In early November I wrote of my expectations for the Nexus 6P as I was anticipating its arrival. Now, a little over a month later, it’s time for me to report on whether the Nexus 6P met my expectations. I am happy to report that the Nexus 6P exceeds my expectations.
Doze But Don’t Sleep
Battery life was the primary reason for replacing the first generation Moto X, which had been my daily driver, with a new phone. At Google I/O we learned about Doze, a new power management feature in Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), but frankly, Google had announced power management features before that did not result in significant power savings.
I was skeptical about whether Doze would meet Google’s claims, and my skepticism caused me to choose the Nexus 6P and its 3450 mAh battery over the Nexus 5X and its 2700 mAh battery even though I preferred the 5X’s smaller size.
While the larger battery in the 6P is obviously going to result in longer battery life, I’ve been so impressed by Doze that I wonder whether I could have gotten by with the smaller phone. Doze, combined with USB-C quick charging, has eliminated the battery life anxiety that I’ve been living with ever since I began using Android smartphones.
With the Moto X I religiously plugged the phone in every night so that it would fully charge while I slept and be read for me to go the next morning. Starting the day at a full charge kept me comfortable with the Moto X until dinner, by which I may have 30% battery life left. To get through the evening without worry, I had to top off the Moto X.
I have yet to recharge the Nexus 6P overnight. I don’t need to because either there is plenty of battery life left, or all I have to do is plug it in to its USB -C charger for 15 minutes to get the battery back to a comfortable level.
When I bought the Nexus 6P I also bought a second USB-C charger to leave at the office, as well as another USB-C charger for my car. For the first three weeks I never took the extra charger out of my bag at the office, I simply did not need it. In fact, it wasn’t until I went on a weekend trip that I even took the charger out of the box.
Frankly, I’ve never had a smartphone for which I have not had to worry about battery life. I know my iPhone toting friends will derisively comment on how the iPhone has always been this way for them, but frankly, I see lots of iPhone users carrying chargers, external battery packs, or battery pack cases. The only other device I have had the same battery life experience with is the iPad.
A Tablet In Hand
What the iPad and Nexus 6P have in common is a large size that enables large batteries. For a while I carried my iPad with me everywhere, until I tired of its size and weight. The Nexus 6P, while large for a smartphone, is much smaller than the iPad and yet it provides similar battery life experience.
Prior to the Nexus 6P arriving, I speculated whether I would start using it more than my Nexus 9 tablet. So far in practice I have not, when I am sitting on the couch I usually grab the tablet to check social networks and read web articles.
I don’t find it comfortable to hold the Nexus 6P for long periods of time while reading a book, it feels too small to hold in two hands for long and my hand starts to cramp when hold it in one hand for long. I do find the 6P’s screen plenty large for reading text.
The larger screen size brings me to the only real significant issue I have with the 6P, and even it is a nit and more a fault of software developers than Google. I use a few different 4 x 1 widgets that fit perfectly across the width of the screen on the Moto X, but are a half inch short on the 6P.
Developers can write their widgets so that users can re-size them but unfortunately that is not the case for the Yahoo Sports widget. Sure, there are alternate sports widgets available, but really, why can’t all developers make theirs re-sizable?
In November I had the following expectations:
- Have much longer battery life than my current phone, the Moto X 2013. Expectation met
- Run much faster, not slow down, and not lock up. The Nexus 6P is much faster than the Moto X, and I’ve yet to experience any slow downs or lock ups.
- Be noticeably larger than the Moto X and it will take me some time getting accustomed to the size. The Nexus 6P is definitely larger, and while I am getting accustomed to it, I wonder how I will feel about it during summer.
- Replace some for what I use a tablet, particularly reading The Nexus 6P has not replaced my tablet.
- Receive updates faster than any other Android phone because it is a Nexus. Google has released version 6.0.1 of Android a few weeks ago, and it is already on my Nexus 6P.
In summary, if you are in the market for a new Android smartphone, and can get by with the larger size, I highly recommend the Nexus 6P, it may well be the best Android smartphone that you can buy.