Hands-on impressions of the Google Nexus 5X and 6P: Solid, gorgeous phones at reasonable prices

Google officially took the wraps off its two newest Nexus devices and I spent some time trying them both out. These will appeal to consumers more than the Nexus 6 ever did.

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ZDNet's Kevin Tofel posted the official announcement details on the new Nexus phones and Pixel C Android tablet.

I was at the launch event and was able to get some hands-on time with all three.

Google Nexus 5X

The Nexus 5X pays homage to the success of the LG Nexus 5 and a few Google employees even stated this was the intent of the new Nexus 5X.

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I was one of the first to enter a room with the devices all lined up and after picking up the mint green (official color name is Ice Blue) Nexus 5X I discovered it had a pattern lock. Being the inquisitive type, I swiped a M on the display and it was unlocked. I passed this discovery along to the other people in the demo area. While it may sound like I figured out M for Marshmallow, the truth is that I have used M before on my phones for Matthew Miller.

I know its cliche and people don't like to hear it, but the Nexus 5X truly does feel amazing in the hand. The soft plastic shell reminds me of the fabulous HTC One X, making the Nexus 5X one of the most caressible phones I've tried in a long time. You just want to flip it over and over in your hand.

It is very light weight, only 136 grams, and with the 5.2 inch display I can see this device flying off the shelves by those who don't want a massive phone in their hand or pocket. The curves around the camera look great and I am tempted by this phone.

It's obviously a pure Google experience with no bloatware and just the core apps installed. I was able to fly around the interface, capture a couple photos with the Google Camera app, and listen to some music.

I was not able to test out the fingerprint scanner or do any kind of extensive camera testing. Initial experiences are that the camera is solid, but maybe not as good as the LG G4.

There is no wireless charging capability here, but the USB Type-C provides a very fast charging experience.

Stay tuned to Kevin's detailed thought on the device in October.

Google Nexus 6P

When I first tested the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 last year, I was blown away by the quality, performance, and price of that device. Thus, when I heard that Huawei was going to make one of the Nexus devices I was quite excited.

Google and Huawei did not disappoint. The Nexus 6P is a premium smartphone, with fit and finish to challenge the newest flagships. It is a 5.7 inch phone constructed of aluminium with beveled edges. It is priced less than the Nexus 6 and is the Nexus I am personally most excited about.

The aluminum also has a matte finish on it, making it quite easy to grip. Given that my Note 5 and iPhone 6s Plus are slick, it was good to see a device I could hold onto without a case.

The 5.7 inch 2560 x 1440 display is absolutely gorgeous, with photos and video looking fantastic on the phone. I played some Google Music and the front-facing speakers sounded good. I'll have to test against the HTC One M9, but initial impressions are that they rock.

Closing initial thoughts

Both of these Nexus devices support Google Fi. I have a SIM, but haven't activated it yet. I will test it out with one of these new Nexus devices though and look forward to it since I am a T-Mobile customer and see great coverage.

We will need to spend time with the devices to test the fingerprint scanner, camera, battery, Now On Tap, and other enhancements found in Google Marshmallow.

I think the size and price turned a lot of people off of the Nexus 6. Thus, it's great to see two sizes and a range of prices for these two Nexus devices. The competition is seriously heating up for devices priced less than $500 and it may be tougher for Samsung and Apple to continue charging such premium prices in the future.