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Why the Nexus 5X will be better than you think

I’ve read many negative things about the Nexus 5X recently. Complaints that it is only a "cosmetic" upgrade to the Nexus 5 and that it fails to provide any unique selling point. It seems clear that people were expecting more from the latest LG-made Nexus phone. But I want to ask why – and, more importantly – discuss why the Nexus 5X will be better than you think. 

androidpit nexus 5 reasoning
I'm just saying, maybe the Nexus 5X will be much better than the Nexus 5 (above). / © ANDROIDPIT

One of my AndroidPIT colleagues recently discussed the failings of the handset in his article, Nexus 5X: this is not the Nexus we wanted. I recommend reading that article first, because my arguments are largely a response to his initial concerns. 

I do sympathize with anyone who's disappointed with the 5X. When I find a smartphone, or any tech that I love, it’s a bitter pill to swallow when the sequel is disappointing. But it’s not as though the LG Nexus 5X is full of undelivered promises. The original Nexus 5 had some big problems and, well, the Nexus 5X appears to have addressed them.

Where has the Nexus 5X really failed?

While I don't disagree with the problems raised in the aforementioned article – the Nexus 5X's poor storage options, its large bezels, and disappointing design – I disagree with the weight placed on these as negatives. 

Yes, the 16 GB storage option without SD Card expansion is a crime, but there's a 32 GB option too, which is not unreasonable for the price of the device (and I can't recall hearing many complaints about this on the original Nexus 5). 

androidpit nexus 5 sitting
The Nexus 5 is great, but it wasn't perfect. / © ANDROIDPIT

The same can be said of the design. It's not amazing – that rear camera hump is particularly egregious – but it doesn't strike me as a deal-breaker. 

I have to question whether the Nexus 5X is really crying out for a much better design, or more storage options, or smaller bezels. You can't expect something like the Galaxy Note 5 for a sub-US$400 price.

What kind of Nexus 5X did you want?

Say what you will about the design, or bezels, or lack of storage: I disagree that the Nexus 5X isn't a significant upgrade to its predecessor. It’s a faster stock Android phone, with a better camera and battery life, for almost the same price: if that isn’t what you wanted from a better Nexus 5, then what did you want?

I understand that times have changed and there are a number of excellent Android phones being sold for less than US$400 now, such as the OnePlus 2, Honor 7 and Asus ZenFone II. The Nexus 5 had less significant competitors in this sphere, and I think this is part of the reason why the Nexus 5X doesn't seem as impressive as its predecessor.

The Nexus 5X is still competing in this sphere though, at least on paper, with good specs at the price and the stock Android experience. 

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P 6
If the Nexus 5X doesn't do it for you, maybe the Nexus 6P will? / © ANDROIDPIT

Why it’s too early to discount the Nexus 5X

Let us not forget that the Nexus 5X hasn't actually started shipping yet, so many people have already written it off without any experience of how it actually feels to use – something that's vitally important for judging on how good it is.  

Let's also not forget that the Nexus devices are built to be fully optimized for the Android software they launched with. The degree to which the Nexus 5X works with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, is completely different to how competing devices running TouchWiz, Xperia UI, OxygenOS will work with it.

The other Android manufacturers can only scramble to follow Google's software lead: it's the reason that the Nexus 5 ran better on Lollipop than many newer devices, and that won't have changed between the Nexus 5 and Nexus 5X.

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 5 2
The Nexus 5 (left) and the Nexus 5X. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are the Marshmallow phones, and will be in the best position to take advantage of Marshmallow's optimized processes and new features such as Doze and Android Pay. They will always be first to receive updates too.

The Nexus 5 was very accomplished in a few key areas, especially for the price, and if it proved anything, it proved that phones are more than just their specs sheets. Our full review of the Nexus 5X is coming soon, after which we'll be able to make a final call on how successful a phone is. However, I don't doubt that it will, like its predecessor, prove to be more than just the sum of its parts. 

Until then, which camp do you lie in? Are you a Nexus 5X believer or not? Let us know in the comments below.


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  • pauladev Oct 20, 2015 Link to comment

    Aside from the unfair disparity in pricing outside US, there are too many other phones with more of the features that I need. I want extra storage by micro SD: replaceable bigger battery: dual sim: At least 3 GB RAM. Apart from the Chinese grey imports (Elephone p8000 et al) the only one that comes close is the LG4 818 model, which seems hard to procure in Europe .
    I loved my Nexus 4 and 5. Skipped the 6, and really hoped Google would give me what I wanted in this year's models. But alas. LG4 it is, and I am heartened y the rumour it will be the first to get MarshmallowMarshmallow.

  • Chavanel Oct 19, 2015 Link to comment

    Nah, not better.
    It would be better, however, if it were 32GB/64GB and 3GB RAM at the same price point.

    16GB is a 2013 joke!

  • This is the ugliest phone I've seen in a loooong time.

  • Lehustle Oct 17, 2015 Link to comment

    "For almost the same price" Wish we Europeans could say the same thing...this is the reason why I'm actually complaining. The EU pricing is just ridiculous.

  • No wireless charging. That IS a killer.

  • Picked up my 32GB Ice from a large place in Gateshead, UK that sells phones for cars... After 12 hours with it welded to my hands, I'd say with confidence that IT IS the Nexus 5 we wanted for this year.

  • I have a 5. It has been a great device except for battery life and camera. Pure android after being with Apple and then 3 months on a Galaxy phone and THIS is the best match for me. The memory is a minor issue as I run about 25 apps and only store podcasts. The camera and battery have to work well and wont know til it arrives. The nice part, Google offers 15 days to send it back for full refund and shipping on them.

    What everyone is hung up on (tech specs) may be less of an issue when running a pure phone versus a bloat phone. Will see when this device enters the wild. 5 inch phone works for my hand size and pretty much has eliminated mybtablet use.

  • anihilist Oct 16, 2015 Link to comment

    I believe in a thing called love.

  • Kris Giri Oct 16, 2015 Link to comment

    I just picked up the nexus 6 as its dropped in price to 300. Upgraded from n5 and absolutely love this thing. Sure the thing is big but it takes about a day to get used to. For the price its hard to beat. In a year I may consider the 6p when the price drops.

  • I patiently awaited this phone for months. For the USD price its a great phone. But I'm in Canada and they want $499 CDN for this device. Sad to say that after owning nexus devices since the S, I have moved over to Samsung GS6. I just couldn't justify spending almost $500 for a subpar phone

  • Scott,

    Don't know if you will ready this or not, but am wondering, though you haven't posted yet, do you have any reactions to camera quality, speed, etc. yet that you can share or are you under NDA for that feature?

    For me, marshmallow is running GREAT on Nexus 5 and my device is in MINT condition, so that is the only REAL feature that I am considering the update for and if the camera is not excellent, it is not really an "upgrade" for this end user. Can you share more or will you have an update prior to their shipping? TY

    • Jim V Oct 15, 2015 Link to comment

      I'm running Marshmallow on my Nexus 5 as well. My only complaint is the battery life is AWFUL. When I first got the phone(bought on day 1) running Kit Kat the battery life wasn't too bad considering the pathetically tiny 2,300mAh battery. However, when I updated to Lollipop battery life took a huge hit. It also introduced a bug that caused my phone to never fully sleep when connected to my work wifi and the bug hasn't been fixed with Marshmallow. With Doze Google has once again totally failed to deliver on its promises of improving battery life. Battery life is just as AWFUL on Marshmallow as it was on Lollipop even without talking into account the wifi battery drain bug.

  • Why does anyone care if the bezel is marginally bigger?

    • Jim V Oct 15, 2015 Link to comment

      Because some of us like a phone that we can easily use with one hand and fit comfortably in our pockets. With screen becoming larger and larger meeting those size requirements require smaller bezels. The original Nexus 5 was already to big to easily use with one hand(unless you have huge hands) or fit comfortably in a pocket(unless you have huge pockets) and the Nexus 5X adds over 1/3 of an inch to how tall the phone is. It might not seem like much but when the Nexus 5 was already not one handed or pocket friendly any increase just makes the problem worse.

      • This is exactly why I never bought a Nexus 5. I'm still using a Nexus 4, which I told myself when I bought it that it would be the biggest phone I'd ever want. I had no idea that they would only make bigger and bigger ones. Now that the Nexus 4 is no longer supported, I'm trying to decide if I can get used to a monster phone. I wish they would put out a Nexus 4X!

  • If Google had only offered the 5x i would be disappointed but there are 2 nexus phones to choose from
    The 6p compensates for the nexus 5x where is failed. Stop complaining

    • Jim V Oct 15, 2015 Link to comment

      Except that the Nexus 6P is ENORMOUS. I really wish the Nexus 5X had the battery of the Nexus 6P and much smaller bezels. That would make the decision very easy.

  • It ain't worth the price bro! Better off buying a Moto X Pure/Style for a bit more $. Better screen, SD card slot, dual speakers and customisability make it a better choice. Not necessarily a better battery and may not have a finger print sensor, but a near high end phone for the money. And the price is what made the nexus attractive back in the day. Now you have Motorola and Oneplus offering better products at comparable prices. That's where the 5X fails for me in my opinion.

    • Jim V Oct 15, 2015 Link to comment

      Not necessarily a better battery?

      I think you mean absolutely not a better battery. A 2,700mAh battery powering a 5.2" 1080p IPS LCD on the Nexus 5X or a 3,000mAh battery powering a 5.7" QHD IPS LCD on the Moto X Pure? The 2,700mAh battery is small for sure but still much better than phone with only an 11% bigger battery with a screen that uses WAY more power.

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