Autumn.
Price: £299 to £339 or £232
Included in the box: Nexus 5X Phone, USB-C Cable, Quick charge Charger, Quick start booklet.
Paid Extras: Mobile phone plan
About LG and Google
Google as a company needs little introduction being one of the worlds biggest tech companies and holding dominant positions in search, email, mobile operating systems. The Nexus 5x and 6p are the 7th generation of the Nexus lines and are a firm favorite among the tech crowd.
LG is a Korean multinational that makes everything from washing machines to fridges, phones and monitors. LG have made Nexus devices before very successfully and this seems like a good return to form.
- Target audience: Developers and those looking for a lower cost but rapidly updating Android phone.
- Target gender: Unisex with black, white and ice blue options available
- Optimized for ambidextrous use with the power button and volume on the right hand side and USB and headphone jack on the base.
Environment & People
The Nexus line of phones started as a developer handset which was to be simple and basic and cheap enough for every developer to get one. The Nexus 5x, particularly the 32GB version purchased via Amazon is only £240 which is a steal for a phone of this quality.
Taken with Nexus 5x – click through to full size version
Product dimensions: 14.7 x 7.2 x .7 cm
Colour: Black, white or light ice blue
Materials: Gorilla Glass and plastic
Sim: Single Nano-SIM
Release date: September 2015
Operating System: Android 6.0.1
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
Mobile networks: GSM, CDMA, HSPA and LTE
Memory: 2GB RAM
Storage: 16 or 32GB
Display: IPS, 5.2″ 1080 x 1920 – 423ppi
Camera: 12.3 MP, f/2.0, laser autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
Selfie Camera: 5 MP, f/2.0, HDR
Connectivity: USB-C version 2.0
Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz) capable
Bluetooth: v4.2, A2DP
NFC (Near Field Communication): Yes
Fingerprint Sensor: Yes
Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 2700 mAh battery
Warranty: Purchased directly from Google there is officially a year’s warranty but Google have historically been very good supporting phones out of their time period.
To get the most out of a Android phone you need to have a Google account. Without this the phone is useable but you cannot access the store, update apps or do a number of other things. A sim with a data contract is a requirement if you want to use the 5X on the go but it is possible to use it as a wifi only device.
Budget price phones have come a long way in the last few years and where once you had to make severe compromises to save money these days phones like the OnePlus 2 can offer higher specs at lower prices. With this change the Nexus line is less about providing a budget experience for developers and more about providing a pure experience. It’s the better for the change and the Nexus 5x is an excellent device with the most up date version of Android. There are something things that can be knocked about it – the lack of OIS, a battery that’s not quite the size it could be and the lack of large storage versions but the design is simple, classic and surprisingly well suited to day to day use. I’m keeping it as my daily driver and looking forward to being one of the first with Android N. Highly recommended.