Google Nexus 5X Review: A Model Of Efficiency

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Camera and Battery Life

Google, LG, and pretty much everyone else in the smartphone game has now realized that camera performance is paramount for most buyers. It's the one feature that nearly every smartphone user taps into consistently, and shoddy image quality is a surefire way to disappoint a customer. Hence, the revamped 12.3MP rear camera on the Nexus 5X. It utilizes a 1.55 micron sensor to capture more light than prior cameras, and the f/2.0 aperture setting allows for better shots in low-light situations. There's IR laser-assisted autofocus, 4K (30fps) video capture, a broad-spectrum CRI-90 dual flash, and slo-motion video capture at 120fps also avaialble.

nexus 5x 2398

The front camera isn't half bad, either. It's a 5MP unit with an f/2.0 aperture, which performed solidly in video chats. Of course, most users will utilize this for selfies, but that's a shame. The rear camera is so superior that we'd recommend mastering the art of the arm wrap-around and grabbing selfies that way. (It's worth it for the boost in quality.)

nexus 5x screenshot camera

Below you'll find a gallery of unedited shots captured by the Nexus 5X.

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Click any to enlarge

The results are great, particularly for the price point. In fact, the sensor here matches that found on the pricier (and larger) Nexus 6P. Continuous shooting is easy to pull off, and autofocusing happens quickly when you've a decent amount of light outside. Things get a bit less crisp when you head inside; the old fashioned typewriter above was captured in a dimly lit room, and it took nearly 3x as long to focus and introduced quite a bit more noise. That's par for the course with inside photos, though.

Overall, the sharpness and color accuracy is above average when compared to other Android phones, and the inbuilt HDR mode worked well when capturing the forest and sky in the same shot (poor cameras tend to wash the sky out in order to properly expose the trees).
As has become the norm, the battery within the Nexus 5X isn't user-serviceable or removable/swappable. It's a 2,700mAh cell that Google claims will last up to 20 hours (talk). On Wi-Fi, it's rated to last up to 9 hours, while LTE usage knocks that down another hour. The upside, of course, is that the bundled USB Type-C wall charger can inject four hours of usage with just 10 minutes of charging. There's no option for wireless charging on the Nexus 5X.

antutu battery nexus 5x 6p

hh browser battery test nexus 5x 6p

In our usage, we found these estimates to be a bit on the high side, but battery life overall should be satisfactory for most. You can easily get through a full workday without a charge, but you'll want to top it up each evening. Outside of the Droid Maxx family or Windows Phones, it's tough to find a phone that'll power through two full days, though we've never been ones to gripe about the need for an overnight charge.

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