Reviewing the new Nexus phones: Are they worth the hype?

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A few days ago the first Nexus devices for tech writers were released in the United States. Aside from a few shortcomings, most people think that Nexus is back in the game in a big way.

After no shortage of conflicting reports and rumors, Google unveiled last month not one, but two new Nexus devices. Some tech blogs in the U.S. have been fortunate enough to get letters asking to review the phones. Here’s what they had to say:

Nexus 6P

Let’s start with the more advanced of the two, manufactured by Chinese company Huawei.

Chris Velazco at Engadget wrote that Google was “getting better at its big phones.” He praised the 6P’s performance though, plus its use of Android Marshmallow and a strong battery. He noted that the finish on the machine was pretty sweet, concluding “plenty to like here, even if the phone isn’t for everyone.” On the negative side, he called the design boring with a button far too sensitive to the touch and a camera that just can’t compete with its other models. All in all, it might not be “quite as mind-blowingly good as you’d expect, not shabby nonetheless.”

Matthew Miller at ZDNet called the device “stunning” and was excited by its design, its feel, and its finish. He emphasized the vibrant color of the screen and the camera’s functionality as “excellent along with its front microphones and its battery life. Its only drawbacks though were its lack of an optical stabilizer in the camera and its wireless charging option.”

“The Nexus 6P is an awesome device and earns a near perfect 10. It has great specifications, provides you with the latest version of Android and the promise of first updates in the future, and is priced less than other flagship phones,” he concluded.

Drew Olanoff at TechCrunch said, “For me, the 6P is the crown jewel of all Android devices, regardless of who’s designed them.” Strong words.

Mark Sullivan at VentureBeat wrote, “The 6P is a great platform for the capabilities of Android Marshmallow.” He was ecstatic about the speed of the fingerprint reader and its battery life, comparing it to the, dare we say, iPhone 6S and noted that while the iPhone was better, he wasn’t too sure Apple’s model was worth the extra $300.

Tech blog MKBHD was also excited about the simple feel of the machine, the ‘wake’ function and the fingerprint reader. They also pointed out the benefits of the camera despite it not including an optic stabilizer. However, they noted they really hadn’t had the chance to do a longer, more comprehensive review.

Still, their review was a freaking 13.5 minute video:

Nexus 5X

Nicole Lee at Engadget thought that the fingerprint reader and OS suited the phone, especially with the Marshmallow update and considering the phone’s low price. Its drawbacks, however, were the average battery life and lack of an SD slot. She concluded that the experience of the 5X was a fitting heir to the beloved Nexus 5.

Raymond Wang at Mashable was enthralled by the “friendly” screen and the light weight. Like everyone else, he was psyched about the fingerprint function. He also thought its other advantages were in its excellent camera, OS, performance and even its battery life on account of Marshmallow’s “Doze” feature.

On the less bright side, Wang thought the buttons were a little too flat and the screen’s viewing angles didn’t measure up to the device’s functionality and finally, to be aware of the doing away with older charger cables in favor of the newer USB-C. He concludes with a warning not to buy the 16 GB model.

Drew Olanoff at TechCrunch nicknames it the ‘second best Google flagship.’ He was excited though about the camera quality and showed off some crisp and clear shots that would even compete, in his words, with the DSLR. While he points out the benefits of its light weight, he hounds Google for the plastic finish that makes it feel like a cheap phone.

“On the other hand, the 5X looks like cheap plastic no matter which color you choose,” he stated.

Jordan Nova at VentureBeat joined the chorus for the fingerprint function and was all in on the phone’s back camera (a “fun run” he quipped). But it stuttered for him switching between apps when he was going through a video call. He also wasn’t impressed by the battery. The 5.2″ screen is in the Goldilocks zone in his opinion: not too big and not too small. It is agile and you can use it pretty easily with just one hand. He signs off by saying the 5X “offers lots of gooey Marshmallow sweetness for the price.”

Coming soon to a market near you

The phone is also available for pre-order in the UK and should reach Israel by November. Huawei has reps on the ground in Israel, so expect not having to ask a friend in the States to fly it in if you live in Silicon Wadi. The 5X is available for $380 (16 GB) or $430 (32 GB) in the U.S.; the 6P for $500 (32 GB) or $550 (64 GB) or $650 for the 128 GB model.

Gedalyah Reback translated the original article from Hebrew.

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