Today Google announced that the famed Nexus line of flagship Android devices now has two new members, plus some other notable details. Here’s what you need to know about the new Nexus 5X, 6P and Pixel C tablet.
The newly announced Nexus 5X is the smallest and most familiar of the batch. Like the original Nexus 5, the 5X is made in partnership with LG and is designed to offer “top of the line performance at an affordable price.” That amounts to a Snapdragon 808 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 2,700mAh battery, a 5.2-inch, 1080p display covered by Gorilla Glass 3, a 12MP rear camera equipped with LG’s laser auto-focus system and 4k video capture, plus a new fingerprint sensor dubbed Nexus Imprint, located on the rear of the device.
An unlocked, contract-free 16GB model that will work with all major US carriers will cost $379. Google’s also throwing in a 90-day free trial of Google Play music plus a $50 Play Store credit for American buyers.
The second Nexus phone announced expands on the phablet-sized legacy of the last Nexus 6, though its 5.7-inch WQHD AMOLED display is slightly smaller. The redesigned model built by Huawei is the first in the Nexus line to boast an all-metal body, matching the arms-race standards set by Samsung, HTC and Apple. Its 7.3mm-thick body houses a Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM, and is supposedly quite similar to the iPhone 6 Plus in form factor.
Outside of the Nexus Imprint fingerprint scanner found on the Nexus 5X as well, the 12.3MP Sony-built sensor is clearly the biggest hardware highlight of the device, boasting larger 1.55µm pixels for better light absorption (typically a detail that Apple has long made a point to emphasize) than the rest of the high-end smartphone competition, including the iPhone. Google claims the camera has been specifically optimized for indoor photography and also includes other shooting modes you’ve come to expect from a flagship device, including 4k video capture as well as slo-mo video. A massive 3450mAh battery is notable too, given it’s one of the biggest to ever grace a smartphone, hinting that the 6P’s battery performance might be a strong point — particularly when factoring in fast charging technology, which allows the 6P to juice up two times faster.
Aluminum, Graphite and Frost colorways are available for preorder now starting at $499 for a 32GB model — or double the amount of storage offered in the entry-level iPhone 6s. Bigger 64GB and 128GB options will cost $549 and $649 respectively, all without contracts.
Pixel C Tablet
The Nexus line’s foray into the tablet world with the launch of the original Nexus 7 was arguably its biggest success, so news of a fresh Google-blessed tablet isn’t exactly a shocker. What is surprising, however, is Google’s decision to launch the device under the Pixel family instead. Like the uber-premium Google Chromebook Pixel, the Pixel C tablet is made entirely by Google. It’s also equipped with top-end specs like a 10.2-inch, 2560×1800 screen, Nvidia Tegra X1 processor and 3GB of RAM. What’s weird here is that the tablet runs Android Marshmallow, not Chrome OS. Its form factor is also more in line with hybrid tablet/laptop model used by Microsoft’s Surface Line or the newly minted iPad Pro (the “C” stands for convertible). Google is also making a specialty Bluetooth keyboard accessory that magnetizes to the tablet, allowing it to be used like a traditional laptop. The accessory will cost $149 while the tablet itself will sell for $500 and $600 for 32 or 64GB of space. The launch date is slated for somewhere around the holidays.
Nexus Protect, Android Marshmallow & USB-C
Along with the trio of new devices, Google also announced its answer to AppleCare+ dubbed Nexus Protect. The premium warranty service provides buyers with two full years of coverage for “mechanical breakdowns” as well as accidental damage. The service will cost $69 for the smaller Nexus 5X or $89 for the Nexus 6P, which are both noticeably cheaper than the Cupertino equivalents. Google even boldly claims that replacement devices can be expected by consumers as early as the next business day.
In case you’re wondering, all of the new Nexus devices will ship with the latest version of Android 6.0, also known as Marshmallow, whose biggest features include Google Now On Tap, which integrates Google’s take on a virtual assistant inside of any app to provide useful information in a variety of different scenarios, as well as Doze, a battery-saving mode that offers the potential to double device standby time.
Support for newfangled USB-C, first introduced to most consumers via Apple’s new MacBook, is also included in Android Marshmallow. All of the new Nexus devices have adopted this connection for charging — so don’t expect your old Android accessories to work with them.