Three months with the Nexus 6P

It's been awhile since the Nexus 6P was released. That new-phone smell has gone away, and all of us here at Android Central have had plenty of time with it in our hands. That means we need to revisit things and see how the 6P has held up.

Each of us have a 6P of our own, and they get a lot of use. Even if we don't enjoy everything, we have to stay up-to-date on the things Google does with Android, and a Nexus phone is how we do that. It's a tool to do our job, and we have to be familiar with it. While you may see us using the Nexus 6P when talking about updates and apps, this time it's 100 percent opinion. Have a click or two and see just what we think about the Nexus 6P.

Alex Dobie

Nexus 6P

I like the idea of the Nexus 6P way more than the reality of actually using it. In theory it's the best Android phone out there — and if not that, certainly the best Nexus ever. Great build quality from one of the rising powers in Android, Huawei. A camera and display worthy of the high-end, and battery life that doesn't suck (in a year of sucky Android battery life). For those of us who've lived through — well, literally every other Nexus phone up to this point, it's the most compromise-free handset in the series.

But…

The 6P hasn't escaped the software and performance wonk that's plagued other Nexus phones in their early days. It's perfectly smooth most of the time, but nowhere near all of the time. App loads, and anything that leans heavily on the speed of that encrypted internal storage, has a tendency to chug from time to time. Going from the current crop of Samsung (or even LG) phones, the difference is noticeable, and not in a good way. Worse still are software bugs like the infuriating "time drift" glitch that I've seen on my 6P even on the latest January update. Displaying the correct time is a pretty small ask for a modern, $500 smartphone. I've also seen a reasonable amount of Bluetooth wonk on my unit, a fairly common complaint among 6P owners.

The 6P hasn't escaped the software and performance wonk that's plagued other Nexus phones

Then there's the whole Snapdragon 810 thing. Google and Huawei have done a better job than just about anyone at taming the 810, a chip which will go down in history as a rare bump in Qualcomm's roadmap. Nevertheless, it's way too easy, in entirely normal everyday use, to force the phone to disable all its high-powered A57 cores to reduce temperature. When this happens, you absolutely can see a difference in app performance and responsiveness. (Less so than other 810 phones, but it's there.) And this is especially noticeable if you happen to be in an area with spotty cell coverage.

In other areas, I think many have been lulled into giving the 6P a free pass. The camera is decent, but not great, and Google's camera app is still unforgivably terrible. It's slow to load, slower to shoot, and sometimes straight up fails to save HDR+ shots. Low-light performance is decent, but not to the point where it "obviates the need for OIS, " as Google dubiously claimed when announcing the phone. It's a better camera than some of the less impressive Android shooters this past year, like the HTC One M9 and Moto X Pure Edition. But I'm a little underwhelmed by it, and it's still a tier or so below the very best phone cameras from Samsung, Apple and LG.

So what we're left with is a pretty but imperfect handset — I'm a fan of the "periscope" camera hump, by the way — that does a lot of things really well, but stumbles more often than I'd like. It's another Nexus phone with a few too many caveats for my liking. But I don't hate the Nexus 6P, and I'm going to keep using it for now. Maybe the next major software bump, be it Android 6.1 or something else entirely, will smooth things out.

Andrew Martonik

Nexus 6P

The honeymoon period for the Nexus 6P has definitely worn off, but for me that hasn't meant a dramatic decrease in how much I'm loving this phone. After a few months with the Nexus 6P, I'm still enjoying the display, hardware build, overall performance and battery life.

Sure the phone's a tad tall and a little slick (I've actually shifted to using a really slim case for extra grip), but it's hard to say "no" to the smooth edges and bits of flair around the Nexus 6P that make it stand out. I wasn't initially worried by the glass visor on the back, and after spending more time with it I'm still not bothered by the little bulge — particularly when it allows for the rest of the design to be so sleek.

The honeymoon period is over, but I'm still loving this phone

While Marshmallow itself hasn't exactly blown me away, everything on the Nexus 6P is so smooth and quick, it really spoils you to the point where it's tough to use most other phones. And to get that kind of performance while keeping all-day battery life, it's a real treat — especially if you've used previous Nexus phones that need plugging in at dinner time.

But of course, this is still a Nexus, and that means over time I have encountered just a few odd software bugs that have bothered me. While the phone is blazing fast about 99 percent of the time, it'll still have an odd lockup or soft reboot for seemingly no reason, and more than a few times I've had the camera fail to open when double-pressing the power key. Doze also seems to be a bit overzealous, and will incapacitate many apps when I don't want it to.

In my time with it the Nexus 6P is the most stable Nexus phone I've ever used, but it still seems to lack that extra bit of polish that would make it a complete experience. Even with these sparse issues, I've been more than happy using the Nexus 6P every single day since it arrived.

Jerry Hildenbrand

Nexus 6P

Right about the time the Nexus 6P was released, I said it was the best Android phone I have ever used. I got lucky and was tasked with the review, and had a little bit of time to use it before it became available. Three months later, and it's still the best Android phone I've ever used.

I can even go a step further. Because of how quickly some recently exposed security issues in Android and the Linux kernel were resolved, the Nexus 6P is on the short list (along with the BlackBerry Priv) of Android phones I want to use. I love playing with all the cool new phones from the people who make them, and those folks make a lot of great stuff, but I store my life in my phone and don't really want to give my money to people who aren't aren't trying hard enough to keep things secure. Having Marshmallow is nice, but I'm more concerned about those monthly security updates and having them handled transparently and made easy to understand.

While I would use a phone that wasn't the one I thought was "best" if it were more secure, I don't have to. As I write this, I have eight high-end phones from various manufacturers on my desk, and they all have supposedly better hardware than the Nexus 6P, but they don't do the things I want my phone to do nearly as well. Simple things, like not lag while I'm typing or push applications out of memory so I can't go back to where I left off. Games still play just fine, I can still see things outside in the sun, and my Bluetooth and WiFi are just fine. I get that others may be having problems, but I only know what I can see.

Other phones supposedly have better hardware than the Nexus 6P, but they don't do the things I want

I'm still liking the camera, and while LG's is still better, it's good for times when I don't need a real picture from a real camera. There have been times when I wish it had OIS, but there also have been a few times when I'm glad I didn't have to see the black halo effect OIS can bring. It's not perfect, but it's plenty good in most situations. I haven't had any complaints when I use it for work "stuff" either. Phil and Derek like to complain (I still love them both) so I reckon it passes that test, too. They probably should have included OIS though.

Finally, I'm still loving the battery life I get out of this thing. Even on days when I'm out in places where there are no cell phone towers, I still have enough battery to get through the day unless I run it down with several hours of gaming. My unit Dozes when it should, wakes up when it should and charges quickly. No complaints about battery capacity or in-use times on my end. I also wish they had just stuck with microUSB for the connector, or went with USB 3.0. Changing just for the sake of changing means I need to buy new cables, and remember to carry them when I might need them, with no clear benefit.

Of course, there are some things I wish were different. I really wanted to see Qi charging. And yes, I say that every time we talk about the 6P. And while I've decided I have to accept bigger phones, I really wish the 6P was a bit smaller when it's in my pocket. I like the big screen when I'm using it, but like it less when I'm carrying it around. Insert your skinny jeans comments here, I guess.

After everything's said and done, the Nexus 6P is still the phone I would spend my own money on. It's also the phone I would recommend to anyone asking which they should buy.

Phil Nickinson

Nexus 6P

The past 12 months I learned to live with large phones. OK, most phones are large these days. I'm talking about the largest of the large. The Note 5 started things — and it's not nearly as gargantuan as it once was. And I moved from it to the Nexus 6P. That's not to say I wouldn't still want something smaller, though. But the Nexus 5X maybe was too small (I can't believe I'm writing that), and definitely too slow.

So, Nexus 6P it's been. I'm mostly OK with the size, actually. The only time it's really an issue is when I'm wearing jeans. It just doesn't fit in my front pocket comfortably when I'm sitting. (I work at a standing desk in the office, though, so that helps.) I held it through the entire showing of Star Wars, worried an over-zealous theater would cause trouble over it. And it just barely fits in the cup holder in my car. Sideways. Sort of. OK, it's not great. But I made it work.

Nexus is usually more about the software than hardware; this time things are a bit more balanced

For me Nexus usually is more about the software experience than the hardware. With the Nexus 6P it's definitely more balanced. Huawei did really well with it, keeping a good bit of its own design language (OK, design very much influenced by other manufacturers) while bringing something special with that Cylon-worthy visor. I'm digging it, particularly since it gives a target for NFC tapping. And that's not to say the software is perfect this time around. Some years Nexus is more beta than others. But it's also more up to date in the security department than any other phone. That's hugely important to me now, even if a lot of the threats you read about aren't all that practical. It's more about the principle of the matter, and I'm voting with my wallet.

Nexus Protect has been a good investment, too. Somehow I got a crack in the rear glass. I'm not sure if it's something I did, or if it just happened. (Notice I'm not screaming "Design flaw!!!" "Don't know" means "don't know." But the return process (after the $79 fee) was quick and painless. And I'm using it on Project Fi, which generally has been a breeze to use. (Though not without the occasional hiccup.)

I've been playing with the LG G4 again in preparation for the G5. I very much still love its size and feel of that one. But I'm also very much come to enjoy the simplicity of the Nexus 6P, the quality of its camera, and the consistency of security updates. I've no reason to put this phone down any time soon.

Russell Holly

Nexus 6P

It's still too big, and it's still a little too slippery for my personal taste, but there's no denying the Nexus 6P is the best Android phone available right now. Huawei nailed the hardware, especially the display and the speakers. Just about every time I hand my phone to someone to check out a quick video when out and about, the first comment is about the quality of the experience even when outdoors or in a loud room.

There's no denying the Nexus 6P is the best Android phone available right now

The camera is still incredible, performance is fantastic — especially once I switched to browser-only Facebook — and there's been no problems with the battery getting me through the day. Given all of my complaints about the Nexus line over this years, this is without a doubt Google's best offering so far.

That having been said, there's plenty of people out there with less-than-stellar experiences that Google needs to address. Reports of Wifi and Bluetooth signal strength issues and persistent software bugs that mess up the clock on the phone should be top priority. While I've yet to experience these issues myself, the sheer volume of reports make it clear these are real issues in need of solving.

Your thoughts?

These are our thoughts after using the Nexus 6P since launch, but of course we want to hear your opinions as well. Hop into the comments below to let us know how the phone has treated you over the past three months, and for a deeper discussion get into the Nexus 6P forums!

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

309 Comments
  • Well I had mine for a little over a month or so now and still really enjoying. The battery seems probably one of the best. The finger print scanner works extremely well and fast. I have the 64 GB version and send right for me. Screen is good I catch up on my shows at the gym. The only complaint I have is that I wish USB type c was more common but that will change with time. Really good signal also on Verizon's network. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Same here. I wonder if a lot of Alex's troubles are caused by the weak signal he sometimes has. I'm in PA on VZ with a very strong signal and I just haven't had any of the issues he seems to be having. It does seem to have Bluetooth issues in the car, as some people have reported, but I've had no software issues at all. And compared to the S6 and 6S+ it's the fastest phone I've used. I also don't think he's giving the camera enough credit. Yeah the camera app is underwhelming, but it takes some solid shots, certainly on par with Apple. As he said, it's a notch below Samsung and LG, but better than HTC and Moto. Also performs solid in lower light. I don't know a Nexus fan that wouldn't have signed up for that before launch. It's a great phone as most other reviewers also seem to think.
  • The Google Camera app is garbage. No, I'm not being Rubin. It actually is. It's too basic, is pretty unintuitive, and it launches quite slowly. I'm eager to know if the 6P natively supports the camera2 API, so I can use Manual Camera on it. Mmmmm, Android Smores....
  • lol ... yeah it's definitely a let down. I take a lot of before and after pics for my business, not a ton with the 6p. camera will be a much higher priority for me when I replace my S4 in the next month or two. and I'd use my DSLR but it's a pain to carry around and then load up on my blog, Facebook page, website, etc. Do much easier to just use my phone, which has square for payments, calendar, and all my other work stuff.
  • The cameras on most of last year's flagships and even some midrangers have been great. I presume this year will be even better. Though I guess that makes the decision on which phone you're gonna get to replace the S4 much harder than usual. XD Mmmmm, Android Smores....
  • If your primary concern is a camera.....then buy a camera.......Hilarious seeing a PHONE get a worse review because of something you should be using a separate device for if you want actual professional quality.
  • If you are a photo guy and social Media fan, try the LG V10 or wait for the LG G5 (big bucks as the rumor has it).
  • It's also the best buy if you're a music fan. Posted via the Android Central App
  • am using Manual Camera on it without any issue.
  • I just ran the manual camera compatibility test and it says it is compatible.
  • It IS compatible with the camera2 API, I'm actually using Manual Camera on mine. ☺
  • Except it doesn't work on it as you can't actually change the exposure, it just spins but the setting doesn't actually change.
  • Of course it supports. I mean, Google wouldn't release a nexus with the complete support. Plus, it supports on the N5X I have on my hand, why wouldn't the 6P Posted via the Android Central App
  • I recommend the LG V10. Camera is off the charts.
  • LG has always been on point with cameras since G3 in my opinion. I think the software and optics are DOPE.
  • Yeah the stock camera leaves a lot to be desired. It's.... functional but it's one of the few things that I've always though most other OEMs like Samsung, LG, and Sony do much better. Even the Oneplus camera is better and I wish it was more akin to that at least.
  • I wish I could trade in my note 5 for a nexus 6p. Sucks I gave my daughter my nexus 6.
  • I wish I could spoil myself with one so bad. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's not too big a stretch to say the 6P has been beyond perfect for me. It fixed all the little quirks I couldn't stand about my beloved 6 and it runs like a dream forever. 6P forever
  • That is what the letter "P" stands for - Perfect, though, initially was thought of as "Premium." Lol
  • What things about the 6 did you not like? Posted from my Nexus 6.
  • So I guess alex dobie is the only one that didnt like it?? Maybe you got a bad unit?? Try exchanging it??
  • Lol bad unit.. We really need to stop coming with those excuses. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Right, the phones are fine, but those users.... ;)
  • Alex is a Nexus phone hater.
    I have told him that for years.
    But he won't admit it.
  • Eh the issues have been reported on multiple sites. Androidpolice has posted various articles about the lag and issues they are having. Google still hasnt fixed the memory leaks apparently. Maybe this year. 
  • What you call a hater, I call a realistic person who's not willing to let stuff slide on a Nexus that no one lets slide on any other phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • He has a iPhone in his back pocket Posted via the Android Central App
  • After carefully reading each staff member's take on it, I'm going to skip this one and wait for the 2016 Nexus phones. Nexus 6
  • Yep, I think the next batch could be really good, and its only a few months.
  • Not much better than the 6P. Its already the best phone on the market
  • Dude most flagship phones coming out in 2016 are looking great. There is a VERY high chance that the next nexus will be even better. It's almost certain because the snapdragon 810 is trash
  • In the Nexus 6P, the 810 is very far from trash. This phone is significantly smoother and quicker than the Nexus 6, and the S6 Edge+, which is my other phone. Does it overheat? I have yet to experience it in the month or so I've had it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nexus did one of the best jobs cooling the 810. But it still runs at 2014 flagship chip levels but you are paying for current flagship chip price. I think you'll understand how duped you were when the 820 comes out. Btw what carrier s6 edge+ do you have.?
  • Horse shitt.....the 810 runs like a monster on the 6p. Google optimized the hell out of it. Its faster than anything running touchwiz or LGUI overall. And there isnt a chipset that came out in 2015 that feels faster than the SD 800-805 running stock
  • It's still rather easy to get it to throttle if you use it heavily. On lighter tasks that most people use their phones for, it's a spritely little thing. Frankly, Google and Huawei did software optimizations to make best use of the 810, but unfortunately, the 810's basic flaws remain. Though it is harder to get it to throttle compared to other phones with the same chip. Mmmmm, Android Smores....
  • Its easy to get any phone to throttle
  • Not really. I strained my personal G4, an iPhone 6S and a Galaxy S6 to hell and they either didn't throttle or throttled a little bit. I also did the same to my iPad Pro. That doesn't mean the 6P is bad. In fact, in normal operating conditions, it's probably the speediest Android phone I've used. It's just that the 810 actually makes me excited for the next Nexus and the 820. Mmmmm, Android Smores....
  • That has to be the most unscientific thing I've read today... it's pretty hard to tell anything about the throttling without a bunch of scientific equipment.
  • I'm not sure if monitoring CPU clock speeds and which 2 clusters are operating count.
  • Horse shitt? Get real. I've seen your comments on here. They are soo bias and fanboyish that no one take u serious. Google optimized the hell out of the 810?? PROVE IT .. They didnt optimize nothing on the SoC. What it has is better heat dissipation. You are making stuff up. Yeah throw the 7420 on bone stock with marshmallow and it will crush it and stay cool. Look at weak socs with marshmallow they run much faster.
  • You're an idiot
  • What does that make you when im the one that told you to put aosp on your tab s? Can't prove your horseshiet statement that google optimized the hell out of the 810????? I hold 1st place records on geekbench with multiple phones. Please come back with an adult response. I guess this is what i can expect from a 49ers last place fan.
  • It sounds like you're also a nerd......and a loser
  • Look like you're an
    a hole
  • hahaha loser? funny i always see you chiming in with your loser comments. get a life you communist. 49N suck!!
  • He does just make it up as he goes along...
  • You obviously haven't used the 6p if that's your conclusion on the 810. It's a monster in this device.
  • Yeah i have an imaginary 6p.. OK!
  • AT&T Posted via the Android Central App
  • At&t and verizon samsung phones are bloated to the max.
  • I'd basically have to spend at least 700 dollars CDN for diminishing returns. Not worth it for me. Nexus 6
  • Really, significantly faster and smoother than the Nexus 6, I doubt it very much it's SIGNIFICANTLY faster and smoother, do you have any real world test to prove this. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The N6 needs to be decrypted to g