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Nexus 5X versus iPhone SE: Battle of the upper middle class

The mid-range often is the hardest aspect of the smartphone market to talk about. It's neither the filet nor the stew; it fits comfortably in the middle, attempting to convince its potential buyers that good enough is good enough.

Increasingly, though, the commodification of the components inside popular smartphones have enabled price drops relative to performance that benefit millions of potential customers who don't want the latest and greatest. That is, it's cheaper and easier than ever to cram pretty good spec into a "mid-range" phone, at a price that's easier to swallow.

In the Nexus 5X and iPhone SE, two very different phones from manufacturers that, for these phones approached industrial design from opposite ends of the spectrum, LG and Apple emerge with phones around the same price.

While the Nexus 5X, at $349, is $50 cheaper than the $399 iPhone SE, these are representative of the best and likely purest forms of their respective platforms' middle. While many Android users are unlikely to consider the iPhone SE, it's a good idea to look at what the other team is doing to shine a light on the home team's performance.

Hardware

The Nexus 5X is ostensibly the successor to the popular Nexus 5, which was released shortly after the iPhone 5s in 2013. While 2014's Motorola Nexus 6 was a hulking beast of a phone, the cry for something smaller was heard by Google. And this is what we got in late 2015.

Few would argue that the plastic Nexus 5X feels as premium a phone next to the metal-and-glass finish of the iPhone SE, but it does the job. Like its predecessor, the 5X incorporates a comfortable rubberized plastic on the back and sides, though the seams are quite visible along the outer bezel, where the front and back portions meet.

These two phones are representative of the best and likely purest forms of their respective platforms' middle.

In the hand, the 5.2-inch Nexus 5X feels relatively compact, though taller than some others with the same screen size. The power button is located on the right side, just above the non-delineated volume rocker, a divisive choice among eyes-free purists (like myself).

On the back, just below the 12MP camera sensor with its gently sloping lens, is the fingerprint sensor, primed for users removing the phone from their pockets and unlocking in one fell swoop. The main disadvantage of the back-facing Nexus Imprint sensor, as it is called, is that it can't be activated until the phone is held in the hand — a small consequence for a sensor that excels in every other way. It even activates when the screen is turned off.

Around front, the 1080p display is fine. It's not great, and we've certainly seen better LCD panels from companies like HTC and even LG itself (which makes its own displays), but it does the job. Colors are slightly off, though only noticeable when compared to a higher-fidelity panel, and maximum brightness doesn't come close to that of the Nexus 6P, which is admittedly 50 percent more expensive.

The Nexus 5X is plasticky but never flimsy; LG could have done a better job hiding the seams in the two pieces where they meet on the bezel, but otherwise I have little to complain about.

The iPhone SE, on the other hand, is comparatively compact. While its screen is a tiny 4 inches, its overall form factor is dwarfed by just about every other smartphone on the market, including the Nexus 5X. Indeed, the iPhone SE's design is unchanged from the iPhone 5s, which was a derivative of the iPhone 5 design unveiled in 2012.

For fans of the dual-toned metal look, the iPhone SE, available in four colors, will be a welcome addition to the smartphone canon. At $399, however, it is mainly about what you find in the inside that helps it stand out from the crowd.

The iPhone SE's design is a known quantity at this point: aluminum body with a power button on the top right and delineated volume buttons on the left side. A 12MP rear camera sensor lacks the bump of its iPhone 6 counterparts, owing to a slightly thicker body. Around front, the first-generation Touch ID sensor still sits, as it always had, below the Retina Display, which at this point is inexcusably low quality for a smartphone released in 2016. While the LCD panel's qualities are sound — excellent color reproduction (better than the Nexus 5X's, actually), viewing angles and maximum brightness — the 1136 x 640 pixel resolution doesn't do iOS any favors. At 326 pixels per inch, the iPhone SE's pixel density is still higher than, say, the $180 third-gen Moto G, but is bested by practically every 1080p device on the market.

The iPhone SE's design is a known quantity at this point

For some buyers, the dearth of pixels means fewer for the iPhone SE's A9 system-on-a-chip to push and better performance; for others, it's an inexcusably low resolution. Where you fit will depend on how steadfastly you subscribe to the "specs as a feature" narrative. Apple thinks 326 pixels per inch is sufficient for most people; most Android OEMs have used that stubbornness to their advantage.

Specs

CategoryLG Nexus 5XApple iPhone SE
Operating SystemAndroid 6.0.1 MarshmallowiOS 9.3
Display5.2 inches
FHD (1920x1080) LCD at 423 ppi
4 inches
1136x640 LCD at 326 ppi
ProcessorsQualcomm Snapdragon 808 Processor, 1.8GHz hexa-core 64-bit
Adreno 418 GPU
Apple A9 SoC, 1.85GHz dual-core 64-bit
Rear Camera12.3MP
1.55 μm pixels, f/2.0 aperture
4K video capture @ 30fps
120 fps slow motion video capture
Broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual flash
12MP
1.22μm pixels, f/2.2 aperture
4K video capture @ 30fps
240fps slow motion video capture
Live Photos support
Front Camera5MP
f/2.2 aperture
1.2MP
f/2.4 aperture
Memory & StorageRAM: 2GB LPDDR3
Internal storage: 16GB or 32GB
RAM: 2GB
Internal storage: 16GB or 64GB
Dimensions147.0 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm
Weight136g113g
Battery2,700 mAh1,624 mAh

As for specs, the iPhone SE and Nexus 5X differ in their approaches. The former takes a few parts of the larger and more expensive iPhone 6s — the processor, the RAM, the rear camera — and maintains almost everything else from the iPhone 5s. The Nexus 5X is both an aesthetic successor to the Nexus 5 and a conscious step down from the imposing metal-and-glass Nexus 6P. Not only is the 5X a less intimidating device, but it feels less precious than anything made of metal; toss it around, scratch it, and use it until it dies. It feels like the quintessential phone-as-utility.

That compromise extends to the spec sheet as well. With a 5.2-inch 1080p display, a Snapdragon 808 chip, 2GB of RAM, a base storage size of 16GB, and a 2,700mAh battery, it's clear where LG cut some corners to bring the price down to $349. Only the 12.3MP rear camera is shared with its Huawei-made sibling, but even there the 6P, with its more capable Snapdragon 810, manages more video options and a better front-facing camera.

It will be important for Google to address broader Nexus 5X performance issues in upcoming Android updates

For the most part, the Nexus 5X's spec sheet is respectable; it shares many similarities to LG's 2015 flagship, the G4. But many users, including our Android Central editorial team, decried the 5X's poor performance. Andrew Martonik, AC's West Coat editor, noted that "whether it was opening apps, scrolling heavy webpages or switching between different areas of the phone, everything seems to take a little longer than it should." While it's possible Google could fix these issues with a software update, they've had seven months to do so and haven't solved the 5X's performance issues. In my tests, the 5X felt speedy enough, capable of doing most things without significant slowdown, but it will be important for Google to address broader performance issues in upcoming Android updates, especially since the 5X comes with only 2GB of RAM, which in the past has been a bottleneck for many mid-range Android devices.

Turning to the iPhone SE, it benefits from having Apple's latest A9 system-on-a-chip, which has been praised for its excellent single-core CPU performance and incredible graphics prowess. Indeed, the A9 is likely overkill for the iPhone SE's needs at this point, but Apple likely wants to keep the phone in its lineup for up to three years, so aging well will be important. Similarly, the inclusion of 2GB of RAM is important to maintain the iPhone SE's longevity. (Two gigabytes of RAM on Android is a very different story than on the less background task-intensive iOS. This isn't a subjective thing, either, so don't email me about it.)

In some ways, the iPhone SE doesn't go far enough to address the need for an inexpensive iPhone in the market. Sure, it has the latest processor and camera, but it also maintains the same first-generation Touch ID sensor and vibration module of the 5s. It has the same 800:1 contrast screen, wherein its successors have almost doubled that stat. Its mono speaker is soft and muddy (though so is the 5X's) and it retains the now-poor front-facing camera of the iPhone 5s.

Ultimately, there are sacrifices and compromises in both the iPhone SE and Nexus 5X. They may not be going head to head in terms of demographics, but they're important representatives of what nearly the same amount of money gets in the iPhone and Android ecosystem today, removed from carrier subsidies and bloatware.

Speaking of bloatware ...

Software

Both the Nexus 5X and iPhone SE run "pure" versions of their respective platforms. That the case has always been true of every iPhone isn't really relevant; what you need to know here is that both devices are updated as quickly as possible directly from the companies responsible for their oversight.

On the Nexus 5X, this means always having the latest version of Android, unadorned with carrier changes or skins. It also means not having to wait for carriers to go through their often-arduous quality assurance (QA) testing, which often adds weeks or months to the upgrade cycle.

As for the software itself, it's no longer possible to generalize (nor was it ever productive) the basic underpinnings of either Android or iOS. For too long, people said that Android was for tweakers and "power users" and iOS for those wanting something simpler and more minimal. While I'll leave the pontificating for another time, suffice it to say you won't be wanting for power, simplicity or minimalism with either platform; both are incredibly versatile, with powerful first-party apps and deep, diverse app stores.

What's potentially interesting is where the two operating systems will soon diverge. We know that as of Android N, the Nexus 5X will gain split screen multitasking through an official API which, despite the smallish screen, will make for a considerably more interesting (and, as we've learned from Samsung and LG, potentially messy) user experience. It's extremely unlikely that Apple will follow suit on the phone side of things; it added dual-app multitasking on the iPad with iOS 9.

Cameras

Both the Nexus 5X and iPhone SE sport 12-megapixel camera sensors, with sharp lenses and super-simple first-party camera apps.

When it was released, the Nexus 5X received accolades for its camera prowess, capturing sharp, color-accurate photos with little struggle from the user. I tend to agree with this assessment, finding most of the phone's photos not just usable, but beautiful. Its 1/2.3-inch sensor and 1.55um pixels ensure superior low-light performance to nearly every smartphone on the market, even without the presence of optical image stabilization.

The iPhone SE, on the other hand, inherits the iPhone 6s's 12MP camera, which turns out to be a very capable little camera. At 1/3" and 1.22um pixels, the iPhone SE doesn't hold up to the Nexus 5X in low-light scenarios, but the A9's image signal processor tends to resolve colors more accurately than the 5X.

In reality, these two phones show extremely similar profiles, with the Nexus 5X exposing daylight scenes slightly darker than the iPhone. Photo after photo revealed subtle details, with little distortion and vibrant hues. And the 5X's 5MP front-facing camera destroys the iPhone's 1.2MP sensor in almost every condition.

Nexus 5X (left) / iPhone SE (right); click images to view larger

The iPhone SE does have a few feature advantages over the Nexus 5X. Apple saw fit to include Live Photos support — moving-picture previews — which some see as a gimmick, but I really enjoy. The iPhone SE also supports 240fps slow motion video at 720p, which is considerably more balanced and less jumpy than the Nexus 5X's 120fps equivalent. To that end, the iPhone is overall a far superior video machine, both from a capture and editing perspective. While the 5X takes 4K video at 30fps, it doesn't do so with panache.

The bottom line

As I said at the beginning, this comparison isn't likely to sway an Android user to iPhone or vice versa; instead, it is meant to show what you get for around $350 to $400 these days from the companies that have a hand in both hardware and software.

The Nexus 5X, at $349, is an underrated choice for many people, despite its lingering performance issues. It's fast, with a great camera and excellent battery life. What it lacks in beauty it makes up for in utility; this is a plastic phone that can take a beating.

The iPhone SE, at $399, is a far more confounding product in many ways. It bears resemblance to its larger, more substantial counterparts in some ways, but doesn't go far enough in many others. Even if someone is after a small phone, they're left asking why Apple decided to keep so many outdated aspects of the three year-old iPhone 5s.

On both the Android and iOS side, we're in a good place right now. There is plenty of choice, and nearly every option offers an exceptional experience. Just beware of what you're giving up by keeping the price down.

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central. 

150 Comments
  • A Zenfone 2 with 64 Gigs of storage and 4 gigs memory will blow both of these phones away for less money.
  • Good luck getting Android N on it in 2017.
  • or any update period.
  • ok done: http://forum.xda-developers.com/zenfone2/development
  • No. That does not count. It's still a ****** investment if you have you rely on a hackjob from XDA to get Marshmallow. I could through in my Galaxy Nexus as 'well' supported in that case.
  • Yep Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • or any update period.
  • It would bloat me away for sure...
  • Bloat is not an issue with 64 gigs plus a card slot. Factually though, a few of Asus's tweaks are pretty good.
  • It's less of an issue. There's still the principal of the thing. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's an issue because it's there. Be Together Not The Same
  • Or the OnePlus 2 for that matter... ↓↓↓ Please place hate here ↓↓↓
  • I hate the OnePlus 2..... ....What? You told us to place hate underneath your comment, so I did. :P
  • Yeah, no. Lack of nfc means it's crap and an absolute write off for me. My family uses NFC liberally... This Galaxy Note 3 with the AC App is On Fleek.
  • I've never used NFC myself on any phones so far.... but I know that if I buy the One Plus 2.. .i'll immediately find a need for it.
  • Moto x pure edition Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have one. Its great, but 5.7 inch,.One hand use? Forget it .
  • What the hell are all you guys doing that you need to use your phone one handed? Never understood this. Nevermind Posted via Nexus 6 running on any data plan I want
  • Exactly. I don't have an issue texting one handed with my Nexus 6. Be Together Not The Same
  • The X Pure seems small after using a Nexus 6 for awhile Posted via the Android Central App
  • With less the updates too.
  • Geekbench would care to differ with your opinion. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Have fun with your out of the box bloated experience not to mention the design of the phone itself. If anything, buy a Xiaomi Mi5 or an Idol 4.
  • But still its not a future proof phone nexus 5 x receives updates from the google directly on the other hand i phone SE runs IO.S 9.3 which gives very high performance Also the camera on i phone SE(being less megapixel) gives a better resolution photos than even nexus 5 X also)
  • Source?
  • Lol, the SE will smoke the Zenfone in speed not to mention updates on it are an unknown at this point.
  • Good luck with the updates. They've promised Marshmallow, but when? This is why I got rid of the Zenfone 2 and went with the older Nexus 6
  • Battle of the 2 most blah phones
  • +100 VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • I would hand my money to the Nexus 5X and not because im a nexus Die-hard but going back to a smaller screen is crazy.
  • Guys, you do great written reviews, and the photography is really good. But you have to start doing more videos. Is it no one that does the reviews wants to be in front of the camera? Is that what Michael Fisher is for? Is it just lack of production equipment or editing skills? I have 10 minutes before a meeting, and a 7-8 minute quick hit video to compliment your article would be great. Sorry, but it's 2016, video rules as it has for some time. If I want more in depth I will read an article. Again, not knocking this post, but video, especially in a comparison, is so useful.
  • They have a YouTube channel with over two thousand videos. Just an FYI.
  • Sorry, but it is time vs reward. They will do videos for articles that are likely to get a lot of views, justifying the production of the video. Some articles just aren't worth the time and resources that would be needed to produce a video. You are absolutely allowed start your own YouTube channel and make as many videos as you want, but websites have to think about more than what NickA wants.
  • Definitely two different devices for two different people
  • 4-inches is too small for me, but in terms of raw performance, the SE takes the cake, especially in terms of graphics performance along with IPC performance. In the real-world, you won't say these are slow, but the 5X has had a few performance hiccups, but seems to be mostly resolved by now. Personally, although I adore the sheer power of the SE, it's the 5X. Like I said, 4-inches is too small for me. That's why the 6s is more suited for me. Well, the Plus variant.
  • So good to see Daniel Bader as the author for this article, great one sir, hope to see some more from you.
  • As long as he doesn't write more sentences like "Few would argue that the plastic Nexus 5X feels as premium a phone next to the metal-and-glass finish of the iPhone SE..." The entire article needs another run through the Editor, the grammar is clumsy.
  • That's actually a really good grammatically-correct sentence. It may be difficult to understand if you're reading at a 5th grade level, though.
  • They aren't even comparable. The 5X is a 5.2" screen in a very large chassis. The SE is only a 4" screen. The processor in the iPhone is also a top of the line processor vs a very mid range processor in the 5x. It's like a mid range phablet vs a small flagship phone almost.
  • This The only thing that's "midrange" about the SE is the display, front camera and price-tag. Everything else is basically flagship-grade. In simpler terms, it's an iPhone 6s w/o 3D Touch stuffed into the body of an iPhone 5s while keeping its display and front camera plus FPS.
  • Well, if we're talking hardware, when I see a dual core CPU and 2GB of ram I don't exactly think "top tier". I'm sure it performs very nicely, but flagship specs they ain't. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Um, I think you might wanna look deeper into the A9 chip. It may only have 2 cores, but the performance per core is pretty darn good. Multicore-wise, it's more powerful than the Snapdragon 810 in some cases, and only a little-bit behind the Exynos 7420. Even today, the IPC performance is still one of the highest of any mobile CPU, with the SD820 coming just behind it. Yeah, 2GB of RAM is a little low, but at least it's LPDDR4 and because it's iOS, it isn't small or anything.
  • Yes, the A9 is an impressive chip. And what is most impressive is how little power it consumes. How little power Iphones consume versus Android is one HUGE feature than even hard core Android fanboys have to concede.
  • The A9 is an excellent chipset, one of the very best mobile chipsets of 2015 and is still very competitive in 2016 in terms of IPC performance. I have the iPad Pro 12.9, which has the beefier A9X, and it's pretty darn good.
  • Ya, the A9 doesn't consume much lower at all, but it's looking like the exynos 8890 might be even more conservative with battery usage. Especially with a 3600 mAh battery. With the 8890 I think Samsung may have produced the best mobile SoC on the market, GPU aside. They've highy optimized touchwiz to run on their own custom architecture and its impressive. It's a shame the exynos variant isn't sold in the US Posted via the Android Central App
  • Specs are irrelevant when comparing the iPhone with anything.
  • Exactly.
  • Yes, the SE is way more closer to a flagship device than the 5X. The display is more than adequate. Any more pixels than this merely eats more battery. I hope that future Android flagship phones will stop increasing pixels, as its more of a marketing game than enhancing user experience. And the Apple processor blows away any snapdragon as far as performance/power use ratio. The fact that my Droid Turbo 2 stutters is a shame considering the processor and memory it contains.
  • Tbh I would get a SE over a 5X Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • I wouldn't get either, honestly. The 5X seems rather gimped to me and the SE is just too small for me.
  • Well if I HAD to choose between the two. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Easy just don't be in that position lol sent from my silver gs7 edge
  • At $199 the 5X is a good deal.....
  • The 808 definitely doesn't qualify as your standard midrange SoC. It's definitely a couple notches above that. Seeing as how on many CPU benchmarks it easily out does the 805 ( which is an absolute beast, and I'd argue performs more consistently than the 808 in real world usage, not only the GPU) I wouldn't call either of those midrange chipsets. No way. And if they really are, then it's really become irrelevant whether a mobile SoC is top of the line or a couple notches below that when it comes to real world usage. They offer identical user experiences Posted via the Android Central App
  • The 808 isn't what the problem is with 5X Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • I think it's the forced encryption. But hasn't Google cleaned up the performance on it with its last update about a month ago? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Performance has improved on my 5X but it still lags and freezes at times. If I am using Google Maps and Spotify it would work fine most of the time but it'll have a day when I need to restart the phone because it's not responsive.
  • Well then performance hasn't improved lol Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • That sucks. And it's really strange that it's been an issue. I have a moto X Pure as a back up device I use quite a bit and it flies on marshmallow. It's a very good performer. IDK what the hell is up with the 5x but the first thing I'd do if I had one is use the Nexus toolkit and decrypt it with a custom boot image. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No lag or freezing with my Nexus 5X, smooth as butter, I suggest you get rid of the Facecrap app. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Lol delete a app to have better performance on a expensive phone, at that point I would get a iPhone sorry. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • But it's not an expensive phone Posted via the Android Central App
  • Expensive?
  • They said they cleared it up in 5.1.1 way back when so I don't know what to think, I think its a chipset issue personally. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • I was under the same impression. I thought the 5X with recent updates was beyond the original performance glitches. I keep reading that in the 5X forums from owners anyways. I was thinking that with the price drops and fixes, it was time for me to buy one to try out. No?
  • I agree I hate these spec comparison articles they don't do anything. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Since the latest performance improving update to the 5x, it takes this comparison easily IMO. Then again, I really don't like small phones Posted via the Android Central App
  • I would love it if Nexus offers the same internal specs with a 5" screen size option in the next version. I just don't want to downgrade the specs for a smaller phone. Let's hope they take notice with this. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Both of these phones were VERY boring to me when released. They both just seemed like a rehash of old design and philosophy. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well a rehash of a solid design and modern horsepower isn't a bad thing. I would be thrilled if Google took the original NEXUS 5 body and tossed in a 810 with 4gb or ram and a very good 1080p AMLED screen. Sold it for $400. They would never keep them in stock.
  • The Nexus 5x is a marvelous phone. Perfect size and runs super smooth. Not to mention it look very cool. Be Together Not The Same
  • Ehhh cmon ace... Let's be a little real here Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • LoL Be Together Not The Same
  • After the latest update it runs like a champ. Of course it don't run like the Nexus 6p. The Nexus 6p is still the heavy hitter in the smartphone world. The Nexus 5x gets the job done well. I'm on numerous Google+ Nexus communities and after the update people are very happy with the Nexus 5x. Be Together Not The Same
  • Good article. Last week I was talking to another co-worker who was loving his IPhone. And I asked him why... He said Apple had their hands in the processor (hardware), software etc and everything worked together very well. Plus it was very efficient in handling memory, security updates and had no bloatware... I've got to admit, I love simplicity and efficiency. The vast openness of Android has been a draw for a long time. Google has made long strides in developing their phone, but it's not at the level of Apple just yet. Who ever duplicates the Apple philosophy and integration on the Android side with Apples efficiency will have a winner. Bloatware phones need not apply... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'd take the se. I owned a nexus 5x and sold it 2 months later. It lagged camera wouldn't open and battery life was horrible. The only knock on the se is the size of the phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The Nexus 5X that I am using is fast, buttery smooth, great battery life and the camera opens up fast. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You didn't wait for the March update then...
  • I owned a 5x and sold it due to a lot of performance issues. I heard they got fixed during some recent update which I hope is true. I actually preferred the form factor over the 6p.
  • I really appreciate this article, thank you! I used to have a Nexus 5x, but I returned it since I realized that Android isn't for me even though it's a great phone. I like how you broke down everything, and I was hoping that someone would do this. Also the size of the 5x got to me as well, so the SE was a no-brainer.
  • 5X is HALF as bright as the 6P??? Huh?! I own both, and my experience is exactly the opposite. Unless LG has some serious quality control issues (and there are some indications that the DO in fact), my experience has been the exact opposite. The 5X is probably about 1.5 times as bright as the 6P, which is great, because that means I can actually see it outside. Only knocks against the 5X display-wise are some slight light bleed near the top of the screen and much lower brightness and greater color shift off axis (compared to the amoled panel in the 6P). 6P's screen is excellent, but like many amoleds (except Samsung's own) still not very bright compared to most IPS panels.
  • I keep my 5X at 40% brightness, which is more than bright enough even in bright sunlight. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Same experience for me. I had both and the 5X was much brighter and easier to read in sunlight. That's actually one of the reasons I ended up getting rid of the 6P.
  • Read it again-
    "Colors are slightly off, though only noticeable when compared to a higher-fidelity panel, and maximum brightness doesn't come close to that of the Nexus 6P, which is admittedly 50 percent more *expensive*"
  • For the most part this was a great article. The only thing where it went off a bit was talking about the 5x performance from its beginning. Yes there were issues. It should be mentioned though that many if not all have been addressed in subsequent updates. I had a G4 and for the most part it's a fantastic phone. That said between battery fluctuations and display touch response. It drove me somewhat batty. When it had a recent accident I took the opportunity to pickup a 5x 32gb on the cheap from B&H. It's been such a better experience. Screen is somewhat smaller than the G4 but everything else has just made it shine. The SE is tempting but I'll stay with pure Android thank you. Posted via the Android Central App
  • People say they still get freezes even after the latest patches, but to be candid.... Save up for a 6P just do it it's still a better device. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Ditto The 6P is the one to get. The 5X isn't bad, but I'd use it as a sidekick.
  • I want to try out the 5X, but I have seen the 6P as low as $425, it is just out my reach. Although, I have seen some 6P's floating around used in the $350 range. So, yeah, 6P if I can swing it.
  • Or just get a Nexus 6 Be Together Not The Same
  • Not everyone wants a big phone though
  • this comparison is a joke...spec wise sure, there might be something on paper, but I can guarantee you real world usage, it'll be completely night and day. Apple will win by a mile. Google really f'ed up on the Nexus 5x this year.
  • How so. Posted via the Android Central App
  • as a former Nexus 5x user, and long time N5 user, i can tell you from experience that there are seriously performance issues on the current 5x. the unit will work great for the first 80 hours of uptime, but after that performance starts to degrade significantly. Normally the double tap power camera to open will take 5-10 seconds sometimes, and other times, it'll another few more seconds before the "shutter button" is "ready" to take a snapshot. Apps start to take 2-3 seconds to load when initially they would load instantly. by the time you hit 120 hours, forget about it, simple tasks become frustrating. I actually pre-ordered initially but thought I might have gotten a lemon, so sent it back for an RMA and experienced the same issues with the replacement. real world reviews are significantly different from tech site reviews where the unit is put through the ringer after a clean reset. ask the reviewers to run the same tests after normal usage of roughly a few days and i guarantee the experience will be different.
  • You must have had a defective device, no issues that you mentioned here, my Nexus 5X is smooth as butter. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Same here. My only complaint with the 5X is the glass screen. My wife and I have now shattered both of ours from falls our old plastic-screened Nexuses would have laughed off.
  • "despite its lingering performance issues" those were taken care of in an update already. 0 issues here.
  • I'm curious, the author mentions that the plastic 5x doesn't feel as premium as the metal and glass SE. My question, I'm assuming when he says the glass on the SE, is he referring to the screen? Because as I recall the rest of the 5/5s and in turn the SE use a metal body, no glass like the 4/4s. And I thought the 5x uses glass over the display, so in that case, it's plastic vs metal, both phones utilize glass over the display.
  • There's glass on the back of the iPhone SE where the Apple logo is. Perhaps that's what he means. Posted via my Nexus 5X on T-Mobile
  • I have a nexus 5x and when I bought it there was a couple performance issues but now it has next to no performance issues
  • Didn't DisplayMate rate the 5X's LCD as the best LCD you can get on a phone? Why is it always reviewed so badly?
  • Because it is accurate and not over saturated. People like saturation, it looks better to most. Just like camera's. A accurate natural picture placed next to a over saturated no accurate picture will lose almost every time. I do product pictures for people and I over saturate the hell out of them, they love it.
  • +10000^ Posted via the Android Central App
  • Displaymate rated Samsung's Amoled last year as the best and most color accurate display, based on bunch of irrelevant crap. So, not the place to check on the screen rating for photo enthusiasts. VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • I came here to say that as well. Anandtech.com found it to be one of the most accurate displays available. This review seems very subjective when it comes to screen quality. I grabbed my 5X 32GB for $249 last month with project fi. I had been considering the 6P but jumped on the price drop. It isn't the best phone but it was a steal and is fast enough for everything I do. 32GB is a must nowadays.
  • There's just no comparison here. You can get so much more for so much less on the Nexus 5X. Posted via the Android Central App on the S7 edge
  • More like a pretty cool phone that might be slightly overpriced vs an overpriced piece of **** 4 year old phone with a new color added. Posted from outer space on my Moto X Style
  • And completely modern internals. Oh, wait. You were trying to be cool or something. Yeah...
  • I bet the iPhone isn't running with 2012 quality speakers. I can deal.with the crappy loudspeaker, and the way it vibrates your hand and wrist when the volume is turned up. But what I cannot stand is a $350 phone in 2016 where you can hardly understand half of the people you are talking to on the phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You mean you still talk to people on your phone? Sheesh, so 2000's!
  • Lol. Yes i do. Once or twice a day. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm actually going to be running both flavors. I ordered the iPhone SE and have had the Nexus 5x since it launched. I enjoy both platforms and have been an Android fan since day one with the G1. I prefer the smaller phone so I could do everything with one hand and put it in my pocket without noticing it. So for me it works perfectly and the Market Apple created is what I fall into. I don't think I could ever ever give up my Android and I'm going to be looking forward to see how Android N develops on the Nexus. Posted via my Nexus 5X on T-Mobile
  • No issues here with my Nexus 5X, smooth as butter, I am also running Pure Nexus ROM, which has a great many features. I also own the Nexus 6, but use the Nexus 5X as my daily driver, it's small, light, with great fingerprint sensor, great battery life, and is extremely capable. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I also use this case.
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B017HXS3TC/ref=ya_st_dp_summary?tag=hawk-... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think the iPhone will actually perform better but I can't deal with a 4 inch screen and the price is still a bit much considering its only 16gb. I would still take Nexus overall. It's just my preference but not because it can out do the A9 processor, it won't out do it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It amazes me the media's obsessions with this rehash of a phone that was released 4 years ago in the iPhone 5 , which at the time was a pretty good phone I have one still in a draw somewhere . But most people have moved on from this 4 in 720 p formate . And if the hoo hum reaction of even the die hardest I fan is any indication this is really a phone no one really asked for . There are sooooo many more better options to choose from in the Android world . Apple biggest selling point was that there phones preformed well . But here in 2016 every body has a phone that's comprable in performance wth bigger battery better screen resolution and why more memory for half the price . It is criminal to sell a 16 gig phone in 2016 for $400 glad to see based on the response most aren't drinking the apple cool aid . Heck even the iPhone folks aren't drinking this flavor of cool aid good for them . Try working a little harder apple everybody else has caught up with you Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Ho hum reaction"? I guess that is why it is sold out just about everywhere.....smh
  • Not sure where you heard that the 5es is sold out you obviously haven't been read up on all the tech media amazement of how little reaction that this rehashed phone is getting .and some have paned it apples first flop since that ugly iPhone c . I checked in with a few of my buddies at my local best buy to get feedback and the answer was nobody is really asking for it . What they have been selling out of are gs7 edge can't keep them stocked Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's a smaller iPhone with updated internals for those who want it. It's not supposed to be a groundbreaker. Why can't people understand its purpose?
  • And that's just my point as to why this phone is receiving the media hype that in my opinion it most definitely doesn't deserve . Yes it has some internals of the last year's iPhone. But for the most part this is a parts bend phone. That only apple could get away with. And the biggest crime is that there selling it for $500 . The 16 gigs modeling i won't even get started on. I dug up my old iPhone 5 and went to best buy just to do a little speed comparison trust you won't know the difference used 5s are 150 right now Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think the reason it's getting media hype, aside from being an Apple product, is that it's been a while since we had a really small flagship phone from a well-known company in the smartphone market. Sure, Sony has the XPERIA Z5 Compact, but only a few folks know about it, so a smaller iPhone is kind of a big deal to some. That's why I'm hoping that this leads to PROPER smaller flagships instead of the "Mini" crap with gimped hardware that we got earlier on. And I agree. 16GB base is absurd in 2016, especially on midrange-high end devices. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "I dug up my old iPhone 5 and went to best buy just to do a little speed comparison trust you won't know the difference" That is a bunch of baloney. The SE runs circles around the 5 and 5S, and most Android phones.
  • Why the hate on the 5x performance. Absolutely no issues here. In fact I have more lag and jank on the 6p than I do the 5x!
  • Not sure why you hate the 5X so much. Especially with the updates, it means great. Maybe even better than my 6p!
  • Nexus 5x has one of the best accurate screens. I don't agree with the author. Please check the facts twice saying about 5x screen. It brightness is good but not exceptional. It displays the colors as in line with SRGB. Do u call it off?
  • I think we need an impartial reviewer to give their input to this debate. Perhaps Rene Ritchie? Posted via the Android Central App
  • "The iPhone SE is the best thing since sliced bread with nicely aligned speaker grilles and ports" I don't hate the SE, or even Apple for that matter. But Rene is one of those guys where I genuinely cringe so hard while reading his stuff. This is coming from a guy who owns an iPad Pro 12.9
  • What performance problems are you talking about on the 5x? There were some but fixed with a recent update - as you should know publishing here. The 5x runs very well and as expected now.
  • I own a Nexus 6, a Nexus 5X, and a Note 4, the Nexus 5X is smooth as butter and my daily driver, great size, light, nice BRIGHT screen, great camera and fantastic fingerprint sensor, great battery life, does everything I ask of it without a hitch. And this is the case I use for it, and the other two phones. http://www.amazon.com/Nexus-Case-Diztronic-Ultra-TPU/dp/B017HXS3TC?ie=UT... Posted via the Android Central App
  • You already wrote this comment lol
  • Not sure why so much hate on the 5X ? Just because its a Nexus doesn't mean it wont lag. I used a 5X and it works great and doesnt lag almost at all. Compare it to a note 4 or similar, my note 4 was a laggy mess... Camera on my 6P is better at taking better looking pictured than the S7, 5X uses the same sensor. 5X battery is good also Posted via the Android Central App
  • I find it pretty interesting that you used a South African flag for your testing. Where they heck did you get that from?
  • Had Nexus 5 and now 5x. Great updates. Great phones. Owned iOS 6 for a month. Beautiful but boring. Metal phones...dont want one anymore than a metal bumper or dash on/in my car.
  • I have a 6S, S7 and Nexus 6 so I have experience from both sides. I would pick the 5SE over the 5X all day long. I never have any issues with the A9 and 2GB of RAM. On paper the 5SE should be even faster than the 6S with that lower resolution display.
  • I'm actually thrilled Apple chose the older Touch ID sensor for the SE, as the newer ones are too fast. And are you really docking them for using an "older" vibration engine? Do people really care about the vibration engine? It vibrates. Mission accomplished.
  • I think AC is giving the nexus 5x a curve, especially in terms of performance. Initially, Google was selling the nexus 5x at 400 bucks for that you were getting 2014-2015 flagship specs. Apple has for the same amount, given you twice the performance with many of the other specs being on par or better than for the same price. android flag ships just now coming out are competing against last years 6s Maybe in the next 6-8 months Google will redeem itself with a better performing phone or a more optimized os, but then you have to look that these phones those with the sd 820 and fingers crossed a 830? Will be knocked out of the water by the iphone7. Snap dragons fiasco with chips last year and Apples success makes android a year behind apple in terms of performance and what you can get for your money. The nexus 5x is a decent phone but a sub 300 dollar price point would have been a more solid bargain. But also what I'm saying there are no parallels between these two phones when it comes to what you are getting for your money and what was being compromised. I also see the garden fence argument, people use the same argument of being boring and too fenced in against chromebooks when comparing themm to Macs and pcs. Yet most will Chromebook a benefit of the doubt.
  • I like to unlock and root my phone, it gives me the freedom to choose how I use the software. I use adblocker "hate adds on mobile websites or certain apps" and tethering option in all my Nexus phones, sorry but you can't even install apps outside the apple store on an iPhone without running into issues.
    And in regards to the iPhones POWERFUL internals, I don't see many people doing CAD with their phones,.
    All I know everything is buttery smooth on my Nexus 5X or any Nexus for that matter, so exactly what can the iPhone do that the Nexus 5X can't. Posted via the Android Central App
  • about the prices , in europe and more specifically in Greece they are as follows: Nexus 5x 16/32gb = 250/280€ and iphone SE 16/32gb=450/600€. So if someone goes with 16gb there is a 200€ difference and for the bigger storage ( 32 for Nexus and 64 for SE) it is 320€!!!! more than double price!!!! Such huge price diff can justify any deficiency that the 5x could have , which i don't thing it actually has.
  • about the prices , in europe and more specifically in Greece they are as follows: Nexus 5x 16/32gb = 250/280€ and iphone SE 16/32gb=450/600€. So if someone goes with 16gb there is a 200€ difference and for the bigger storage ( 32 for Nexus and 64 for SE) it is 320€!!!! more than double price!!!! Such huge price diff can justify any deficiency that the 5x could have , which i don't thing it actually has.
  • "excellent color reproduction (better than the Nexus 5X's, actually)"
    Where is your proof? Did you actually measure the color reproduction on both devices? 5X display measurements by AnandTech reveals it to be one of the most accurate displays on the planet, rivaling the iphone 6s and even the Note 5 (on Basic color mode).
    There is no way the iphone SE could match that when it reportedly uses the same display as the iphone 5s.
  • I got my girlfriend the 5x for Christmas, and she really loves it. Initially it had some camera issues, but app and firmware updates have taken care of that. She continually comments on how fast it is, and how well the camera performs. I think anyone who isn't a heavy user would love this phone. Not to mention the monthly security updates. Sometimes they include bugfixes also.
  • It's absolutely stupid that the 5x maxes out at 32gb instead of 64gb like the SE. 32 is simply not enough for me. I love my 6p, but it's a bit big, and if there was a 64gb 5x that'd be perfect. Posted via my Nexus 6P on VerLIEzon Wireless but without their shackles.
  • This. 32GB without a memory card is unacceptable
  • 99% of us won't need it.
  • Maybe for you. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well yeah, for me.
  • Why post DDR3 RAM for the Nexus and not the most likely DDR4 RAM that the iPhone SE has?
  • There are really awesome phones out and the iPhone. I like my macbook or iMac a lot. But when it comes to phones I don't like company lie to me. When I see live pictures on the iPhone 6s came out it is something so good and wow so nice only available on the 6s plus. Why is the iPhone 4 SE support live pictures and the iPhone 6 doesn't? I prefer the Nexus 5x phone and not because of the camera or processor. Not even interested in all that specs war. Important for me is screen and "no more iTunes" man do I hate iTunes I just want to put my old video on my phone and not sitting hours on my computer to organize my videos
  • Was informed that during a podcast AC [et. all] stated the Nexus 5X performance issues were behind it.
    If so; That makes this whole article mostly bogus.
    Have ordered a Nexus 5X to utilize Project Fi.
    Here's hoping it doesn't get deposited into my box of unused cell phones.
    ...right away anyway.
  • You are correct, performance issues are practically nonexistent since the last update. Also, the performance of the 5X is so good I hardly consider it a mid-ranger, you could call it a very high end mid-ranger. The finger placement is PERFECT. There is cons to everything, but the Nexus Imprint placement is excellent. The camera is brilliant, too, and that is no exaggeration. I think LG and Google did pretty damn well on the 5X. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Does having a $200 price point on the Nexus 5x up the ante. If you sign up for project fi, which you can cancel after you activate it, google is offering the 16gb version for $200 and the 32gb version for $250. I must say it was too good to pass up and I ordered a 32gb version last night...wish it was expandable and I could have gotten 16gb. Even if I never use fi it is a smoking deal for any phone these days.