The Nexus 5X features the latest no-nonsense version of stock Android - Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The new Marshmallow update mostly packs feature upgrades, and without any major cosmetic changes. Google Now Launcher’s app drawer has been updated to scroll vertically, and has a row of four frequently used apps.
Google’s fingerprint reader, the Nexus Imprint can be accessed through the the Settings app. One can record up to five fingerprints with it, and also use it to unlock the device. Although it takes just about half a second to unlock, we felt that it was a bit slower that the one on the Huawei Honor 7.
When the Ambient Display mode is enabled, the screen lights up in a low-power greyscale mode, that allows you to take a quick look at the new notifications when you pick up the phone in sleep mode. We tried it out a number of times, and found the response time for lighting up the screen to be a bit inconsistent.
The new Now on Tap feature works along with Google Now. As we know it, Google Now collects information such as flight schedule, shipments, or weather through the core apps. Its interface can be accessed with a right swipe from the home screen. Now on Tap does something similar system-wide, but without leaving the window or app that one is currently viewing.
This is how it works. When you press the on-screen Home button while already using an app, Now on Tap is activated and quickly reads the data from the current window. Following this, contextual information is provided in a card-style format based on the popular keywords from the page. What really happens in the background is that Now on Tap runs an Optical Character Recognition on the window and picks up the popular keywords. For example, when you press and hold the Home button for more than a second while viewing your Gmail inbox or an email, Now on Tap is activated. A snapshot of sorts is taken of that window, and Google Now-style cards are shown related to the popular keywords in that email. Depending on the type of information on the page, the card will also show you shortcut icons to related apps and services on your phone.
Do bear in mind, however, that Now on Tap is still in its nascent stages and doesn’t work well with images. We tried using it with Instagram and it wasn’t able to fetch information about the food or the restaurant. Now on Tap suggests that you use it when keywords such as people, places, movies are mentioned.
App Permissions is an important feature that allows you to control the level of access by the apps. It can be accessed from the Apps option in Settings app. App Permissions lists the core apps such as Contacts, Camera, Phone, Location, Microphone; as well as other apps such as Sensors. When you select Contacts, you are presented with a list of apps that have access to your Contacts list. You can then simply disable or enable the access to these apps.
We experienced lags and hiccups, at several times, when we performed simple functions such as unlocking the phone, enabling the Ambient display and taking images using the camera app. But despite that, Android 6.0 Marshmallow is a worthy update.