Google's New Nexus Phones: What You Need To Know

Yesterday, Google announced two new Nexus smartphones, and introduced Android 6.0 Marshmallow, as well a bunch of other new gear. Here’s what you need to know.

As well as new Nexus phones and Marshmallow, Google also announced a new flagship tablet in the 10-inch Pixel C, new Chromecast and Chromecast Audio dongles, and a peek at a 4G-enabled Android Wear watch from LG, the W3. We’ll detail all those in separate posts.

Google Nexus 5X

Running a 1.8GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, with 2GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of onboard storage — but no microSD slot — the Nexus 5X is somewhat similar to the LG G4 in its internal hardware; both are built by LG. Unlike the G4, the Nexus 5X has a 5.2-inch display with 1920×1080 pixels. Under the hood you’ll get a moderately large 2700mAh battery.

The Nexus 5X is one of the first phones to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow, the latest significant overhaul to Google’s smartphone operating system. The big changes are integrated fingerprint scanning support, Now On Tap — news and contextual information on whatever you’re currently viewing when you press the home button — and a raft of performance updates including per-app permissions setting. If you can’t wait for a 5X or 6P, Marshmallow is rolling out to other, older Nexus devices next week and other Android phones and tablets in the weeks to come.

The word from Google is that the Nexus 5X has an impressive new camera, a big departure from previous models’ mediocre sensors. It’s a 12.3-megapixel setup with a f/2.0 rear lens aperture, but it’s the size of those pixels that makes the difference — at 1.55um they’re bigger than competitors and that helps to snap photos in low light conditions. There’s no optical image stabilisation, though, and that may hinder the phone overall. The 5X also has a 5MP f/2.2 front camera.

Google Nexus 6P

If a 5.2-inch phone is too small for you, then you’ll want the Galaxy Note-esque 5.7-inch 2560x1440pixel Nexus 6P, built by Huawei in concert with Google. Running a 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 810 v2.1 with 3GB of RAM and 32/64/128GB of storage, it’s the true flagship of the two phones announced today in terms of outright power. Its 3450mAh battery is comparatively massive, and that means you’ll get a full day of heavy usage out of a Nexus phone for the first time ever.

Like the Nexus 5X, the 6P is running the latest and greatest version of Google’s Android operating system, Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It also gets that new, larger-1.55um-pixel 12-megapixel f/2.0 camera which should take better low-light and daylight photos and video. The 6P’s front camera is an 8-megapixel f/2.4 one. New cases for both smartphone variants, too, are on the Google Play Store and are marked as coming soon. DXOMark says the Nexus 6 is the second best mobile camera it has ever tested.

Both phones will also charge faster than previous Nexus models and the majority of other non-fast-charging smartphones on the market, with USB-C ports on the bottom of each handset. USB-C is a more robust data and power standard, and the chargers included with both the Nexus 5X and 6P are 5V/3A ones — delivering 15 Watts of juice, 50 per cent more than a regular 5V/2A adapter. It’s also set to be a widely shared standard, especially if you already have a new Apple MacBook.

Australian Release Dates And Prices

The 5.2-inch Google Nexus 5X has a price tag pegged at $US379 — that’s $542 Australian dollars at current exchange rates. The larger 5.7-inch Nexus 6P is $US499 — that’s $714 in Australia. No official local prices have been released. If those Australian prices seem higher than you’d expect, you can blame Australia’s mediocre exchange rate with the US — but keep in mind the two phones are competing with Samsung, LG and Sony Android handsets that are hundreds of dollars more expensive at RRP.

Here’s the problem — at the moment, you can’t pre-order either the Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X from Google’s official online Play Store in Australia. The first devices will be released only in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland and Japan. We’ve been told that Australian prices and release dates are on the way “in the weeks to come.” When those prices do come, expect them to be similar to the unofficial exchange rates you can see above.

What you can do is join a waitlist to be notified when the new phones are available, for either or both of the Nexus 5X or the Nexus 6P. Both are marked as coming soon, although previous Nexus releases have been more than a little chaotic in the past. Can’t wait to buy a Nexus in Australia? You can still buy the existing 6-inch Nexus 6, Google’s previous flagship smartphone release, from $669.

Update: local pricing is available in the Aussie version of the Google Play Store. You’ll be able to buy a Nexus 5X from $659 and a Nexus 6P from $899. Ouch.

Have you subscribed to Gizmodo Australia's email newsletter? You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Trending Stories Right Now