The Google Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P smartphones are the first members of the Nexus family to feature fingerprint sensors. They’re also the first to feature USB Type-C ports and the phones also have better cameras and bigger batteries than their predecessors.

But how do they stack up in terms of performance? I’ve only had a few days to test the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P so far, but in terms of day-to-day performance, it’s hard to see much difference between the new phones and my 2013 Nexus 5, which is running the same Android 6.0 Lollipop software.

When you run benchmarks though, it becomes clear that the newer phones pack significantly more punch in the CPU and graphics departments. You might not notice this all the time, but it could come in handy if you’re playing games or running apps that can take advantage of the extra horsepower.

nexus lineup_02

Here’s a quick run-down of the hardware you get with each phone:

  • Nexus 5: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core, 32-bit processor with Adreno 330 graphics, 2GB of RAM, 5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS display
  • Nexus 5X: Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core, 64-bit processor with Adreno 418 graphics, 2GB of RAM, 5.2 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS display
  • Nexus 6P: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core, 64-bit processor with Adreno 430 graphics, 5.7 inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel AMOLED display

Unsurprisingly, the Nexus 6P comes out on top in every benchmark test I tried, with the Nexus 5X coming in second and the Nexus 5 taking the bottom position.

What is a little surprising is that the spread isn’t as wide as you might expect for smartphones released 2 years apart. Note that the Nexus 5 wasn’t able to complete some of the tests: for some reason it crashed when running Antutu’s graphics test, and since the phone doesn’t support OpenGL ES 3.1, it wasn’t able to run the GFXBench Manhattan OpenGL ES 3.1 test.

nexus geek

How much does this matter? It depends on how you use your phone. After using the Nexus 5 as my primary phone for the past two years, I can say there are plenty of things I like about the new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. But the improved CPU and GPU performance haven’t really been all that noticeable when it comes to the apps I run most frequently on my phone, including Gmail, Firefox, Chrome, Reddit Sync, Facebook, Business Calendar, Shuttle and Google Play Music and Google Maps.

I don’t do a lot of gaming, but the Scrabble clone Classic Words Plus runs just fine on all of these devices.

For the past few days, I’ve been carrying the Nexus 5X along with my Nexus 5 everywhere I go, and these are the differences I’ve noticed most:

  • Logging into the Nexus 5X with a fingerprint scanner is quicker and more convenient than unlocking my Nexus 5.
  • The same goes for third-party apps that can use Nexus Imprint, such as LastPass.
  • The Nexus 5X takes significantly better photos. It also snaps photos more quickly.
  • Battery life is much better on the Nexus 5X. I haven’t done particularly scientific tests, but the battery drains more slowly when the phone is idle (I left it unplugged overnight and the battery capacity only dropped by around 5 or 10 percent), and I get at least an hour or two of additional screen on time.
  • For better or worse, the screen is larger. This makes the phone a little more difficult to use with one hand.

I’ll have more notes to share in the coming days, but for now, here’s a video showing a few benchmark tests running on the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 5.

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5 replies on “Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P and Nexus 5 (2013) benchmarks and initial performance notes”

  1. You mentioned in your 5x review that part of the reason for a lack of a significant speed increase might be that the 5x (and, I assume, 6p) have encryption on by default. I would be interested in the numbers if encryption was removed (or if it was enabled on the 5).

    1. The Nexus 5’s Snapdragon 800 SoC has hardware encryption and has about a 10%-15% hit on read and write speeds i think. But it’s mostly impacted in the sequential speeds.

  2. Could you please add the 6P RAM number in your hardware run-down. Thanks.

  3. Looks like the holidays came early for you this year, Brad! I’m having such a hard time resisting the temptation to sell my Nexus 5 for the $200 or so I can still get for it and get a no-interest monthly installment plan through Project FI for the 5x. The 6P is gadget-lustworthy, but I want a phone I can go running with without feeling like I have a brick strapped to my arm.

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