13 Best Features of the Nexus 5X

The Nexus 5X is a decent addition to the roster of affordable smartphones. It may have a few issues, but it’s a decent device despite a lack of defining upgrades.

If you’re looking for a new handset, it comes packed to the brim with features that make it a viable option. Here’s a list with 13 of the best features found on the new Nexus 5X.

1. The Size

When compared to the Nexus 6P, the device fits snuggly in one hand, leaving you free to swat people out of the way as you walk down the street.

Here are the two devices next to each other.

Nexus_5&6

It actually weighs slightly more than the original Nexus 5, but at 136 grams, it’ll easily fit in your pocket. The difference in weight is largely due to the fingerprint scanner and slight differences in the build materials, but it’s comfortable to use even if it doesn’t feel as plush compared to premium devices.

If larger phones are too cumbersome, the size is a good perk that shouldn’t be overlooked.

2. USB-C Connection

Slowly but surely, the move to USB-C is starting to take hold, and the Nexus 5X comes equipped with a USB-C port.

USB_ABC

This means that you might not be able to connect it to your PC or laptop if it’s an older model, although third-party wires are available online and they’re inexpensive. (You’ll need a USB-C to USB-A cable to connect to a computer.) It’s just a shame that an adaptor wasn’t included with the phone itself.

Although the USB-C wire is a little flimsy in comparison to older models, it allows for faster charging speeds, which is useful when you need a quick boost, or during the first period of charging the phone.

At least the device is future-proofed for the next couple of years, despite the hassle of buying new wires and adaptors.

If you’re having any issues with charging on an Android device check our guide to troubleshoot Android charging problems.

3. The Price

The Nexus 5X is cheap in comparison to the 6P and it has dropped in price during the last couple of weeks, (especially on Black Friday) meaning that it’s great value for money in comparison to similarly priced smartphones.

The devices started relatively cheaply:

16 GB Model: US$379

32 GB Model: US$429

And there’s no doubt that it can already be found for less both in-store and online. If you’re tempted, there are deals to be had, as Google ensured that the device was cheap enough to snare a decent portion of the market. The device was only released in late September 2015, so there’s a good possibility of a serious price drop in January.

4. Camera

Google said that they were very proud of the camera on the 5X, and it doesn’t disappoint. The camera is one of the best features of the phone overall, and the quality of images taken at night are also much improved from older models such as the original Nexus 5.

If you find yourself endlessly snapping away, it’s a great camera considering the budget and the size of the device. It might not replace a professional camera, but it should handle nearly everything else you need.

5. Fingerprint Sensor

Fingerprint sensors have essentially become the norm, and the 5X is definitely a more enticing device because of the addition.

You can use the sensor for a number of different tasks such as locking and unlocking the phone, and it can be used to provide extra security when making payments with your device.

The scanner isn’t the most revolutionary addition, but it does change the way you use your phone, and you won’t want to go back to the standard method of unlocking in the future once you’ve got used to it.

6. The Specs

So, what are the specs of the Nexus 5X? The phone will never be described as a powerhouse, but it’s reasonably dependable despite some minor gripes with the 2GB RAM.

Here’s a list of the most important specs:

OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Display: 5.2 inches, FHD (1920 x 1080) LCD at 423 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 3

Rear Camera: 12.3 MP¹, 1.55 µm pixels, f/2.0 aperture, IR laser-assisted autofocus, 4K (30 fps) video capture, Broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual flash

Front Camera: 5 MP, 1.4 µm pixels, f/2.0 aperture

Processors: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 808 processor, 1.8 GHz hexa-core 64-bit, Adreno 418 GPU

Memory & Storage: RAM: 2GB LPDDR3, Internal storage: 16GB or 32GB

Dimensions: 147.0 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight: 136g

Color Options: Carbon, Quartz, Ice

Google marketed the phone as a device for everyone. If you don’t want to shell out a premium device, the specs are decent enough for everyday use.

7. Charging Times

One of the best features of the new USB is the speed at which it charges the 5X. While the battery life isn’t the greatest, at least it charges quickly thanks to the USB.

It’s not Quick Charge technology, but it’s noticeably faster than the original Nexus 5. Ten minutes should give enough charge for four hours use, but this is only when charging from a plug using USB-C. If you use an adaptor you will be able to charge the phone, but speeds will be normal. 

The Android sensor hub discussed in point 11 should help with battery drain, but we also have a guide for how to save battery life on all Android devices.

8. Native Support for Marshmallow

Marshmallow_Nexus

The new device has native support for Marshmallow. Native support for 6.0 is as good as it sounds, as the phone should suffer from less of the problems that older models face in terms of compatibility and updates.

It also means that apps and functions should run smoothly as long as their optimized for 6.0. If you want a phone that comes with the latest and greatest Android OS, the Nexus

We have a guide with more information about the best features of Marshmallow, and here’s another with troubleshooting tips for Android 6.0 if you run into any problems.

9. General Build Quality and Design

As well as the size making the phone comfortable during use, the general build is decent quality, although the components aren’t the same as you would find in a premium smartphone.

For example, the device only uses Gorilla Glass 3 (with the Nexus 6P using the latest GG4) which means that the actual components aren’t of the highest quality, but they’re more than adequate considering the price.

10. Increased Security (& Monthly Updates)

One of the most practical perks of the fingerprint scanner is the added layer of security it gives the user whilst they do sensitive tasks on their smartphone. At least you will have the knowledge that it’ll be hard to unlock your phone without wiping all of the important data on the device.

As well as the scanner, the device comes with two years of security updates from Google in the form of monthly patches to any possible exploits. Here’s a link to their Google Groups page where they post monthly bulletins with more details.

11. Android Sensor Hub

The Android sensor hub is a secondary processor found in the Nexus 5X. Its function is to monitor the device’s movement, in an attempt to reduce power consumption and save battery life. It works in conjunction with the camera and other sensors such as the gyroscope and fingerprint scanner, (hence the name) allowing you to check notifications without fully waking the screen until it’s activated.

Along with the fast charging speeds, the sensor hub will help to prolong your battery so your device should always be able to last until you get to the next port. (In theory.) At the very least, your device should last for a lot longer when left idle. The hub also helps to decide when to activate the main processor, meaning that it should save even more power.

The only issue is the idea that the camera is ‘watching you at all times’, but if you can handle that, it should prove to be a useful feature.

12. Doze Mode

If you’re worried about the battery life on the 5X, Doze mode will definitely interest you. It’s a new feature added to Android as part of the Marshmallow update, and it serves to help conserve battery life.

If you leave the device unplugged and stationary with the screen off, the device will enter Doze mode. Doze mode will prevent apps from accessing the network, along with a number of other functions designed to enhance battery life.

Here’s a graph showing how Doze allows for a maintenance window after recurring intervals, during which apps will be able to access the network:

Doze_Graph

Anything that helps to improve battery performance with nominal input from the user is always going to be helpful.

13. Overall Performance

Despite some complaints that the device suffers from slowdown along with a few other problems, expectations should be tempered by the price, along with the realization that it does handle most tasks with ease. It’s not the most reliable handset, (infrequent crashes have been reported when using the browser) but it does tend to run apps smoothly aside from a few minor issues.

Overall, the Nexus 5X offers decent value for money, and any performance issues are infrequent. As long as you adjust your expectations, there’s no reason why you would be disappointed with the overall performance of the handset.

Conclusion

The device isn’t the biggest update in the world, but it’s a decent phone if you want an affordable Android device. Some competitors are starting to become similarly matched in price, but many lack the fingerprint scanner and the other, smaller improvements made to the hardware line.

You should always choose a new phone carefully. Google wants their device to be a Jack-Of-All-Trades, but that always leaves the possibility that it’ll end up as the master of none. That being said, the Nexus 5X has been given every opportunity to succeed, and it knows its limitations. It may not be a phone for all, but it’s definitely a phone for most.

Have we missed out on a great feature? If you have any questions or you have any issues with your device let us know in the comments below.

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