Well, the OnePlus One was a lot of phone for the money but, only a year old, is dying; the GPS has checked out and the pictures it takes look bad. I didn’t feel like phone-shopping but when I did, the 5X was an easy choice. It’s just fine, but only three features matter. With winter beach pix.
What doesn’t matter · The screen’s great; the phone’s thin and light; the GPS is as good as I’ve had; the LTE’s fast; the OS is contemporary and fast; the battery gets though a day. And these things are true of every phone at every kiosk in every mall.
The 5X isn’t the biggest but I don’t care, I use a 7" device for book-reading and game-playing and so on.
Fingerprint! · The fingerprint sensor is da bomb. So far, a few days in, it just doesn’t miss unless I totally miss. Actually, the first time I hit the thing sideways with the corner of my finger and it misfired, I was relieved; reassured that it was actually checking.
Dunno about you, but I turn my phone on a whole lot. Which with the sensor is a lot of not tapping in my (nontrivial) PIN; it adds back a chunk of time to every day, and subtracts significant irritation.
The sensor’s on the back, right where your index finger wants to land, with a little ring around it to help you land right. They tell me some other phones put the sensors elsewhere; I can’t imagine why.
Camera! · When the phone cams started getting good, I gave my Mom my excellent Sony pocket cam. So it really hurt when the One+’s started failing, and “good camera” was high on my shopping-list criteria. Reviews suggest that the 5X’s is as good as the best, more or less.
These pictures (taken on Vancouver’s Point Grey Foreshore) won’t tell you much about camera quality. There was plenty of even, grey light coming in from all directions, and any phonecam would have done well. Having said that, I thought the review link above made a good case for the 4:3 aspect ratio, as opposed to the skinnier 3:2.
I do have one issue; the built-in Camera app is very bare-bones. I might like to experiment with aperture and RAW mode and so on, but it doesn’t offer that. The underlying Camera API can do all sorts of cool stuff, and there are a bunch of photo-taking apps for sale; I’d like one of the good photo sites to do a comparative review.
Hmmm… if I shot RAW, I wonder if Lightroom (or any other good photo editor) would be able to deal with the files?
Being a Nexus · With scary stuff like Stagefright in the wild, you really want to be carrying a phone that gets OS patches promptly. The Android ecosystem is getting better at this, but for now, a Nexus means rarely having to say you’re sorry.
Connector · It’s a USB Type-C. Which is good, I guess, because it doesn’t care which way you put it in. I suspect there’ll be a measurable bump in global productivity once we’re no longer taking, on average, 1.5 attempts for every mobile-device cable insertion.
In the here and now it’s a major pain in the ass; our family has a half-dozen or so mobile devices, and many many charging cables, none of which work with the 5X. Progress, sigh…
Will it change my life? · Nope. The days when a new mobile device would do that are long gone.