Hands-on with the Google Nexus 4 (video)

Daniel Bader

November 13, 2012 7:30 pm


As we near the first shipment of Nexus 4′s to Canadians later this week, we thought it would be a good idea to give you a sense of what to expect. While we don’t yet have our review unit, we were able to play with the brand new Nexus device today at Google’s new headquarters in Toronto.

At first glance it looks remarkably like the Galaxy Nexus — at least its face does. Turning it to its sides you can immediately see improvements made not only to its build quality but its design. The Nexus 4 feels like a premium product, despite the fact that it is significantly cheaper than most high-end phones on the market. Its screen is crisp, its UI is fast, and its camera is capable.

And it should be: it’s based on the just-released Optimus G, which we loved.

As we prepare the full review for you, check out the clip below, where we take you through the phone’s new features as well as its impressive hardware.

  • R.Dot

    Wish I got my hands on one of these today. Great job on a well organized launch Google! Not.

    • Chris

      Well organized launch? Really? It was a freakin mess.

    • Hooo daaat

      Why is everybody saying Google didn’t do a great job launching their devices?

      Guys..Google wanted the devices to sell out and becomes out of stock! if they did a preorder then everybody will get the device and it would be business as usual..

      They need to create a hype for devices, when people cannot get something then they will talk about it and want it so bad..it is the reverse psychology!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      This is what Apple has been doing..line ups..sold out..wait a week..see how they got so many people that want their devices? the whole point of selling out is the hype..if you got your device then you wont go tell everyone that you have it..but if you didn’t then you want it so bad and you will mention it to everyone!

      Hello!!!!!! its their new marketing technique..that doesn’t mean I agree with it but it is what it is..

  • AppleStockHolder

    iPhone 5 is better. Better design, better OS, longer battery life.

    • howitzer

      and it only costs 400$ more for that Apple logo on the back

      Magical

    • COB

      I had an iPhone 5, batter life was terrible. That was the main reason I sold it

  • Ant

    Am I the only one who thinks the back looks ulgy as sin?

    • Ant

      ugly*

    • Ricky

      yup.

  • Justin

    You should start an article on how bad the product launch was. Wheres the logic in refreshing the page hundreds of times like a lottery maybe being one of the lucky ones that it showed in stock and not coming soon. I was tempted to go to telus and get the optimus G over this ordeal. All in all I was excited for today and now I feel let down and very disappointed with Google.

  • ActivesiN

    that launch was a nightmare…

  • Threecube

    Almost as messy as the Nexus 7 ordering. I will wait it out at least a month when everything calms down and I see what kind of durability the back of the phone has over time.

  • Jgoon

    *********

    My experience today:

    8am – Read article online that Nexus 4 will go live at 9am

    8:20am – Picked up a double double from Timmy

    8:30am – Load up Google Play at Nexus 4 Order Page

    8:34am – Randomly decided to press refresh and its live!

    8:35am – 16GB Nexus 4 Purchased.

    8:36-8:41am – Error Fest! Couldn’t buy bumper case/Nexus 10

    8:42am – Every product says “COMING SOON”

    *********

    • Jfern

      Actually the Nexus 10 devices are still available for purchase.

  • A Ghmn

    An incredible piece of hardware and software from LG and Google. Switching from Blackberry as soon as I get the chance to grab one of those from the play store, especially at this awesome price.

  • COB

    Looking forward to mine coming Friday

    • Brent

      same bro, I called google to make sure my order went through properly, the guy said yes and said I should have it in my hands friday or Monday! can’t wait.. Im in Toronto, so Im sure the shipping will be quick

  • Jay

    I call them and the girl told me that it sold out fast because people were able to buy 10 a the times. I asked her why and she answered that it’s to fit little business demand !!! WHAT ! Why they don’t have a corporate division and regular consumer with the option in this last one to buy 1 per account !!!!! F**** speculation on ebay!!!

  • mike

    I checked at 10:00 AM PST and it was sold. Can’t wait to get one

  • Cg33

    This is great. Have you guys done an article on the best prepaid phone plan to go with this awesome new phone? If not you should do that ASAP!

  • Chris

    I want it sooooo bad! If Google had made it pre-order and actually made enough devices available, none of that would have happened….

    Will they ever learn from their mistakes?

    Now the question I have is… How many devices were sold?

  • justin

    There was a screen protector on the back of the N4 that’s it caught so much more finger prints

  • Sam

    No removal battery? LOL, almost as stupid as an Iphone.

    • SAM

      OOHHHH!!!!!!!

  • Jv

    Im sure from google point of view the launch went well. They sold out in 10 min. I see that as a success. This phone went on sale all over the world. Not just north America. Stop whining about a “poor launch” simply because u couldn’t get a phone. I would say its a “rich” launch as they sold out in min. People sound like children. I already know mr telling these people the truth of what they sound like will give me many thumbs down, still dont care.

    • Jfern

      As much as I would agree with you, I still think Google could have been better prepared for this. If they had taken pre-orders, they would have had a concrete idea on how many devices they would need. And since they didn’t have that they could have even looked at the email subscription list, that many people signed up for (the one to notify them about the phone becoming available). If they had taken either into consideration, they could’ve possibly been better stocked and had far more happy customers than angry/disappointed ones.

    • Tom

      It’s OK that it sold out, and tells you so – it’s not OK that people got themselves into a mess trying to buy it.

      I realize that Google is fairly new to selling hardware like this, but they need to get their act together.

      Clearly, Google is more capable of handling massive demand reliably then any other company – now they need to lend some of that expertise to their e-commerce division.

  • BillNye

    As much as I want this phone, I’m going to have to pass. The back seems to crack very easily the unit in the video looks to already have a hairline crack like many other test and pre-retail units. Plus no removable battery and expand1able storage are deal breakers.

    Still it looks like a great device.

  • BAWS

    Glass Backin, No LTE, No removable Battery, No media card slot and a Bumper case. This sounds really familiar, outdated even, good thing it has a new OS

    Is it me or Fandroids are slowly becoming GSheeps.
    Just because it’s Cheap, doesn’t mean you need to run out and buy a LG stamped 3yeard old iphone 4.

    • Jfern

      3 year old iphone 4? you clearly haven’t taken a look at the specifications on the hardware of this phone. This outshines even the latest iPhone 5 by a mile. The only thing it loses at is having lack of LTE.

    • BAWS

      Geeeehhhhhhhh Geeeehhhhhhhh
      Again with the Specs talk. Wont you guys ever get it.
      Geeeehhhhhhhh Geeeehhhhhhhh
      Yup that’s the sound of the Gsheeps
      Hope you get this phone back casing cracked the first day you get it.

    • Tom

      “Is it me or Fandroids are slowly becoming GSheeps.”

      I was plenty annoyed at the lack of updates with the G’Nex and voiced it loudly. Wouldn’t have come back into the fold if they hadn’t taken such decisive steps to rectify the problem. And I can well understand that what they are doing – bypassing the carriers – requires them to drop LTE.

      As for removable storage and battery – those have never mattered to me, but for those that do care about those there are plenty of other Android options.

      And finally, Android-ers have always wanted good value for their money, and this phone (appears to) deliver that like no other. Even those fans that want removeable X and Y have to be impressed with what Google has done for consumers here.

  • George K

    At 0:48 in the video, is that a crack in the back glass or just some weird mark/smudge?

    • COB

      Pretty sure it is just the screen protector

  • Carl Lewis

    Can we get a post on the latest tally for Trojans that infect using IE10 — kind of relevant to WP8 and Surface given that it is the only approved browser

  • Antoine

    I was thinking about a Nexus 4, but my heart is really set on the superior Nokia Lumia 920 — preferably in candy apple red.

    Google just doesn’t have the track record in OSes or phones for me to trust them. I tried using Android and all the apps looked so different from one another.

    I don’t want to learn a million different interfaces in addition to learning Android. Save me from the For Dummies books, I want a stylish and simple interface so that I’m pocketing the phone 5 seconds after I wake it up.

  • Jerry S

    No LTE? No thanks, I’m going to buy an HTC Windows Phone 8X instead

    Even the iPhone has LTE, how is Google going to compete with Microsoft if it wants to be 1 of 2 platforms

  • ace

    at least it will have google maps, side swiping capabilities, and better battery life than some ‘other’ phones on the market.

  • Is This Bb10?

    I’ve lost a lot of respect for Google with this fiasco. They knew that supplies of Nexus 4 would far exceed demand it was launched. It’s like a woman giving you head and then leaving just before you unload. They should have taken pre-orders of the N4 and then filled them first-come first-served as supplies became available. If I can’t get the N4 by Christmas then I will get that Razr HD after all.

  • Canuck

    Nice device, but my Galaxy Nexus is doing just fine… To be honest 4.2 doesn’t even look that good. The lock screen widget screen looks finicky and unpolished. I’ll wait for the next nexus, which by the progressive things and the success of the N4 will be the mother of all devices ever produced…

    • George K

      I’m running 4.2 on my Gnex. The lockscreen widgets are not finicky at all. The problem is that people handling the phone, for some reason, are having trouble figuring out you need to swipe right from the edge. So in the videos you end up seeing them try to swipe multiple times until one of their swipes happens to catch the edge of the screen and it ends up making it look as if it’s unresponsive or buggy.

      It’s also a little confusing because it’s only the first swipe that needs to be initiated right at the edge. Once you’ve switched the lockscreen once, you can then swipe from anywhere just like you would on your homescreen. I’m assuming they did it like this to lessen the potential of swiping the phone into the camera while it’s in your pocket.

      With all that said, it isn’t really an awesome feature because you cant put more than one widget on the screen. It’s faster to unlock your phone and have 2 or 3 widgets on your homescreen than it is to swipe across multiple lockscreen pages.

  • dandroid

    Right because waiting by your computer for a few hours is so much worse then all those sheep that slept in front of the fruit store for days to get their shiny new toy.

    Stop blaming Google as if it’s the sold reason you couldn’t get it, as much as I wanted to get it today it didn’t happen and I’m sure by another day or so it’ll even out, even the note II didn’t get all the stock in, it’s more tricky then people think to stock that many phones in some warehouse

    also to people who bashed the Galaxy Nexus, it wasn’t Google’s fault for the lack of updates..it was Samsung Canada so you can point the finger at them, Google gave out the source code and all Samsung would have to do is make it work for the basebands and radios but clearly they didn’t ( although they support their own devices well )

    the lack of LTE is probably a better move seeing as it can get this device in more people’s hands faster, Andy Rubin gave a good talk about why they did this

  • ruaman

    I’d love to have a 32GB version for $409.

  • Jimmy

    Not sold in stores? Not everyone orders stuff.

  • Thai

    No removable battery. No LTE. No MicroSD. What happened? Did they hire an ex-iCrap employee to design it?

    • Scott

      Very few people even know you can take a battery out of a phone and those that do rarely do except power users. The LTE exclusion was explained already and micro SD storage is a thing of the past even Apple and Microsoft are moving to the cloud where Google has been for years now.

      I am disappointed they did not offer pre orders on the Nexus I wouldn’t mind paying for it knowing it was coming in a month but the lottery that was the payment site was a bad choice for Google. Poorly planned and poorly executed.

    • Saone

      Expandable and user controllable storage is a thing of the past?
      Wow
      Cloud storage is garbage.
      I have to pay to get a good data plan to access my own stuff because it is so antiquated for a sd card slot?
      Wow.
      I hope you have no say in future phones
      Maybe they should just make cloud storage antiquated and actually stop being so lame with the low memory count . but no, they need another way to make money from me. How much do you really think it would cost to make a phone with 64 gb instead of 8? Why even go that low?
      Cloud storage to me seems like a way for two company’s to get paid for me having a phone.

  • peters~

    What a joke . They hardly had any inventory.

  • Skumon

    dandroid: crying on the internet. cute. keep justifying gsheep.

  • Charlie

    They only had 100,000 units to sell.

  • Chuck

    After what happened this afternoon, seeing hands-on videos of the N4 just piss me off now. lol

  • Joey

    Google is smart, this whole ordeal has created huge demand. They can put more up for sale at the end of the week and the same thing is likely to happen.

    • Didn’t get one

      I’m not to sure about that. If I could’ve got one today, I for sure would’ve laid out the cash. But now that the hype is somewhat over, I can wait and see what else is coming down the pipe shortly.

  • baconeater

    I wonder if Google can derive data from today’s launch to help determine demand for the N4?

  • bembol

    Love the 4.2 upgrades but I’m very happy with my Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

    I will buy (as a back-up) the new Nexus when Samsung, Sony or hTc releases it.

  • Matty

    Do these come with SIM cards? Or would you have to go to WIND etc and buy a micro SIM card to put in it and activate that micro SIM to your phone number?

    • George K

      You could just put your existing sim card in it (you’d have to cut it if it isn’t a micro sim).

  • John Stewart

    Stop making phones out of glass! Would we buy bikes made of glass? Would we buy glass cars, glass tvs? No… We wouldn’t. So why build something that is meant to be in our hands non stop out of one of the most frail materials on the planet?

    “hey, check it out… I just bought a phone made of glass!” – I can’t be the only one who thinks that sounds extremely Stu pid.

    The iPhone 4(s) was a jo ke and after the disaster it was I can’t believe anyone would spend $400+ on an electronic device made of glass.

  • Saone

    Hey can you use the picture in picture on the nexus 7 like on the s3?

  • james

    ummm…ever hear of a tripod mate?

  • KID ANDROID

    Ppl complaining about it not having LTE obviously have no idea how much of a power hog LTE is. I have the international unlocked version of the Galaxy Note 2 which doesn’t have LTE and I’m getting 10-11hrs of continuous non stop use with the screen brightness Set at 3 / 4 power & my buddy has the Galaxy Note 2 with LTE and he’s only getting 6.5hrs of continuous non stop use with the exact same settings. Sorry but I would rather get nearly twice the battery life and usage of my phone then to get Web pages a couple seconds faster, wouldn’t you? The battery life is already not great on the Nexus 4 so LTE would have been terrible for it. The back of the device looks c I have to rip off. The screen is cool as hell but would smash or at least crack so easy it ridiculous so you better get a case immediately with your purchase. The price is amazing for a phone with such great SPECS. A quad core processor pro powered device for under $400 is incredible and Google is really rewarding those who buy into the Nexus program as LG is selling the phone for over $500 and that’s what providers will be selling it for so grab it from Google play. ANDROID IS THE FUTURE & IF YOU HAVENT REALIZED THAT YET THEN YOUR A COMPLETE MORON & SORRY MORONS BUT SPECS MATTER & IF YOU DONT KNOW THAT THEN YOU HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT ELECTRONIC DEVICES. The Nexus 4 is a great device for the price but the Galaxy Note 2 is the king of mobile devices & the best device available right now hands down no argument. – KID ANDROID. ( Team.Android.Canada)

  • Peters~

    Did you see Google’s comments. They hardly had any inventory to begin with. Good pre-Christmas strategy to hype this up. And what a let down for Google fans. I expected more from Google. Something tells me they were testing the market. That or there marketing head should be fired.

  • andrich

    Pros: No bloatware, no contract, top level specs, Jelly Bean, $300 less than comparable smartphones.

    Cons: No LTE, No memory card slot

    Verdict: Early Christmans present coming my way.

  • ile2010

    It WAS a poor launch. The device being sold out within minutes means nothing. Wasn’t the Surface RT sold out at first? Microsoft has stated that they’ve had modest success (read: the sales figures are crap).

    Who is impatiently waiting for the N4? Fans of Google. They’ll get it no matter what. Limited numbers won’t create any hype with the majority of smartphone users, because they don’t know about this phone. I was at a Wind kiosk yesterday and asked how their GNex is selling. They told me it’s still one of their best sellers, despite its price.

    Ways that this launch could’ve been better:

    1. Announce a FIRM time when the sale will start.
    2. Limit 1 unit per account.
    3. Online queue, similar to Best Buy’s Boxing Day sale.

    Sure, it’ll still have glitches and some people will still be pissed off, but less so than now.

    Expect to see a bunch of these on Kijiji now for ~$600 from the people that bought 10.

  • Sean

    Waiting for my 16gb to ship on Thursday. Hope it will arrive on Monday. Beast of a phone for less then $400, tax and shipping in. Pure Android at last. Been stuck on Gingerbread for the last year, and that’s why I will never buy another HTC phone again.