Nexus 5X review

Google's palm-friendly handset puts function over form

Nexus 5X review
Nexus 5X review

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The Nexus 5X battery life gets me through the day with heavy use, and that's about it, which is to say that it's on par with past Google-made phones that have average battery life.

It contains a 2,700mAh battery, giving it a nice boost considering the 2,300mAh capacity of the Nexus 5. Alas, running multiple battery life tests shows little has changed.

Watching a looped HD movie for 90 minutes wore the battery down from 100% to 77% when the screen was lit to full brightness in adaptive brightness mode.

Turning off adaptive brightness to make the display brighter and running the same 90 video all over again took it down even further to 68%. Through these tests, it performs worse than every new Android phone but the LG G4.

Nexus 5X review

However, in real-world wear-down tests, I found that the Nexus 5X is still able to go the distance of a full day because of Google's software tricks like Doze mode and App standby. As long as you're not expecting a multimedia powerhouse, it'll perform just fine.

Doze and App Standby are Android Marshmallow features that reduce battery life consumption by putting the phone into a quasi-sleep mode. Running multiple battery life tests in which the screen is on doesn't really capture this battery important new conservation trick.

Here's the even better news about the Nexus 5X battery. Once it finally does deplete, it quickly charges back up thanks to its USB-C fast charging capabilities.

I was able to restore 25% of the battery in just 22 minutes, and 70% in an hour. It was at 90% in 1 hour and 20 minutes and a full 100% in an 1 hour and 48 minutes.

Nexus 5X review

The reason it doesn't take just 88 minutes (multiplying 25% achieved in 22 minutes) is because fast charging its magic when the phone is at its lowest. The last 10% takes the longest to fill.

All of this is actually slower than Samsung's Fast Charging and Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 standards that use a micro USB cable along with a larger-than-normal charging brick.

Samsung's Galaxy S6 and Note 5, for example, fill back up in 1 hour and 20 minutes, whereas the Nexus 6P sets the record for USB-C so far with 1 hour and 37 minutes. Thus, USB-C is almost as fast with the added benefit of being reversible.

The Nexus 5X also doesn't have any sort of fast charge capabilities through a wireless charging pad. In fact, it has no wireless charging powers at all. That Nexus Qi charger? Useless here.

That's a shame, because Samsung just launched its "Fast Charge Wireless Charging Pad" that takes just 120 minutes to charge its newest phones. A reversible, quick charging USB-C port is a convenience but not "so convenient" (as a Google rep said to me) that it's enough to drop wireless charging.

Matt Swider