Google’s LG Nexus 5X reviewed

Google Now has also learned a new trick, though it is limited: it can call up an application when you speak to it.

You can tell it to play music through Spotify and it’ll open that app, and you can ask it to take a selfie, though in that last one, it will only load the camera, never flipping it to the front-facing shooter, waiting a second, and then firing the photo.

Again, neat concept, but it doesn’t feel final yet.


Now is also contextual, which is a neat way of saying “if you ask it a question, you won’t have to keep naming the thing you’re asking to get it to keep giving you answers”.

For instance, you can ask it “What are the X-Men?” and get a spoken answer, and then follow up with “When was the first issue?” without adding “of the X-Men”, and the contextual nature of Google Now will be able to work out you were still talking about the X-Men.

That contextual nature also kind of feels like it extends to the indexing of your photos, provided they’re uploaded to Google’s Photos system, which offers unlimited space for your photos in an unexplained “high resolution”, while Google’s storage taps out with the rest of your drive storage if you upload them in original resolution.


Regardless, photos indexed by Google can pick up on themes such as locations you’ve been to, landmarks, and pets. Some of the time it gets it totally wrong, and we’ve found that the term “food” gets applied to anything remotely taken close-up, while “selfie” appears to be pretty consistent.

Google’s menu has also changed, and we’re quite into this, with an easy to scroll vertical menu of your icons, with the four most used at various times sitting at the top. That’s not to say these are your four most used apps, but rather what the phone thinks you’ll use at different times of the day, which for the most part it generally gets right.

You can avoid this, mind you, and just map your favourite programs as you normally would to a homescreen, but it’s a nice inclusion all the same.


And then there’s the fingerprint support, because finally, after Apple has been supporting the concept for a good three years now, Android is on-board with securing your phone using your digits.

It’s not specifically an Android thing that has held this back, mind you; Samsung and HTC have each offered devices with fingerprint sensors, as has Huawei, but you haven’t been able to do much with them, unlocking a device and paying with PayPal being more or less the only things that could be done.

Now that Android 6.0 has support, however, more apps can take advantage of this, and the unlocking can be handled by the operating system natively, which is even better.

But most importantly, the hardware used for the fingerprint sensor in the Nexus 5X is simply awesome.


Positioned directly under the camera lens, it’s a circle sized to be about the circle of your finger tip, but it can scan your finger super fast, pulling in a time that is only a smidgeon off from what we see on Apple’s insanely quick iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

For a first effort, that is staggering, and the Google Nexus fingerprint scanner is bang on, unlocking in 95 percent of the times we tried, usually only failing when wet fingertips were involved, which is an area all fingerprint scanners on phones struggle with.

The only quibble with the design is that with the circular placement directly under the camera, you may end up trying to scan your finger using the camera which just won’t work. Direct placement with pretty much bang on circle sizes wasn’t the best idea.


Once you get accommodated with the placement, it becomes second nature, and gripping the phone with your finger on the back — similar to what LG has been doing for years in its G series — makes for an easy unlock without problems.

Unlocking leads to the operation, and for the most part, using the Nexus 5X shows that LG really knows how to build a phone, because the six-core Nexus 5X really flies. Borrowing from the template of the already excellent but just a tad too thick LG G4 has helped the Nexus 5X tremendously, as the 2GB RAM and Snapdragon 808 work together beautifully.

Mobile broadband speeds are also excellent, offering high-speed connectivity so much that it feels like there’s a Category 6 modem here, with our tests revealing over 100Mbps was easily possible in Sydney’s CBD on the Telstra 4GX network.