For a brief period between 2012 and 2014, the Nexus brand was synonymous for most people with very good hardware at a relatively affordable price. This was the period when expensive flagship devices were the rage and if you wanted a phone with high-end hardware, you would have to shell out something to the tune of Rs 30,000 or more (around USD 450+), whether you opted for a HTC, a Sony, an LG or a Samsung. Nexus devices were also priced at the higher end – the Nexus One was priced at USD 529.99 and so was the Nexus S.
The whole Nexus pricing paradigm flipped when LG came into the picture. The Nexus 4 and 5 were both priced much lower than existing Android flagships from other brands – USD 299 for the Nexus 4 and the USD 349 for the Nexus 5. And the “Nexus = Affordable high tech” legend was born. Even the release of a relatively expensive USD 649 Nexus 6 from Motorola in 2014 did not shake the faith of the Nexus faithful, who continued to brandish the Nexus 5 as the coolest things in technology, and proof that high tech need not be high priced.
Well that faith was rocked when the Nexus 5X and 6P were announced. Yes, there had been some suspicion that the high-specced, all-metal 6P (made by Huawei) would not be inexpensive, so while its Rs 39,999 price tag (about USD 600) did cause some disappointment, it was nothing compared to the groan that accompanied the announcement of the Rs 31,900 (USD 479) price of the Nexus 5X. After all, it too came from LG and was being seen as the spiritual successor of the highly acclaimed and popular Nexus 5, so how could it cost so much more, went the rationale of the Nexus faithful. The fact that the 5X, while coming with a much better camera and newer processor than its predecessor, also had a similar display resolution (full HD and spread over a larger area, therefore with lower pixel density), a relatively small battery (for a phone with a 5.2 inch display) and still came with 2 GB RAM (the same amount seen in the 2012 Nexus 4) did not improve matters. As we had said in our initial impressions of the device, “Let’s be brutal, the Moto X Style offers more in hardware and design terms at a lower price, oh and it comes with pure Android too.”
Well, perhaps it is time to rephrase that statement. For about a month a half after its official release, the price of the Nexus 5X has dipped to under Rs 25,000 on e-portals like Amazon and Flipkart. That’s about USD 375 and is actually even lower than the current price of the Nexus 6 on most portals – some might consider the Nexus 6 to be better specced as it has more RAM and a bigger and higher resolution display, but we think the processor, the camera and the fingerprint scanner, not to mention the compact form factor (it is not a slab like the 6!), make the Nexus 5X a better deal. Actually, in the US, the Nexus 5X is being sold for as low as $299, thanks to Black Friday and Black Monday.
At this lower price, the 5X not only seems more in keeping with the (LG) Nexus tradition of great specs at a relatively low price, but suddenly starts looming as a challenger to the likes of the OnePlus 2, Moto X Style and the Honor 7, devices which had been considered markedly superior at its previous price points. One of my friends summed up the matter when he called me for advice on choosing between the OnePlus 2 and the 5X: “I know the OnePlus 2 has better hardware, but this is the same price and listen, it is a Nexus….”
No, we have not finished our Nexus 5X review (we shortly will, stay tuned). But its recent price cuts – unofficial ones, we hasten to add (LG maintains its official price stays at Rs 31,900) – make the Nexus 5X feel more like a chip off the LG Nexus block. Which is not a bad thing at all.
Looking for a great phone under Rs 25,000? We believe the 5X is a worthy option. Now. We are not saying any more until our review!