It was November 16, 2015; 48 days since the release of the much anticipated Huawei Nexus 6P (September 29, 2015.) Along with LG’s Nexus 5X, these two were the last among the Nexus lineup. The Nexus lineup was Google’s platform to really demonstrate Android’s capabilities and has always been the shining standard in terms of software experience. It was needless to say that we were expecting the Nexus phones to go out with a bang.
My Experience with the Nexus 6P & Huawei
The 6P was rather difficult to find offline, your best bet was to make the purchase online. Even then, it’d often go out of stock on the Google Store. However, the situation never escalated to match the stocking nightmare that came with the Pixel. I finally saved up enough and got around to placing my order on the 16th of November. Days later, my new phone showed up. Immediately, I popped my sim card out of my now retired iPhone 5S and set up my 6P.
Android wasn’t anything new to me. At this point, I’d used one Android phone prior to my iPhone; the Sony Xperia Pro, and I had an Asus Nexus 7 (gen 2) tablet. I knew what to expect; the software experience was familiar and browsing around the interface and through the apps felt smooth as butter. My first couple of week with the 6P was the best, but it was short lived.
I had placed an order for a RhinoShield bumper case before the phone while my new phone was shipping. Unfortunately, there were issues and the shipment of my case had to be delayed. It didn’t seem like a big deal to me, until I dropped my 6P out of a cheap $20 Google Cardboard. Instantly, the screen shattered as it contacted the ground. I was surprised by this result; I’d never shattered a phone screen before. My iPhone 5S was dropped many times on many different surfaces but it has barely suffered any damage! I was very disappointed, obviously the glass on the screen wasn’t as high quality as the one on the iPhone. I tried contacting Huawei and a rep told me to email her some pictures of the phone’s damaged screen. I never got a response.
Soon afterwards, my RhinoShield showed up, finally. I really liked the bumper; it’s minimal and sleek. Totally my style. It also offers some pretty good protection. However, the damage had already been done and Huawei wasn’t going to help me. So, I ordered a tempered glass screen protector to avoid cutting my finger on the broken glass and tried to forget about the issue. The phone still performed the way it should, so the damage was merely cosmetic.
On an odd but unrelated note, users began reporting that the glass on the back of the phone would begin cracking on its own in the cold season.
Keep in mind, the battery on the Nexus 6P is not easily replaceable. The entire phone has to be forced open. So, I was continuing my use of the phone and still enjoyed every aspect of it, except for the shattered glass of course. Then, the unexpected happened. Users began reporting that their phone would begin shutting down at 20% battery. Some even reported higher percentages. I was one among these users. After reading the numerous reports, it became clear that the drop had nothing to do with this issue. This was a manufacturer defect. This was about one year ago.
Eventually, the phone began shutting down at higher percentages; 30%, 40%, 50%, I once even had it shut down somewhere above 70% in the cold (it wasn’t that cold, maybe -3 degrees Celcius at most.) This obstacle left me in many undesirable situations. I’ve had to cancel appointments due to a lack of communications means, without being able to even communicate the cancellation. Not a good look. I’ve also been left in various parts of town without access to Google Maps, which is how I would get there in the first place.
The situation today.
Last week, the subreddit /r/nexus6p started a thread about the RMA situation. Google was letting users send in their defective units to be replaced by a Pixel XL, since the Nexus 6P went out of stock. Users reported that Google was being very generous with the RMA’s and let customers send in their phones well beyond the warranty period. This seemed very fair; we had to endure several months of totally unreliable battery life and the warranty only lasted a short year. For about a week, many users reported a very positive experience with Google’s Support. So, last Sunday, I decided to test my luck after reading about a couple of users who has a replacement unit approved even though their screens were cracked.
It was my first time contacting Google support via my phone’s setting menu, which is a neat feature. I requested a callback and a rep reached out within a minute. The communications went smoothly, I had already prepared my receipt beforehand but it wasn’t needed. They just needed my IMEI number and asked if I tried some of the standard procedures (restarting phone, turning off bluetooth & wifi, clearing cache, factory reset, etc.) After a short talk, the rep said he’d see if he can get a replacement unit for me and I was put on hold for a minute. When he got back, I was told that my replacement unit had been denied. I was told the warranty itself didn’t cover manufacture defects and that my cracked screen and lack of an active warranty were the reasons why I was denied the replacement. They offered to give me Huawei’s contact, which I politely declined, telling them I had already tried that.
Google’s support has been very inconsistent about the Nexus 6P. Some users report that you would have a higher chance if you don’t mention the Pixel or a replacement unit (both of which I did not mention.) All I wanted was for my phone to be fixed so it could last me till the end of the year. It hasn’t even been two years since I had purchased the phone. Now, users report that the reps are claiming a change in policy, while others reported being told that the Pixel went out of stock.
It should be noted that Google has no obligation to replace out of warranty devices.
It seems Google has stopped offering replacement units altogether. Perhaps it’s to stop certain users from exploiting the situation. Or maybe they didn’t expect to replace so many defective units and ran out of stock. Regardless, it leaves many of us customers in the dust, disappointed.
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