back to article A year living with the Nexus 5X – the good, the bad, and the Nougat

It has been nearly a year since the Nexus 5X smartphone was launched. On Tuesday, October 4, Google is expected to announce new smartphones – and possibly more – at an event in San Francisco. The new handsets won't be branded Nexus and won't have the clean, stripped-down version of Android that Nexii owners have come to expect …

  1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    Hmmm...

    Google Play store reports our app has a single Android 7.1 user. And has had so for a while.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm...

      Writing as a BlackBerrier, so pardon the naivety. Your comment either means i) your app isn't popular or ii) Nougat isn't in widespread use, is unpopular, a piece of junk. I'm assuming it's the latter.

      Whilst on the topic of being a BlackBerry user who is finally beginning to think that moving on may become a matter of compulsion rather than choice, the news that Pixel is going to get an overlay is, well, troubling. I'm not exactly keen on Android at the best of times, though having played with a Nexus 5 and a Samsung something-or-other, I'd certainly prefer the unadulterated experience. But if Google's new phones are going to screw that up as well as retaining the deeply embedded and intrusive Googlishness, Android is right off my list. BlackBerry's own Priv is a decent enough piece of kit, but I'm still not sure that it's enough to tempt me into becoming a full time Android user.

      Which leaves what, exactly? iPhone? Hmm, no headphone socket, and a seemingly absolute impossibility of getting music onto it without iTunes destroying one's local music collection. Windows phone? Well, frying pan -> fire...

      There really is no viable choice out there anymore. The lunatics are running the asylum. Dark days ahead.

      1. Your alien overlord - fear me

        Re: Hmmm...

        7.1 means a Google Pixel phone. Nougat for the masses is 7.0

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmm...

        You're using a blackberry in 2016 and have the gall to call others lunatics?

      3. getHandle

        Re: Hmmm...

        Moto G4 FTW!

      4. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm...

        >Hmm, no headphone socket, and a seemingly absolute impossibility of getting music onto it without iTunes destroying one's local music collection.

        My iPhone using friend uses Google Music - it makes his existing local music collection available to him wherever, and I assume he can download tracks to his phone for when he is away from data.

        My Google Music experience (on a low-end-ish Android) has been less than smooth, with some tracks only playing a few seconds, and not being able to scrub through tracks). Weird.

      5. JohnLBergqvist

        Re: Hmmm...

        I think when they say "software overlay" it's just a custom launcher/homescreen APK... All you'd need to do is get the stock Launcher.apk from somewhere - install it, then Android will say "Which Launcher do you wish to use?" and you pick the one you've just installed...

        Of course that's for now anyway. Although even previous Nexus builds weren't totally stock android (AOSP+GApps) anyway, with their HP print-malarkey apps etc.

        Interestingly, no-ones said whether the Pixel phone will still come with a bootloader that you can unlock should you want to, as the Nexus devices did... I wonder if they'll release a "Developer" edition of the Pixel phone with a build of android that comes without the Pixel-specific launcher etc. and with an unlocked bootloader - a few months down the line?

        1. Roq D. Kasba

          Re: Hmmm...

          For anyone wondering if it's worth trying a new launcher, it's worth giving Nova a go, it's so configurable you can pick and choose the things you like about different interfaces and munge them into your own. Good enough that I bought the pay version after a year or so

      6. HmmmYes

        Re: Hmmm...

        Im with BlackBerrier.

        I want to go one way. The rest of the world wants to go another, opposite direction.

        Im very suspicious of Android. I run it on a tablet but avoid all things passwordy/security. Its just a web and media browser.

        I have a Nokia feature phone. Its great as a phone - battery lasts ~8 days. Cost me £40 Happy to drop it in the toilet.

        Im stuck. I want a phone to run some more softwrae - but not the whole all-singing/all spying. And I want the battery to last a longtime - so small, power sipping screen.

        1. kryptonaut

          Re: Hmmm...

          Well, I have a Lumia 640XL running WP10, and I've just put it on charge after it dropped to 20% battery - 8 days after its last charge.

          It wasn't always like that though - it used to need charging daily until I disabled as much of Cortana as I could, told it to only sync emails every 2 hrs, and use WiFi only (I'm nearly always either at work or at home when I want to use anything internetty).

          Does all I need it to do - texts, calls, maps, browsing, email, calculator, alarms, and the odd app or two.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmmm...

          In the same boat, but I'm coming from a 4 year old windows phone.

          Had to buy an Android phone over the weekend. Not pleased with it yet, buy will have to muddle through.

        3. Chands

          Re: Hmmm...

          Jeez .. the more I see this whole anti-keepawayfrommydata thing really narks.

          IMHO it's like going into a clothes shop and asking for help with Jeans and refusing to tell them what size you are. Why do you want to know that eh ? what are you going to do with that information .. sell it you will ! Soon I'll be inundated with flyers and leaflets offering me garments in EXACTLY MY SIZE.

          No way ! (storm out of shop).

          You know, if you were a crim hiding stuff I would understand :o)

          The next software evolution on the horizon is AI and AI NEEDS DATA, otherwise it can't do squat.

          /rant.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hmmm...

        Windows phones are wonderful. Fewer apps available, unfortunately, but so seamless.

        I have both an Android and a Windows phone. I prefer the Windows phone for work as it works seamlessly with business apps. The Android (Motorola Droid Turbo) exceeds the equivalent Samsung in usability.ergonomics and robustness and for me was the perfect match. ~2 years in it has been robust and solid.

        I have zero interest in fruit company products. I took the training wheels off my bicycle when I was 6 and have no plans to return.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmmm...

          >I have zero interest in fruit company products. I took the training wheels off my bicycle when I was 6 and have no plans to return.

          Does not have training wheels include being fine with unsolicited MMS rooting your phone? I would say with the usual Samsung delay in updating Android its more like random bathroom sex without a condom. At least your work phone is secure by obscurity (still something good to be said for the phone OS maker and the phone manufacturer being the same).

    2. samster

      Re: Hmmm...

      Hmmm.. Android 7.1 only gets released today...

  2. whoelse

    Spot on review!

    Having the same issues exactly with minor oleaphobic wear, and sudden drop in battery life a month back (I suspect the September patch drop for nougat).

    I had not considered a factory reset, thanks for this suggestion!

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Spot on review!

      My PC sucks! What, should I wipe and reinstall Windows?

      My phone sucks! What, should I wipe and reinstall factory reset it?

      Ah the great strides that 20 years of OS design have brought...

      1. whoelse

        Re: Spot on review!

        You forgot the bit where you deal in facts, not hyperbole.

        Reinstalling a PC OS typically requires validating drivers first, and storing any unusual ones, make sure data is backed up, make sure the backup is good, export an installation list, make sure licensing is OK ahead of the rebuild, then go for it. Doing it right takes time.

        I'm typing this on my factory reset Nexus 5x. There only prep required was putting it on a charger, and making sure the Metal Gear Solid "found" mp3 I use for text alerts was copied to Drive. Factory reset, connected to wifi, and selected restore. All my apps reinstalled and in the same folders in less than twenty minutes. My photos are on Photos, music on Play and Spotify. I had to re authenticate to a few apps, re-add the alley tone, and add my wallpaper back. I could do it as I was going to bed.

        And my battery life is up maybe 30℅ on where it had been at this time of day, so I stand over my comment. It was really helpful advice! :P

    2. Tech Hippy

      Re: Spot on review!

      Before a factory reset, try clearing the cache from recovery mode (via Fastboot)

      Fastboot Mode:

      - Power down

      - Press Power and Volume buttons at the same time

      - Continue holding until you see the fastboot mode screen

      Recovery Mode:

      - From Fastboot Mode

      - Press Volume down twice to 'Recovery'

      - Press power button to select

      - From exclamation mark screen:

      - Press & hold power button then press Volume Up.

      Then (carefully) select "Wipe Cache" using volume buttons to highlight and power button to select.

      Once complete, select reboot now.

      This won't remove data and may well resolve battery life issues.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Spot on review!

        Hang on, at which step do I sacrifice the chicken and the goat?

      2. whoelse

        Re: Spot on review!

        I should have done so first, but I didn't see your post in time. Thank you regardless!

        Full reset did the trick quickly and easily though, over the years I've gotten pretty handy at making sure data is backed up (often learning by error)

  3. Chris Miller
    Headmaster

    Nexii?

    Nexus (if we want to be pedantic, and who doesn't?) is 4th declension, so the plural of Nexus is ... Nexūs. See me after class, boy!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. kryptonaut
        Headmaster

        Re: Nexii?

        And in the context of the article (Nexus owners), it should be singular anyway.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Nexii?

      Well, yeah, we know - we debated it in the office and we went with Nexii because it sounds cooler and is a passing reference to Alan Partridge and "Lexii" cars.

      C.

      1. psychonaut

        Re: Nexii?

        surely it should be Nazi? i mean it has an SS (superspeed) usb port as well. what more evidence do we need?

  4. Poncey McPonceface

    Thanks for the update!

    Envious I am. Would love one but can't justify the expense at the moment.

    The oleophobic coating wear is a nuisance. I don't think cable availability is Google's fault. In a couple of years we'll be drowning in USB Type-C cables, the same way we are with USB Micro now, it's early adopter phase at the moment. In the interim:

    https://store.google.com/product/usb_c_charger

    https://store.google.com/product/usb_type_c_to_usb_standard_a_plug_cable

    https://store.google.com/product/usb_type_c_to_usb_standard_a_adapter

    1. whoelse

      Re: Thanks for the update!

      it is a nuisance, I find myself cleaning the Nexus 5X screen more than I ever had to clean my Nexus 5. I suspect it saw very heavy use, but still 1 year on you would expect minor wear on the coating.

  5. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Battery life?

    Possibly the most impressive thing about the new phone is battery life. A day's use is easily handled

    No, it is not impressive at all. It might be a little less shit than some competitors, but lasting one day or so is really not anything to write home about. One week would be newsworthy!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Battery life?

      One week would be newsworthy!

      Sorry to continue like a scratched record on this, but on my elderly Sammy S3 even with the original battery thats now three years old, I can get five days light use between charges, simply by keeping mobile data turned off unless I need it. At a guess, with mobile data on, the phone is so busy continuously pimping my data to Google's servers that the hardware can't go to a low power level.

      I can't say whether this works as effectively on newer handsets, but it has to be worth a try if you're not an email or socialmeeja junky, and use the phone largely for voice and text. And when you do want anything needing mobile data just turn it on for the duration.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Battery life?

        There are 3 factors that chew away at a battery:

        - screen luminance. If you don't need to light up the room, consider dimming it a bit.

        - data transfer. If possible, switch to half hourly polling, stay away from messaging apps and stick to 3G. Just switching from 4G to 3G will give you an astonishing improvement in battery life (that is, assuming you're in a city where 4G actually works).

        - reception. A mobile will boost signal if it has bad or no reception. If you travel, for instance, underground as Londoners seem to do, your phone will be constantly trying to reach any tower and will do so at maximum power. You could consider switching it to airplane mode for the duration, which will again preserve power. More bars means less power required to transmit.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A day's use is easily handled

    great for a tablet computer. Pathetic for a phone.

    1. Patrician

      Re: A day's use is easily handled

      As most phones are now, including the 5x, "tablet computers", by your own admission, a days use is "great"

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A day's use is easily handled

      AC because you like to troll? Is it time for El Reg to get rid of the AC function? Can't remember the last time I saw an AC comment that wasn't just someone using anonymity to be a dick. Considering how the quality of comments seems to be falling it might be worth considering....

      (Except for my own AC responses to ACs obviously. Those are always really constructive!)

  7. Fink-Nottle

    I need a bigger default font.

    I was getting excited about "a thin layer of material that repels farts and water".

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: I need a bigger default font.

      If you're worried about farts getting on your phone, I think you might be holding it wrong!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I need a bigger default font.

        If you're worried about farts getting on your phone, I think you might be holding it wrong!

        Or you're using the traditional phone holster for those held at her Majesty's pleasure..

        :)

  8. Gene Cash Silver badge

    I've got the 6P with the black version of the Speck case, and I was never stupid enough to "upgrade" to Nougat. The Speck has been the best case I've had so far, and I've lost less of the rubber, maybe just a couple lines.

    One problem I've had is the Google fast chargers have died like flies. I've been through 5 of them. I haven't found any non-Google chargers to be "fast" ones.

    I've always bought Nexus devices, with the exception of a 1st gen 3G-only Moto G which was damn fine for the price. I guess if they discontinue Nexus "pure Android" I'll be buying whatever Samsung has the biggest screen and slapping on Cyanogenmod.

    Edit: My battery does a little over 2 days but that's because I religiously keep 4G & GPS off when I'm home. Makes a HUGE difference.

  9. hahnchen

    I don't have the 5X in a case because I don't want it any bigger. I've had it since the beginning of the year, and the rubberised back is starting to come off at the edges. Dust has also gotten into the front facing camera, and there's nothing I can do about it.

    I preferred the Nexus 4 that the 5X replaced.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But why did they use USB-C?

    The charging port has been the biggest disappointment on the 5x for me. No video out on USB-C, whereas previous Nexus devices could use MHL or SlimPort via Micro USB. The only benefit is the reversible plug, and the USB-C fast charging doesn't seem to charge any faster than older devices equipped with QuickCharge 2.0. Lack of Qi charging was also disappointing.

    I think 2015's Nexus phones marked the beginning of the end for innovation among Google's flagship line.

    1. David Paul Morgan

      Re: But why did they use USB-C?

      I like MHL/HDMI output as I like to plug my Xperias into the TV.

      The One+ Three does not support MHL. Is it a USB-C 'thing'?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But why did they use USB-C?

      EU mandate, universal charging 2017 onwards is USB-C. If you want to sell in Europe, your device will have USB-C simple as that. European charger initiative

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: But why did they use USB-C?

        Oh right, like the USB micro universal charging mandate which Apple was allowed to get around.

        1. Brenda McViking

          Re: But why did they use USB-C?

          I'm sure Europe are putting together a prosecution for it - to be fair they've only just got onto the anticompetitive CD drive sales after CRT monitor price fixing - Apple will no doubt get their come-uppance in 2042.

  11. Barry Rueger

    Re Battery Life: Save me From Electro-pedants!

    Possibly the most impressive thing about the new phone is battery life. A day's use is easily handled and, if you're careful about keeping battery saver on and apps in power-sipping mode, two full days is realistic.

    Lord save me from reviews and comments that suggest that turning off half of your smartphone is a reasonable approach to device operation.

    Announcing that you turn off wifi, GPS, Bluetooth, and everything else just to save battery is about as sensible as announcing that your solution to the high cost of printer toner is to not print anything.

    I have a smart phone because of these features, and have no intention of disabling half of the functionality that is built in.

    Which is why a review that tells me how long a battery lasts on a device that's half-crippled is utterly useless to me.

    Then again, l also tend to expect at least some mention of how well a smartPHONE handles the task of making phone calls.

    Or did the reviewer also cancel his wireless plan because the cel radio was using too much battery?

    1. phr0g

      Re: Re Battery Life: Save me From Electro-pedants!

      Better still. I was forced to revert back to my old Nokia 1020 because the Moto X Play I'd been using got, erm dropped. The Nokia hadn't been used for almost a year, and was, of course, switched off.

      As I took it out of the "old phones drawer" I must have pressed the on button, as when I finally had it in my hands, it was on. With power (about 10%). The time since last charge and estimated time remaining was insane.

      So, a switched off phone will last a year. Impressive huh?

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Re Battery Life: Save me From Electro-pedants!

      On the other hand, if you want a phone to make phone calls, y'know, talk to people, and simply don't *need* to have e.g. GPS on all the time, then it makes a lot of sense to turn them off.

      Your mileage may vary.

      And less than a day's life for a charge is worse than ridiculous; it's broken.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Re Battery Life: Save me From Electro-pedants!

        And putting my Galaxy S7 into dumbphone mode gives it about 3 days runtime.

        My previous one claimed 5 days, but I never tried that long.

        Smartphones of all flavours do appear to be getting worse.

      2. dajames Silver badge

        Re: Re Battery Life: Save me From Electro-pedants!

        if you want a phone to make phone calls, y'know, talk to people, and simply don't *need* to have e.g. GPS on all the time, then it makes a lot of sense to turn them [sic] off.

        I keep GPS on all the time because I'm far too impatient to wait for the phone to get a lock when I need to know where I am (which can be tens of seconds, from cold) ... and doing so doesn't seem to make a big difference to battery life.

        In fact, the biggest user of battery on my phone seems to be something called the "display", and I can and do turn that off when I'm not using it.

        1. Mage Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: Re Battery Life: Where am I: GPS

          I always know where I am. I am here.

          I don't always know where other people are, because I am not God, Google, NSA etc...

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Re Battery Life: Save me From Electro-pedants!

      Lord save me from reviews and comments that suggest that turning off half of your smartphone is a reasonable approach to device operation.

      Amen to that but it is useful to know which services require the most juice even when apparently not active.

      In my experience toggling wifi makes the most sense when you're trying to eke out a bit more from your phone because the OS and apps will assume you're near a charger. At a conference recently I found that leaving wifi on on my S5 would drain it during the day with only light (messaging) use. Whereas I can happily cycle using the phone to turn by turn navigation for about 5 hours riding time (active GPS and Bluetooth). Passive GPS (not navigating) and Bluetooth use virtually no power and can happily be left on.

  12. mosw

    Nexit?

    So Pixel mean no more Nexus?

    1. Poncey McPonceface

      Re: Nexit?

      That's what the news sources have been telling us.

      #madebygoogle

      Official G live stream.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4y0KOeXViI

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Nexit?

      >So Pixel mean no more Nexus?

      That's what I'm hearing, though it is confusing me - the whole reason for the Nexus line was to shame OEMs into sorting out their software. Google did this by supplying good-value phones with top-notch internals. However, I hear these Pixel phones won't be cheap.

      1. dajames Silver badge

        Re: Nexit?

        ... the whole reason for the Nexus line was to shame OEMs into sorting out their software.

        Methinks a major aim with the Nexus line was to ensure that there would be at least some devices out in the wild running the latest Android versions, despite most OEMs being deplorably slow at releasing updates and in many cases never doing so.

        I've seen nothing to suggest that Pixel devices will get updates in any less timely a fashion than Nexus ones.

  13. Nicko

    Real USB-C bits and happy, year-long, user of the 5X...

    Got my 5X when they first came out - agree with a lot of what's been said here, except that I put a glass screen-protector on it and a really nice slim case (not the Google one). I've had no problems at all with Nougat - phone is very happy.

    Living and working in Dubai, as I now do, there is almost NO USB-C presence here - all the stuff below I bought from the UK after careful research - it's all TRUE USB-C and supports "rapid" (3A) charging, not just the "fast" charging mode which all the ersatz stuff does.

    Hopes this helps those USB-C types trying to hunt down good stuff !

    5X glass screen protector:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Genuine-Premium-Tempered-Glass-Screen-Film-Protector-for-LG-Nexus-5X-/331686456251

    5X good quality slim case:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/171946411800

    Regarding charges, the new Anker kit, which is very high quality, supports USB-C correctly, including rapid charging. Anker USB-C 40W Powerport:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/172246241783

    A really nice Anker powerbrick for USB-C (solid aluminium case):

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00M0EWED0/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Good quality USB-C to USB-C cable:

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/152162551240

    Third-party USB-C charger that works well (this is my one in the office):

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B019Q67ORK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    USB-C car charger - again, this is the one I use:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01KFTXY8U/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    HTH

    Nick

    1. Darryl

      Re: Real USB-C bits and happy, year-long, user of the 5X...

      I agree. My 5X has been chugging along fantastically. Nougat made no difference in battery life (although to be honest, it made no real difference in usability for me either). Battery lasts about two days, but I've always been in the habit of plugging my phones in every night, so I rarely get to see exactly how long it'll hold out. My oleophobic coating is pretty much gone, though, so it's time for a screen protector, just to cut down on smudging. Also, I'm not sure how, but I managed to smash the camera glass. Luckily, it didn't damage the camera, and a replacement glass was only $7 on eBay. It's been in a case since I got it - one of those 'hybrid' plastic and rubber things, and the phone itself looks like new when you take it out.

      Still using the original charger and USB-C cable, and I have a USB2-to-C cable for talking to my computer.

      One of my coworkers has a Nexus 6P, and her review of it is very similar to mine, minus the smashed camera glass

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BlackBerrier

    Went from a Bold 9700 to a Priv.

    Never looked back.

  15. Glenturret Single Malt

    Plurals

    Why do people get so confused about plurals? As a change from the now commonplace Illiterate Apostrophe, I see in this article a reference to "Nexii owners". N.B. virus - viruses, callus - calluses, campus - campuses etc.

    ???

    Apart from the fact that Nexii is possibly the plural of some unknown word "Nexius", you don't talk about Volvos owners or Dysons owners. In fact, reading them back to myself, those last two phrases could perhaps be used to refer to the people who own the companies but there you would need an apostrophe as in "Volvo's owners..."

    Using a different construction, however, you would say "the owners of Volvos or Dysons (or even Nexuses)".

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Yugguy

    I feel the same about my Wileyfox Swift

    Pretty unbloated, customisable, does all I want.

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