On Wednesday morning some of Google’s best and brightest held a Reddit AMA to discuss the search giant’s brand new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P in greater detail. Announced yesterday, Google’s new phones are designed to usher in the Android 6.0 era—but they’re not just meant to be examples of what an Android phone should be. Google has made a pair of desirable smartphones, devices that you buy in favor of a Note 5 and LG G4.
While we already know everything there is to know about each device, it’s nice to hear the thought process that went into designing each phone. Remember, no phone is perfect, so there’s always going to be a compromise along the way. The Nexus 5X, for example, is stuck with 16GB and 2GB of RAM to make the phone as affordable as possible at its initial price. Both phones also come with the exact same cameras—no iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus disparity.
We’ve dug through the AMA for all the juiciest answers, including why there’s no wireless charging. Would you believe Google if the company told you it believes fast charging is enough? There are many more questions and answers like that in the list below. Oh, and in case you were wondering (I was), both phones will feature an Ambient Display mode, which we saw with the Nexus 6.
Nexus 6P screen: “It has a Samsung WQHD AMOLED panel. We have spent a lot of time tuning the white-point and color gamut for these panels—hope you will enjoy the accuracy of the display. Google didn’t say what generation the panel is, so keep that in mind.”
Best feature: Nexus Imprint, USB-C, improved cameras.
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!”
Naming: “X” in Nexus 5X “for the core of the Nexus brand,” while “P” in Nexus 6P is for “premium.”
Band 12: “We’re hard at work with T-Mo to get Band 12 on Nexus devices by ship date.”
Huawei and LG: “5X: We wanted to bring the LG-Google band back together. So many N5 fans, we couldn’t possibly disappoint! 6P: Always nice to work with new players — we have a history of working with a bunch of folks: HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Asus and now Huawei!”
Cameras: “Both devices have the same camera – a 12.3MP camera, with a large 1.55um pixels, which works great in all conditions – especially low light. And both have LDAF for fast auto-focus.”
NFC location: “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.”
Fingerprint security: “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).”
Camera humps: “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.”
USB 3.1: “Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P supports USB 2.0”
Lack of optical image stabilization: “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).”