At a glance
|Phone||Nexus 5X||Nexus 6P||Xperia Z5||Galaxy S6|
|Processor||Snapdragon 808||Snapdragon 810||Snapdragon 810||Exynos 7420|
|Cameras||12.3MP + 5MP||12.3MP + 8MP||23MP + 5MP||16MP + 5MP|
The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P sport very different designs, which is to be expected as they come from different manufacturers.
LG’s Nexus 5X is probably the least exciting phone here, with a pretty standard black design. It’s not ugly by any means, but the aesthetics are simple with no frills to speak of. However, it’s also easier to handle at 5.2-inches than the larger 5.7-inch Nexus 6P, which is a serious handful.
The Nexus 6P is the biggest phone here and also the only metallic mobile in the round-up, with a slender and sturdy metal unibody. Meanwhile, the Xperia Z5 and Galaxy S6 both sport a glass-and-metal design, offering a very different look and feel to the Nexus handsets. However, while the Galaxy S6 is a bit of a fingerprint magnet, the Xperia Z5’s textured surface helps to keep it smudge-free.
Of these phones, only the Xperia Z5 is water resistant, despite boasting an open USB port.
Screen and media
The Xperia Z5 and Nexus 5X are closely matched when it comes to displays, both rocking a 5.2-inch Full HD screen. With 428 pixels crammed into every inch, images are more than sharp enough to enjoy high-def movies.
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 sports a slightly smaller 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen that’s even sharper, thanks to its Quad HD resolution. That’s an impressive 577 pixels-per-inch, while photos and videos are vibrantly coloured. And the Nexus 6P is another Quad HD beast with an enlarged 5.7-inch display, making it the most comfortable way to take in movies on the move.
If you’ve got a sizable media collection, the Galaxy S6 and Nexus 6P won’t be your best portable pal; there’s no microSD memory card slot, so you’ll need to stump up some extra cash for the 64GB or 128GB models to be safe. And definitely avoid the Nexus 5X, which also lacks microSD expansion and only comes in 16GB and 32GB models.
Sony’s Xperia Z5 is the best choice for anyone rocking a hard drive or ten filled with songs and movies. The 32GB of built-in storage can be boosted by a further 200GB by slotting in a memory card.
All four of these phones are Android handsets, although the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P boast the latest version (6.0 Marshmallow) at launch; you’ll have to wait for the Galaxy S6 and Xperia Z5 to be updated from Lollipop. They will, eventually, once Samsung and Sony get around to adding their own overlays. Until then, you’ll be without some of Android’s latest features including the smart new Now on Tap service and improved power efficiency.
All four phones also pack a fingerprint scanner for keeping your private bits secure, which is especially good news if you suck at remembering PIN codes. All four scanners can be used to unlock your phone, but the Galaxy S6’s sensor can also be used to verify PayPal transactions which is great news for online shoppers.
The Galaxy S6 also supplements that fingerprint scanner with a rear-mounted heart rate sensor, which can be used to track your pulse before and after fitness sessions.
Battery life and performance
The Nexus 5X is the most perfunctory performer here, packing a Snapdragon 808 processor backed up by 2GB of RAM. That said, it should still be a smooth sailor for the length of a contract, or close enough.
The Nexus 6P and the Xperia Z5 both boast a Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM, standard fare for a new flagship phone. Again, expect smooth performance and excellent gaming frame rates for at least a couple of years. Meanwhile the Samsung Galaxy S6 is the benchmark champion, thanks to its powerful Exynos 7420 processor.
All four phones support Quick Charge, typically giving around three to four hours of use from ten minutes of charging – although Google reckons the Nexus 6P will enjoy closer to seven hours of life from the same charge. The Galaxy S6 supports wireless charging, but the Nexus phones and Xperia Z5 don’t.
The new Nexus phones also boast Type C USB ports, which are fully reversible.
We’ll be fully testing the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P battery life in the coming weeks, check back soon for our full review.
We haven’t had the chance to check out the Nexus 5X or Nexus 6P cameras yet, but both handsets pack a 12.3-megapixel Sony sensor with f/2.0 aperture and an infra-red assisted auto-focus which should help you to take shots quickly and with minimal blurring.
The Sony Xperia Z5 also boasts a super-fast autofocus in its powerful 23-megapixel camera, which like the Nexus phones is supposed to deliver excellent low-light performance. There’s also a new digital zoom feature which helps you to get close to distant landmarks with a minimal dip in image quality, thanks to some clever fill-the-gaps software that genuinely works.
However, all three handsets will have to be at the top of their game to defeat the Samsung Galaxy S6’s impressively accurate 16-meg camera. The f/1.9 aperture lens is great in a range of conditions, making amateur photography a snap.
All four phones can record video in Full HD and 4K.