Like Microsoft before it, Google decided it would let other companies build the hardware for the software it developed. That's why Samsung makes the most phones in the world that use Google's Android software.

But both Google and Microsoft are jealous of Apple, which designs its own hardware and therefore fully controls it. If Apple wants to change something on an iPhone, it happens.

If Google wants something changed on Android phones, its hardware partners go "umm, nah, the telcos aren't interested". That is why there are millions of Android phones out there, often just a few years old, that don't get any operating system or security patches.

They're abandoned and open to hackers, but nobody's doing anything about it. As a result, Android's reputation for security took a dive.


In August, Google decided to take security more seriously and pledged to issue regular patches for its Nexus handsets. And so it is: while I had a Nexus 6P for review, the patches arrived, with regular bug fixes for apps from the Google Play store (which for security reasons is the only place you should get apps from).

The security improvements are very welcome, and the design of the phone, made by China's Huawei for Google, has also taken several steps forward. The 178g device is nicely built with quality materials. It's a good size with a 5.7in (14.4cm) Corning Gorilla Glass 4 screen that has 2560 by 1440-pixel resolution, which is fantastically clear and sharp.

The display has an oleophobic coating too, which is a fancy way of saying it resists smudging.

Another noteworthy feature is a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone. You get used to its position quite fast but it's not ideal: when the phone's on its back, you have to pick it up to use the sensor to log in, for example. That gets annoying.

You won't tire of the very good 12.3 megapixel camera with a Sony sensor, laser autofocus, a dual-tone flash, high dynamic range and 4K and 240 frames per second 720p video.

It's a very good camera, which thanks to the large 1.55 micron photodiodes works well in low light. In daylight, images are sharp with good colour and contrast, although in some situations I noticed that blue hues got a slightly purple tint.

In ultra-high definition mode, or 4K/2160p at 30fps, you get eight minutes instead of five in video recording time - better, but still brief.

A feature that deserves special kudos is the wi-fi hotspot in the phone. It runs not just in the busy 2.4GHz frequency band, but in the less noisy 5GHz range too. Combined with compatibility with the new and fast 802.11ac protocol, that means you can fully use 100Mbit/s-plus 4G when sharing the Nexus 6P's data link. Using the 2.4GHz range for the hotspot is a fair bit slower in comparison.


Google's pure Android 6.0 "Marshmallow" operating system experience is pretty good, so it's hard to see why other Android vendors would want to customise it.

Everything moves along quickly thanks to a double octa-core processor that runs four brains at 1.55GHz and a further four at 2GHz, and has 3Gb of RAM plus an Adreno 430 graphics unit. The Nexus 6P is available with up to 128Gb of storage for files, pictures and videos, but has no expansion slot for memory cards.

Despite the powerful processor, battery life was very good: I got well over a day despite using the Nexus 6P lots, taking pictures and video, and typing on it. Better yet, the Nexus 6P charges quickly: in 20 minutes you've got enough of a top-up to keep going. A word of warning though: the phone uses the new USB-C connector, which is still relatively rare, so don't lose it.

Roamers and telco switchers will like the no fewer than 16 LTE 4G bands that the global model of the Nexus 6P supports. If the network can handle it, you can in theory hit LTE category 6 speeds, giving 300Mbit/s downloads and 50Mbit/s uploads.

I had the 32Gb model, with 25Gb for apps and data; costing just under $1000. The 64GB model is $200 more.

With the Nexus 6P, Google and Huawei have produced a nice reference Android smartphone that hangs together well, features and performance-wise. The price is about the same or a little less than for a Samsung Galaxy S6, which is also worth considering.