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BW Businessworld

Android At Its Best

The Google-Huawei Nexus 6P smartphone is a marvel of speed and makes the new Marshmallow come into its own

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Of all the smart-phones I’ve been reviewing, I’ve found the Nexus 6P to be one of the most enjoyable to use. There was a time when I would have found ‘raw Android’ boring, missing fancy features put in by phone companies. But the interfaces that companies clamp on top of Android slow the phone down and after the novelty wears off, are just in the way of everyday tasks.

The Nexus 6P has no ‘skinning’ on top of Android and no army of unsolicited apps. On top of that, it has a powerful processor and enough RAM. That makes it work ever so cleanly and smoothly. Try browsing, switching from one big app to the other, try swishing around opening and closing things on home screens — it all happens at supersonic speed. I soon began to get a kick out of uninstalling apps because they went away so fast I couldn’t even get to see a progress bar. The otherwise troublesome Snapdragon 810 processor causes no heating on this device. In benchmarks, it’s just below its own cousin, the Huawei Mate 8 and above all the other flagships.

In considering the Nexus 6P, I believe people should consider the experience well before the looks of the device. This phone, from the front, looks just about like any other large Android phone. But from the back, it’s... interesting. A black transparent strip spans the breadth of the top of the phone. Under it is the camera. This strip has been nicknamed ‘the visor’ and gives the phone a most unusual appearance. I don’t mind it in the least. Right under that, is the fingerprint sensor or ‘Nexus Imprint’, which takes no time to set up and which works really well. The back panel is all metal and looks pretty good in all its understated matte colours and adds to the premium feel of this phone. P does, after all, stand for Premium, setting it apart from the Nexus 5X which is the one meant for the masses.

The Nexus 6P is 5.7 inches of phone and ideal for those who want to get a lot done because they have both the power and the space. I might add, they also have the battery power to keep going for the day. The 3,540mAh battery gets fast-charged and is really a stable performer.

As far as ergonomics go, it isn’t exactly a light gadget, but less than this would have been too slippery. A case will be advisable but will add some weight to the phone, probably. It’s narrow enough to use one-handed for those who have big hands. The 1440x2560 display is real sharp, with colours that have not gone wild, and as much brightness you need. Its toning is not on the warm side, but you can correct that with a blue light filter app if you like. That does take away the fun though.

With this device, you get the newest version of Android and it’s the first device that will get upgrades when they come. Android Marshmallow brings many new features, including Google Now on Tap which means you can press the Home key to get cards on what happens to be on your screen at the time. This is a feature that will grow in time.

The Nexus 6P has a good set of cameras. The primary camera is a 12.3MP and while you may want higher res, it’s also true that it works very well for casual photos, keeping the noise down in photos shot indoors and doing a nice clear job of photos in daylight.

Some odds and ends: this phone uses a USB C type of connector, so please don’t lose your charger and cable. It takes a single Nano SIM. It is, of course, 4G compatible. While the Nexus phones have, from the beginning, been geek domain, I really think others should consider it.

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 08-02-2016)