Google announced not one, but two new Nexus smartphones today, which is a first in the company's history of making Nexus phones. The larger 5.7" Nexus 6P made by Huawei starts at $499, and the smaller 5.2" Nexus 5X made by LG starts at $379.
The Nexus 6P is Google's "flagship" for this year and is more of a successor to the Nexus 6 from last year, while the Nexus 5X is more of a successor to the Nexus 5 from two years ago, which was also made by LG.
The Nexus 6P brings a 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor, a 5.7" 1440p AMOLED display, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB of storage (with 64 GB and 128 GB options), 802.11ac, LTE, and a rather large 3,450 mAh battery.
The main attraction for the Nexus 6P this time seems to be the camera performance, which in the past hasn't been that good on a Nexus device. Google seems to have taken that criticism to heart and used a higher quality 12MP camera resolution that comes with a larger 1/2.3" Sony sensor. This means the pixels are currently among the biggest on the market, at 1.55µm.
Bigger pixels means more light can be captured, and Google said this even makes Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) unnecessary. OIS is useful for stabilizing the camera and can let more light in before the picture is taken. Even if the bigger pixels can compensate for capturing more light, the lack of OIS will still be felt when doing video recording, as OIS is also useful for stabilizing videos in real-time. Google should at least use digital image stabilization, but it remains to be seen how good it will be.
In a comparison between the Nexus 6P and the iPhone 6S, the Nexus 6P seems to have won in darker environments where the phone captured more light and the image had more natural colors.
The front-camera is 8MP, and Google's David Burke said that it's a great camera for selfies. Both of the rear cameras on the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P can capture slow-motion video at 120fps and 240fps, respectively, and come with f/2.0 lenses and laser auto-focus.
The new Nexus 6P also comes with the latest generation Gorilla Glass 4, which is supposed to be twice as hard as Gorilla Glass 3, and therefore half as likely to get scratches. It's also one of the first smartphones with USB Type-C, the new reversible USB port, which also supports fast charging.
The Nexus 5X features a slightly weaker Snapdragon 808 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB as default storage (with only a 32 GB option), a 1080p 5.2" screen, USB type-C support, 802.11ac, LTE and a 2,700 mAh battery, which is an improvement over the Nexus 5's 2,300 mAh battery.
The camera seems to be the same one as on the Nexus 6P and can also shoot 4k video, but as already mentioned, slow-motion video recording is limited to 120fps.
Both of the new Nexus devices also come with fingerprint sensors called "Nexus imprint." Unlike other fingerprint sensors, the Nexus sensor supports the new fingerprint API, which opens fingerprint recognition for the entire app ecosystem. The fingerprint registration takes only two seconds, but once trained, the sensor can recognize a fingerprint in only 600ms.
Google also introduced a feature called the Android Sensor Hub, which moves the sensor data processing off the CPU to decrease power consumption and uses the data more intelligently as well, to recognize gestures and activities.
Google Now on Tap demoBoth devices will also come with Android M, which brings new features including finer permissions control, the "Doze" feature that will double standby time and increase overall battery life by 30 percent, and Google Now on Tap, which can scan applications that are in use and offer intelligent recommendations (which could also open up many privacy issues, as Google will now be able to see messages and emails from other providers).
The Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X are now available for pre-order on the Google store in the U.S., UK, Ireland and Japan. More countries will be supported in the next few weeks.
In the U.S., the Nexus 5X will start at $379 for the 16 GB version and $429 for the 32 GB version. The Nexus 5X will be available in White, Black and Mint colors. The Nexus 6P will cost $499 for the 32 GB version, $549 for the 64 GB model and $649 for the 128 GB variant. The Nexus 6P will arrive in Frost White, Aluminum and Graphite. The Nexus 5X should start shipping within two to three weeks, while the Nexus 6P should ship within four to five weeks.
In Canada, the 16 GB Nexus 5X will be $499 CAD and the 32 GB model will be $559 CAD. The 32 GB Nexus 6P will start at $699 CAD, and then will cost $749 CAD for the 64 GB version and $849 CAD for the 128 GB one. The Nexus 6P should also arrive within four to five weeks in Canada, but you can order it only in Aluminum and Graphite for now. For the Nexus 5X you can only join a waiting list.