Huawei's first Nexus phone — really, the first Huawei phone anyone in the U.S. is going to care about, if we're being completely honest — is a big one. Not just physically, though the 5.7-inch phone is absolutely big. No, the Nexus 6P is also big in stature. It's a large, well-made, metal Android smartphone. From Huawei. In the U.S. (And other parts of the world, of course.)
So is it a worthy successor to last year's monster Nexus 6? Let's take a quick look following Google's Nexus event today in San Francisco.
First, a comparison that only a few folks will get, but it's a necessary one. If you're familiar with Huawei phones — and particularly the new Huawei Mate S — you're going to have a pretty good idea what to expect here, at least as far as the hardware goes. The Nexus 6P is a very nicely designed aluminum phone. It's round and not angular, and the beveled edges (again, like the Mate S) add that much more sophistication.
If you found the Nexus 6 too large, you'll at least want to give this one a look.
And not to harp on the size too much, but if you found the Motorola Nexus 6 too large, you'll at least want to give this one a look. It's physically just about as big, but the difference in rear design makes the Nexus 6P a good bit easier to hold. (At least for me.) It's absolutely got a different feel to it. And that's as much a product of the design as it is the fingerprint scanner on the back. That's another area Huawei has excelled at, and we're pleased to see it some to a Nexus phone. The scanner is in a perfect location for your index finger, and that's going to make it extremely easy to unlock your phone, or activate Android Pay, or use whatever apps have hooked into the new fingerprint APIs.
The top half-inch or so (maybe not quite that much) of the phone has a bit of a hump to it. It looks far worse in renders than it does in person. It's really less noticeable than we first thought. The camera is up there, of course, as is the NFC antenna (which makes way more sense than it being in the middle of the back when it comes to tap-to-pay), and a few other antennas.
The camera, by the way, has laser autofocus and larger pixels on the sensor and a few other things that Google says lets in more light and means this'll be the greatest Nexus camera ever. And it's probably right. But you'll understand that we want to withhold judgment on that until we get the thing outside ourselves. (The shutter speed seemed darn quick in our difficultly lit demo room.)
The display — Quad HD — looked just fine at 5.7 inches. Lots of pixels. The power and volume buttons on the right-hand side feel just fine.
Specs are bumped up from the Nexus 5X just a bit — a Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM, and internal storage up to 128GB (the base model has 32). A pretty monster battery at 3450 mAh should mean that if you can't make it through a full day you might want to rethink your life's choices somewhat. And those of you who can't live without a notification light — it's got one of those, too.
Really, Nexus 6P is all about size. And it's one of those phones that does a decent job masking just how big it is thanks to its design. The original Nexus 6 didn't do that. (In fact, we'd say the curvy design made it feel larger.) OK, it's also about speed. It's going to be fast. (What isn't these days, though?) The camera? We'll have to wait and see. But the fingerprint scanner is fast, as we expected it to be.
All in all? Should be one hell of a Nexus phone.
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