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Nexus Engineers Reveal More Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P Details

Four members of the Google Nexus team, including Hiroshi Lockheimer, David Burke, Krishna Kumar and Sandeep Waraich, took the time to answer questions from Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P fans about the two new phones. Here's a summary of the most important details.

Why Huawei And LG?

Google seems to have a good relationship with LG, and many fans have also requested an updated Nexus 5 since last year, so the company decided to satisfy that request.

As for Huawei, Google thought it should mix things up and try new a partner. Google has always wanted to give more manufacturers the opportunity to show the best devices they can make, and that's why it has already worked with HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Asus and now Huawei.

Why The X And P In The Names?

The team said they chose the X to represent the "core" of the Nexus brand, while the P was chosen for "premium."

Why No OIS?

Probably the biggest criticism of the new Nexus devices so far is that they don't have Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), which is a piece of hardware that can increase the cost and usually bulks up the camera on the back.

During Google's keynote announcing the new devices, the Nexus team's David Burke already said that they think the bigger 1.55um pixels make up for the OIS, at least in terms of capturing more light. However, OIS also helps with video stabilization, where it will be missed on these devices. The Nexus team said that they will continue to work on improving the Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS).

To help alleviate concerns about the lack of OIS (again in terms of how much light is captured and how good the final picture is), the devices have algorithms to pick the best picture out of series of pictures.

"We have a feature we call 'lucky shot' internally. When you take a picture, behind the scenes, we select the best of three bursts of images. When you use video, we have optic-flow-based image stabilization. When you use SmartBurst, we select the best image from the burst (for example a shot with eyes open)."

Why No Wireless Charging?

The second major criticism for the two devices has been the lack of wireless charging. The Nexus team's answer basically came down to the fact that the USB Type-C port (which they said only supports USB 2.0 on these phones) is much easier to plug in and is also much faster to charge (3A and 5V, which leads to 97 minutes of full charging for the Nexus 6P, with the first 45 minutes charging the battery at a much faster rate).

The Google engineers also said that wireless charging would've added unnecessary thickness to the devices.

Why 2 GB RAM And 16 GB Storage On Nexus 5X?

The Google team responded to this by saying it was a cost-cutting decision to keep the Nexus 5X affordable.

What Type Of Storage?

The engineers said the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P come with eMMC 5.0 (not the faster UFS 2.0).

Cameras

Both devices have the exact same camera sensor (Sony's IMX377). They both have 12.3MP resolution, 1.55um pixels and Laser Detection Auto-Focus (LDAF). The main difference between the two is that the Nexus 6P has 240 fps slow-motion video recording, whereas the Nexus 5X is capable of only 120fps. This is due to the 5X using a slightly lower-end chip (the Snapdragon 808).

The Nexus engineers also said that Nexus 6P comes with EIS, but they didn't mention the Nexus 5X. It's not clear whether this means the Nexus 5X has no image stabilization whatsoever. We've reached out to Google for clarification.

Fingerprint Sensor

When asked how the fingerprint sensor security works, the Nexus team replied by saying:

"Fingerprint features are securely encrypted on the device, and processed in the secure Trustzone protected area of memory. The Android 6.0 fingerprint APIs do not provide any access to the fingerprint material to apps. Fingerprint features never leave the device and are not shared with Google (so for example if you setup a new phone, you need to re-enroll your fingers). If your phone is ever lost or stolen you can easily find, lock, and erase your phone using Android Device Manager."

In fewer words, the fingerprint data seems to be as secure as possible on Android hardware right now, and it is never shared with Google or other third party apps.

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  • targetdrone
    16GB of internal storage wouldn't be a problem at all if a SDXC slot were added, but smartphone manufactures rather have consumers overpay for a memory upgrade.
    Reply
  • vern72
    Unnecessary thickness? The 5X is thinner than the original. How much thicker would it be with Qi charging?
    Reply
  • wiimonkey9
    Unnecessary thickness? The 5X is thinner than the original. How much thicker would it be with Qi charging?
    Any extra thickness at all is too much since most users, such as myself, won't use wireless charging.
    Reply
  • eklipz330
    why no front face speakers on 5x! why why why!
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    16710660 said:
    Unnecessary thickness? The 5X is thinner than the original. How much thicker would it be with Qi charging?
    Any extra thickness at all is too much since most users, such as myself, won't use wireless charging.
    A wireless charging coil adds practically no thickness: it is merely a copper foil on a plastic film. If they had really wanted to, it could even have been molded into the case.

    The main reasons are probably because wireless charging did not turn out as popular or effective as Google expected and caused Google more trouble than it was worth on previous devices.
    Reply
  • ZolaIII
    To much compromises & unhealthy price tags if you ask me. It's not even a full futured Marshmallow (Android graphics extension is missing). Somehow Meizu made a better phone (MX5 Pro) without any compromises & people complained how it will be to pricy (especially in the US). Somehow MX5 Pro will stay the best one (at least concerning my opinion) until new flagship see the daylight in 2016 (with new SoC's). Google failed second time in the row to impress with a Nexus line only tablet will be worth of mentioning but this one will come in 2016 anyway. They opted for a worst option (Huawei) so that they can be certain that they will be able to meet demand. I think they now won't have any problem meeting demand.
    Reply
  • badvok66
    If they'd released the 5X last year along with the 6 then it would have been on-the-money but it is a year late and now you can get last-years 'premium' phones, that have better specs, for less. Likewise the 6P is out-gunned by last years equivalents that are available for less.

    Interesting that LG are just launching their truly premium phone the V10 at a similar time, no info on pricing yet but likely to be eye-watering.
    Reply
  • lde
    One item never mentioned is LG's display port on previous Nexus and MHL which finally is powered by new TVs. However neither phone seems set up to connect to HDMI and the new USB to HDMI cable is only shown as working with Google's new tablet. Little reason to leave out a useful feature. My solution put HDMI connectivity back.
    Reply
  • sieg15fried
    @Zolalli: Agree. But Project Fi makes the difference for me.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml
    Same sentiments here! The 5x doesn't feel as an upgrade from the N5 despite a gap of two years. 16GB storage is pretty limiting already and that's without movies and just a few mp3s as there have been more nicer apps and growing in size. They could have updated the N5 with a larger battery, the 808 SoC, and wishful of an AMOLED display and appear more interesting than the 5X.

    How I wished the MX5 Pro is the Nexus this year. It has the hardware specs that I want that is pretty balanced and with an SoC on the latest process node.


    To much compromises & unhealthy price tags if you ask me. It's not even a full futured Marshmallow (Android graphics extension is missing). Somehow Meizu made a better phone (MX5 Pro) without any compromises & people complained how it will be to pricy (especially in the US). Somehow MX5 Pro will stay the best one (at least concerning my opinion) until new flagship see the daylight in 2016 (with new SoC's). Google failed second time in the row to impress with a Nexus line only tablet will be worth of mentioning but this one will come in 2016 anyway. They opted for a worst option (Huawei) so that they can be certain that they will be able to meet demand. I think they now won't have any problem meeting demand.
    Reply