Google unveiled its new Nexus 5X, the cheaper of two new flagships of its Nexus line, at a press conference in San Francisco Tuesday. Built by LG, the new phone packs a punch, and in the time since 2013's Nexus 5 release, a whole lot has changed. But if you're a budget-conscious consumer, you may be tempted to stick with your current Nexus 5. Is it really worth upgrading?
The Nexus 5 earned a reputation as having a poor camera. That idea should be a thing of the past now. The 5X comes with a 12.3-megapixel shooter, up from the 8 megapixels on the older Nexus. Selfie lovers are also better-served: While the old Nexus had a measly 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, the new Nexus ups this to a respectable 5 megapixels. Autofocusing is also better now, thanks to a new laser-based system.
The older Nexus came with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, which was no slouch by any means, but the Snapdragon 808 powering the new Nexus is a considerable jump over its predecessor. And while the old Nexus came with only 2 gigabytes of RAM, the new Nexus adds an extra gigabyte, making it smoother in multitasking and capable of running more tasks at once.
The older Nexus got some tough reviews when it came to battery life. The 5X is not exactly best-in-class, but it comes with an overall larger battery, weighing in at 2,700mAh, compared with 2,300mAh. The phone also comes standard with Android Marshmallow, which, thanks to the new Doze power-saving tools, should push the battery even further than before.
The original Nexus featured a simple, sleek design that didn't exactly set the world on fire. But maybe that's OK. In the Nexus 5X, shoppers will find a continuation of this back-to-basics approach. Available in three colors, the Nexus doesn't rock the boat too hard, but one cosmetic difference that some may find irksome is a new camera bulge on the back. The new entry makes up for it with an overall slimmer 7.9-millimeter body, down from 8.6mm. On the back, the phone now comes with a fingerprint scanner that Google is calling Nexus Imprint, which will allow consumers to buy products in-store using Android Pay.
The Nexus 5X is a clear improvement over the Nexus 5. It's still not exactly a flagship killer like the OnePlus 2 or the Galaxy S6, but the Nexus line has never been about providing the best. Instead, it's aimed at offering the cleanest implementation of Android in an unassuming, agreeable package. To that extent, the 5X improves on the 5 considerably. With greatly improved internals, a new fingerprint scanner and a camera that addresses one of the original Nexus' biggest stumbles, this looks to be a worthy upgrade.