If you have root access to your Nexus 5X then you can enable Electronic Image Stabilization and here is the step by step guide to show you exactly how that is done.
When Google announced the Nexus 5X and 6P, a lot of the hardware was the same and they both had a very similar set of features. The Nexus 5X is a lower priced smartphone(in the mid-range category), while the Nexus 6P is the premium Nexus smartphone for 2015(hence the P in the name). So it was natural to see the Nexus 6P get a better SoC and more RAM than its smaller brother, but we also saw some of the same hardware used in both of them. The fingerprint scanner on the back, for example, are both the same pieces of hardware and perform exactly the same on the 5X and the 6P.
Another piece of hardware that was the exact same is the image sensor on the back of the device. Both the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P have the same rear-facing camera, but the 6P has more features than the 5X. The Nexus 6P has a video feature that lets you record slow motion video at 240 frames per second. This is a nice little feature and there have been a lot of interesting videos that have been created because of it. The Nexus 6P also has Electronic Image Stabilization, which is image stabilization for videos on the software level, since neither of these phones have hardware Optical Image Stabilization.
The Nexus 5X though, doesn’t have either of these two video features(the slow motion or EIS) out of the box and Google said it was because the Snapdragon 808 SoC inside the Nexus 5X just wasn’t powerful enough for the features. Whether not this is true(although I presume there could be some side effects from the feature), we can now enable this EIS feature on your Nexus 5X as long as you have root access.
Nexus 5X Enable Image Stabilization
- Root the Nexus 5X
- Download a Build.Prop Editor
- Launch the Build Prop Editor
- Grant Root Access if Prompted
- Tap the Pencil Icon at the Bottom to Enable Edit Mode(or tap the 3-dot menu icon at the top right and press edit)
- Scroll All the Way Down to the Bottom of the Build.Prop File
- Create a New Line
- Paste/Type the Following Code. . .
- Then Press Enter on the Keyboard to Create a New Line
- Tap the Save Icon at the Top Right
- Grant Root Access if Prompted
- Wait Until You See the Toast Message Saying the File is Saved
- Reboot the Nexus 5X
- Launch the Google Camera Application
- Tap the 3-Line Icon at the Top Left
- Tap the ‘Settings’ Option to Enter the Google Camera Settings
- Tap on the ‘Resolution & Quality’ Option
- Look Toward the Bottom and Make Sure ‘Enable Video Stabilization’ is Toggled On
Like I said, there could be a number of reasons as to why Google decided not to put this feature in. The cynic would tell you that Google just wanted to create a disparity of features between the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P to entice more people to buy the more expensive device. I feel that since Google sells so few Nexus devices that they aren’t motivated by profit from hardware like this. Google uses the Nexus program to showcase what they feel Android should be and that is as far as it goes. They are more interested in making profit from you using Google services on a Nexus device than actually selling them.
I simply think that Google did some performance tests with the feature on the Nexus 5X and for whatever reason they felt that it just wasn’t good enough. Maybe they were worried about background tasks being held up from the processing that the SoC has to do with image stabilization enabled. Maybe the actual performance of the image stabilization wasn’t good enough because the SoC couldn’t keep up with erratic movements. Whatever the case is though, Nexus 5X users don’t have an option to enable EIS out of the box and that is what this tutorial will allow you to do. So all you have to do is make sure your Nexus 5X is rooted(which means the bootloader has to be unlocked and you will need a custom recovery installed too).
The next thing you’ll need is a way to edit the build.prop file. You can do this with a root file explorer if you’d like, but I like things the simple way so I just use the Build Prop editor application that I linked in the guide above. Download this and open it so that you can start to edit the file. For me, there was a pencil icon at the bottom row of the application, but not everyone will see this for some reason. If you don’t see this pencil icon(which enables the edit mode), then you’ll need to tap the 3-dot menu icon at the top right and then tap on the edit option. From here, scroll down all the way to the bottom and create a new line if you need to.
You’ll want to type or paste the code I have in the tutorial above and then I like to create a new line under it, just so I have a blank line for the next time I want to add something to this file. This step isn’t required though. Once you have that code in its own line on the build.prop file, you’ll need to tap the save icon at the top right and grant the build.prop file root access if you are prompted. Once the file has been saved(you’ll now this by the toast message at the bottom), you can close the application and then reboot the Nexus 5X. Changes to the build.prop file don’t go into effect until it boots up with the changes already made.
Once the Nexus 5X boots back into Android, unlock the device and launch the Google Camera application. Dive into the Settings here and then look in the Resolution & Quality section of the settings. Toward the bottom, you should see a new feature that when enabled, will stabilize the video recordings of the Nexus 5X. There have been side by side tests done and most people agree that this little change actually does enable the feature.