Living with the Nexus 6P

We asked one of our reviewers to ‘go large’ and try out the Nexus 6P for a week.
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Living with the Nexus 6P

I’m holding the Nexus 6P in my hand, the phone that Google teamed up with Huawei to produce. I’m trying to use the word ‘premium’ a lot less to describe phones these days, but I’m not going to be able to avoid it here. Because the ‘P’ in the name actually stands for premium. And also... it is unmistakeably a premium phone. Huawei has done itself proud with this beauty.

First impressions

This is the first all-metal Nexus, and it’s a great looking device - large yet slim, with flat sides and a curved back.

On the front, here are two fairly large bezel areas at the top and bottom.

I’m not usually a fan of big bezels, but when they’ve got powerful front-facing stereo speakers in them, I’m not going to argue.

Around the back, the most noticeable feature is a glass window going along the top. This contains the camera lens, flash and laser auto-focus. It protrudes slightly too, so it’s sure to be a real talking point – see what you think.

The size of the Nexus 6P means that it’s a two-handed job to operate it. This was fine for me though. It’s light and comfortable, and I had a great time using it.

Keeping me entertained

The Nexus 6P has a 5.7-inch AMOLED display, with Quad HD resolution. It looks amazing.

Everything is super-sharp, crisp and detailed. The colours really pop, especially compared with my other phone (an LG G Flex 2). Reds, oranges and blues really stand out – and the colours are accurate, rather than over-saturated.

And then there’s the sound. Those front-facing stereo speakers are excellent. Even with the volume turned up full, there’s no distortion or loss of clarity. I was able to do a quick comparison with HTC’s mighty BoomSound speakers (on an HTC One M9) and there was nothing in it.

The Nexus 6P is a great machine for entertainment. I watched Star Trek Into Darkness, and some of the key battle scenes looked and sounded amazing. Huge explosions combined with moving orchestral music might be a problem for some phones, but the Nexus 6P took all this in its stride.

Then it was time for high-octane racing thrills with Need for Speed: No Limits. Wow. The Nexus 6P’s large display, sharp detail, brilliant colours and powerful sound all combined to give me the best gaming experience I’ve ever had on a smartphone. If you get a Nexus 6P you can ditch your mobile games console without any hesitation – it really is that good.

Trying out the camera

The Nexus 6P has a powerful 12.3-megapixel camera, and it’s the best one that’s ever been on a Nexus phone. The camera sensor has larger pixels than its predecessors, so it’s especially good for taking pictures in low light. Here’s a pic that I took on my journey into work this morning. It was a depressingly dark morning, and the Nexus 6P coped fine with it.

Here’s another photo that was taken when the light was better. The level of detail is really impressive.

The phone does lack a few manual settings that keen photographers might expect, but there are some great photography apps to take care of that.

Lasting all day, dozing all night

The Nexus 6P’s battery life impressed me. I was always able to get through a full day of fairly heavy usage without having to worry about recharging it. The hefty 3,450mAh battery has obviously got a lot to do with this, but the power saving Doze mode plays a huge part too.

Doze recognises when you’re not using the phone, and puts it in a kind of deep sleep to save power. I left my phone on the bedside table a couple of nights, and when I picked it up in the morning the battery life was almost the same.

Charging time is good too. The Nexus 6P comes with the new USB Type-C charger, and it’s a lot faster than what I’m used to. I was able to charge the phone from empty to full in about 1½ hours.

Final thoughts

The Nexus 6P runs on Android Marshmallow, so there are some great new software features on it, like the Doze mode mentioned above. Check out our Android Marshmallow article for more details.

And, just like other Nexus phones, it gives you a pure Android experience. That means you get the platform’s core features, with no annoying bloatware to worry about. I’ve had it for a week now, and everything has launched smoothly, lag has been non-existent, and multi-tasking is no problem at all.

If you’re after an Android phone, you won’t be disappointed with the Nexus 6P, and you can buy it here. It might just be the best phone I’ve ever used, and I really don’t want to hand it back. It’s not easy being a Lowdown phone tester, sometimes.

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