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[UPDATED] How P for powerful is the Nexus 6P RF?

Posted by WiWavelength , in Author: Andrew J. Shepherd 28 September 2015 · 14,327 views

Nexus 6P Google Huawei FCC OET ERP EIRP
[UPDATED] How P for powerful is the Nexus 6P RF? by Andrew J. Shepherd
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates

Monday, September 28, 2015 - 10:40 AM MDT


Update:  Now that Google has released the full tech specs for the Nexus 6P, we can write a few addenda.  While the FCC OET authorization filings disclosed support for several GSM, W-CDMA, and LTE international bands -- something that they are not required to do -- they curiously omitted W-CDMA band 8, which is the GSM 900 MHz band.  Add that one to the W-CDMA list.  Additionally, we can confirm that the Nexus 6P will require a 4FF nano SIM.  For Sprint activation, will it be a USIM or a CSIM?  That remains to be seen.  Stay tuned.

Late last Friday afternoon, the LG manufactured Google Nexus 5X made its debut in the FCC OET (Office of Engineering and Technology) authorization database. S4GRU staffers quickly got down to work and broke the story with RF analysis that very evening.

Following hot on the heels of its smaller sibling, the Huawei manufactured Google Nexus 6P made a bright and early morning FCC OET appearance today. S4GRU was on the case right away. So, let us dive right in to the RF nitty gritty.

The Nexus 6P band support currently covers all major domestic operators -- VZW, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, USCC, C Spire, etc. It even future proofs itself for AT&T usage to an extent by including nascent band 30 (WCS 2300 MHz), a band not present in the Nexus 5X.

Moreover, it includes some notable international bands, which the authorization filing discloses. (Most FCC OET filings do not disclose international bands, as they are not required to be tested for US authorization.) For example, W-CDMA band 1 (IMT 1900+2100 MHz) is the primary W-CDMA band worldwide, and LTE band 3 (DCS 1800 MHz) is an emerging LTE band in many international markets.

For your perusal, the many bands/classes...
  • GSM 850/900/1800/1900
  • W-CDMA band 1/2/4/5
  • CDMA2000 band class 0/1/10
  • LTE band 2/3/4/5/7/12/13/17/25/26/29(Rx only)/30/41
From a physical standpoint, the Nexus 6P incorporates a dual antenna system. All LTE handsets that support 2x2 downlink MIMO must have at least two Rx antennas. But the Nexus 6P also utilizes a dynamic antenna capability on uplink Tx, switching between the two antennas at will, depending upon handset orientation and signal conditions.

Interestingly, though, the dynamic antenna Tx capability is limited to low band spectrum. Only bands/classes below 1 GHz are supported. Lastly, in another twist, the Nexus 6P authorization filings did include an antenna diagram -- something that has become increasingly rare due to cited confidentiality concerns. On the other hand, the antenna gain figures were not apparent anywhere in the filing. For the diagram, see below:

Posted Image

In keeping with most of this year's handsets based on the Snapdragon 808 or 810 -- both of which incorporate on die the Snapdragon X10 LTE modem -- the Nexus 6P supports 2x carrier aggregation on the downlink in both intra band and inter band configurations. In the case of inter band 2x CA, either band can be operated as the PCC (primary) or SCC (secondary).

2x CA downlink bands:
  • 2-2
  • 4-4
  • 41-41
  • 2-4
  • 2-5
  • 2-12
  • 2-13
  • 2-17
  • 2-29
  • 4-5
  • 4-12
  • 4-13
  • 4-17
  • 4-29
To wrap things up, let us examine the LTE band RF output. The usual provisos about lab testing versus real world performance and uplink versus downlink apply. The figures represent my best averaged and rounded estimates of maximum uplink ERP/EIRP test results provided to the FCC OET in the authorization filings for the device.

Overall, the ERP/EIRP figures are fairly consistent within each band and across all bands. In terms of tested performance relative to other handsets, the measurements are roughly average. The P in Nexus 6P is not for RF "powerhouse," but it certainly could stand for "proficient." Compared to the Nexus 5X, the Nexus 6P has a 2-3 dB tested advantage in high band, while the Nexus 5X has a 2-3 dB lead across most of the mid and low band.

ERP/EIRP:
  • Band 2: 21-22 dBm
  • Band 4: 21-23 dBm
  • Band 5: 18-19 dBm
  • Band 7: 21-23 dBm
  • Band 12: 17-18 dBm
  • Band 13: 17-18 dBm
  • Band 17: 17-18 dBm
  • Band 25: 21-22 dBm
  • Band 26: 18-19 dBm
  • Band 30: 20-21 dBm
  • Band 41: 21-22 dBm
Source: FCC




I guess considering it is a metal chasis the RF doesn't seem too bad.  I might have to really consider the Nexus 6P now given the leaked prices of $500 base while the Nexus 5X is $380 base.

I knew that NFC antenna would be moved to the top of the phone (ala Apple) with the finger print sensor on the back.  Wouldn't make sense to use it that way otherwise if it were more center placed as they are now on most phones.  Too bad it won't have wireless charging (or Sprint WiFi Calling). 

No sale for me and I'm sure many others.  These new Nexus devices are missing Wireless Charging, Optical Image Stabilization (camera) and a MicroSD slot, despite the great feature in Marshmallow to use MicroSD storage as Internal storage.  All of the excitement I had for the refreshed Nexus devices just went down the drain.  Oh well, they have that not so awesome fingerprint sensor (on the rear? Really?) going for it.

I knew that NFC antenna would be moved to the top of the phone (ala Apple) with the finger print sensor on the back.  Wouldn't make sense to use it that way otherwise if it were more center placed as they are now on most phones.  Too bad it won't have wireless charging (or Sprint WiFi Calling). 

 

No sale for me and I'm sure many others.  These new Nexus devices are missing Wireless Charging, Optical Image Stabilization (camera) and a MicroSD slot, despite the great feature in Marshmallow to use MicroSD storage as Internal storage.  All of the excitement I had for the refreshed Nexus devices just went down the drain.  Oh well, they have that not so awesome fingerprint sensor (on the rear? Really?) going for it.

Is wireless charging really out? That is obnoxious.

No sale for me and I'm sure many others.  These new Nexus devices are missing Wireless Charging, Optical Image Stabilization (camera) and a MicroSD slot, despite the great feature in Marshmallow to use MicroSD storage as Internal storage.  All of the excitement I had for the refreshed Nexus devices just went down the drain.  Oh well, they have that not so awesome fingerprint sensor (on the rear? Really?) going for it.

 

You do know that Nexus devices never had a microSD slot so not sure why that is a surprise to you.  Some of the other major flagships don't have that feature either so we just have to deal with it.

 

I am bummed about the lack of OIS if that is true.  Not sure why that compromise was made.  In terms of wireless charging, that does suck but I don't currently use wireless charging so I don't think of it as a deal breaker though at least for me.

 

2x CA downlink bands:

 

 

 
Should also support vice versa for a complete pairing of:
  • 2+2/4/5/12/13/17/29
  • 4+2/4/5/12/13/17/29
  • 5+2/4
  • 12+2/4
  • 13+2/4
  • 17+2/4
  • 41+41

 

Note: 1) For inter-band CA, all the listed bands above can be used as PCC or SCC expect for LTE B29. LTE B29 can be used as SCC only.
 

 

 

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WiWavelength
Sep 28 2015 12:30 PM

Should also support vice versa for a complete pairing of:

  • 2+2/4/5/12/13/17/29
  • 4+2/4/5/12/13/17/29
  • 5+2/4
  • 12+2/4
  • 13+2/4
  • 17+2/4
  • 41+41

 

Yes, but that is nothing new.  It is exactly what I wrote in the article.

 

AJ

As someone who hasn't used wireless charging previously, I don't mind the exclusion at all, especially considering the USB type C connector, and thus rapid charging capabilities.

 

Personally, I feel sd cards aren't secure and can only add to certain issues when working with different ROM's, etc.

 

I will be disappointed in the lack of OIS.  However, the Moto XPE has proven to be a solid camera performer without OIS.

 

These RF numbers are strong enough for me to make a purchase, although I'll be waiting for some reviews or hands-on before making the purchase.

I knew that NFC antenna would be moved to the top of the phone (ala Apple) with the finger print sensor on the back.  Wouldn't make sense to use it that way otherwise if it were more center placed as they are now on most phones.  Too bad it won't have wireless charging (or Sprint WiFi Calling). 

 

Android M has native Wi-Fi Calling: http://www.phone-pro...e-wifi-calling/

 

Hopefully, that means Sprint will support it.

I knew that NFC antenna would be moved to the top of the phone (ala Apple) with the finger print sensor on the back.  Wouldn't make sense to use it that way otherwise if it were more center placed as they are now on most phones.  Too bad it won't have wireless charging (or Sprint WiFi Calling). 

 

I'm not buying any phone with a fingerprint sensor on the back, tried that already with the HTC one max.... I use the phone as a GPS in the car all the time with a car mount, you can't access the stupid finger print sensor when you are driving and that thing is in the back of the phone.... having to type in a backup password is not ideal while driving.

 

having it on the front like apple and samsung is the way to go

How is the RF compared to the HTC One M8?  Just curious since I currently have that phone.

Android M has native Wi-Fi Calling: http://www.phone-pro...e-wifi-calling/

 

Hopefully, that means Sprint will support it.

That's all I need at this point, especially with the texting and missed call issue that's plagued the nexus 6 since launch...

You do know that Nexus devices never had a microSD slot so not sure why that is a surprise to you.  Some of the other major flagships don't have that feature either so we just have to deal with it.

I believe the first Nexus, the Nexus One had a sd card. 

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WiWavelength
Sep 28 2015 10:12 PM

How is the RF compared to the HTC One M8?  Just curious since I currently have that phone.

 

For flagship level devices, always check The Wall first.  S4GRU is a non profit, non paid staff site.  But we work hard for you.

 

http://s4gru.com/ind...mance-stack-up/

 

That said, in our FCC OET RF preview articles, we can present only lab tested figures, not real world performance.  So, take with a grain of salt any numbers comparison between handsets nearly two years apart.

 

AJ

I believe the first Nexus, the Nexus One had a sd card. 

 

Correct, at that time it wasn't an optional feature as internal memory hadn't come down to a point where it could theoretically handle everything, and the cloud wasn't really a thing yet.

I'm not buying any phone with a fingerprint sensor on the back, tried that already with the HTC one max.... I use the phone as a GPS in the car all the time with a car mount, you can't access the stupid finger print sensor when you are driving and that thing is in the back of the phone.... having to type in a backup password is not ideal while driving.
 
having it on the front like apple and samsung is the way to go

Trusted devices is your friend. If you have BT in your car its a non issue. Or as I do a moto 360/Moto Key Link/and BT on my car.

For flagship level devices, always check The Wall first.  S4GRU is a non profit, non paid staff site.  But we work hard for you.

 

http://s4gru.com/ind...mance-stack-up/

 

That said, in our FCC OET RF preview articles, we can present only lab tested figures, not real world performance.  So, take with a grain of salt any numbers comparison between handsets nearly two years apart.

 

AJ

 

I've got an M8 as well, so I'm interested in the same info, since that'll be my likely upgrade path:

 

Band: M8 vs 6P

25: 25.42  vs 21-22 dBm

26: 18.59  vs 18-19 dBm

41:  21.65 vs 21-22 dBm

 

So... conclusion... when you upgrade, it'll be worse with B25, but about same for B26 and B41. And frankly, this is totally fine in my book.  B25 is typically overloaded, B41 is where you always want to be... also, good B26 value means that you still get LTE inside buildings, so don't see much change there.

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WiWavelength
Sep 29 2015 09:56 PM

I've got an M8 as well, so I'm interested in the same info, since that'll be my likely upgrade path:

 

Band: M8 vs 6P

25: 25.42  vs 21-22 dBm

26: 18.59  vs 18-19 dBm

41:  21.65 vs 21-22 dBm

 

So... conclusion... when you upgrade, it'll be worse with B25, but about same for B26 and B41.

 

Possibly worse on band 25, possibly the same on the others.  But I would wait for real world performance reports.  Unfortunately, many recent HTC handsets on Sprint have something of a reputation for being flakey on LTE -- even though their tested performance has looked at least average to great on paper.

 

AJ

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WiWavelength
Sep 30 2015 06:22 PM

Based on your information the Nexus 6p should include CA 4+12 but official specs say otherwise (Googles Listing) anyway to confirm your specs or is it just based on the FCC listing and normally supported bands from the hardware.

 

The tested and/or listed specs in the FCC OET authorization filings are the "official specs." The Google specs are in error -- or the band 4 and band 12 CA combination has been disabled in firmware.

 

AJ

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The_Chemist
Oct 01 2015 05:13 PM
Thanks for the article. The best write-up I've seen on the 6P!
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WiWavelength
Oct 01 2015 11:40 PM

Thanks for the article. The best write-up I've seen on the 6P!

 

Thanks for the superlative.

 

I am sure that there are a lot of great hands on articles about the Nexus 6P, reviewing the body, screen, processor, camera, etc.

 

But with our FCC OET RF testing articles, S4GRU tries to fill a niche that goes unfilled elsewhere.

 

AJ

The 12-13-17 results have to be disappointing for the people on the other big carriers in the US. Otherwise, it's not a bad RF performer. Great write up as usual AJ. 

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WiWavelength
Oct 02 2015 11:31 AM

The 12-13-17 results have to be disappointing for the people on the other big carriers in the US. Otherwise, it's not a bad RF performer. Great write up as usual AJ. 

 

Not really disappointing, just average.  Low band ERP of 17-18 dBm is pretty much average.  Only if it starts to drop below that range, say 14 dBm or worse, does it become disappointing.  On the flip side, low band ERP at or above 20 dBm is very good.

 

Look at the iPhone 6S, which is an RF powerhouse in many bands.  But my figures show that its low band 12/13/17 ERP is right there in that average range at 17-19 dBm.

 

http://s4gru.com/ind...-could-win-one/

 

Also, keep in mind that ERP is a different measurement from EIRP, putting ERP at about a 2 dB disadvantage.  So, to compare roughly to EIRP in mid and high band, add 2 dB.

 

Plus, path loss plays a role.  Low band generally has at least a 7-15 dB advantage on mid and high band.  Thus, you can add that to the equation, too.  For a back of the napkin math example, band 12/13/17 at 18 dBm could be about equivalent to band 2/25 at 30 dBm.

 

AJ

That's all I need at this point, especially with the texting and missed call issue that's plagued the nexus 6 since launch...


I wonder if the Sprint Nexus 6 will get WiFi Calling support as part of the Android M update.

How does the signal on this phone compare to the Nexus 5's RF?