Google announces the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, shipping in October

Google says the 6P has the best camera to ever grace a Nexus smartphone, specifically touting low-light performance.

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Google officially showed off the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X at its event in San Francisco Tuesday.

As was rumored, the Nexus 6P, built by Huawei, features a 5.7-inch AMOLED screen an all-metal body design, and of course runs Android Marshmallow. 

Google Vice President of Engineering Dave Burke spent a considerable amount of time showing off the 6P’s camera capabilities, praising the device for having, “the best camera we’ve ever put in a Nexus phone.” 

In terms of specs, it has a 5.7-inch quad-HD display, an eight-core 1.9GHz Snapdragon 810 processor, 3GB of RAM, a 3450mAh battery, 12MP rear camera with laser auto focus, an 8MP front camera, and 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of storage. It comes in three colors: aluminum, graphite, or frost.

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Burke spent a lot of time on stage demonstrating the camera prowess, showing off several comparisons to the iPhone 6s and the Nexus 6, touting superior low-light performance.

nexus camera specs

The other new Google flagship is the Nexus 5X, built by LG. This device includes a 5.2-inch 1080p (423ppi) IPS LCD display, a six-core 1.8GHz Snapdragon 808 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 2,700 mAh battery, 12.3MP rear camera with laser autofocus, a 5MP front camera, and 16GB or 32GB of storage.

 The plastic body comes in three color choices: carbon, quartz, or ice.

Both devices will run Android Marshmallow, the latest version of Android due for release next week. They also include a fingerprint scanner on the back, which can be used to unlock the device and to authenticate purchases with Android Pay or in the Google Play store. With Android Marshmallow, developers can tap into an API to add fingerprint support to their own apps. And they can be charged with a USB Type-C port. The devices support fast charging, which Google says can get you seven hours of battery life with only ten minutes of charge time.

As stock Android devices, they are designed to show off all the new, shiny features of Android Marshmallow. For example, Google Now is always listening, so you can issue one of the many voice commands to your device when it’s locked. 

Google also spent more time showing off its Now On Tap feature of Marshmallow. With this, you can hold the home button and get suggestions of apps or related content from Google Now about what you’re doing on the device. For example, if you’re having a Hangouts conversation about a nearby Italian restaurant, Now On Tap may offer the address.

The Doze feature is aimed at improving battery life, which is often a struggle with smartphones. Doze puts your device into a lower power state when it’s locked. Seldom-used apps also go into a standby state in order to suck up less battery when they haven't been used in a long while. Google didn't give specific time savings, but argued that these overall changes could bring about a longer-lasting device. It says Android Marshmallow provides 30% longer screen-off time on the existing Nexus 5 and Nexus 6, which is a big bump from a software-only update.

Google also talked about a Android Sensor Hub, which is a separate, low-power coprocessor. It appears to be an answer to Apple's M series of coprocessors, as it can detect motion and active display like found on the Moto X series. This isn't entirely new to Android phones, but it will be exploited fully by these new Nexus devices.

The Nexus 5X starts at $379, and the 6P begins at $499. The devices are available now for preorder from the Google Store in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, and Japan. They will ship in October and include $50 in Google Play credit, plus a 90-day subscription to Google Play Music (for new subscribers). They work with any major U.S. carrier, and are also available to use with Google’s Project Fi wireless service.

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Google also announced its Nexus Protect plan, which provides two years of protection from damage, with 24/7 claims filing. The cost is $69 for the Nexus 5P and $89 for the 6X. Think of it as AppleCare for your Nexus phone.

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