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Nexus Marlin vs Nexus Sailfish vs Nexus 6P vs Nexus 5X: What’s the difference?

Google is rumoured to be launching two new Nexus phones for 2016, dubbed the Nexus Marlin and the Nexus Sailfish. So what’s the difference and how do they compare with last year’s Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, if the rumours and leaks are right?

In September Google is set to launch its latest Nexus phones for 2016, dubbed the Nexus Marlin and the Nexus Sailfish. One or both of these new Google Nexus phones are likely to be made by HTC, while last year’s Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P were crafted by LG and Huawei respectively.

So what differences in specs and features can we expect between the Nexus Sailfish and Marlin, and last year’s Nexus 5X and 6P? Here’s our full Nexus comparison guide.

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P vs Nexus Marlin vs Nexus Sailfish: At a glance

Phone Nexus 5X Nexus 6P Nexus Sailfish Nexus Marlin
Screen size 5.2-inches 5.7-inches 5-inches 5.5-inches
Screen resolution 1920×1080 2560×1440 1920×1080 2560×1440
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes Yes Yes
Processor Snapdragon 808 Snapdragon 810 Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 821
Memory 2GB 3GB 4GB 4GB
Storage 16/32GB 32/64/128GB From 32GB From 32GB
MicroSD? No No No No
Rear camera 12.3MP 12.3MP 12MP 12MP
Front camera 5MP 8MP 8MP 8MP

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P vs Nexus Marlin vs Nexus Sailfish: Screen and media

The Nexus 5X and Nexus Sailfish are the more basic mobiles here in terms of specs, and also the most compact. The 5.2-inch Nexus 5X and 5-inch Nexus Sailfish both pack Full HD displays, which makes for a solid high-def movie experience. However, if you really want a jaw-dropping panel, the 5.7-inch Nexus 6P and 5.5-inch Nexus Marlin boost the display resolution as well as the size, up to Quad HD.

None of these phones sport a microSD memory card slot, so you’re stuck with whatever storage is available on the phone. Of course, there are ways around this; check out our how to expand your Nexus phone’s storage feature.

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P vs Nexus Marlin vs Nexus Sailfish: Performance

The Nexus 5X is still a reasonably smooth performer, almost a full year after its release. That Snapdragon 808 processor is the most basic chipset in this round-up and backed by just 2GB of RAM, but the 5X can still happily run the latest games with a smooth and dependable frame rate.

Unlike other 808-packing phones like the LG G Flex 2, we haven’t seen any serious slow-down, mostly because the phone boasts a pleasingly vanilla version of Android. Conversely, the G Flex 2’s heavy overlay bogs it down, which resulted in stuttery performance after just a couple of months of use. That said, the Nexus 5X does occasionally throw up a pause before loading an app, which can be slightly irritating and make you wonder if you actually successfully tapped the icon.

Check out our Nexus 5X long-term re-review for more.

The Nexus 6P’s Snapdragon 810 processor holds up better, offering a bit more oomph compared with the Nexus 5X. Apps load up immediately and you shouldn’t see any signs of ageing, helped along by the 3GB of memory. Check out our Nexus 6P long-term review.

Of course, the new 2016 Nexus phones will boast the latest Qualcomm processors for a performance boost. The Nexus Sailfish is expected to come packing the Snapdragon 820, also found in the HTC 10, LG G5 and other big 2016 flagship phones. Meanwhile the Nexus Marlin will sport the super-new Snapdragon 821 processor, which supposedly offers a ten percent performance increase over the 820.

Both new Nexus phones will cram in 4GB of RAM, so you can expect super-smooth performance for the forseeable future.

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P vs Nexus Marlin vs Nexus Sailfish: Battery life

The Nexus 5X gives you more or less a full day of use on a single charge, but not much more than that. The Nexus 6P, with its bigger 3450mAh battery, fares better. We often manage a day and a half of battery life per charge, occasionally stretching to two full days if we’re restrained.

Both phones also support quick charging, so you can get a few hours of use after just ten minutes at the plug. And both handsets boast the spangly new Type-C USB ports for charging and copying files, which is fully reversible and makes for faster data transfer.

As the new Nexus Marlin and Sailfish are a similar build to the 5X and 6P respectively, we’d expect similar battery sizes and therefore battery life, as they’ll be running the same vanilla version of Android. We’ll update when we fully test the new Nexus handsets.

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P vs Nexus Marlin vs Nexus Sailfish: Features

When it comes to built-in features, there won’t be much difference between these four Nexus phones.

All four handsets pack a fingerprint sensor, for increased security over standard PIN entry. Likewise, none of them have a microSD memory card slot for expanding the on-board storage.

And of course as these are Google-branded handsets, they will all run the very latest version of Android OS with no custom launchers. The Nexus Sailfish and Marlin will come with Android Nougat pre-installed, but the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P should receive an over-the-air (OTA) update to Nougat mere weeks after the 2016 Nexus launch.

Read next: The best new features of Android Nougat

Nexus 5X vs Nexus 6P vs Nexus Marlin vs Nexus Sailfish: Cameras

Both the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P sport the same 12.3-megapixel rear camera, complete with laser autofocus (which helps to keep your subject sharp, and means a photos takes almost the very instant you hit the shutter button). The f/2.0 lens copes well with most conditions, although low light shots are often variable. Both 2015 Nexus phones can also shoot 4K video.

However, the Nexus 6P has one over the Nexus 5X with its 8-megapixel front-facing camera, which shoots crisper, more sttractive photos than the Nexus 5X’s 5-megapixel snapper.

Check out our Nexus 5X camera review and Nexus 6P camera review for full samples and analysis.

The Nexus Marlin and Sailfish are said to pack a 12-megapixel rear snapper and an 8-megapixel front-facer. You can expect them to come packing Optical Image Stabilisation, something missing from the 5X and 6P, as well as the latest phase detection autofocus tech.


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