Yesterday Google took the wraps off of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, its big new phones for the year. And while Google showed off a number of the phones’ features yesterday, there are still a lot of questions to be answered. Thankfully, Google’s Nexus team is here to help.
Google’s Nexus team took to Reddit today to partake in an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session, and in the process they revealed lots of interesting tidbits about the new Nexus phones. Here’s what they had to say:
- What do “X” and “P” in Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P mean? “X for the core of the Nexus brand (plus it sounds cool!), P for premium.”
- Why do the phones have camera bumps rather than flat backs with bigger batteries or Qi wireless charging?: “We wanted the design of the phone to be approachable, easy to hold and easy to use. Overall thickness and feel in hand were important factors in our design decisions. With this year’s Nexii, we support USB Type-C which has a reversible connector and it charges incredibly swiftly: 10 minutes of charging gives you up to 4 hrs of battery life on the Nexus 5X and up to 7 hrs on the Nexus 6P. Therefore, we doubled down on USB C rather than wireless charging. Moreover, with Android M features such as Doze, our screen-off battery life has been vastly improved.”
- Why no OIS? “We’ve done a bunch of things to provide image stabilization: 1. The Nexus 6P/5X has a large 1.55um pixel camera and the amount of motion blur due to hand-shake is lower, when you have large pixels. 2. We have a feature we call “lucky shot” internally. When you take a picture, behind the scenes, we select the best of 3 bursts of images. 3. When you use video, we have optic-flow-based image stabilization. 4. When you use SmartBurst, we select the best image from the burst (for example a shot with eyes open).”
- Digital/software video stabilization? “6P has EIS.”
- Do you plan to enhance Nexus 6P video stabilization by tweaking algorithm? "Yup :)"
- Location of NFC antenna? “On 6P the NFC coil sits just above the Nexus Imprint fps is exposed behind the camera coverglass (which is GG4 BTW). On Nexus 5X, the coil is wrapped around the back camera. And we have tested it rigorously for payments experience and it works great! And for peer-to-peer and reader mode too BTW.”
- Same camera module on 5X and 6P? “Yea, same sensor (IMX377) and F/2.0 optics. But 6P has more CPU/GPU horsepower so has a few additional features like 240fps slomo (vs 120fps on 5X), Smartburst, and EIS.”
- T-Mobile band 12 and VoLTE support? “We’re hard at work with T-Mo to get Band 12 on Nexus devices by ship date.”
- USB 3.1? “Nope! Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P supports USB 2.0.”
- Why no Qi wireless charging? “We added Qi wireless charging starting with N4 because plugging in USB micro B was such a hassle! (Which way is up!?) With this year’s Nexii, we support USB Type-C which has a reversible connector so there’s no more guessing. AND it charges incredibly swiftly: 1% to 100% in 97 mins on the 6P for example (the first ~45 mins of charging is especially fast). Meanwhile, wireless charging adds z (thickness). So, ease of plugging in + fast charging + optimizing for thinness made us double down on Type-C instead of wireless!”
- Support for hardware-based encryption? “Encryption is software accelerated. Specifically the ARMv8 as part of 64-bit support has a number of instructions that provides better performance than the AES hardware options on the SoC.”
- Google just announced its own tablet with the Pixel C. Can we expect a Google-branded phone, too? “I can’t even figure out what I’m doing this weekend, can’t think that far ahead. :-) We’re really excited about the new Pixel and can’t wait to see what developers create for it and the Android ecosystem responds to it. And we’re super excited to have worked with LG and Huawei on the 5X and 6P, and other partners in the past starting with HTC with the N1 — that’s the Nexus way!”
- What kind of security does Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor utilize? “Fingerprint features are securely encrypted on the device, and processed in the secure Trustzone protected area of memory. The Android 6.0 fingerprint APIs do not provide any access to the fingerprint material to apps. Fingerprint features never leave the device and are not shared with Google (so for example if you setup a new phone, you need to re-enroll your fingers). If your phone is ever lost or stolen you can easily find, lock, and erase your phone using Android Device Manager.”
- Why 16GB base for Nexus 5X? “The idea here was to strike a balance between premium features/experiences and affordability.”
- Why 2GB RAM in Nexus 5X rather than 3GB? “We like to think we’re striking a strong balance between premium features/experiences and affordability.”
- Is Nexus 6P internal storage UFS 2.0? “Both 6P and 5X use eMMC 5.0.”
There you have it. While Google spilled most of the specs of the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P yesterday, there are some more hardcore details that Google didn’t spell out in their spec list, which is what things like this Reddit AMA are for. There are also questions that folks have about the omission of features or why Google chose the features that they did, and it’s great to see members of Google’s Nexus team take time out of their schedules to fill us in.
Have any of you pre-ordered a Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P? If so, which one did you get?