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Nexus 6P hands-on and first look

Join us as we go hands-on with the brand new HUAWEI-made Nexus 6P!

Published onSeptember 29, 2015

After an endless amount of leaks and rumors, Google has finally taken the wraps off the two newest members of the Nexus family, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. The former is manufactured by LG and is the lower-end of the two devices, while the latter is made by Huawei and sports top of the line specifications.

Right now we’re taking a look at the Nexus 6P, which is the successor to last year’s Nexus 6. With a more premium-feeling chassis and improved specifications, it’s hard to deny that the 6P is one attractive device. However, spec sheets and press releases don’t tell the whole story, which is why you’ll want to join us in going hands-on with the brand new Nexus 6P!

Nexus 6P officially announced: everything you need to know

In the hand, the Nexus 6P feels really nice. It sports an all-metal chassis with a 5.7-inch screen and Gorilla Glass 4. This is the first Nexus to come with a metallic unibody, and surprisingly, Google and HUAWEI managed to make this device pretty light considering the size. It weighs 178 grams, which is just 6 grams lighter than Motorola’s Nexus 6 from 2014. It’s also a tad slimmer, too, measuring just 7.3 millimeters, compared to the Nexus 6’s 10.1 millimeter thickness.

On the back you’ll find a pretty large rear-facing 12.3MP camera with dual LED flash, embedded in the black window at the top of the device. Below that there’s a fingerprint scanner which Google is calling Nexus Imprint, which will allow you to easily wake and unlock your device in a single tap. This is the same fingerprint reader that’s found on the Nexus 5X, so you’ll likely get the same experience no matter which device you’re using. From what we can tell so far, the fingerprint reader is pretty fast and makes it really easy to access the device from a locked state. Similar to what we’ve seen from HUAWEI devices in the past, the fingerprint scanner can also be used to wake the phone out of sleep mode.

The right side of the device houses a textured power/standby key and volume rocker, and the bottom of the phone houses the new USB Type-C port. Even though you won’t be able to use your standard Micro USB cables for charging this device, we think most users will welcome this change, as USB Type-C cables are reversible.

Moving to the front, the Nexus 6P features a 5.7-inch Quad HD AMOLED display with a pixel density of 515, making this the first Quad HD display on any HUAWEI phone. It’s also covered in Gorilla Glass for extra protection. Google says they did their best to shrink down the 6P’s bezels to make the phone as small as possible. On stage, the company said the 6P is just about as big as most other smartphones with 5.5-inch displays and we’d say that’s pretty close to accurate.

Under the hood, the 6P is powered by an octa-core 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor backed by 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 430 GPU, which should be plenty powerful enough for both power users and normal users alike. The device comes in 32, 64 and 128GB variants, with no room for expandable storage.

There’s also a big 3450mAh battery, which is a slight step up from the Nexus 6’s 3220mAh unit. Even though the 6P doesn’t feature wireless charging capabilities, it does come with quick charging technology. We know it’s not as convenient as setting your phone down on a charging pad, but at least if you have to be tethered to a charging cable, it won’t be for long.

The Nexus 6P comes with a 12.3MP rear-facing camera with an f/2.0 aperture and laser-assisted autofocus, while the front camera comes in at 8MP and features HDR+ capabilities. There’s no optical image stabilization (OIS) this time around, which is definitely an odd move. Nexus phones have struggled in the camera department for some time now, so we’re hoping the lack of OIS won’t ruin the device’s chances at producing some nice shots. We’ll of course test this camera out in full once we get our review unit, so stay tuned for more coverage on the camera front.

On the software side of things, the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X both run Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Although it may not look entirely different Lollipop when it comes to aesthetics, there are tons of new performance improvements and software features, including Google Now on Tap, an all-new permissions system, better battery management, simplified volume controls and much, much more. Also making its debut in Marshmallow is the new Doze battery saving feature, which Google says can double your device’s standby time. Oh, and Marshmallow also supports landscape mode on the home screen!

Google Now on Tap Demo at Google I/O 2015

The Nexus 6P is now available for pre-order from the Google Store starting at $499 for the 32GB version, $549 for the 64GB model and $649 for the 128GB model. The device is available in Aluminum, Graphite and Frost color options. If you happen to live in Japan, you can even get your hands on a Gold color option. When the Nexus 6 launched last year, the 32GB base model came to market for $649. It’s clear that Google is being much more aggressive with its pricing structure this time around, especially when it comes to the way these new Nexus phones will be sold. As of right now, you’ll only be able to order them online from the Google Store if you happen to live in the United States.

So, there you have it – a quick hands-on look at the brand new Nexus 6P! Based off what you’ve seen so far, what are your thoughts? Is the Nexus 6P going to be your next phone, or do your prefer the 5X? Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments. And if you’re looking for some more in-depth information, be sure to check out more Nexus event coverage linked below!