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The Nexus 5X: this is not the Nexus we wanted

We love our Nexus phones here at AndroidPIT, so the anticipation of the latest model had us all tingly. But when the Nexus 5X was formally launched, we were a little disappointed, and not just because we loved the Nexus 5 so much. Here’s why the Nexus 5X simply isn’t the one we'd been waiting for.

1. It’s too edgy

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5 1
Despite very similar screen sizes, the 5X (right) is much bigger than the 5 (left). / © ANDROIDPIT

We don’t mean that in the sense of cool, edgy design. We mean the edges of the Nexus 5X are enormous, and the display is surrounded by big black areas. Had the Nexus been made by, say, Asus, then we’d shrug and accept it. But LG? LG, the firm whose designs have long offered the best ratio of screen to phone size in the Android world? We’re wondering if LG’s usual design team took the day off and gave the Nexus job to the intern.

Look at the image above, with the 2013 Nexus on the left and the 5X on the right. The screen size hasn’t changed a great deal, but the newer Nexus is much bigger, and with that, it’s less comfortable to use, and more awkward to stick in a pocket.

2. Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

We all love the Nexus 5, and Google no doubt told LG to try to keep the family resemblance. But the result, to our eyes, doesn’t really work. Compared with the Galaxy S6, the Nexus 5X looks cheap and plasticky, the camera bump particularly obvious. Turn it around and – aaagh! Huge forehead! Big chin! 

gs6 nexus 5x comparacao
We're not sure the 5X looks as good as rival devices. / © Samsung; Google; ANDROIDPIT

3. The storage options are silly

There’s no 128 GB version for the time being, just a 16 GB and a 32 GB version. A flagship phone with 16 GB of storage and no microSD slot? What year is this? It seems as though Google is taking a leaf out of Apple’s book here, by offering a device with measly storage on the assumption that people will go: “16 GB? That’s hopeless! I’ll buy the more expensive version!” Had the phone offered microSD support, 16 GB would have been fine, but you can’t look at the Nexus 5X's super giant enormo case and think, 'Hmm, there's no way they could have made room for a microSD slot in there.'

Nexus 5X 3
We think Google/LG could have found room for a microSD card slot if they'd wanted to. / © ANDROIDPIT

4. It isn’t really that much better than the Nexus 5

The Nexus 5X has the same screen resolution, RAM and internal storage its precessor. The battery is a bit bigger (although so is the screen, so that may cancel out the benefits of the slightly bigger battery), but the only really important changes are the better camera – which has 12.3 MP but no optical stabilization – and the fingerprint scanner.

nexus 5x hero 2
Our review says the Nexus 5X is "unobtrusive". Damning with faint praise? / © Google

In our hands on review, Stephan Serowy wrote that the Nexus 5X is “an unobtrusive handset with no serious disappointments.” There’s one for the posters: “unobtrusive” – It’s essentially a Nexus 5 whose biggest flaws, the camera and battery, have been fixed, and it brings nothing else new or interesting to the party. When you look at the calibre of rival devices – not just the Samsungs but the OnePlus 2, the Honor 7, and so on – the Nexus 5X, supposedly the flagship phone, the ultimate Android device, is something of a disappointment.

What do you think? Have we donned our Hater Hat unfairly? Did the Nexus 5X live up to your expectations? Let us know in the comments below.


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  • I wanted a Nexus 4X. Why do they make such large phones if everyone complains that they're too big?? Now that they've quit supporting my Nexus 4, I don't know what to replace it with because I don't want a bigger phone. :(

  • Why do people care so much about ois on a smartphone?? The camera module is too small to make any neglible difference and time and time again it is shown that the software stabilization does a lot of the work. This isn't a DSLR people. Sony phones prove you don't need ois to produce great pictures and videos.

  • larry Oct 8, 2015 Link to comment

    No image stabilization and wireless charging? Then forget it, no N5x for me.

    • Sony has proven that ois is not necessarily needed on a phone. The camera module is so tiny as to not offer much of a benefit when compared to say a DSLR.

  • "There’s no 128 GB version for the time being, just a 16 GB and a 32 GB version. A flagship phone with 16 GB of storage and no microSD slot? What year is this? It seems as though Google is taking a leaf out of Apple’s book here"

    Haven't you noticed that Google has been turning Android into a cheap iOS knock-off since 4.4.4?

    I got Android devices because iOS was not for me, but since there is little to no difference now, my next phone will be a Windows Phone. Maybe I'll return when Google stop trying to be Apple...

    • Even if Google is making Android very similar to iOS, Android is still superior to iOS. Android still retains what has made it great in the first place. Openness and the ability to customise your phone. Everybody is copying everybody now except Microsoft who are on the way back after Tuesday's event. All they need is developer support and Windows 10 could be a legitimate threat to Android.

  • Arthur Oct 6, 2015 Link to comment

    You nailed it. I know this makes no sense, but it almost seems it exists to make you realize that you might as well get the 6p instead. If you can stand the size of the 6p, it makes absolutely zero sense to buy the 5x. And if you want a compact phone, like you pointed out, the 5x isn't all that compact either. What a total disaster imho.

  • I think you're completely missing the point of the Nexus 5x. It's not supposed to be a flagship phone; that title belongs to the 6P. It's supposed to be the best mid range phone that can run Android (approximately) just as well as a flagship. The fact that the 5x is running stock marshmallow means that even though it might not have bleeding edge specs, it will still run Android flawlessly, in both a way and a speed that appears nearly identical to any other Android device. When it comes to better and better specs in phones there's a law of diminishing returns, and this phone is for the people that recognize this, and that are willing to sacrifice that extra fraction of a second of speed when loading pages in order to pay nearly half of what most phones cost. This can be seen in the fact that long after its launch, the original Nexus 5 is still one of the most popular smartphones because it ran (and still runs) Android just as well as most top tier phones, the screen was (and still is) great, the battery would (and still will) get you through a whole day of use, and it was (and is) insanely cheap.

    Also, although the 16gb option is super small, and I personally could never get by with it, there is still a market for it. Some people have more of their info in the cloud and don't keep tons of unneeded apps on their phones. Because of this they don't need the extra storage. My girlfriend has the 16gb original Nexus 5 and it works perfectly for her needs.

    tldr: The Nexus 5x isn't a flagship, it's a great midrange phone that will run Android perfectly at half the cost of most phones with bleeding edge specs, while performing identically on nearly every occasion.

    • "I think you're completely missing the point of the Nexus 5x. It's not supposed to be a flagship phone; "


      "this is not the Nexus we wanted"

    • Luke, very well articulated. Yours is the most informative, intelligent comment I've read. Mostly, I see "cry babies" who want tons of features but don't want to pay for them. I have enjoyed (still do) NEXUS 5 for about 23 months now. As soon as Google store start shipping, I will order the NEXUS 6P with the 64 g of memory (Not that I need it but so be it. My N5 has 16g and still have 12.5 g of memory available. I do have my photos backed in the cloud though). Your take on Nexus 5 is exactly what it is.

      • Hmm, doesn't the argument: "It is what it is so don't scrutinise it" preclude everything from scrutiny?

  • Sorry but I'd Choose the Nexus 6P over the Nexus 5X. I own a Nexus 6 and could never go back to 5 inches now. It just seems too small. Plus 16GB in 2015? Come on Google don't be Apple.

  • The 5x is not your flagship. The 6P is.
    Google 'upsell' and you'll understand

  • The S6 is close to twice the cost so it damn well should look better. 5x is perfect price v internals. 2gb ram is more than enough for a Marshmallow phone. It's the best midrange phone out there, everything else is apples and oranges.

    • "The S6 is close to twice the cost" no it isn't

    • Just compare the Nexus6P, a power house, to iPone 6+ and you will see the advantages. With the N6P you are getting more, including the updates for $400.00 less plus saving on sales tax of about $28.00 herfe in Florida. Yet, you will enjoy the most advanced, "garbage" free Flagship.

    • In europe the price of S6 is less than 5x!

  • I agree . nothing great .nexus 5 still going great.

  • I for one was really looking forward to the nexus 5x so lg did such a good job on the g4 but storage sizes, and no ois on the camera and a ok processor made it a none starter for me, end up going for the 6p ok still no ois but it looks the part and ticks all the boxes

  • But Google doesn't want to fully compete with major OEMs, this is why the Nexus line is boring in terms of hardware but the appeal of the handset lies on the latest running software.

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