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Nexus 5X review

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Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Pros

  • Unskinned Android Marshmallow
  • Decent screen
  • Solid performance
  • Good build quality

Cons

  • No microSD
  • Middling battery

Key Features

  • Android Marshmallow
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor
  • 12.3-megapixels, f/2.0 rear camera
  • 5.2-inch, 424ppi display
  • Manufacturer: Google
  • Review Price: £339.00

Nexus 5X long term review


When I first reviewed the Nexus 5X it was one of the best mid-range phone’s available. For less than £400 you got a stellar handset that offer all the perks of Google’s then new Android Marshmallow operating system, without the bundled bloatware often found on third party skins.



However, having used it as my primary personal smartphone for over six months I encountered a number of significant issues. 

For starters, the performance has dramatically dropped. Like the OnePlus 2, the Nexus 5X performance has gradually gotten worse the more I’ve used it. After my first three months the device would on occasion inexplicably stutter. Another month on it began completely stalling about once a week.

Four weeks later I found myself having to restart the phone every other day to get it to run smoothly.

The Nexus 5X’s battery life has also suffered. Smartphone’s battery lives always gradually deteriorate, but since an early software update at the end of 2015 the Nexus 5X’s has outright bombed.



Overnight the phone went from lasting between one and a half to two days use off one charge to struggling to make it through the day. With heavy use I’ve also managed to wipe the battery within four hours. 

Intensive use entailed listening to music while browsing the web on a 30 minute train journey, periodically playing games, like Banner Saga, regularly checking my email, messages and social media feeds and watching a episode of Vikings on Amazon Instant Video.



The issues are a shame, as outside of them, the Nexus 5X remains a great phone. The fingerprint scanner is one of the fastest and most accurate around and it’s display is still one of the best seen on a phone in its price point.

It remains one of the most future proof Android phones around when it comes to software. Nexus devices always get updates to future versions of Android as long as their hardware is technically able.

As a result, the Nexus 5X is one of a select few handsets likely to get upgraded to the final version of Android N when it launches at an unspecified point later this year.



Nexus 5X – Long term verdict


The Nexus 5X is a phone that hasn’t stood the test of time all too well. Deteriorating battery and performance are a noticeable and ongoing frustration at the moment Hopefully a future Android update will fix the issues, but for now you’d be better of paying a little more and getting the larger Nexus 6P if you want the best unskinned Android experience.

You can read my original Nexus 5X review below.

Buy Now: Nexus 5X at Amazon.co.uk from £206 | Amazon.com from $289

What is the Nexus 5X?

The Nexus 5X is the smaller and more affordable choice in Google’s current smartphone line-up. It sits behind the Huawei-made Nexus 6P, which carries a larger 6-inch screen, slightly faster hardware and a higher, £449 asking price.

In contrast, the £339 Nexus 5X is significantly cheaper than the 6P and slightly more affordable than Apple's new iPhone SE. But, it is more expensive than some competing handsets, such as the £250 OnePlus 2, which on paper match many of its specs. It isn't quite the straightforward bargain the classic Nexus 5 was.

But the 5X goes a long way to justify its increased price tag thanks to its completely unskinned, future-proof version of Google’s latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. In fact, the software makes the Nexus 5X one of the best smaller smartphones on the market.

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Nexus 5X – Design & Features

The Nexus 5X has a similar design to its spiritual predecessor the Nexus 5, which isn’t surprising given both were built by LG.

Some will feel the Nexus 5X looks a little dull, or unimaginative, but I’m a big fan of its design. The original Nexus 5’s soft touch back made it one of the most comfortable handsets I've ever used. This remains true on the Nexus 5X thanks to a similar, soft-touch rear. LG has clearly taken what people liked about the Nexus 5 and refined it, which is great news.

Its 5.2-inch screen means this isn't a giant phone, either. It's about the same size and weight as the Samsung Galaxy S6 – it's just a few centimetres taller and wider, and weighs just 136g. Very little space is taken up by the bezel surrounding the screen, a fact helped by the new fingerprint scanner being on the back.

LG has made a few important design upgrades that separate it from its 2013 predecessor, though. The phone features a USB Type-C port, as opposed to the Nexus 5’s older microUSB input. Google claims the input will offer improved data transfer and charge speeds.

Related: Best smartphones 2015

Nexus 5X review 21

As noted just now, LG has also taken advantage of Android Marshmallow’s built-in “Nexus Imprint” support and added a fingerprint scanner to the back of the Nexus 5X.

The scanner offers similar functionality to Apple’s Touch ID sensor, so you can set the Nexus 5X to unlock or approve certain actions – Android Pay purchases, for example – only after its user has proven their identity.

The setup process is easy as pie and simply required me to tap a finger on the scanner a few times.

Once set up, I found the scanner is one of the best available on an Android smartphone. It read my fingerprint in nano-seconds and during my whole week with the Nexus 5X never once failed to recognise me – even when being used in the pouring rain.

Nexus 5X review

Nexus 5X – Screen Quality

The original Nexus 5 and Nexus 6’s screens were both sub-par. The Nexus 5's screen was slightly washed out and a little dull to look at. The Nexus 6 took things to the other extreme by featuring a horribly oversaturated display that distorted colours.

The Nexus 5X’s 5.2-inch, 424-pixel per inch (ppi) display sits in a happy middle ground between the two. Colours are well balanced and don’t suffer from the same oversaturation seen on the Nexus 6. They're also reasonably vibrant and don't look overly dull, as they did on the Nexus 5.

Black levels are also fairly good, though they aren’t as deep as those seen on top end competing handsets’ AMOLED displays, like the Galaxy S6. Whites are clean and the viewing angle is wonderfully wide and in my mind beat those of the competing OnePlus 2.

While it isn't 'Quad HD' like the Nexus 6P, icons and text on the the 5X's Full HD (424ppi) screen look suitably sharp. I don’t have any serious quibbles with the Nexus 5X’s screen.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Dead Words

September 29, 2015, 10:20 pm

Yay Nexus. Boo 32GB storage with no microSD. Yay LG and pure Android. Boo 32GB storage with no microSD. Haha.

Pg

September 30, 2015, 1:08 pm

Nexus 5x - from 479 euro (Ireland) on the google store. No thanks. I think Motorola have the value for money phones now.

Hamish Campbell

October 1, 2015, 7:51 am

You guys should probably get them free, what with all the money laundering you do for them ;)

Pg

October 1, 2015, 1:54 pm

Hey, good idea! I'll request that at the next meeting...wait..er..we don't meeting about these things! We don't launder money! Down with that sort of thing.

Paul Bastin

October 2, 2015, 8:24 am

Absolutely terrible price conversion there. Also the UK version doesn't get the Play store credit, or at least it isn't mentioned anywhere on the UK website for it.

Jon Smith

October 2, 2015, 8:56 am

storage capacity? ultra handy micro sd slot? or forced to use an unreliable and not always available cloud? when google offer the customer what they want, not what google want then it will be on my list.

Hamish Campbell

October 2, 2015, 2:08 pm

Perhaps you could mention that my Grandmother is a Fitzpatrick...you know...just in case there are some left over.

Eno

October 27, 2015, 3:48 pm

A mediocre/bad camera, no micro SD card slot and a high price tag. Thank you but no thank you!

mothergoose85

October 27, 2015, 4:28 pm

After having used the 6P for a bit the other day (coming from an HTC One M7) I've now ordered the 5X. It's a much more manageable device and whilst it doesn't have the stereo speakers I am okay with that (I haven't had an SD card on my phone for over 2 years and it's never been a problem with 32GB on board - obviously this just my situation, I understand some people need more than 32GB).

I did like the screen and the feel of the 6P but it's a two hand phablet, I want a 1 hand phone.

mothergoose85

October 27, 2015, 4:29 pm

I've not seen an single piece of evidence that the 5X or 6P camera is medicore/bad - it's getting rave reviews across the board, or so I thought? Have you got a link to any negative articles on the topic?

Eno

October 27, 2015, 5:17 pm

You should enlarge the photos in the gallery then.

Javed Aslam

November 1, 2015, 12:57 pm

Nexus 5X is not a device worth 32K in india when you devices
which give you much better value for money, I mean at the end of it, we Indians
always look for better value of money when we buy anything isn’t it ?

Build and Type C port

Nexus 5X build quality feels cheap as the whole body is plastic built and
feels very light and cheap. USB type C on both ends of the cable..seriously ?
How the hell is one suppose to transfer data, not everyone around you has a
type c port device. Till this becomes a standard the type C will be more inconvenience
than step up feature. I am not sure about the data speed transfer as I could
not test it but it does support fast charge (qualcomm quick charge 2.0 ) for
the 808 chipset.

Speaker and Screen Quality

It sucks in short, the screen has a yellowish tinge especially on
whites. If you crank up the brightness all the way up to maximum and compare it
with any other device it is very clear and evident.

LG has used a very cheap quality display. You can get a Quad HD from Moto X
Style for the same price which is brilliant
display.

While the speaker looks like stereo however it’s just a
single firing front speaker which is not loud compared to other device which
are much cheaper than the 5X.

Vibrator motor on the 5X is very weak too.. and here is the best part when I
ran Antutu benchmark on the device back to back 10 times in a row the score
dropped from 48K to 35K I mean that’s somoe serious inconsistent performance
issue and not to mention the chip does become warm although nothing life threatening
though

Marshmallow 6.0 was swift as stock android is suppose to be
however I would like to give the benefit of the doubt as this OS version is
still nascent and needs more development for stable performance.

sunibesh naskar

November 15, 2015, 9:21 am

hi. I use the same device *HTC one M7*. I am also planning to buy nexus 5x since this seems like the perfect phone to replace that.( Similar screen size, stock android). Since you are already using Nexus 5x what is your take?

mothergoose85

November 15, 2015, 10:29 am

I'm pleased to answer! But you may not expect what I'm about to say - I sent it back and got the 6P instead.

Yes, the 6P is a big phone but I've adjusted to it within a week. The 5X has an appalling speaker and doesn't feel remotely premium (especially when compared to the M7, arguably the most premium feeling Android handset that's been made?). The 6P matches it on all counts IMO.

I did have the opportunity to spend more time with the 6P before deciding to get it, I also borrowed at iPhone 6 Plus to compare (we have the devices at work as I work in an app development team).

Paul Brown

January 12, 2016, 5:50 pm

Minimal use, I'm at 9% battery after 10 hours. This device has the worst battery use of any device I've owned.

Paul Brown

March 19, 2016, 3:13 pm

In the interests of fairness, I'm back.

This phone is now pretty great. It turns out that ES File Explorer was trying to connect to LAN shares, even when not on WiFi / on another network. This in turn was breaking doze.

As soon as I removed that app I went up to two days per charge with light to medium use. Excellent.

infewerwords

March 21, 2016, 12:29 pm

Any other conclusions after 2 months' usage, Paul?
I'm looking at replacing my old LG-G2 with the 5X, now that the price has dropped (£229 + VAT on Ebuyer).

kevin1923647

March 22, 2016, 5:20 am

Thanks for taking the time to update, Paul - much appreciated.

Erik Lind Gou-Said

March 23, 2016, 11:10 am

faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake

eurorootz

March 24, 2016, 7:40 am

I bought a Moto X Pure 2015 on Amazon for $260. I tried comparing it to the 5x but I realized I should be comparing it to the 6P. With Nexus devices you are buying into the name. As of right now I feel Motorola is offering the most bang for your buck.

The Game Mechanics

March 24, 2016, 10:44 am

fair play Paul for comin back and giving us the update, rarely do I see that happen, so just thought I'd share my thanks.

Raisa

March 24, 2016, 7:48 pm

Nexus 5X, 6P, 6 and more is now on sale only at NexusPhoneOffers:com

Lezantas

March 25, 2016, 1:47 am

Hi, i replaced my G2 for 5X and i am suprised how much difference in experience small details can do.

+Slightly smoother
+Way better accuracy touch
+Sturdy and light feel
+Unlock with fingerprint is smoother
+Less garbage undeletable apps
+Signal is the best at all (wifi, gps, etc)
+Pleasing vibration (that sounds wrong)
+Screen and flash can cast a shadow to the sun

-Slippery back
-I miss qslide and customizable buttons
-Too subtle notify (speaker, vibration, etc)
-Google is overprotective with temps. Not a problem with cpu, but charging speed is too slow while using it

=Battery is worse (especially first week) but has not affected me as much as i feared. I still get a day of use even with hours of gaming

Conclusion, it has its quirks that will itch me to upgrade, but that will be few year away cause right now it gives me the best feel i could ask from a phone

Paul Brown

March 25, 2016, 6:08 pm

Generally it's really good and charging is pretty quick. I was at 13% while out and about and put it on a 1A car charger for an hour - 75%.
The screen brightness being super-high *can* drain it pretty quick, and some apps can sometimes break doze making the battery appear awful.

But now I don't have these problems it's utterly excellent.

infewerwords

March 26, 2016, 6:38 am

Thanks for the update. Do you find the Nexus much quicker than the G2, especially when moving between apps?

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