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Google Nexus 6P review: Best-ever Nexus sets new standard for big-screen Android value

With metal materials and competitive specs, the well-priced Nexus 6P comes out swinging.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Content strategy | Team leadership | Audience engagement | Tips and FAQs | iPhone | Samsung | Android | iOS
Jessica Dolcourt
17 min read

Fall 2016 update

Google has scheduled an event for October 4 at which it is expected to launch the next generation of its Android phones. Breaking away from the Nexus name, which has served as the company's in-house phone brand since 2008, the phones will be called the Pixel and Pixel XL, according to a report by Android Police, with pricing reportedly starting at $649.


Google Nexus 6P

The Good

One of the first two Android 6.0 phones, Google's metal Nexus 6P has a sharp, high-resolution screen and a solid camera, an accurate fingerprint reader, loud speakers and works with every major carrier. Its lower cost makes it a good top-tier value buy.

The Bad

It's big, a bit boxy and top-heavy, the fingerprint reader's position isn't always convenient and the 6P ditches the wireless charging of previous models.

The Bottom Line

The Nexus 6P doesn't have the most inspiring design, but when it comes to hardware prowess, value for money and Google extras, this best-ever Nexus is hard to beat.

Back in April, veteran leaker Evan Blass reported that HTC was building devices that would run Android Nougat, Google's recently released operating system. He also reported that there would be two models -- a larger phone, equipped with a 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display with a 2,560x1440-pixel resolution; and a smaller device, featuring a 5-inch full HD display with a 1,920x1080-pixel resolution. (CNET's rumor roundup contains additional speculation and hearsay.)

Though we can't say how the new phones will stack up against Nexus models currently on the market, not to mention the recently released Apple iPhone 7, phone shoppers looking to make a purchase in the near term will likely have an expanded lineup of choices come October 4.

Editors' note: The original

review, published in October 2015, follows.

In my mind, there are two things that a Nexus-branded phone is supposed to do, and the Google Nexus 6P does them both very well. First, it's meant to showcase the very newest Android software. Check! (So does the cheaper, smaller LG-made Nexus 5X.) Second, it should package together very capable hardware for a lower sticker price than more familiar brand-name competitors. Yep, that it does. (See our pricing chart below.)

And then the weighty, 5.7-inch Nexus 6P goes further. It adds a metal frame (a Nexus first!) and a crisp, high-resolution display; a spot-on fingerprint reader; a capable 12-megapixel camera; and strong stereo speakers. It also introduces China-based Huawei, which made the phone, to a whole new audience of people, Google's Nexus fans. (Although I have to say, this breakthrough, while significant for Huawei, is only a passing curiosity for a buyer who's focused on finding the right handset.)

This year's Nexus phones are also compatible with most major carriers, which is terrific, and support Google's own unique Project Fi wireless service -- meaning you can switch among carrier plans without swapping your SIM card or phone. You don't actually need Fi to do that, though, you can seamlessly carrier-hop on your own without Google's specialized SIM card, too.

Here's what I'm saying: the 6P here is the most ambitious and advanced Nexus phone Google has put its stamp on, and it comes closer than previous Nexus devices at meeting and beating premium handsets, big and small -- like the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Edge+ , Sony Xperia Z5 and Z5 Premium -- with its combination of internal performance and relatively low cost.

Like all phones, this one isn't without flaws. It's still a large, heavy device. I'm not wild about the design, which is completely fine, but a little generic. The position of the fingerprint reader isn't always convenient. The native camera has fewer options and controls than many rivals. And unlike the Nexus 6 and other Nexus phones, this refresh lacks wireless charging, which would be extra useful backup if you leave your new Type-C charger at home. The 6P also won't have the Note 5's stylus, the Edge+ curves or the Xperia's waterproofing. You have to decide how important those finishing touches are to you.

Feast your eyes on the Marshmallowy Google Nexus 6P (pictures)

See all photos

A little warning for those who want to buy the 6P to mine the Android 6.0 Marshmallow software for all its goodies: while the new operating system brings a few interesting and somewhat useful tools -- like contextual searching through the Now on Tap feature and battery life boosting that works quietly in the background -- the 6P's real take-home value is less about the wonders of Android 6.0 and more about your total bang for the buck.

Android 6.0's nice-but-not-astounding bag of tricks may not have been as successful as past Nexus' braggable features ( Android 5.0 Lollipop was quite the overhaul), but the 6P's Marshmallow status still nabs you certain advantages, like fewer preloaded apps ("bloatware") and being first in line to receive Google's forthcoming software updates. "Pure" Nexus phones are also free from vendors' custom take on Android, which can be good, bad or neutral depending on your stance. On the one hand, custom layers eat up storage space and delay upgrades, but on the other, they can also add handy features and snazzy design layouts.

Personally, I like the the Nexus 6P quite a lot -- it does everything right and very little wrong. While it doesn't grab me the way the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge's unique design does, it's still a phone I'd heartily recommend. As a utilitarian workhorse, the Nexus 6P does the job for less cash, and that's smart.

Pricing and availability

The Nexus 6P is available for pre-order in the US, UK, Ireland and Japan from Google's online store, and will be ship in October. Check out pricing for the US, UK, and Australia in this handy chart below:

Google Nexus 6P pricing

US $499$549$649
UK £449£499£579
Australia AU$899AU$999AU$1,099

To sweeten the deal, Google tacks on a 90-day subscription to Google Play Music (plus a $50 credit for its Play Store for US buyers).

Google also wants to sell you a two-year warranty that covers breaks and water damage, which it's calling Nexus Protect. It costs $89 in the US. If something goes wrong, you can get a new device as soon as the next business day.

Specifications versus top rivals

Specs comparison

Google Nexus 6PNexus 5XApple iPhone 6SSamsung Galaxy Note 5Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
Display 5.7-inch AMOLED with 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution5.2-inch LCD with 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution4.7-inch IPS with 1,334x750-pixel resolution5.7-inch AMOLED with 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution5.5-inch IPS with 3,840x2,160-pixel resolution
Pixel density 515ppi423ppi326ppi518ppi806ppi
Dimensions (imperial) 6.27x3.06x0.28 inches5.78x2.86x0.31 inches5.44x2.64x0.28 inches6.03x2.99x0.29 inches6.07x2.99x0.31 inches
Dimensions (metric) 159.4x77.8x7.3mm147.0x72.6x7.9 mm138.3x67.1x7.1mm153.2x76.1x7.6mm154.4x76.0x7.8 mm
Weight 6.27 ounces (178 grams)4.80 ounces (136 grams)5.04 ounces (143 grams)6.03 ounces (171 grams)6.34 ounces (180 grams)
Mobile operating system Android 6.0 MarshmallowAndroid 6.0 MarshmallowApple iOS 9Android 5.1 LollipopGoogle Android 5.1 Lollipop
Fingerprint sensor YesYesYesYesYes
Camera, video 12.3-megapixel, ultra HD video (4K), 240fps slow motion video12.3-megapixel, ultra HD video (4K), 120fps slow motion12-megapixel, ultra HD video (4K), 240fps slow motion video16-megapixel, ultra HD video (4K), 120fps slow motion video23-megapixel, ultra HD video (4K), 120fps slow motion video
Optical image stabilization NoNoNo (only 6S Plus)YesYes
Front-facing camera 8-megapixel5-megapixel5-megapixel5-megapixel5-megapixel
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8101.8GHz 6-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 80864-bit A9 chip with M9Octa-core Exynos 7420Octa-core Snapdragon 810
Storage 32GB, 64GB, 128GB16GB, 32GB16GB, 64GB and 128GB32GB, 64GB32GB
Expandable storage NoNoNoNoUp to 200GB
Wireless charging NoNoNoYes, PMA and QiNo
Battery Nonremovable 3,450mAhNonremovable 2,700mAhNonremovable 1,715mAhNonremovable 3,000mAhNonremovable 3,430mAh
Starting price $499, £449, AU$899$379, £339, AU$659$649, £539, AU$1,079~$700 (but varies), N/A, AU$1,100N/A, £630, AU$1,200

Google's first metal Nexus

  • 5.7-inch screen with 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution
  • USB-C charging port
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Stereo forward-facing speakers
  • Dimensions: 6.3 by 3.0 by 0.29 inches (159.3 by 77.8 by 7.3mm)
  • Weight: 6.3 ounces (178 grams)

Big and aluminium with rounded edges and a fingerprint reader on the back, the Nexus 6P embraces quite a few trends of the day. The 5.7-inch display is a skosh more sizeable than the 5.5-inch iPhone 6S and right on par with the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+ . Its high-resolution AMOLED display, sometimes referred to as 2K, fits in with the times as well, lending the 6P a sharp and clear screen, with high contrast. (Sony is already pushing boundaries with its world's-first 4K display , which is probably overkill in most scenarios.)

The Nexus 6P is a solid slab of aluminum, a Nexus first. Josh Miller/CNET

Shape-wise, the Nexus 6P is smaller and narrower than Motorola's 6-inch Nexus 6. Still, it's a two-hander. Not the easiest jumbo phone (or, phablet, if you prefer) for my smaller hands to hold. Its slim, straight sides challenged hands larger than mine when I passed the phone around. Some combination of the straight edges and smooth back made the 6P seem unwieldy, slippery, even a little top-heavy. The similarly sized Samsung Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge+ and iPhone 6S Plus seem proportioned and contoured to fit my mitts better.

Its unibody build means you won't be able to access the battery, and there's no microSD card slot for extra storage either. This is a typical trade-off in full-metal phones. During some of my testing, the Nexus 6P's backing felt warm to the touch, but not dangerously or uncomfortably so.

Since I grip the bottom half of the device to use it, the placement of the Google Imprint fingerprint reader was often a stretch; I sometimes had to shift my grip in order to unlock the phone. If you have larger hands, you probably won't have the same concerns.

Double-click the power button to launch the camera. Josh Miller/CNET

I like that double-pressing the lock key launches the camera, but I'm not a fan of the haptic jiggle that confirms you've opened it, and I haven't found a way to turn it off.

You can pick up the Nexus 6P in three colors: aluminum (silver), graphite (black) and frost (white), our favorite of the trio. Japan gets it in gold, too. My all-black model looks nice in a generic way, with subtle chamfered edges around the rims, though the design isn't inspired.

Loud stereo speakers

Audio quality from the dual front speakers was pretty great for a phone. I played a lot of music videos from YouTube. The highest volume setting filled a room, and songs sounded clear. Compared to a set of good headphones or a decent Bluetooth speaker, though, the 6P's audio still sounded jangly and two-dimensional, where my over-ear In Case headphones sounded rich. But the 6P is still notably better than you'll get from the default speaker in most rival smartphones.

Type-C marginally better

I like the reversible USB Type-C charging port in theory, and once more phone-makers start using it, charging cables will be easier to come by. If you forget the Type-C to Type-C fast-charger and Type-C to USB cables that arrive in the box, you'll be hard-pressed to find one lying around -- it's not compatible with your other devices' cables. Wireless charging would be a convenient backup here, but unlike the 2013 and 2014 Nexus models, that feature is absent.

Better keep an extra Type-C cable. Josh Miller/CNET

If you get the 6P, prepare to also buy a few extra chargers and a micro-USB to Type-C adaptor that fits over the tip. (For Type-C fans, keep in mind that the Nexus 6P uses the Type-C charging shape, but not all the features that also support faster file transfers and charging for other devices. Read more about that here.)

Android 6.0 Marshmallow: Now on Tap is not great

  • "Pure" Android software
  • Google Now on Tap
  • Android Pay support
  • Doze function saves battery

A Nexus phone is the first to debut Google's latest Android software. Always. In our case, that's the Android 6.0 build , codenamed an ooey-gooey Marshmallow. It promises, as always, to be faster and smoother than the previous generation and filled with more tricks and treats.

The most enticing of these is Google Now on Tap, which is an obscure name for an extra layer of software that lets you more deeply interact with whatever's on the screen. The classic example is asking Google simply, "Who sings this?" when listening to any given song, without having to specify the track's title.

Google Now on Tap is essentially a shortcuts bar within Android 6.0. Josh Miller/CNET

Let's say you're on a restaurant menu and you press and hold the home button. Mini "cards" pop up on the bottom half of the screen with buttons you can press (shortcuts) to search on Google, open a menu, make a reservation, call the business, navigate there and see Google Street View. You can also use voice search to ask for additional information ("show me her tour dates" for example) without having to reframe the question.

CNET will do much more Now on Tap testing, but in my initial tests, I threw a barrage of questions and commands at it, and opened the Now on Tap cards from a variety of Web pages. Some scenarios seem to work better than others. For example, contextual voice searches usually worked, but interrupted the songs I asked about, which made for a pretty disruptive listening experience, since getting search results on-screen essentially stops the music, at least with YouTube.

Other times, Now on Tap presented useful information, like a restaurant menu link and icon shortcuts to other apps, other times, I didn't get what I wanted. Also keep in mind that clicking a link from Now on Tap whisks you away to a new page. Either way, Now on Tap cards took about two seconds to load, which felt slow.

This search bar in the apps tray is new to Nexus. Josh Miller/CNET

Don't worry, the usual Google Now is still there -- which proactively surfaces information about the weather, sports scores, transportation time home and flight information -- now you swipe right from the home screen or press the "G" icon from the Now on Tap screen. With the ability to add stories and notifications from websites and apps, it operates much more as a typical newsfeed this way.

Other noticeable titbits in Marshmallow: I liked how apps download on the second homescreen (as you swipe left), rather than crowding out your main homescreen. And, though this isn't turned on by default, always-on voice search calls up Google from any screen, even when the phone is locked. Note that the "OK, Google" voice command zeroes in on your voice in particular, so others can't vocally command your 6P without retraining it.

Mobile payments featuring Android Pay also lights up; this is Google's repackaged Google Wallet system, which rivals Apple Pay and the newly launched Samsung Pay. We'll have a breakout of this later.

Google Imprint works well, but...

I used Google Imprint, the fingerprint reader, as the main method for securing the 6P -- you can add up to five prints. I did have to sometimes readjust to reach it, but on the whole, unlock accuracy was flawless.

In my opinion, the biggest benefit right now is being able to unlock the phone with a quick scan. In the future, we'll be able to benefit from authorizing Android Pay purchases and app downloads with a fingertip, too, just like on the iPhone. Right now, though, my two most commonly used apps, Amazon and my bank, don't support Imprint.

The fingerprint reader worked flawlessly, but wasn't always convenient to use. Josh Miller/CNET

Google and Huawei have integrated the scanner on the 6P's backside, like another Huawei phone, the Mate S . I'm still getting used to the rear placement, and when the phone is laying flat on a desk or table, I don't like having to lift the entire device to unlock it with my print. Since you must also add a backup PIN in case the reader fails, pressing the power/lock button requires you to swipe the screen and then enter the PIN, which takes time. A scanner within the power/lock button, as Sony uses on its 2015 Xperia phones , or home button scanners, like on the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phones, could be more convenient overall.

On the security front, Imprint is just one of many ways to get into the phone, and in fact, Google warns that a good PIN could be a stronger security measure. To gird yourself, you can opt to enter a PIN every time the phone restarts. Other security options include facial or voice recognition in addition to PINs, passwords and patterns.

Cameras and image quality

  • Camera: 12.3-megapixel Sony sensor
  • 8-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 4K video capture support
  • Slow-motion video

The Nexus 6P's 12.3-megapixel camera with a Sony sensor claims serious indoor optimization and improved low-light technology, and yes, it takes good outdoor shots. Low light and night shots are still noisier than phones like the Samsung Galaxy S6, but less so than the Nexus 6, and satisfying to view and share overall. Although the Nexus 5X and 6P share the same rear camera specs down to the detail, low light images looked a tad cleaner on the 6P when we took a look at full resolution images side-by-side. Color temperature also differed slightly in indoor shots. For all intents and purposes, differences in image quality between the two Nexuses are negligible (but better than the Nexus 6).

Google says that its camera sensor size dwarfs that of the iPhone 6S Plus , with 1.55-micron pixel size on the 6P, versus 1.22-micron pixels on Apple's jumbo phone. The bigger the pixel, the more light can stream in. In the world of photography, more light is generally better. Photos taken outdoors were certainly nice, with lots of detail and pretty good color fidelity. Pictures took on a yellowy tone that was sometimes warm and sometimes cool. Huawei should fix that, but in general, I prefer a yellow cast to a blue one.

Sony's sensor gives the 12-megapixel camera an image boost. Josh Miller/CNET

Google has also added smart burst mode to the camera, a new-to-Google feature that captures photos at a rate of 30 frames per second. The Nexus 6P turns your stream of photo bursts, called SmartBurst, into an animated GIF by default (you have to turn this off in settings). It's choppier than a Live Photo in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, and only self-generates when you take a burst shot, unlike the iPhone's mini-video treatment that's applied to all photos. I discovered the automatic GIF-sharing by accident, and since it wasn't what I was going for, it wasn't too helpful, and the GIF (of a flower slightly swaying in the breeze), looked choppy and silly.

Selfie photos taken through the 8-megapixel front-facing camera look good on the whole. The 6P appears to apply some automatic air-brushing; or at least, skin tones look softer. Unlike other handsets, there aren't any filters or Beauty Mode controls to smoothe textures (this could be good or bad, depending on your view), and all editing happens by default through the built-in Google Photos app -- this is where you'll see effects like vignette filters.

On the video side, the Nexus 6P will shoot 4K video; if you want this, you'll need to reset the default. A brand-new built-in feature, slow-motion video, can capture up to 240 frames per second, with editing capabilities. This is something we've seen in other phones, by Samsung for example, but this is indeed a first for a Nexus device. We found it's best to use this for action sequences, rather than everyday moments.

Using the camera software is pretty straightforward. You now swipe left and right to switch between photo to video modes. A button tap flips to the front camera and back again. Controls for flash and auto-HDR live on-screen, while panorama mode, Photo Sphere, Lens Blur and Settings hide away in a sub menu. These are good modes to have, but you will find more shooting options in other premium devices, like presets for macro, landscape and sports modes.

We'll have a complete photo shoot-out comparison soon, but in the meantime, check out these images for yourself. Note that all pictures were taken in automatic mode, except when otherwise stated. Click to enlarge to full resolution.

Enlarge Image
This was the GIF that the 6P generated through Smart Burst. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Enlarge Image
Facial details were a little softer on this indoor shot, and the yellow tone is apparent. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Enlarge Image
This indoor photo of buttery, puffy kernels is good enough to share. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Enlarge Image
Here's the same shot, taken on the iPhone 6S. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Enlarge Image
Fall colors festoon CNET's break room on the Nexus 6P. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Enlarge Image
The iPhone 6S's color appears cooler, but is more true to life. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Enlarge Image
An outdoor shot taken on the Nexus 6P. I'm interested in the stone's details here. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Enlarge Image
Despite standing in the same place, the iPhone 6S's picture looks cropped in. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Enlarge Image
Low-light shots were still somewhat challenging in very dark scenarios, but the phone was able to add a lot of brightness. No flash. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Enlarge Image
Again, this filet looks tinged with yellow, but not bad for a very low light shot. #NoFilter. No flash. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Enlarge Image
The Nexus 6P captured the contrast of dark and light beautifully. No flash. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Enlarge Image
This was a pure night shot, taken without flash. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Although there's no Beauty Mode here, the 6P selfie softened edges in this lighting. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET
Enlarge Image
In our standard studio shot, the 6P kept the objects in focus. Josh Miller/CNET

Hardware muscle: Performance and battery life

In our diagnostic performance tests, the Nexus 6P holds its own with most other top phones, though it isn't as fast as some. Benchmark apps are just an indicator of performance, not the final word, and in daily use, my complaints have been few. Google Now on Tap does take about 2 to 2.5 seconds to load, and that's likely a software issue that Google can optimize down the road.

(For benchmark-lovers, I did notice that the 3D Mark results got progressively slower after each consecutive test, which hasn't been the case on other phones. After I waited a few minutes between tests, the numbers climbed back north.)

Google Nexus 6P performance charts

Apple iPhone 6S 27,698 4,402 2,527Sony Xperia Z5 26,887 2,926 610Samsung Galaxy Note 5 24,589 4,939 1,488Google Nexus 6P 24,224 4,313 1,286Google Nexus 5X 18,973 3,536 1,246
  • 3DMark Score (Ice Storm Unlimited)
  • Geekbench 3 Score (Multi-Core)
  • Geekbench 3 Score (Single-Core)
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

In terms of navigation, the phone hasn't seemed excessively laggy. It took about 10 seconds to turn off and around 36 seconds to turn on; lower-end phones bootup and shut down in roughly 50 seconds. The 6P had no problems handling a graphics-heavy game like Riptide GP2 with all the effects turned up. This game was extremely responsive, graphics look crisp and rich and shadows appeared where you expect them.

Battery life

Battery life was right in the middle, with an average of 11 hours 30 minutes over four video-loop tests. Even while testing the phone hard for a few days, I didn't worry about reserves. The 6P fully recharged with its Type-C charger in about an hour and a half. I love that the phone tells you how much time you have left to charge (e.g. "32 minutes"), though it sometimes took a little longer than promised (when it predicted 3 minutes it took closer to 6 to complete the charge).

Promising to save you battery life, Android 6.0's Doze feature sips less power when apps slip into standby mode, to help the phone last up to 30 percent longer than it otherwise would. Sure enough, check the battery life settings and you can see the power demands drop off. It's one of those things that, if it does its job, you won't overtly notice until it's time to charge up again. We'll really be able to tell it's working when we can compare battery life on phones before and after they upgrade to Android 6.0.

Call quality

Phone calls were totally decent on the 6P when I tested them in San Francisco (I used AT&T's network). Volume sounded fine on the medium-high in a fairly quiet space. I detected very low static background when I strained to hear, but the white noise won't get in your way. On the other hand, my test partner said he could hear a scratchy sound in the background, and that my voice sounded a tad flat.

Speakerphone wasn't as loud as I expected when I held the phone at hip level. It was loud enough at full volume, but that leaves no audio reserve for noisy environments, like in a car or around the dinner table. Voices also sounded muffled and constrained. On my test partner's end, static worsened.

Your experience could differ depending on network strength where you live.

A phone to seriously consider

With the Nexus 6P, Google boosts the best of its famously affordable Nexus line into the big leagues. Its specs and performance largely match up to the most premium phones already vying for your attention, but for less than their full retail price. (Always check current pricing for phones you're about to buy; sales happen all the time.)

While I do have minor quibbles with the 6P, they're mostly design complaints and disappointment over absent wireless charging on a phone with a brand-new (read: currently unusual) charging standard. These aren't major, purchase-deterring concerns, though.

Enlarge Image
Google's Nexus 4 through 6P, made by a LG, Motorola and Hauwei.

Android 6.0's Google's Now on Tap is far less the clutch feature at this stage than I had hoped it would be, but it doesn't deter from Google Now, or from using the most accurate voice search in the business. Also, the 6P's "pure Android" status does guarantee fresh future updates, and it's also terrific that the 6P works with all major carriers and, in the US, supports Google Fi. As far as I'm concerned, the more options to hook into Google services, the more choices you'll have down the road if you want to opt in.

Still, competition is fierce among excellent devices, and some people will pick phones are that are smaller and look more interesting than the 6P, or have valuable secondary features, like a stylus, water-resistant coating or wireless charging. While a very good option, the Nexus 6P isn't the must-have phone of 2015. To be fair, I don't think such a thing exists; it really comes down to personal preferences about what you want and need.

For Google's part, the company did well working with Huawei on its ambitious Nexus. Creating this year's flagship Nexus design is a big, fat break for the world's third-largest smartphone-maker (according to research firm IDC). Known in some global regions for its midrange and lower-end phones -- if it's known at all -- Huawei now has a rare chance to impress a pantheon of established Nexus fans. Customers who like the Nexus 6P could very well be converted into Huawei loyalists, or at the very least draw precious attention to the brand.

So, some final food for thought on how the Nexus 6P stacks up against other phones you might want to buy.

Versus high-end Android phones

The 6P is less expensive and has all the Nexus advantages, plus there are the louder-than-average stereo speakers. Phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Edge+ , Sony Xperia Z5 and Z5 Premium offer hardware and software extras, and don't suffer from having Android 5.1 Lollipop instead of Android 6.0. The S6 and S6 Edge are a better fit for people who prefer more petite devices.

Versus the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus

Your Android-or-iOS preference aside, the iPhone 6S phones have classier designs and an arguably more convenient placement of its fingerprint reader. Voice commands are superior on the Nexus 6P, but Android 6.0 doesn't play a unique role there. The 6P is less expensive than either iPhone, though Google isn't offering Apple's installment pricing that guarantees the latest iPhone every year.

Versus the Nexus 5X

The smaller 5.2-inch Nexus 5X takes almost identical photos as the Nexus 6P from its main camera, but the plastic 5X is less expensive because it uses cheaper parts. The 6P is the more powerful device, and the handset of the two to choose if you aren't cost-sensitive. However, HTC's forthcoming One A9 is far more attractive -- especially at only $399 (but much less so for the £430 UK selling price) -- and made of metal, while also carrying Android 6.0. If you're not in a rush, but would prefer to spend less, it's worth waiting for that review.


Google Nexus 6P

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 9Camera 8Battery 7