Software and Camera
There are two aspects to the Nexus 6P that are essentially identical to what was seen on the Nexus 5x, so I’m not going to cover them in detail. Instead, if you want to read more about the software and camera of the 6P, I’d suggest heading over to the relevant sections of our Nexus 5X review.
As expected, the Nexus 6P comes loaded with Android 6.0 ‘Marshmallow’ out of the box, bringing with it the stock Android experience. Without any manufacturer skins applied, the software is clean, visually appealing and responsive, and it fits in perfectly with Android’s design guidelines. Combined with a selection of functional stock apps, this is easily the best way to experience Android.
Being a Nexus device, the 6P also has the advantage of receiving new versions of Android well before other devices. When the next major version of Android launches in 2016, it will come to the Nexus 6P and other Google-branded devices first, often several months ahead of competitors. Security patches will also be delivered first to Nexus devices, keeping the 6P as secure as possible in a world with more and more Android exploits discovered every month.
Basically, if you want the best Android software experience now and in the future, you should be getting a Google device like the Nexus 6P.
The rear camera array in the Nexus 6P is identical to what we saw in the Nexus 5X. This means we’re getting a 12.3-megapixel Sony Exmor IMX377 CMOS sensor, which is 1/2.3" in size and comes with 1.55 µm pixels. It’s paired with an f/2.0 lens, a dual LED flash, and infrared laser-assisted autofocus. The camera captures images at a 4:3 aspect ratio with a resolution of 4032 x 3024 natively.
The front camera is an upgrade on the Nexus 5X, as the 6P features an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/2.4 lens. The Nexus 6P is also capable of burst photography and slow motion video at 240 frames per second, both of which the Nexus 5X is not capable of. Like the 5X, though, is a lack of optical image stabilization, which doesn’t have a significant impact for still imagery, but isn’t great when recording 4K video.
The quality of the Nexus 6P’s camera is just as good as the Nexus 5X. Considering the Nexus 5X delivered excellent photos in nearly all lighting conditions, the Nexus 6P comes with a fantastic camera that should suit all buyers. It doesn’t quite have the same level of quality as the OIS-equipped Samsung Galaxy S6, but I was still extremely impressed by how good the 6P’s camera could be.
The Nexus 6P’s camera also comes with many of the 5X’s downsides, most of which relate to the camera software. The app isn’t particularly quick to capture an image, and the HDR+ mode, while excellent in the quality it delivers, takes a long time to process images. There’s also no manual mode or really any other controls within the app, which is a shame considering the hardware this phone is equipped with.