It’s that time of year once again, and Google has not disappointed those holding their breath for the next best Nexus device, because today they announced not just one of them, but two! The new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P have been officially unveiled by Google and their partners at long last. The Nexus line has a long, long history – as we recently covered – and if there’s a common theme throughout each release it’s that the cameras on these devices haven’t been great. This is understandable, Google aren’t camera engineers and unlike Sony or Samsung they don’t have the means to create their own sensor and work magic. Plus, these are devices designed to show off the software, not show off their hardware, so it’s understandable as to why these devices aren’t award winners in the camera category.
With a 12.3-megapixel camera around the back and an 8-megapixel sensor around the front the imaging prowess of the Nexus 6P doesn’t sound all that impressive, but Google have really upped their game. The 12.3-megapixel sensor is one straight from Sony, and was not designed for smartphones, but dedicated camcorders and hardware like it. It’s a 1.55 micron sensor, which sounds tiny, but it’s actually almost four times the size of last year’s Nexus 6 camera from Motorola. This means that there’s 95% more light efficiency here, and the example they showed on stage proved that Google have finally understood low-light performance, and there’s a new HDR+ mode that automatically comes on in low-light environments. It’s the large pixel size here that Google says negates the need for OIS, and still results in clear and crisp images. The camera is also super-quick compared to previous devices, too. This is down to better performance, as well as the new laser autofocus which is in the Huawei Nexus 6P as well as LG’s Nexus 5X.
Video performance has been improved as well, with native 4K recording and the ability to record video up to 240 fps, as well as a fun new mode called Smart Burst which takes a whole bunch of images at full-resolution in just a few moments. This allows animated GIFs to be created and a best shot to be selected as well. Launching the camera app is smooth with a new double-tap to launch features of the power button, too.