Google Nexus 4 Review

9.1

Daniel Bader

November 19, 2012 10:08 pm

Sometimes it feels like the world is becoming awfully small. You can fly direct to Tokyo from Toronto, WiFi on the plane and, once on the ground, head to a local store to purchase a prepaid SIM. And while it’s not particularly difficult to unlock a carrier-locked smartphone, the quick rise of the Nexus line has brought to light the value of factory unlocked phones.

But more importantly, the Nexus line has always been about the best of Google. Partnering with various OEMs — HTC, Samsung, Asus and now LG — there is value in seeing where Android is headed next. The Nexus brand is a bellwether for the future of the operating system.

Now in its fourth year, the Nexus 4 is simultaneously the cheapest and most mature offering from Google yet. LG may have received its fair share of derision from users disappointed with its slow pace of software updates, but there is no doubt that the company can make an attractive and premium smartphone. With the Nexus 4, Google and LG have managed to forge an entirely new segment of the market: affordable, premium handsets with no carrier intervention. While there are numerous reasons why one would want to stay within the carrier-contract fold, the Nexus 4 provides the first tangible look at a contract-free future, and it’s bright.

Specs

– Android 4.2
– 4.7-inch 1280×768 pixel True IPS+ display
– 1.5Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro
– 2GB RAM / 8-16GB internal storage
– 8MP BSI camera / 1.3MP front camera
– WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Miracast
– 2100mAh battery (non-removable)
– EDGE/HSPA+(21Mbps)/DC-HSPA+ (42Mbps)
– 850/900/1700/1900/2100Mhz
– 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm
– 139g

Design & Screen

The Nexus 4 is a combination, spiritually, of the Galaxy Nexus and the LG Optimus G. Its roots lie in LG’s recently-released phone (which we liked a lot), and the Nexus 4 is covered in Gorilla Glass on both sides, plus a similar port/button layout to its carrier-sold sibling. While the Optimus G feels a bit more like a true high-end phone, the Nexus 4 carries a fair amount of design prowess in its own right. Whereas the Optimus G has slippery sides of glossy plastic, the Nexus 4 employs a rubbery compound that makes the phone far easier to grip.

Whereas we constantly feared dropping the Optimus G onto either of its glass faces, for a number of reasons we never had that same fear with the Nexus 4. The Nexus 4 is slightly taller and thicker than the Optimus G, but because it is some 3mm narrower, feels far easier to use in one hand. The same goes when compared to the Galaxy Nexus: though they share almost the same dimensions, I found the Nexus 4 more compact and enjoyable to use one-handed despite its larger screen.

The two Nexii share an identically-placed notification LED, set in the middle below the screen, which pulses in various colours when vying for your attention. This is our favourite form of a notification light, as it remains invisible until activated. Considering neither the iPhone 5 nor the Lumia 920 employ such a system, we’re confident in saying the Nexus 4 (and Android in general) maintains the best compromise between aesthetic uniformity and obsessive phone-checking tendencies.

The microUSB port is centred on the bottom of the phone, and does triple duty as a charging, data transfer and Slimport. But wired isn’t the only way to charge the Nexus 4: employing wireless charging, one can purchase an optional Qi-compatible stand (pronounced “Chi”), or the still-unreleased Nexus 4 Charging Orb, to top up the phone’s battery. Then there’s Miracast, another new standard that promises to provide AirPlay-like screen mirroring for compatible televisions.

Near the top on the right side lives the power button. Gone are the days of top-located power buttons, and we’re pretty happy with the trend, though its placement is more a boon for right-handers than lefties. The power button and left-side volume rocker alike could be made with nicer materials; we found them to be, for lack of a better word, “squishy,” as neither seemed to be firmly planted in the phone’s shell. These buttons, and the slightly garish plastic chrome trim around the phone’s front bezel, are the only indications that this device is the result of inevitable cost-cutting on the part of LG.


The screen, identical to that of the Optimus G, is stunning. One of the best displays on the market, it’s got 48 more vertical pixels than the Galaxy Nexus, and introduces yet another standard resolution, 1280×768, for developers to concern themselves with. While few apps exhibited any signs of awkwardness, the Nexus 4 lacks the ability to force an app to render in full screen. Some apps, like the popular Speedtest, appear letterboxed because they are limited to 4:3 or 16:9 ratios; the Nexus 4 is 5:3.

But it must be made clear that the Nexus 4 gives up some 36 of its extra vertical pixels for the on-screen navigation buttons, leaving it with only slightly more real estate than the Samsung Galaxy S III or HTC One X. And how does its screen fidelity compare to those top-tier devices? As we said in the Optimus G review, the Nexus 4 has an extremely clear, luscious IPS display, with a very small gap between the glass and the LCD itself. Reflections, therefore, are lower than traditional LCDs and viewing angles are fantastic.

When compared to the Galaxy S III, the Nexus 4 appears muted, even cold, but it should be noted that AMOLED displays are (in)famous for over-saturating colours and obscuring their true nature. When compared to the iPhone 5, both phones manage to eke out every bit of detail from the above fall scene, but the iPhone 5 ultimately renders the image more vividly without obscuring the colours’ true hue. This is because, while the Nexus 4 has one of the highest contrast ratios we’ve seen from a mobile screen, along with excellent maximum brightness, Google has failed to calibrate the screen properly, resulting in colour inaccuracy. It’s not going to prevent you from enjoying what’s rendered, but it prevents the Nexus 4 from toppling the One X or the iPhone 5 as the best display on the market.

Ultimately, the Nexus 4 has one of the best screens in production today. It is mostly accurate, extremely responsive, has best-in-class brightness and contrast, and lacks the annoying PenTile legacy of its forebear. It is a superior screen — heck, a superior device — in every way to the Galaxy Nexus. That it is sold for under $360 is a miracle, considering the technology on display, and inside. Which leads us to…

Performance

More miraculous than the excellent screen, for its price the Nexus 4 has some of the top-performing innards of any phone on the market. Sporting a 1.5Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chip, a next-generation Adreno 320 graphics processor and 2GB of DDR2 RAM, there is close to nothing the Nexus 4 can’t accomplish smoothly. Add to that the presence of Google’s latest Android 4.2 software — with no bloatware or hidden software taking up precious clock cycles — and you have yourself one of the fiercest phones currently available.

While Android 4.2 is mostly an iterative bump over its predecessor — and is rightfully still referred to as Jelly Bean — there are a number of key improvements that add to the whole experience. First, however, let us explain why we’re not going to be focusing on benchmark results on the Nexus 4. If you’ve read the reviews of the phone on other sites, you may have noticed that while Google’s new flagship fares well across the board, it doesn’t manage to outscore some aging dual-core Snapdragon S4 devices. This is due to two things, both of which are beyond users’ control but must be looked at individually to understand the larger picture.

First, most non-GPU benchmarks focus on Javascript performance, which are performed in the browser and can be compared across platforms. Because Google includes Chrome as the main browser on the Nexus 4, it lacks the V8 engine optimizations that OEMs take pains to include. As such, despite the Nexus 4 incorporating the same CPU, GPU and RAM as the Optimus G, it scores lower in most CPU-intensive benchmarks. Android benchmarks are rife with code that can be manipulated by OEMs for their own gain. This is why Quadrant was considered so manipulable for so long, and why we are reticent to recommend it despite its popularity.

Second, in order to optimize battery life, Google has engaged a process called thermal-based throttling, whereby the processing cores slow to a speed optimized for temperature and user experience. In other words, when the Nexus 4 gets hot it slows down, both to save battery cycles and to prevent burning its users. Some buyers have complained that the Optimus G gets too hot to hold when playing games or downloading large files; the Nexus 4, for better or worse, does not suffer from this problem. But it also comes at the expense of GPU-based benchmark scores.

The Nexus 4, despite these limitations, is an extremely fast device, capable of doing just about anything on Android faster than your current phone. Subjectively, we noticed few slowdowns, though there were occasional force-closes and other signs of immature code. When games performed poorly, it was more due to being unoptimized for Android 4.2 than overworking the GPU.

For the most part, the Nexus 4 felt faster than any other Android phone available today;  that speaks both to the phenomenal hardware inside the device, and optimizations made by Google to the software. Which brings us to…

Software

Android 4.2 is not a huge change over its predecessor, but it improves upon what made Android 4.1 Jelly Bean such a fantastic OS. Thanks to Project Butter, the Nexus 4 is incredibly smooth and, with a few exceptions, we would say that this OS is now on par with iOS and Windows Phone 8 in terms of speed and reliability. Perhaps not smoothness but that, too, will come in time.

We’ll focus on three improvements: the keyboard, lockscreen widgets and the quick settings menu. Things like Google Now have been back-ported to older versions of Jelly Bean with an update to the Google Search app, so its not entirely new here.

The keyboard included with Android 4.2 now rivals iOS and Windows Phone 8: it’s just that good. Not only does it make intelligent predictions of the next word you’re going to type, but it does so in such a way that it never impedes your ability to type in the first place. While iOS contains an occasionally-psychic ability to correct the word you’re currently typing, Android 4.2 will use sentences you’ve previously typed to determine which word you want to use next. That, and a hugely improved autocorrect algorithm, means that Nexus 4 owners will be less inclined to trawl the Play Store for alternatives such as SwiftKey and Swype.

Speaking of Swype, the Android 4.2 keyboard brings gliding to the table, and does it with aplomb. Compared to the half-baked iterations available to owners of modern HTC and Samsung devices, the stock Android 4.2 keyboard never mistakes tapping for swiping, and more than often will assume the correct word on the first go-around. The more you use the keyboard, too, the more it learns about your typing skills.

The operating system also better deals with words added to the dictionary. When the phone doesn’t know a word you’ve added, a red line will still appear under it, giving you a list of suggested alternatives. But now, when you want to add that word to the database, it will keep you inside the app instead of spitting you out to the Settings. It’s a small but notable change, and an example of how Google is slowly but surely improving the minutiae of Android’s remaining quirks.

Lockscreen widgets are a great idea — quick access to important information without unlocking your phone — but its implementation feels incomplete. By default, Android 4.2 offers Calendar, Gmail, Clock, Messages and Digital Clock, but developers can integrate their apps into the platform, bringing Twitter, Facebook or weather, among others. Where it goes wrong is in its execution: while you still see the regular lock screen when you turn on your phone, swiping to the right shows off the various widgets. They’re the same as those you’d find on the home screen, scrollable and interactive, but when you attempt to unlock the device most of the widget disappears, leaving only a portion of the original floating like some severed head. It looks ugly, and doesn’t appear to have the same polish as the rest of the OS.

The Quick Settings menu is another addition to Android 4.2, and it builds on ideas introduced by Android OEMs. Samsung and LG incorporate toggles into their notification bars, eating valuable space, pushing actual notifications further down the screen. It’s a clumsy and often-invasive implementation. Motorola, on the other hand, did away with toggles inside the notification shade in its recent version of Android and instead allows users to access the same shortcuts by swiping right on the home screen.

Google’s new quick settings menu is by far the most innovative of the bunch. Accessed with a single tap of an icon at the top right of the notification shade, it can also be opened by swiping down from the top of the screen with two fingers. It’s swift and natural and just feels right.

A couple more subtle improvements to Android 4.2 underscore just how frustrating it is for the millions of Android users stuck on older versions. At this point it would be impossible for us to endure a device running Gingerbread, and it’s getting to the point where even Ice Cream Sandwich is without some of Android’s most acclaimed features. Not only are expandable notifications and Google Now, two of the best features, Jelly Bean-only, but they’re shaping the way users actually use the OS. Just as lockscreen widgets will inevitably free up room on the home screen, expandable notifications make it easier to determine whether to action a specific email or tweet right away.

As we explained in a previous post, Gmail has been updated to support zooming and quick archive, two more minor additions that make a big difference in how you use the app. So too has the app picker been fixed: while it looks the same as on 4.1, double-tapping on a particular icon will bypass the Always/Just once selection and go straight into that app.

Android 4.2 is the next step in the process of smoothing the rough edges of a once-homely operating system. There is no question that the experience is completely different than just 18 months ago. While many OEMs mask the inherent beauty of Matias Duarte‘s design, it’s clear that Jelly Bean is a stunning and usable operating system in every way. With a robust app ecosystem, flexible home- and lock-screen implementations, the more expansive notifications in the business, a great keyboard and fantastic first-party apps, Android is no longer a me-too OS. It’s setting the standard.

We didn’t touch on the new clock app, the screensaver-like Daydream feature and improvements to Project Butter. We’ll take a look at those in the Nexus 10 tablet review.

Camera

No Nexus device to date has been equipped with a competitive camera. Indeed, this is the first one with sensor that exceeds five megapixels. And while the Nexus 4 and the Optimus G share the same sensor, it is the camera experience that is truly notable here.

Photo and video quality, as expected, is pretty good. The Nexus 4 can take great photos, there is no doubt, but the sensor does not achieve the same sharp results of the Galaxy S III and iPhone 5. This is due to the fact that the 8MP sensor itself is quite a bit smaller than previous versions, largely eliminating the dreaded “bump” found on many other phones. On the other hand, dynamic range suffers as a result, and because Google quite generously applies artificial sharpening to all photos taken with the Nexus 4, shots have a notable softness to them. Photos taken in good lighting conditions are great, and can be safely compared to other high-end devices in the market, but they’re not remarkable.

The Nexus 4 also suffers from surplus noise in low-light locales. This is not uncommon in smartphones, as the small sensor size prevents a sufficient amount of light from entering the sensor, but it’s especially notable here. We wish we had better news for avid Android photographers, but the take-away is that the Nexus 4 is a dramatic improvement over the Galaxy Nexus in sharpness, colour reproduction and speed. Unfortunately, it’s not better than the incumbent leaders in the category, namely the Galaxy S III and iPhone 5.

Where the Nexus 4 succeeds is in HDR photos. As you can see from the shots above, the HDR shot (on the right) delivers clear, legible text from a scene where phone sensors traditionally have trouble with dynamic range. Shots are processed quickly, with barely a second added to the overall shot.

Video quality, too, is merely good. Like the Optimus G, 1080p video is encoded at around 12Mbps, and is shaky to the point of being unwatchable at times. This doesn’t preclude the Nexus 4 from taking good video, but you must be keenly aware of keeping your hand(s) steady while recording. The good news is that the phone’s microphones are not overly sensitive, and captured audio quality is excellent.

The Nexus 4’s front-facing camera also got an upgrade over its predecessor, and the 1.3MP sensor is sharp and smooth. Nothing more needs to be said about that.

Android 4.2 changes the way users interact with the camera app. Gone is the permanent right-side menu; instead, users tap on the screen to bring up a circular dialogue. It sounds frustrating in theory, but in practice it allows for quick changes that often mean the difference between a good and bad shot. Digital zoom has also been improved, with clear on-screen values shown as you use your thumb and forefinger to pinch.

Unfortunately, the default app doesn’t allow users to change much more than white balance and exposure values; there are no options to alter ISO, or add effects. The HDR mode is useful for situations with large contrast between dark and light scenes, and we found it to work very well under most circumstances.

The new Gallery also supports extensive edits to photos and screenshots. Not only can you add effects, crop photos and change the brightness, sharpness and vibrance of a particular photo, but you can straighten and mirror individual shots, too.

Perhaps the most impressive, and vexing, addition to the Android 4.2 camera is Photo Sphere, an extension of the Panorama mode that debuted in Ice Cream Sandwich. Now, with a careful hand and some nuance, you can capture 360-degree expanses, stitched together with impressive accuracy.

The software walks you through how to capture the full panorama: a steady hand, a stable body, and a willingness to follow the blue dot. It may take a few tries to get right, but once completed the results are amazing. You can upload them to Google+ or, even better, to Google Maps, which has a growing directory of public, geo-located panoramas.

Battery Life

Despite aggressive CPU throttling and a lack of LTE, we were concerned that the Nexus 4 would not hold up to our regular, ahem, battery of tests. It’s hard to objectively test real-world battery life using a device for only  a few days, but we did our best to mimic regular usage on the Nexus 4. This was done by popping our SIM card into the phone, loading our favourite apps and using it as we would a daily driver. This was easy, since the Nexus 4 is factory unlocked and supports any network in Canada.

Based on our experience with the LG Optimus G, we knew that battery life would not be best-in-class. This is the second device we’ve tested with Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset, and despite being built on a 28nm process, it is still moderately more energy-intensive than the dual-core version. We did manage to eke out between 10 and 15 hours per charge, but it came nowhere near to the standards set by the Motorola RAZR HD LTE.

Battery life on Nexus phones have always been tangibly below the market at their time of release, and while the Nexus 4 uptime dramatically exceeds that of the Galaxy Nexus, it sits comfortably in the middle of the pack. Considering the phone is limited to HSPA+ this is slightly disappointing, but you must remember that battery life is a combination of hardware and software; Google could, and very well may, release an update to fix the device’s nascent battery issues.

Network Speed & Call Quality

When we heard about the Nexus 4, the first thing that pundits said was that the phone will never be competitive without LTE support.

We will be very clear: lacking LTE is not a huge liability to most Canadians. Those who already have LTE-based phones will certainly notice a speed drop in the uplink, but Canadian have an abundance of choice in this regard.

Unlike our neighbours to the south, Canada has three fully-formed UMTS networks capable of performing at high speeds on both HSPA+ (Rogers, Wind, Mobilicity) and DC-HSPA+ (Bell, Telus). While the theoretical maximum speeds of 21Mbps and 42Mbps respectively are unlikely to be reached, every carrier in Canada now claims faster UMTS speeds than America’s second-largest carrier, AT&T.

What does this mean in daily use? On Rogers, we were able to consistently achieve near the maximum speeds for a given sector — between 12Mbps and 19Mbps down — with ping times under 80ms. These are download speeds that mimic LTE in certain parts of Canada. The biggest liability for legacy HSPA+ networks is a lack of upload speeds, which max at 5.76Mbps regardless of whether the downlink is aggregated. This shows in our results: download speeds of 16Mbps, combined with a latency of just over 50ms, could be straight out of an LTE sector; it is only the relatively poor 1Mbps upload speeds that give away the phone’s UMTS roots.

We weren’t able to measure the speeds of Wind and Mobilicity, mainly because we don’t have a microSIM card for those carriers, but we will do our best to get a hold of them in the near future.

Call quality on the Nexus 4 was good across all networks we tried. Sound through the headpiece and the back speaker was crisp and highly intelligible. Compared to other devices in the same category, the Nexus 4 performed better than most, though it lacked the confident boom of the Motorola RAZR HD LTE, our standard bearer in this category.

The Nexus 4 did suffer from a small issue related to reception. We found that, like the Optimus G, the Nexus had consistently one to two fewer bars than the equivalent Samsung, Motorola or Apple device on the same network. While we never completely lost service, the relative under-performance of the Nexus 4 antennas concerned us. This only posed a problem in areas of traditionally low signal, such as in buildings with thick walls or in basement apartments, but it was in those places we found the Nexus 4 unable to match the HSPA+ performance of the aforementioned three devices.

Update: Note that the RF issues we experienced were not directly related to the number of bars displayed on the device, but to the phone’s actual signal, in decibels, compared to other devices. We tested signal quality, network speed and levels of attenuation in three areas, two of which were prone to low signal quality, and found that the Nexus 4 was a few -dB below in each one. Not a lot, but enough to indicate an issue with antenna design.

Conclusions

The Nexus 4 is in the enviable position of being the best deal in the smartphone space. It will appeal to different prospective customers for a variety of reasons. The traveller will appreciate its factory unlocked, pentaband radio; the hacker will love its unlockable bootloader and extensive developer support; the deal hound will enjoy its low price; and the enthusiast will clamour for the latest Android software, high-end specs and gorgeous screen.

Ultimately, though, its appeal will be limited. The vast majority of Canadian smartphone users will continue to buy their phones at retail store, sign a contract and live for two to three years with the same piece of hardware. For those users, the Optimus G may be a better bet. The Nexus 4’s lack of LTE, no removable battery or expandable storage, mediocre camera quality and vulnerable glass back may turn away a few customers, too.

To everyone else, the Nexus 4 is easily the best all-around Android phone currently available, and it cannot be overstated how lucky we are as Canadians to be able to purchase this device and use it on practically any network in the country.

9.1

Final Score

9.1

Final Score

  • skippypaccino

    Just Release more Google !!!

    • NOOB!!!

      There’s no wifi on flights between Tokyo and Toronto!

    • InfinitiGuy

      Excellent review.

    • KID ANDROID

      I HEARD GOOGLE JUST RELEASED MORE!!!!! I keep hearing benchmarks are great on it but I just ran quadrant on my Galaxy Note 2 after having it for a month and it’s full of apps and everything and I got 5581 so it’s not quite as good as the Galaxy Note 2 ;-) – KID ANDROID. ( Team.Android.Canada)

  • MrMarvelous

    One hell of a review. :o

  • Tony

    Can’t wait to buy this… Get some damn stock already Google!

  • Cody

    The HTC Droid DNA (Deluxe) is the only reason I won’t have one of these.

  • Rayzorexe

    Great Review. The price is perfect to anyone who wants a high end phone at a mid range price…Too bad it doesn’t have a 32 or 64GB option

  • Tom

    I think the ‘thermal throttling’ will also prolong the life of the phone. Heat kills electronics.

    Really pleased that they incorporated ‘swype’ like functionality in the keyboard. The article says that now Android keyboard has caught up with the others, but I didn’t think they had this?

  • Mark

    Thanks for the up-close look at the latest Nexus!

  • mike

    Hands down the best device dollar for dollar. I’ll stick to the ONE X+….

    • COB

      I love HTC, but they are terrible with updates, and Canadian carriers are even worse with them.

  • Eno Barbus

    If only I could purchase one! Has Google indicated when we unwashed masses (ie. those of us who weren’t able to place an order during the 15 minutes or so this phone was actually for sale on Google Play) will be able to place an order? Oh well, if I can’t pick one up before Christmas, I guess I’ll bite the bullet and get myself an iPhone 5. It’s not what i want to do, but I also won’t wait around forever. Disappointing, Google.

    • migo

      Possibly 3 weeks. They’re apparently backordered already, so once everyone gets their device that they ordered, more stock should be available.

  • Dalex

    I’ll stick to my One X, but this is an amazing device. I might just pick one up later to use as a 2nd phone, or when I’m travelling. Good job Google and LG!

  • pats

    cant wait to buy this for wind!!!

  • Samuel Maskell

    Zooming is available in gmail. You just have to enable it. Go to Settings->General Settings and enable “Auto-fit messages”.

  • Brendon Sled

    Hey Just FYI. The pinch to zoom is located in the settings (settings in gmail)

    • Daniel Bader

      Yes, guys, if you read the review, you’d notice that I mention that. I’ve also corrected it in the video notes. :)

  • WC

    Like the reviewer said, this shows that you can buy and make a premium phone for half the price of the typical flagships. Makes the Apple tax look like robbery and that the Galaxy series could afford to be maybe $500 instead of $700. Sure it’s not top of the top but it’s up there and for the price it’s a huge bang for buck.

    Hopefully this starts a trend of more premium affordable unlocked phones to free us from being contract slaves since the carrier cartel in Canada constantly conspire to take our money and give us little to nothing back.

    • Henry

      As a consumer I would want the lowest price possible for the best product I can get. But as a business owner, I need to maximize profit for the company. If the market is willing to pay 700 for a Galaxy S3 then the company will charge it at $700. The company also need to earn its investment back which includes R&D, marketing, product cost and logistic.

      Google margin is really low on this phone and they are doing it because they are going to make money from increase app purchases and google search traffic.

    • migo

      Definitely. However I wouldn’t expect a change at least for 2 years. Nexus devices have traditionally not sold well, so everyone else will be waiting to see if the Nexus 4 changes this (the Nexus 7 sold very well, due to its price, so I expect the N4 will as well, and stock problems like with the N7 support that notion), and further whether the Nexus 5 comes in at the same price.

      Google can likely keep selling the Nexus 4 at the same price for the whole year, only making a storage space bump at the same price point, which actually gives them a degree of certainty as far as profit goes that otherwise only Apple can rely on (Apple gets the massive margins as well of course), so I’d see it as quite likely that they’ll keep doing this from now on.

      You’ll probably see some agility and fast response from companies like Huawei and ZTE (Xiaomi and Meizu are already sitting around this price point, and stand to benefit massively once consumer expectation of price changes because of the Nexus 4) while several other companies will get wiped out.

  • matt

    Too bad the setting toggles aren’t really all toggles. Just glorified settings page shortcuts for BT and WiFi. Instead of ICS, where it was pull down notifications, hit settings and toggle, it is now pull down notification, hit settings, hit WiFi, and then toggle. I guess it is good if you constantly configure devices and networks but I would prefer antenna toggles to save battery.

  • Rapide_Blacl

    Galaxy nexus definitely has gorilla glass. You mentioned that it did not in your video.

    • Blair

      nope he was right it doesnt, quick google search reveals the truth.

  • Wade Boggs

    Don’t be shy MobileSyrup, keep covering up the plight of all WP8 users you tricked into adopting the platform. Surely you haven’t run out of propaganda to copy&paste, go ahead. Warm up the server; Signal the legions of fake commenters; Don’t give up until WP8 surpasses the 1% marketshare still maintained by Windows Mobile 6.5, a feat not matched by the Zune, Kin, and WP7 combined

  • ParkaPal

    As a Wind user with an N9, this finally looks like the right phone for quality/price/features for me to get as a secondary device to start working on some Android development. Waiting for some to get back in stock to jump in.

  • I want one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I want one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • wewewi

    Can hardly beleive you dont have nor cared about getting SIM cards from Wind and Moblicity for test purposes.

    How’s that?

    • Distortion Field

      I agree that Wind/Mobilicity should have been tested too. The biggest client base will be those who are value conscious and don’t need fast network speeds with LTE, or care about National network coverage/size. I bet most people getting this device would be on Wind/Mobilicity since you have to pay upfront for hardware anyways.

      If you are on one of the big 3, you might as well get a superphone that is LTE enabled and also take advantage of the subsidy a carrier provides.

  • Blair

    FYI. pinch to zoom is there for gmail in 4.2

    open gmail>settings>general settings>enable “auto-fit messages”

    • Blair

      haha i see a few people already corrected you. Pinch to zoom just isnt enabled by default.

  • Kyouya

    My Nexus S looks really small compare to the Nexus 4. It looks like it is time to get a new phone.

  • Miknitro

    I’d rock that.
    Well done Google.

  • jeff

    only one problem, it’s currently made of pure unobtainium

  • daredeshouka

    Can anyone comment on the wifi quality of this phone? I have a LG phone and the wifi on it is terrible compared to other phones I have tried in the same house. The review mentions the phone antenna lacking, so I wonder how the wifi is.

  • Kickback

    Wow MobileSyrup, way to glaze over the awful battery life.

    Did Google pay you guys or something?

    • migo

      It’s quite likely that’s due to pre-release firmware issues. And it’s hard to accurately rate battery life if you haven’t had the device for a couple weeks.

  • Jetr0

    Seems good especially for an LG. The part that mentions concerns about its R/F performance does not surprise me though, LG seems to have a history of some of the lowest signal strength when it comes to R/F performance.

  • hmmmm

    Sorry but I’m not impressed except for the price…I don’t find any of the updates really important. And the battery at 46% after 3 hrs? The Note 2 is my choice…

  • REAVER117

    One correction: the Nexus 4 has a SlimPort not an MHL port.

  • lei

    problem is I can not find where to buy it

  • mjolnir

    thanks for the review! cant wait till it gets back in stock. btw it would be nice if you can test it on wind/mobi too

  • deusfaux

    If you’re going to be continuing with reviews, you need to know you can’t directly compare reception of really any 2 models of smartphone by looking at antenna “bars”.

    It’s been widely established there are little to no standards in how much signal is represented by how many bars, so any comparison is useless.

    Try using an app that gives a numerical value instead.

    Read some articles on Anandtech about it.

    • Daniel Bader

      I am aware “bars” are not a satisfactory benchmark for RF performance or signal quality. I took that into account when performing my tests. I checked -dB levels as well as S/N ratio in likely places where a signal would be distorted.

      I do not want to be Brian Klug from Anandtech; if you want to read about the nitty gritty, read his review. I was attempting to sum up, without resorting to overly technical language, why the Nexus 4 and Optimus G suffer from attenuation and low signal quality in certain situations.

  • migo

    You really should just get your hands on Wind and Mobilicity Micro SIMs, since the Nexus 4 is of primary interest to people on Wind and Mobilicity.

  • Sam

    I considered upgrading to this phone from my Nexus S right up until I found out the battery wasn’t easily user removable, (like the Iphone) I then went and bought the Note 2. Completely IDIOTIC to have a phone without being able to have a backup battery you can just slip in.

    • justcurious

      So tell me Sam, honestly now, do you actually have a second battery for your Note 2??

  • Bahahaha

    8.9 to iPhone 5 and 9.1 to this? Bahaahah are you joking me? FanboySyrup.

    • collin

      Truth hurts doesn’t it chump?

  • ile2010

    I think that the review seems fair, but the numbers don’t really match up with the text.

    How can a mid-range camera and average battery life net scores of 8.0 and 7.5, respectively. What should the Lumia 920 or the Razr MAXX get then? 12 and 15 out of 10?

  • hoo dat

    While I agree that on paper this is a good phone the lack of an SD slot(s) and a removable battery are deal breakers for me. I use my phones for business and pleasure and I find the missing slot absolutely inexcusable, I exchange cards multiple times a day for various reasons. I travel thousands of miles a year on business and a removable and exchangable battery is absolutely essential and I’m at a loss as to why these features are missing on an otherwise strong phone.

    • HighClassFrenchCricket

      youre at a loss, its inexcusable? you must be a very poor business man to not have the ability to comprehend the path google is taking. “im at a loss” hahaha get real, if you were my employee and demonstrated this lack of forethought I would have fired your a*s instantaneously lmao

    • hoo dat

      Wow, you are a judgemental little p***k aren’t you?

      I just explained why this phone is not suitable for me for either business or pleasure use, that is all. How does that correlate to me being a poor business person? (Incidentally, I’m not an employee, I’m an employer, with a national staff approaching 1,500) I know better about what I want in a phone than little fanboys like yourself and as it stands it’s impossible for me to consider this phone. Why is it me mis-understanding what Google’s doing here? I’d be more willing to bet that it’s Google not fully understanding me as a customer that’s the issue because I know hundreds of people who use a phone just like I do.

    • Tommy Boy

      Yep. Agreed. Lets think about it for a sec. Imagine the Nexus 4 with a micor sd slot right next to its sim slot? We would be looking at a perfect phone. As for the removable batt, it would be nice, but my understanding is that is what we can start to expect moving forward.
      I hear the same about the sd slot, so Google & Apple can sell u space on their cloud, but I think if buyers make enough of a stink, we can force a change in that thinking. Cheers.

  • Jay

    Only thing I’m not liking about this phone is the storage. I’m hoping they release a 32GB one like they did for the N7. I want to only carry around one device that can do it all.

  • Is this Bb10?

    What’s the difference between Slimport and MHL?

  • Jetr0

    I’d still def buy one. Excellent price for what tou’re getting.

  • Brad F(anboy)

    Oh wow, look at that, signal problems.

    I THOUGHT THE NEXUS 4 DIDN’T HAVE SIGNAL PROBLEMS, ACCORDING TO THE COMMENTORS ON THIS WEBSITE?

    Not that they’ll acknowledge they were wrong. No. They’ll just give my comment a thumbs-down because I’m calling them out on it and I’m an iSheep and blah blah blah.

    • Tommy Boy

      I sense much anger in you…

  • roman

    I’d like to see the dbm numbers for reception. If it’s significantly worse than the already not so great Gnex, than it’s a deal breaker for me on Wind.

  • Darren

    I agree, there are a number of anomalies on this phone – possibly to keep the price down. While it’s setting a great precedent for cost-effective future hardware, I’ll wait as my current Nexus, while slow, is still functional. I still want to see what BB10 is like before deciding.

  • williamworlde

    @Daniel Bader: As a reporter, do you know when there will be more Nexus 4 released to Canadians? Me contacting Google will be fruitless; you as an industry insider on the other hand I take it will be privy to more info.

    Is it really worth waiting for this new device, even unlocked and inexpensive, if you can’t readily get it? Especially when their site gives no indication of availability?! (Besides using their search engine, I have never done business with Google so I don’t know how service-oriented they are. Doesn’t look too good so far though.) I mean, the G has more storage and LTE, though not unlocked. They can both physically break just as easily if dropped.
    I will have to pay for *any* device one way or another. And, as I MUST pay a SP for the services I want, I’m still indecisive as to whom I want to go to, but NONE, as far as I know, has better customer service over the other. For me, it comes down to who provides overall better connectivity services, uptime, etc.

  • Pooya

    Anyone heard about the White Nexus 4?

  • Is this Bb10?

    At first I was excited about the N4 but now I have grave concerns. No LTE. Low battery life. Poor signal reception. No availability date. I think I will go for the Razr HD even though it is $200 more.

  • AndrewScottReid

    What makes me excited about the NEXUS series is how we’re seeing a stock Android device coming from 2 OEMs. My HTC is great with the Sense overlay, but as other readers mentioned, OS updates can be sporadic. With the launch of this device I’m hopeful it means more standardization (instead of fragmentation) across Android, and more widely available unlocked devices.

  • j

    this guy doesnt know wtf he’s talk about. there were a lot of bugs that i saw and you cant test speeds just by look and feel. i cant believe this phone doesnt have expandable memory. i wouldve bought it too. bugs are a software issue, that can be fixed, but that should have been pointed out. the review should have been about the hardware, not the software.

  • Tim

    I have to agree with the comment about the lack of expandable memory and removable battery being an issue. The response from HighClassFrenchCricket didn’t provide anything useful in terms of why Google was going this path so it was a waste of typing and brain function.

    To answer hoo dat; from my understanding the memory card relies on a different format in order to mount it properly when connecting to a laptop/desktop. By not having the external memory card available, mounting/copying/etc is supposed to be faster without the extra code overhead and format issues. I’m sure someone will correct me if I am wrong but this is what I had read a while back. I’m also not in favour of this and considering the smaller amounts of memory available built in and the cost difference between the two, it really doesn’t lend itself well to scalability. I can buy a 32gb card a heck of a lot cheaper than the cost between 8 to 16 N4s.

    As for the non-removable battery. I just don’t understand. It just seems this phone is going the way of the iPhone instead of trying to distinguish itself from it. Remember the older joke “Them: Show me something your Android can do that my iPhone can’t! Me: So I pulled the battery”

  • technathan

    You mention the network speeds on Rogers, but nothing else. What were the speeds attained on Bell/Telus’ DC-HSPA+ network? Any faster?

    S3 vs One X+ vs N4 – still can’t decide!

  • Andrew K

    Now that they are out of stock it looks like I’m going to have to wait to pick one up… unless…

    Hey, I’d be willing to help you test it on WIND’s network. Just send the phone this way. I promise I will treat her well.

  • Andrew K

    Thanks for the review. I really want to snag one up when they are available.

    That being said, you can feel free to toss one this way and I will be more than willing to test out the service on Wind for you :P

  • Patrick B

    WIND and Mobilicity need to advertise this phone hard along with their services.

    “Look, you pay $400 upfront, and save a bucketload of money with us! Don’t like us? Leave at any time! No contracts!”

  • Mohd Asif

    It is a awesome phone and every one will want to win this contest as I want to grab it.

  • mayank s mistry

    I like its

  • Damodar

    Its nice. I love it.

  • Irfan

    Nexus 4 is best in world

  • gerson galicia

    i love it

  • JAYANTA MALLICK

    IF I GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET IT THROUGH CONTEST, I’LL BE THINKING MYSELF THE LUCKIEST PERSON OF THE WORLD.

  • Muhammad Waqas

    i m gulad to participate in this contest

  • Sai Tarun Meka

    The best phone in the market right now.. Google Nexus-4 is AWESOME!!

  • Jim Casebere

    like

  • Uriah

    Nice review. I am trying to decide between the Galaxy Note 2 and the Nexus 4. I’ve heard great reviews on both, so I will definitely be looking forward to trying them both out. I’m sticking with T-Mobile since they are the only carrier with an unlimited plan and fast internet speeds. In most cases, the 4G on my current phone than the LTE phone that one of my DISH coworkers has. We use the DISH Remote Access app on our phones to stream live and recorded shows through the Sling Adapter that we have on our home receivers. His phone buffers constantly, so it hardly seems worth paying extra for LTE. It will be nice being able to stream as much as I want without hitting a cap. I’m leaning towards the Nexus 4!

  • Tommy Boy

    Awesome review. Very detailed. You confirmed my initial thought…Must…Get…Nexus 4…Now if only stock would appear on the Play Store. BTW, *** STOCK IS SUPPOSE TO BE AVAILABLE IN THE STORE LATER TODAY, NOV 27, 2012 ***

  • Merle Allison

    Would love to have one

  • Samsul Islam Khan

    I wana get it. I’m really just excited & my hand become crazy to run over the phone.

  • Philip Osemene Nnaemeka Emorex

    Superbo

  • Philip Osemene Nnaemeka Emorex

    Superb and hope all these short comes are rectified in the syrup version

  • Rajiv Shah

    This Is Very Goode Molile In This Time Very Hot & Sexy

  • nitin

    i like please provide the price list in india

  • suzela moses

    google

  • suzela moses

    i like this phone,because it’s soo smart..

  • suzela moses

    it’s nice and easy..

  • manav vyas

    what a great piece of technology! it looks like a future gadget. i looks are wonderful .
    it is the best phone i have seen before it puts back all apple products.

  • Atul

    I’d like to join the contest to win such a marvellous smartphone.

  • steven

    Got it last week and the week signal reception really is a problem. I keep losing the carrier(mobilicity) in my office where on the nexus S I never had that problem.

  • Santiago Sanchez

    It looks good

  • Adnan Ali

    Its a beautiful handset with remarkable processing.

  • Nitesh kumar

    i rly want this . .

  • screamer

    Google bought motorola and everybody thought the new nexus comes from motorola because they have awesome phones.however we see how far they were ahead. So wouldn’t wonder if Samsung already working on a galaxy S5 and apple on iPhone 6 (there will be a 5s better chipsets. ..) they fool us all the time

  • Justin Bieber

    I LOVE NEXUS 4!!!

  • Mike

    “It’s not the best for making calls” he says about the PHONE.

  • iEtthy

    Everyone paying $600 for this phone is a fool.

  • John

    Has an ex-nexus 4 owner I feel that I have to let people know how disappointed I was with this phone. Physically its beautiful and feels nice in the hand. All tho it does gets a bit slippery at times with the glass on both sides. I also must add that the XDA community has 100’s of ROM’s to flash for this devices already!

    I bought this phone coming from a Galaxy Nexus so I was very familiar with the OS and flashing custom ROM’s, mod’s, and kernels. This phone was a nice jump in performance about the same as my jump from my older Galaxy S to my Galaxy Nexus. When it came to benchmarking I wasn’t overly impressed.

    The deal breaker was when I started using it as my daily driver. The battery life was worse than on my Galaxy Nexus. Not having a removable battery meant I had to plug it in everywhere I went in order to make sure I didn’t run out of juice for when I couldn’t plug in (not using LTE loophole).

    The screen really was disappointing. I watch a lot of TV shows and movies off my smart phone while using public transportation, in waiting rooms, in long lines, at work, in bed (not to disturb my wife and baby), even in the car as a video player for my kids. The Nexus 4 has very poor viewing angles and gets a sliver-y looking blacks in the dark. If you hold the phone just right its not as noticeable but when you laying in bed with the N4 in a stand it looks REALLY BAD.

    I passed my Galaxy Nexus on to my wife and every time I looked over even from very odd/harsh angles I could clearly see the screen with its nice glowing vibrant colors almost neon in appearance. I knew that the N4’s screen was not calibrated correctly but even with a color mod and the best settings I could find on XDA the blacks just looked bad. Even with the colors pumped up they looked washed out and old. The real disappointment came when I compared it to my Galaxy S (3 to 4 years old now) and I ended up preferred to watch video content on the S1’s screen over the nexus 4 just because of the vibrancy of the display and the deepness of the blacks.

    The notification LED also has some kind of cheesy overlay built into the glass covering the LED that is meant to help defuse the light but it ends up making the LED look dim and ugly from far or close (when comparing to the Galaxy Nexus).

    The screen also lacked responsiveness and I found that one out of ten words would be missing a letter if the auto correct wasn’t on. This basically means when you enter your user names and passwords 1 out 5 times your going to be entering the wrong username or password. That annoyed me to no end!

    All and all I felt like the phone was a nice upgrade but the screen (and its lack of sensitivity) was to much of a downgrade for me to be able to enjoy the device. Had there been a guide to swap displays with my Galaxy Nexus I would have gladly kept the Nexus 4 but there isn’t.

    I ended up trading my Nexus 4 for a Galaxy Note II and have never looked back. In every way the Note II is better. Bigger brighter more responsive screen, 3-5X faster 3G/HSPA speeds, better benchmark scores (on every benchmark app), S pen, nicer feel in the hand, ETC…

    Some days I think about the poor guy who traded me his Note II for the Nexus 4 and feel bad for him.

  • 99roxah

    Can’t believe this PoS is rated 9.1/10. LMAO!

  • Q Abdul

    I just recently bought it and have a Videotron SIM in it. It works perfectly on this network. I never had issues with any call or internet quality in my home where my previous Service Provider, Fido, always had problems and always gave me lower speeds on Xperia U. This might be a carrier issue, but the wifi speeds were also higher.

    The thing I don’t like about this device is that it warms up pretty soon, if i am talking for long, playing game, watching hd video, etc. these all make this device to warm up very soon.
    Overall, I love this device and I am sure I am gonna keep it for long.

  • king2ththrone

    I own both the nexus 4 and Samsung S4, hands down the nexus 4 is smoother a tick faster less bloat; the gaming experience is top tier, and zero zag or shutter’ best smartphone of 2013

  • Al

    hi, what is the clock app that is shown in the lock screen above. thanks

  • daftchemist

    Jesus you go through phones way too fast….

  • Joseph Cacoilo

    I just got this phone, I love it.

  • Daniel

    My phone turns off while charging. A real pain in the a*s some mornings because I use it as an alarm. I will be contacting Google about this issue soon.

  • Tarikd4

    I did the exact same thing!

  • David

    This article should probably be updated now that the Nexus 4 is available from carriers like Fido and Virgin.

  • Alex Siuda

    Where can i find that wallpaper please?!

  • Andrew Brown

    This phone does have LTE you just have to unlock it

  • J fremlin

    Had the phone for a week. It shattered. I HATE this phone! Compared to the Samsung build, this is TERRIBLE!!! I would like a refund, but thats a no go…