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[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:




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.



  • 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

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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.

Nexus One had SD.

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