Huawei Nexus 6P review
|Review: November 2015|
In a nutshell: The Huawei Nexus 6P isn't a phone for everyone. It's a phone for those seeking the latest Marshmallow version of Android in its pure form, with incredibly powerful hardware to accompany it. With an awesome screen, ultra-fast processor, solid camera, excellent battery life, and too many bells and whistles to mention in this summary, we give it 9 out of 10.
Today's best buy: Google Nexus 6P 32GB from Laptops Direct (£159.97)
We recently reviewed the LG Nexus 5X and while we gave a hearty welcome to Android Marshmallow and USB Type-C fast charging, we kind of shrugged about the rest of the phone. It's not a bad phone at all, it just didn't move us. The Nexus 6P from Huawei is a different kind of phone altogether. Let's take a look.
Design & looks
You can tell at a glance that the Nexus 6P is nothing like the Nexus 5X. It's substantially larger for one thing, with a 5.7 inch screen that joins Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ as the biggest smartphone screen you can buy in 2015. That marks it out as a phone designed totally for power users.
There's no getting away from the fact that this is a huge phone, and definitely won't be suitable for most mainstream users. It's very heavy too, weighing in at 178g. Having said that, the phone is very slim, measuring just under 7.5mm thick, and doesn't feel heavy when you handle it, because the weight is spread out over a large area. The superslim body is easy to hold, but you'll definitely need two hands to operate it.
Unlike the plastic casing of the 5X, the 6P is made from an anodised aluminium unibody. The version we're reviewing wears its aluminium credentials with pride, showing off as much metal as it can. We're not sure if we entirely like the design. It's a bit industrial-looking, especially in its Aluminium colour, and the way the panel surrounding the rear camera sticks out isn't ideal. But it's certainly different, and we like phones that have character. The 6P does.
As well as Aluminium, it's available in Graphite Black and Frost White.
Like the Nexus 5X, the back of the phone houses a fingerprint scanner. You can use the scanner to unlock the phone, access Play Store, Android Pay and apps. Positioning the scanner on the rear of the phone seems at first to be an odd choice, but using it quickly becomes a natural action.
The display is little short of awesome. Not only is it the biggest physical screen you can buy on a phone, but it also has an incredibly high resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, giving an incredibly sharp pixel density of 518 ppi. It's an AMOLED screen too, making it bright, with the deepest blacks, for superb contrast. Move over iPhone 6s Plus. This beast owns you.
The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 4, which is just as well, as a screen this big needs all the protection it can get.
Audio quality is better than average, with a punchy front-facing speaker, but remember that this is a phone, not a boombox.
The Nexus 6P launches with Google's brand-new Marshmallow flavour of Android. Marshmallow's big new feature is "Now on Tap", which displays a card with helpful information when you press and hold the Home button. It's context-sensitive and aims to provide info about what's on screen. It's basically like "Google Now", but inside apps.
There are new battery management features, such as Doze and App Standby, which stop battery wastage, especially in standby. You now have much more control over permissions for apps, so you can stop them accessing your contacts, etc, if you don't trust them. Marshmallow also supports USB Type-C, which provides faster charging, and enables the Nexus 6P to include a USB Type-C connection.
One advantage in choosing the Nexus is that it will receive the very latest Android updates as soon as they become available.
8 cores but no microSD slot
The Nexus 6P takes no prisoners when it comes to speed and power. Huawei has bravely opted for the 2GHz octacore Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, which is quite possibly the fastest processor in any current mobile. When it works.
The problem with the 810 is overheating. Sony's Xperia Z3+ runs very hot with the 810 processor, to the point where it shuts down functionality. But the Nexus has version 2.1 of the processor and seems to have largely tamed its heat-generating habits. The Nexus does get very warm when pushed hard, but it doesn't overheat, and it stays fast. Very fast. It comes with the very capable Adreno 430 GPU too, and is equipped with an impressive 3GB of RAM. So if you're searching for a powerful phone, look no further.
The metal unibody design doesn't allow for a microSD card slot, and so you're stuck with however much memory the phone comes with. For most users this will be 32GB, although 64GB and 128GB versions are available if you hunt for them online. 32GB is an acceptable amount, but it's hardly generous, and we do think that the Nexus misses out by not having an expandable memory. It's definitely a lot better than the measly 16GB of the Nexus 5X however.
12 megapixel camera
The phone comes with a 12.3 megapixel rear camera and an 8 megapixel front camera.
Nexus phones traditionally haven't been great camera phones, but the 6P is out to change all that. The 12 megapixel sensor is large and competent in low light conditions, which is when most people seem to take photos. HDR mode helps to adjust the dynamic range to low lighting too, and overall results are very good.
The camera features a supremely fast laser autofocus, and the Google Camera app is very user-friendly, so shots are quick and easy to capture. The camera can also record video at up to UHD (4K) resolution.
The front camera is more limited, but is ideal for quick selfies, and can video at 1080p resolution.
The Nexus 6P is usable almost anywhere, with support for 16 LTE bands, as well as multi-band 3G and quad-band 2G support. It also has fast Wi-Fi for data access.
At the bottom of the phone you'll find an unfamiliar socket - it's a reversible USB Type C port, instead of a microUSB. That means you'll need a new cable, but Type C has a significant advantage over older USB connections - fast battery charging. See the next section for more details.
Huawei hasn't skimped when it comes to providing a battery for this bad boy. Its 3450mAh battery is the biggest you'll find on any smartphone. The Nexus 5X for example has just 2700mAh at its disposal. Although the high resolution screen and power-hungry processor sap battery power, you'll still easily make it through the day and out the other side too.
In addition, even if things do go awry, you can recharge the phone in next to no time with the USB Type-C connection. To be more precise, a 10 minute charge can give up to 7 hours of power.
Conclusion - for power users only
Under no circumstances should mainstream users approach the Huawei Nexus 6P. The size of this beast makes it unusable in one hand, and it's probably too big to stuff in your pocket. Its aesthetics also probably don't conform to current trends. Bring this out in front of your friends and you may experience raised eyebrows, instead of the awed admiration you were hoping for.
But if you're an individual who knows what you want from a phone, then this could well be the best phone you ever owned. The screen is immense, and superbly sharp. The processor/RAM combination means that you can breeze through any apps you can think of. The camera, while not the best ever, is highly capable. And the battery is a monster. Plus there are unique benefits here - pure Android in its latest Marshmallow flavour, USB Type-C, and the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.
We should mention the price before we finish. On contract, it's good value. Sim free, it's even better. If you're in the market for a powerful phablet, the Nexus 6P easily trumps rivals like the Galaxy Note 4 when it comes to value for money.
Make no mistake, we're very impressed by the Nexus 6P, and if it had a microSD card slot, it would have earned 5 stars from us.
Huawei Nexus 6P features include:
- Android Marshmallow 6.0
- 12.3 megapixel rear camera with dual LED flash, autofocus, HDR mode, UHD video recording
- 8 megapixel front camera
- Display: AMOLED, 5.7 inches, 2560 x 1440 pixels, 518 ppi
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1, 2.0 GHz octa-core 64-bit,
Adreno 430 GPU, 3GB RAM
- Memory: 32/64/128 GB
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, USB Type C port, 3.5mm audio jack, fingerprint sensor
- Networks: 4G LTE, multi band 3G, quadband GSM
- Size: 159 x 78 x 7.3 mm
- Weight: 178g
- Battery: 3450 mAh battery with USB Type-C fast-charging
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Huawei Nexus 6P user reviews
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Average rating from 2 reviews:
Reviewed by Phil
on 17th Feb 2016
What a fantastic phone. Amazed there's just one review for it!!!
Agree with everything Ste says about it too. I've opted for the 64gb version so storage space shouldn't be TOO much of issue, but it would be nice to have the security of being able to pop in an SD card if on hols or something, and find yourself running out of space.
Another thing I wish more manufacturers would do is give people the option to have identical hardware handsets but the choice of the 'standard' size of around 5inch or 'phablet' size - 5.5 & up....I did toy with the idea of getting the Nexus 5X, but felt I'd be short-changed in the quality department a bit, something that DEFINITELY can't be said of the 6P.
All that said, I'm still extremely impressed & delighted with this phone. I've just come back to Android after dabbling with the awful iPhone 6 for a few months....NEVER AGAIN!
Reviewed by Ste
on 1st Nov 2015
The S21 review summed up the reason why I opted for the Nexus 6P exactly. Not much more to add as I agree with all the points.
It's a pure beast of a handset with no bloatware. Handles everything I've thrown at it. The battery at 1st appeared to be pretty average but after a few days use the stamina has turned out to be excellent. The stock camera app is streamlined with very few options. But it's designed to take those quick pictures, in focus, 1st time. And that's all you can ask for in a phone camera. 3rd party apps add the tools but the next Android update will most likely give us more options.
I too wish it has an SD card slot like my other Huawei handset - Honor 6Plus with its dual sim/or sim and SD slot.
So that's why the 5 stars has slipped to a 4.
This has replaced my Honor 6 Plus and I never thought that would happen in a hurry!