Software and apps
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Battery life
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LG Google Nexus 5X

The true successor to the Nexus 5
By Samir Makwana on 2015-12-03
Key Features
  • 5.2-inch Full HD display
  • 12-megapixel rear camera
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 2GB of RAM
What we like
  • Lightweight and easily fits in the pocket
  • Improved primary camera
  • Stellar performance for a mid-tier device
  • Smooth stock Android experience 
  • Records 4K videos
What we don't like
  • Watered down build quality
  • Lesser, older version of RAM 
  • Mediocre battery life
  • No Optical Image Stabilisation
Our Score

Since the launch of the first Nexus smartphone in 2010, Google has religiously launched a Nexus smartphone with the most recent Android version, every year. This year we have the LG Nexus 5X and the Huawei Nexus 6P, both of which run Android 6.0 Marshmallow. 

Google has revealed that the ‘X’ in Nexus 5X and and the ‘P’ in Nexus 6P stand for experience and Premium respectively. This distinction can be seen in the design, hardware and the pricing of these devices. LG Nexus 5X is available for a price of Rs.31,990 (16GB), and the Huawei Nexus 6P for Rs.39,990 (32GB). 

Google Nexus 5X intro

With the Nexus 5X, Google has collaborated with LG for the third time, the first time being in 2013 for the Nexus 4, and later just last year for the Nexus 5. The Nexus 5X  has three key changes when compared to its predecessor - a fingerprint sensor, Laser Autofocus, and a USB Type-C port. 

We got our hands on the 16GB carbon coloured variant of the Nexus 5X. Here’s what we think of this device.


Just like its predecessor, the Nexus 5X has a soft-touch back. But the similarities end right there and the Nexus 5X also offers additional new features - a fingerprint sensor, Laser Autofocus and the USB Type-C port. Moreover, in terms of dimensions, the Nexus 5X, at a height of 147mm, is visibly taller than the Nexus 5 which is 137.6mm tall. The 5X is also slimmer than its predecessor (the 5X measures 7.9mm when compared to the 8.6mm of the Nexus 5). With a taller and slimmer profile, one-handed operation is fairly comfortable on the Nexus 5X. 

Google Nexus 5X design

The Nexus 5X has well-rounded corners and flat sides. Above and below the screen, there are machine-drilled holes that look the same, and it easy for one to mistake them for dual front-facing speakers. But, the one at the top is in fact, the earpiece, whereas the other one below the screen is the stereo speaker. The proximity sensor and the ambient light sensor are present under the earpiece, slightly towards the right side. A 5-megapixel camera is present to the left of the earpiece. The power/sleep button is present on the right edge, with the volume control buttons below it. The SIM tray rests on the left edge. 

Google Nexus 5X design2

At the back, you have a protruding 12.3-megapixel camera, with a dual-tone, dual-LED flash and a Laser Autofocus sensor to its left. The protrusion of the camera makes the phone wobble a bit when placed on a flat surface. The Nexus 5X feels much lighter than the metallic frame and glass panel bearing devices, when held in hand. It also feels quite sturdy in hand. The device is available in Carbon, Quartz and Ice Blue colour options. 


The Nexus 5X flaunts a 5.2-inch IPS LCD display that supports a resolution of 1080x1920p, which translates to a pixel density of 423PPI. This means you get crisp text and sharp visuals on the display. The screen has a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 technology that prevents scratches, and the oleophobic coating prevents fingerprints and smudges. 

Google Nexus 5X display

The colours on the display appear closer to natural colours, which is good, and are not as punchy as that of a saturated AMOLED display. One can expect deeper blacks when there is a good amount of contrast, especially while watching videos and playing 3D games. The IPS panel ensures great viewing angles. Viewing the screen with the brightness level set to the maximum at night time, did not strain our eyes. But, under direct sunlight though, the display struggles in making the text and icons legible.


When compared head-to-head with the hardware of the Nexus 5, the 5X comes across as a logical upgrade. LG houses a 64-bit hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset clocked at 1.8GHz along with 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM. The amount of RAM on the Nexus 5X feels pretty outdated when compared to that of many of the competing smartphones which use an LPDDR4 RAM that gives double the speed by consuming less power.  

The Adreno 418 GPU chip takes care of gaming and other UI-related tasks. The Nexus 5X is offered in two variants of built-in storage - 16GB and 32GB. As is the case with Nexus devices, there is no slot for storage expansion. 

Google Nexus 5X hardware

One of the many new features on the Nexus 5X is an independent low-power processor, called the Android Sensor Hub. It is located between the mobile chipset and the numerous sensors such as accelerometer, barometer and proximity sensor. The task of this low-power processor is to collect data from different sensors and send it to the main chipset in batches, instead of real-time. With this data, Google aims to record and present fitness data more accurately. 

The primary 12.3-megapixel camera at the back rests in the centre, with a dual-LED flash along with a Laser Autofocus to its left. The front-facing 5-megapixel camera rests above the display. The SIM tray on the left edge supports a 4G LTE enabled Nano-SIM card. 

Google Nexus 5X hardware 2

Other connectivity options include an improved dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac which promises twice as fast the download speed as compared to the Nexus 5. The Wi-Fi Direct feature also comes in handy for transferring files to a compatible device, or you can also always use the Bluetooth 4.2 for that purpose. The GPS chip, along with A-GPS and GLONASS, has better location locking accuracy while using navigation apps such as Google Maps. An NFC chip allows one to share contacts and other data by using the Android Beam feature.

The USB Type-C port is Google’s attempt to prevent unnecessary confusion while trying to charge the phone. That apart, the USB Type-C port also enables faster charging without using Qualcomm’s QuickCharge. The phone also features a new fingerprint sensor, which we shall discuss in the next section.

Software and apps

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. 

Nexus 5X software

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.


Nexus 5X camera

Google’s Android engineers deserve a pat on the back for tweaking the new camera sensors and offering balanced image processing, this year. The 12.3-megapixel camera with 1.55 micron pixels-totting image sensor is present at the back. A dual tone, dual-LED flash along with Laser Autofocus rests to its left. The Camera app offers a minimalist interface which has photo modes such as Photo Sphere, Lens Blur and Panorama. All of these modes require a bit of patience and practice, if one wants to be able to make the best use of them. 

Nexus 5X camera sample

The primary camera does a fantastic job of capturing a good amount of detail, but when the images were viewed on a PC/MacBook, we could find few inconsistencies. Colour reproduction is near-accurate with an acceptable contrast that also has minimal amount of noise in it. We rarely had any issues with the White Balance. While using the HDR+, the improved dynamic range is quite noticeable. Some amount of noise does creep in images taken in low light, though. 

Nexus 5X camera sample

The camera can capture good quality 4K resolution videos and has decent audio support, what with one microphone at the top and another at the bottom. But despite that, we felt that the audio quality was nothing great. Videos, at times, tended to shake due to the lack of Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS). Slow motion videos in 1080p resolution can be recorded at 120fps, whereas videos in 720p resolution can be recorded at 240fps. We recommend that you record slow motion videos at a resolution of 1080p, since it always worked smoothly. 

Nexus 5X camera sample 3

The front-facing 5-megapixel camera captures good details in a selfie as well as 1080p videos. One can clearly notice the improvement in the image as well as the video quality from the predecessors, as promised by Google. 

Nexus 5X camera sample

The camera app is minimalistic, and with very few options present on the screen, you get more space to tap and focus while taking a picture. Clearly, the new camera app manages to earn brownie points this year.

Audio and video

Due to the lack of a music player, we were forced to try the Apple Music beta app as our daily driver for listening to music. 

The stereo speaker at the front, offers clear sound, but it is not very loud. When compared to the pair of earphones bundled along with the phone, we felt that the audio quality was much better on our reference Cowon EM-1 in-ear headphones. The phone can also easily play popular audio files, including the lossless ones. 

Google Nexus 5X audio and video

There’s no stock video player, but you can play select video files through the photos app. However, one needs to download third party video players such as VLC Player, that allow you to play a majority of popular file formats without any issues.


On Nexus devices, one can be rest assured to experience fast and smooth performance. With the Nexus 5X, you can expect the same, almost. However, we did spot some lags and hiccups when Ambient Light mode was enabled. The camera app lagged a number of times when taking pictures in quick succession. But these complaints apart, Marshmallow is quite slick and operates smoothly.  

Voice calls were audible clearly through the earpiece, and the phone didn’t heat up even after a 30-minute conversation, which was pretty impressive. Google Maps app works super fast in pinning the device on the map, if the location services are enabled beforehand. 

In terms of benchmark tests, the Nexus 5X managed to score 44,331 in the AnTuTu Benchmark in 64-bit mode. In the PCMark test, the phone bagged five stars with 4039 points, whereas in the Geekbench 3 test, the phone scored 1164 for single-core and 3432 for the multi-core benchmarks. The phone scored 4595 in the Vellamo Benchmark test which tests the browser’s capabilities, and in this case, Google Chrome’s. From these results, it is pretty evident that the phone is capable to handle almost any task thrown at it. 

Nexus 5X performance

Finally, when we tested its gaming capabilities with the 3DMark’s Ice Storm Limited Benchmark, the phone bagged 1104 points and can easily claim to be one of the most powerful devices. We noticed some stutter and jarring while playing Asphalt 8: Airborne, but Modern Combat 5 worked just fine.

The Nexus 5X delivers stellar performance, barring a few software related hiccups.

Battery life

A reliable battery life has never really been a selling point of the Nexus devices. Nexus 5X’s 2,700mAh non-removable battery is a noteworthy update from the 2,300mAh battery on the Nexus 5. The average runtime of our Nexus 5X unit was about 15 hours. During this time, we made voice calls for about an hour, played games for about 30 minutes, took a few pictures, checked emails and used social networking apps. However, we did notice that when we streamed videos on YouTube for 30 minutes and watched at 20 minute TV show, the runtime dropped to about 11 hours.  

Google Nexus 5X battery

The absence of QuickCharge is made up by the new USB Type-C support which charges the battery rather quickly. A single charge from 0 to 100% takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Google claims that when the battery drops to under 10 percent, by charging the phone for about 10 minutes, you can make it last for about four hours. We tried this hack, and it did work as promised.

Although the 5X sees an increase of 400mAh in the battery capacity, it nevertheless still falls a little short in impressing one, when you compare it to the battery life that many other smartphones in a similar price range are offering nowadays.


At the time of its launch, the Google Nexus 5X was priced at Rs.31,990. But just last week, the price dropped to around Rs.25,000. At this price, it now competes with many popular devices such as the OnePlus 2 and the Samsung Galaxy A8, both of which can easily give the Nexus 5 a run for its money. 

The previous generation Nexus smartphones had been criticized for having a below average camera and battery life. But with the Nexus 5X, Google has managed to squash any such apprehensions. In fact, the 5X boasts of one of the best camera performances in the entire Nexus lineup. That said, shutterbugs are going to miss Optical Image Stabilisation. While battery is still average at best, the fast charging feature via USB Type-C port is a welcome change. 

The Nexus Imprint and 4K video recording are additional features that are simply the icing on the cake. The performance of the fluid Android 6.0 Marshmallow is also, quite impressive. There are a few software-level inconsistencies such as the erratic Ambient display or the delayed response time of the fingerprint reader, which can be fixed with an update. While we felt that the build quality has been slightly watered down when compared to the Nexus 5, it’s certainly not inferior. All in all, the Nexus 5X is a powerful and pocketable smartphone that delivers top-notch stock Android experience.

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