The Nexus 6P is the result of Google’s and Huawei’s partnership, in which they have created a clean but ‘Premium’ Android phablet.
Featuring an all-metal unibody design, and a tonne of high-end specifications, the Nexus 6P has a great combination of good looks and performance, however, for that there is a price.
Starting at £449 for the 32GB model, the Nexus 6P definitely isn’t a cheap phone, that said, it’s not really that expensive when compared to other models that compete with it.
The first thing you notice about the Nexus 6P is its design, featuring an all-metal unibody, it feels a lot nicer to have then various other plastic phones on the market, but it still stands out thanks to the raised camera assembly on the back of the smartphone.
However, because it has that massive 5.7-inch display, it’s not the best phone to try and use one-handed, measuring 159.4 x 77.8 x 7.3mm, it often means that you will have to either stretch your hand to use it or suck it up and use two hands.
Thankfully, it does only weigh 178g, so it’s not too heavy to hold.
Around the side of the smartphone, you will find a riveted power button that is great to use, especially in the dark, where it can sometimes be hard to find the power button next to the volume rocker on other smartphones like the Nexus 6P.
Under that power button, you will still find the volume rocker, both of which have been situated on the right-hand side of the frame.
If you look at the bottom you will find a reversible USB-C port, which not only allows for faster charging that micro USB but also makes plugging on the phone a lot easier.
On the top this is finished off by a 3.5mm jack, which is quite an annoying place for a phone of this size, we would have preferred the jack to be placed at the bottom to make the phone easier to grab out of your pocket on the go.
This is all wrapped in the colour of your choice, which includes grey, black, white and gold.
On the front of the phone, you will find that awesome 5.7-inch AMOLED display, which features a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution and 518 pixels per inch.
Although this is a great looking display, it is still slightly saturated.
You will also find the adaptive Display functionality, which allows it to show a grayscale notification lock screen when picked up, which could be improved with the use of gestures like on the Motorola smartphones.
Sadly, the fingerprint sensor has been placed on the back, which has clearly been done with good intentions, however, in our opinion, it just doesn’t provide that kind of accessibility or usefulness as the smartphone’s that have the fingerprint sensor on the home button.
However, Google does say that this is a natural location for your fingers, I disagree with finding it extremely awkward, but I could see how one could get used to it.
Thankfully, when you can figure out where your finger should be, the Nexus 6P is very quick to recognise it.
Inside of the smartphone, you will find the new octa-core 64-bit Snapdragon 820 v2.1, which combines a 2.0GHz quad-core chip with a 1.55GHz quad-core chip.
This all comes alongside a dedicated motion chip called the Android Sensor Hub, which has been included to drive all of the sensors in the phone, providing the CPU with more power to run everything else.
There’s also an Adreno 430 GPU embedded into the system on a chip, alongside 3GB of RAM, 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of storage, but no microSD card slot.
This all equates to awesome performance, the Nexus 6P feels extremely smooth to use, with snappy app opening and closing, as you would expect from a smartphone that was recently released.
This is slightly due to insides of the Nexus 6P, but also, because it uses stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow with a number of performance enhancements and features that make the whole OS a lot smarter and easier to use.
Whilst this can be quite strange to get used to if you previously used a non-stock Android phone, stock Android comes with some great features such as Google Now on Tap, which is the first thing you will probably notice if you are trying to do something else.
Google Now on Tap shows up when you hold down the on-screen home button, and will basically scan the content on the screen and show you results from Google about that content.
For example, if you were watching Game of Thrones, it would show you more information about the season, and maybe even some news about the new season.
This is especially effective when you want to get some information quick.
On top of that, you will also find a number of other Google based applications, but no bloatware, making the system awesome to just start fresh with, which is a huge advantage of having stock Android.
Alongside the various Google applications like Gmail, Google Maps, Contacts, Drive, Calendar, Photos, Hangouts, YouTube, Photos and more, you also get Google’s stock version of messaging and phone apps.
These work much like you would expect from a phone released recently, however, they still don’t get around Android’s base problem, and that is that they don’t tie themselves in with other messaging services, so you are still required to use various other applications in order to contact the people you want, it would be nice for a mobile OS to like all of these applications into one place, however, the only person to have really done this is BlackBerry, and their implementation still wasn’t great.
Thankfully, the messaging app that you do get on Android is nice and simple to use, it’s without many thrills, but in our opinion, that is a good thing.
Consuming content on the Nexus 6P is also a joy, thanks to that huge display, you can quite easily watch a TV show or movie on the phone, and not feel the need for something a little larger, or of better quality.
Colours are precise and sharp and the speakers and good enough, so much so that you don’t need headphones.
Games are also great on the Nexus 6P, and pretty much everything that you can load on the smartphone will load as you would expect.
As previously mentioned, the Nexus 6P features a bulge around the back, which houses the 12.3MP rear-facing camera that can capture 1.55-micron pixels, allowing it to capture more light, and hopefully better pictures when in low-light situations.
The front-facing camera is 8MP with the normal 1.4 microns.
Sadly, it lacks any optical image stabilisation or various camera features that we find in many Samsung, HTC and Apple smartphones.
There’s no option to shoot in RAW, or with gesture controls, and there are not too many thrills in terms of shooting options.
Google has made the app very simple to use, with easy access switching between the front and rear-facing camera, along with a button to set the time with one press, and the ability to switch between photo shooting and video shooting with a single swipe.
Then if you tap the side menu you will find the option for a few modes that include Lens Blur, Panoramic and Photosphere.
That all said it does take some decent photos.
As it is a big phone, you would expect a rather large battery, and with the Nexus 6P you won’t be disappointed, thanks to its 3,450mAh battery, it will easily last longer than a day under heavy use, and when it is drained, you can get it charged back up quickly.
It takes about an hour and a half to get it back up to full charge, which is a bit slower than Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 technology, but it does have the advantage of using the USB-C cable, which is reversible.
There’s no doubt that the Nexus 6P is one of the best Android phones available right now, with a great set of specs, and an even greater price tag.
Although it is rather large, the Nexus 6P can be easily held in one hand without any trouble, however, to use it you will definitely need two hands, which was one of my biggest issues with the phone, the second was the placement of both the fingerprint sensor and headphone jack, which make it hard to use the phone when on the go, and frankly feel strange to use.
That said, having stock Android is a huge advantage, and is one that you can likely get over the sensor for.
The Nexus 6P is super quick and feels great to use thanks to its use of stock Android Marshmallow 6.0, but that sadly does mean that you miss out on some other features, with somewhat lacking camera software and a no-thrills experience.
There’s also no wireless charging or optical image stabilisation.
If you want a simple, but fast Android smartphone that still has all of the top-of-the-line specs that you expect, then the Nexus 6P is a great option for you, however, if you want something with more than just stock, then the Nexus 6P might not be that great option.
If you are interested, you can pick up the Nexus 6P from various carriers and retailers now.
Disclosure: Vodafone sent us a sample of the Nexus 6P for review.