Google Nexus 5X vs 6P – Which is the best smartphone for you

Google Nexus 5X vs 6P – Which is the best smartphone for you

Hey guys, We’re going to compare the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P smartphones against each other! Obviously we expect the 6P to come out on top, but at what cost? Can the cheaper priced 5X compete? Let’s find out! So let’s start off with the physical differences between the devices. The most obvious thing is the size difference, the smaller Nexus 5X is a 5.2” device while the larger Nexus 6P is 5.7”.

This may not sound like that much but the difference is quite significant. While in my opinion both devices definitely require two hands to properly operate, with larger hands you may be able to use most of the 5X without too many issues. The larger size makes the 6P quite a bit longer, I’ve had difficulty fitting it in some of my pockets which can lead to it sliding out when sitting down quite easily when compared to the 5X.

Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P
Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P

The 6P can also be a bit more awkward to hold one handed as it’s much taller. The 6P is definitely much nicer to just pick up and hold. The solid aluminium body of the heavier 6P which comes in at 178g is very premium and solid feeling in comparison to the plastic and lighter 5X, which comes in at 136g. The extra weight to the 6P just makes it feel tougher, it doesn’t feel like a heavy device as the weight seems quite evenly spread around the large size of the phone.

The aluminium body of the 6P also has the advantage of hiding fingerprint marks quite well when compared to the 5X which is quite a fingerprint magnet and can look bad pretty easily. The 6P also has antenna band marks around the edges while the 5X does not. The 5X comes in carbon, quartz or ice colours while the 6P comes in aluminium, graphite or frost colours. In this video I have the carbon 5X and graphite 6P.

Both phones have their nano sim card trays on the left, while the right has the power button followed by the volume up and down buttons underneath. The 6P has a rough textured surface to its power button which makes it easier to feel out the differences between the buttons with your finger when you’re fumbling around for it, while the power button on the 5X is smooth and flat just like its volume buttons making it harder to differentiate the two based purely on touch.

Both phones also have the USB type C port on the bottom for charging and transferring data, however the 5X has its 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom of the phone, while the 6P has its on the top. Both phones have a fingerprint scanner on the back, in my testing I have not been able to notice any difference at all in how long it takes for the phone to unlock after placing my finger on the scanner, it’s very quick and completes in under a second on both phones. Both phones also make use of the same rear facing 12.3mp camera which features an f/2.0 aperture, IR laser assisted autofocus, 4K 30fps video and dual flash.

Nexus 5X vs the Nexus 6P
Nexus 5X vs the Nexus 6P

As mentioned in my previous review posts on these phones, the camera quality is excellent on both. As the same camera is in use on both phones, if your priority is on the camera the 5X may be a good option as a cheaper alternative. The front facing cameras are a bit different, the 6P provides a slightly better 8mp camera with an f/2.4 aperture, capable of shooting HD video at 30fps while the 5X has a 5mp camera with an f/2.0 aperture, also capable of shooting HD video at 30fps. While the sensor on the 6P is larger, the 5X has a higher aperture meaning more light can be let in, potentially resulting in less grainy images.

In my opinion both don’t look that great anyway, at least when compared to the amazing rear camera, which seems to be pretty standard with front facing cameras, however the images from the 6P are noticeably better compared to the 5X regarding the front facing camera. The glass on the front screen also differs in that the Nexus 5X is using Gorilla Glass 3, while the Nexus 6P is using Gorilla Glass 4. This gives the screen of the 6P an increased resistance to cracking meaning that it may better survive a drop compared to the 5X.

The 6P also has a glass covered camera bump on the back which has made me a bit uneasy every time I go to put it down as I’m worried about smashing the glass if I put it down too hard. The 5X in comparison has a plastic camera bump, so I don’t have this same worry, however as the bump on the 5X is only in the middle of the phone if I am using the phone while it is laid down on a flat surface it wobbles from side to side. The 6P does not experience, this as its camera bump runs along the whole top of the phone evenly, so it is able to remain stable while in use.

Both the 5X and 6P have LED notification lights available, but only after you activate them in Android, I have a video covering how to do this linked below in the description if you’re interested. The LED of the 6P is toward the top left while the 5X has its LED within the speaker grill down the bottom. The LED light of the 6P also seems to be quite a bit smaller compared to the light in the 5X. Speaking of speakers, the grill area on the bottom of the 5X is where it’s one front facing loudspeaker is found. Although it looks like it could have two speakers as the top grill looks exactly the same, it has just the single speaker while the 6P has two front facing speakers.

Nexus 5X vs the Nexus 6P PIXEL XL
Nexus 5X vs the Nexus 6P PIXEL XL

In my testing the audio quality from the 6P sounds noticeably better when compared to the single speaker of the 5X. In terms of call quality the 6P definitely sounds better to me, both sounded great however in my opinion the 6P was a little clearer. Now that we’ve covered the physical external components of the phones let’s move onto the internal components and device specs. The screen on the 5X is a 5.2” 1080p LCD display which results in 423ppi, while the screen on the 6P is a 5.7” 1440p AMOLED display at 518ppi. In my opinion both displays look great in terms of resolution, the difference between 423 and 518ppi is very hard for me to notice unless I put my eye right up to the screen, so in a normal use scenario both screens look very sharp and clear.

In my opinion the colours on the 6P look a bit better and are more saturated compared to the 5X. There’s also the difference between the AMOLED display on the 6P and LCD display on the 5X, as black pixels on the AMOLED screen actually turn off providing it with higher contrast and this is quite noticeable when viewing dark content, it just looks better on the 6P. The viewing angles are extremely good on both phones, however I think the 5X has a very slight edge here. After a point adding more pixels doesn’t provide much advantage in terms of what you can actually see, however it will increase battery drain as you have more pixels to push as this will put additional strain on the GPU.

I haven’t had any lag with either device so I think the specs within are good enough to provide a very smooth experience. The 5X makes use of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 1.8 GHz hexa-core 64-bit CPU while the 6P is using a Qualcomm snapdragon 810 v2.1, 2.0GHz octa-core 64 bit CPU. The CPU in the 6P is clocked slightly higher and has two additional cores. After running the Passmark benchmark the 5X got a score of 107,847 while the 6P received 127,354. Various CPU operations tested performed a little better on the 6P as expected, which I think is a little noticeable when opening applications. I’ve tested this by opening the same applications on both devices, and while some take the same amount of time the 6P is always ahead and gets there first.

In terms of graphics the 5X makes use of a Adreno 418 GPU, while the 6P is using a Adreno 430 GPU. As mentioned both are more than capable of pushing the large amounts of pixels available and perform fairly well in games. The Passmark benchmark showed that the 6P performed better in terms of synthetic graphics testing. An interesting difference is that the 5X has 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM while the 6P has 3GB LPDDR4 RAM. The 6P has both faster and more memory here, so expect to be able to run more applications at once and faster here when compared to the lower and slower amount in the 5X.

The better CPU and memory help the 6P perform better at multitasking compared to the 5X. The Passmark benchmark showed that the 5X was able to write to memory at 838MB/s and read from memory at 2,513MB/s. The 6P on the other hand performed writes to memory at 1,017MB/s and reads at 3,171MB/s, demonstrating that the 6P is faster at retrieving information out of memory and storing information into memory. Battery life is where things get quite interesting. The 5X has a 2,700mAh battery while the 6P has a larger 3,450mAh battery.

Both phones support fast charging, where the 5X can get a 4 hour charge in 10 minutes while the 6P can get a 7 hour charge in 10 minutes. In my testing I get multiple days of use out of both phones, although the 5X has a smaller battery it also has less powerful hardware to run when compared to the 6P, resulting in great battery life for both devices, however the battery does last noticeably longer on the 6P. I’ve run the both phones down to 1% battery charge and then fully charged them with their included wall outlet charger and USB C cable to give you an idea of how long this took to complete with a new battery.

While this is definitely not a perfect test as I did power the screen on very quickly once each minute to record the battery level shown, I think it does serve as a good approximate average. While the test was performed background applications were closed and the phone was not otherwise used. The 5X started off faster, which is kind of expected as it has a smaller battery capacity to charge, however despite the good start and smaller battery the 5X actually took longer to reach 100%. The 6P took 95 minutes to reach 100%, while the 5X took 99 minutes.

While this is not a large difference, keep in mind that the 6P has a larger battery! As shown in my graph the 5X was ahead until the 98% point. We can also see that the point of diminishing returns begins around the 60% mark for both phones, that is where it starts to take longer and longer to actually charge any more. In regards to wireless connectivity both the 5X and 6P support all current WiFi standards including 802.11a/b/g/n and AC, with dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz available. In addition to this, both also provide Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC.

In terms of storage, the 5X is available in 16gb and 32gb options, while the 6P is available in 32gb, 64gb, and 128gb options. Both phones do not have additional storage options, so if you need any more than 32gb of storage space the 6P will likely be what you’ll want to look at. After running the Passmark benchmark to determine the IO speeds of both phones, the 5X resulted in 263MB/s write speed and 366MB/s on the read speed. The 6P performed better with a 314MB/s write speed and a 410MB/s read speed.

I don’t think this difference is very significant, yes files may open and save a little snappier on the 6P but I don’t believe it will be easy to notice, in my testing of opening up random photos both took the same amount of time. So overall how is the actual user experience with both of these phones? Both have worked well, with a slight edge going to the 6P. Both phones have been very responsive to use owing to the goods specs and clean Android experience that the Nexus series of devices are well known for. Of course being Nexus devices we can also expect relatively quick Android updates and newer features sooner when compared to other Android devices on the market which means that both the 5X and 6P should be running the latest and greatest version of Android for some time to come.

While actually holding and using the phones, I found that I was more comfortable holding the 5X in terms of the overall size and how likely I felt that I was going to drop the phone. This is purely because of the larger size of the 6P, it’s quite a tall phone and although I’ve gotten used to it, it can be a little awkward to hold and use with smaller hands, however it does feel nicer to hold due to the weight and materials. I haven’t noticed either phone slipping in my hands at all despite the differences between the plastic and aluminium bodies, I wouldn’t consider either material to be slippery.

Nexus 5X and 6P
Nexus 5X and 6P

Unlocking either phone with the fingerprint scanner is an absolute breeze, there’s no delay and the process happens very fast however there’s always the power button on the side which I have found is easy to press with either hand on both phones, it’s in a pretty nice spot. So in conclusion while there are a lot of differences between the Nexus 5X and 6P, there are also a lot of similarities. The 5X is a smaller phone with decent specs and great battery life while the 6P is a larger phone with excellent specs and amazing battery life. Both phones have the same camera which performs very well, if the camera is important to you but you can’t justify the cost of the 6P, the 5X may be a better option for you as it’s cheaper and has the same camera.

If you want the high end specs and don’t mind paying a premium for them then the 6P is likely a better option for you as it has a larger battery, faster CPU, GPU, memory, larger storage options and better screen. Personally I prefer the higher end specs of the 6P and I’m able to overlook the other downsides that I wasn’t so keen on such as the larger size and higher price.

I wanted a phone that would perform very well for some time to come and I’m glad that I picked it over the 5X. At the same time I can see the value that the 5X provides and it’s a pretty good phone with a lot to offer at its price point. So which phone would you guys prefer between the Nexus 5X and 6P? Be sure to let me known down in the comments.

Louise Martin

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