Nexus 6P exit review

In January 2017 I was issued a Nexus 6P by my new employer. The timing was fortunate as I had broken my Nexus 5 (see my exit review) the previous month, so the Nexus 6P ended up as my main phone for a while.

I had only requested an “Android” phone (all the choice I was given); the phone was issued by a corporate hardware provider.

As I noted before, the screen is very large. The phone is not suited for using single-handed. It’s also a rather oblong, tall device, so it’s not particularly great for horizontal two-handed use. I didn’t like it.

But the screen is pretty.

Nexus 6P phone shown face-up with the screen turned off. Several scratches and hairline cracks are visible.

Phone screen after being cleaned of its usual covering of fingerprints. Count the scratches.

I didn’t like the metal and glass body — it is too slippery and warms up on heavy use. It wore a bit, but not too badly. The screen gas a few hairline scratches. A premium 2015 device does not come with a glass that does not scratch within 1.5 years of normal use. This is the world we live in.

The phone survived 20 months. Though how much this is because I simply wasn’t using it on the go because it’s so large, I don’t know. Is it still a mobile phone if it’s not used mobile?

The lack of SD card expansion didn’t really matter because it’s a work phone, not my personal one; and the fact that the built-in 64 GB storage was expensive didn’t really matter because it’s a work phone, and I didn’t pay for it. That’s between the corporate hardware provider and the manufacturer.

The camera sensor and software are legitimately great. The software pulls out impressive dynamic range. And the large viewfinder is quite nice. But the ergonomics are terrible: it’s a small, slippery slab, and doing any kind of adjustment requires poking at the slab while trying to hold it with the other hand. It’s not a good experience for anything but completely automatic snapshots.

The fingerprint reader works fine. It seems to be a bit more reliable than the reader in my Moto G5. The position on the back means the phone has to be picked up to unlock, but realistically you mostly use the phone in your hands anyway.

Nexus 6P phone shown face-down, back-up. Some of the colour has rubbed off along the bottom of the phone.

On the back, it looks like every other phone. The camera bump wasn’t an issue. Not sure why the colour rubbed off near the bottom like that.

The thin, squared shape makes it a pain to pick up from a flat surface. Apparently it’s thinner than a Nexus 5? It didn’t make a difference to me.

I don’t care for USB-C. To be sure, it charges fast with the provided charger. But then you need a USB-C charger, and USB-C cables. I am glad to have common microUSB on my personal phone, but on a work phone I didn’t have to care so much.

On moderate to low use, a 20-month-old battery lasts 2 days between charges. But that strongly depends on use. An hour of web browsing will drop the battery by 10 to 20%.

Software performance seems fine.

As of September 2018, the device was upgraded to Android 8.1.0 with patches as of September 5, 2018. So that’s pretty solid.

When buying a personal phone, I chose a Moto G5, a smaller plastic phone with SD card and microUSB. (I wrote about my first impressions.)

I would say I didn’t really like the Nexus 6P — but I did like the camera. I only wish for that sensor and software in a camera that’s actually comfortable to hold.