First Impressions of the Nexus 6P

I began tech writing back in 1998 and over the course of those 18 years I have reviewed well over 100 different phones, tablets, PCs, Chromebooks and the like.  When it comes to phones, I’m a bit jaded admittedly.  I tend to not get caught up in all the hype of new phones or even phones that are a few months old because, let’s face it, the next new phone is on its way.  That is certainly the case for the Nexus 6P.  The Huawei built Nexus phone has been out since September of last year and you can almost certainly bet that its replacement will be here about that time this year.  But of all the phones I have used over the course of my tech writing, the Nexus 6P may be the most complete package to date.  It is shockingly good on almost every level.  Here are some of my initial thoughts on it as I prep for a larger, detailed review later this month.

The first thing I noticed about the Nexus 6P was the form factor.  It seems obvious so let me explain a little bit.  Until the 6P, my primary phone was the Motorola built Nexus 6.  It is a great phone:

Google Nexus 6P
Google Nexus 6P

solid performance, outstanding camera, good battery life, etc.  But it is huge.  I mean like seriously huge.  It has a 5.9″ display which makes an awesome experience but also makes it a literal handful to hold.  Google, it seems, learned the error of their ways and when they commissioned Huawei to build the 6P, stepped the screen size down to 5.7″.  That small .2″ made all the difference in the world.  It is still a big screen device but the device itself doesn’t feel huge.  It feels comfortable to hold and easy to use with one hand or two.  Couple that with the flat back of the 6P (when compared to the rounded back of the 6) and the all aluminum build and it just feels premium without being obscenely huge.

Speaking of that display, it renders at 1440 x 2560 with a Pixel-Per-Inch ratio of around 518.  That makes the display amazingly brilliant with outstanding colors and easy to look at for an extended period of time.  I was impressed with the Nexus 6’s display.  I’m overwhelmed with the one on the Nexus 6P.

Lucky The Cat Shot With A Nexus 6P
Lucky The Cat Shot With A Nexus 6P

Second, the main camera in the 6P are impressive.  The rear shooter is a 12MP with laser focus and can shoot up to 240 fps slow motion.  I have found it to be great in daylight, indoors and in low light shooting it is outstanding.  Google took a bit of a knock when the 6P was released for not having Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) built into this phone.  Frankly, after using it, I’m not so sure OIS is needed.  It works extremely well in low light, where OIS becomes a bigger issue.  Obviously I’ll be shooting more with the phone over the course of my review time but for now, it is a solid performer.

Finally, there is the fingerprint scanner.  Perhaps it is the old man in me but I’ve been skeptical of fingerprint scanners since they started hitting devices a couple of years ago.  Perhaps it was because those first few models that had them (notably Samsung) didn’t exactly perform well at reading your fingerprint.  So when I unboxed the Nexus 6P and set it up with my fingerprint, I remained skeptical.  For about half a day.  The scanner in the 6P is deadly accurate.  I set it up with two fingers and it can read my fingerprint from almost any angle when I touch it.  It is super fast and I cannot begin to tell you how great it is to pick up an Android phone, touch the scanner in the back, and my phone is unlocked and ready to go.  It is such a simple time saver but oh my is it awesome.  In fact, after just over a day, I don’t know if I could go back to a phone that doesn’t have a scanner.  It’s that good and it is that convenient.

I’ll be using the Nexus 6P as my primary phone over the course of the next several weeks and will have a more detailed review coming up later in June.  For now, I will just say that I’m already very impressed with this phone.