Four reasons the Optimus G makes a better Nexus 4 than the Nexus 4

Daniel Bader

January 26, 2013 5:12 pm

photo
The Nexus 4 has been available for just over two months, but in reality it’s been on sale for just two days.

Now that the dust has settled and reality has set in — despite its achievements, the Nexus 4 isn’t all it’s cracked up to be — I’ve had some time to spend with its carrier-sold better half. The Optimus G was also released in November, and while it hasn’t received the near-universal praise of its Google-sold counterpart, it’s a great phone in its own right.

Over the last week or so, I’ve been using the Optimus G almost exclusively as my “Nexus” phone in an effort to understand the limitations of the Nexus 4. Granted, out of the box the Optimus is almost nothing like the Nexus; it takes some messing with the bootloader and installing a version of CyanogenMOD 10.1 to get where I’m comfortably sitting. And until recently the CM10.1 build for the Optimus G was buggy and had too many missing features to be considered for use as a daily driver.

All that changed about a week ago when WiFi, hotspot tethering and the volume controls were fixed, leaving only NFC and the capacitive keys as remnants of a broken ROM. The former is inconsequential to me; the latter just means that the Optimus G looks and feels almost exactly like the Nexus 4 (and loses a bit of vertical real estate in the process.)

So, without further ado, four reasons the Optimus G makes a better Nexus 4 than the Nexus 4:

1) It’s better constructed

This may seem obvious when you compare the two phones’ full purchase price, but the Optimus G feels a lot sturdier than the Nexus 4. While the front and back of both devices is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 2, it’s the soft plastic chrome on the side of the Nexus 4 that, after two small drops looks like a mangled mess, that helps me appreciate the Optimus G. And though I love the randomness of the Nexus 4′s spectral backing, I too love the stately and business-friendly look of the Optimus G’s square face and repeating back pattern.

2) It’s LTE-native

The Nexus 4 does support LTE, but it’s a happy accident and requires flipping a switch every time you restart the phone. The Optimus G, on the other hand, was designed to support LTE in both AWS or 2600Mhz bands (depending on your carrier) from the beginning, and as such works flawlessly out of the box. This leads to consistently-faster performance  and less fiddling with hidden menus and APNs. It also allows you to achieve a Nexus 4-like experience on Rogers’ and Bell’s 2600Mhz networks, which results in faster speeds and less slowdown during peak usage periods. It also results in…

3) Better battery life

The Optimus G may not have a larger battery than the Nexus 4, but it certainly makes better use of what it has. Even when running CyanogenMOD 10.1, which is a custom ROM that doesn’t take into account LG’s battery optimizations in its shipping software, the Optimus G lasted, on average, three to four hours longer on a charge than the Nexus. While your mileage may vary, and I still obtained slightly better battery life from LG’s Android 4.0.4 ROM than on CM10.1, the results speak for themselves.

And, finally, the last reason the Optimus G is a better Nexus 4 than the Nexus 4:

4) It’s available!

Now, don’t take this column too seriously. I’m not really suggesting people run out and buy an Optimus G in order to recreate the hard-to-find Nexus 4 experience. But the fact that the two devices are so physically and internally similar means that, with a bit of work, one can come as close as possible to the Nexus 4 today.

Of course you miss out on receiving OTA updates from Google directly, and you’re at the whim of a small group of Android developers who may at some point choose to no longer support CyanogenMOD on the Optimus G. Then there’s the question of whether it’s worth signing a three-year contract for the privilege — the Optimus G is $650 off-contract and currently $99 on contract — just to satisfy the need.

If you’re already an Optimus G owner, you can head to the XDA Developer forum for an easy walkthrough on how to get CyanogenMOD 10.1. The build is compatible with both the Rogers E971 version and Bell/TELUS E973 versions. Just remember to back up your original ROM!

  • Gab

    better nexus? Wouldn’t this just be better phone? A nexus should have timely updates and huge community support. What you listed where things that just made it a better phone in general. Couldn’t you have easily listed things like camera and storage?

    • Poor Argument

      First of all you are aware that the phones you are comparing are TWICE the price (100% more expensive) from eachother right??
      Just wanted to be sure, now lets proceed.

      -BETTER CONTRUCTED: if by that you mean heavier, you are right! under that logic you should get a Nokia, the industrial design es great but i mate out of metal and at 170gm, it will take your pant down in public!, Give me CHEAP PLASTICS on the back cover anytime! plus you have to be dumb to NOT put a Case on the $650 phone! that adds even more weight. The N4 could even feel “better constructed” with a case.

      -LTE: LTE only sucks dry the battery of the phone with no real benafit for ME. I’ll turn it off (even if you are with Telus, Koodo, Bell, Virgin) and enjoy the full battery.

      BATTERY: Of course that CM10.1 offers a better battery life than with Touchwiz; the N4 does even BETTER THAN THAT! because it has no LTE, (you can turn it off on the Optimus, but then the LTE point from above is mute: Basically there are only THREE POINTS; because if you hturn LTE on your battery wont be as good. Turn it off then the opposite is true.

      Availability: That is the only point over the N4, the problem is the price! at $650 they are making of us the most patient early adopters EVER! and making the experience more enjoyable. I’m thinking of buying one for myself and get to the idea that I will get it by April! at HALF the price of the Optimus and with way way less support you are better of with the N4.

      The point to make here is that if LG/operators were to reduce the price of the Optimus to $499, they would sell millions! Just look at the sales for December! they harly moved any OG’s over the holidays; and now that the rumour that the big 3 will sell the N4 at $550 at the begining of March, the sales of the OG will stagnate even more!.

      You want something as close as you can get to the N4 at $650 (plus unlocking) heavier, with LTE on ROGERS, with a pathetic reselling value, and less support now? Get the OG

      Otherwise WAIT two or three months, spend HALF, and get faster updates (maybe Key Lime? while the OG is still on JB?)
      -Me?? I’ll pass on the Optimus and WAIT for the N4, I think I will like it even more!

      Two points for effort with the advertorial Syrup.

    • Nathen

      1 Point why it NOT A NEXUS……… PENTA BAND.

  • babablacksheep

    4 reasons why I don’t care for an Optimus G:

    1.) It’s an LG
    2.) It’s an Android phone
    3.) It’s an Android phone
    4.) Most important … it’s an LG

    • Pascal

      So, you were not able to come up with 4 reasons why you don’t care about the Optimus G. You had to write again your first 2 reasons. Yeah you should stay with your iToy and go troll somewhere else.

  • EH

    Also the price on the Optimus G is better… by better, it means it costs more.

    Why would you pay more for something that is identical on the inside… This article is just promoting the less popular Optimus G.

    • Poor Argument

      Its called “Advertorial”

      -Out of 4 points LTE and Battery are exclusive; and the N4 has an LTE that works with Koodo, Telus, Bell. The OG is heavier, is twice the price (plus unlock) and half the reselling value.

      -Obvoiusly OG sales are on the floor!! how many have you seen outside? at $650 is Dead on Arrival. At $499 I would consider it.

    • Nathan Lee

      The biggest problem with the Nexus 4 is that it’s not in stock! It has amazing specs and features but if you can’t buy it, whats the point?

  • gagan

    All of all these only right point I’d better construction and other stuff like LTE , battery life etc Is all about making a point, getting CM 10.1 is for anybody..
    And yes you forgot about the price… Lol..
    Get a better expert

  • Matt

    4 Reasons Why The Nexus 4 is better than OG

    1) Better design

    While the OG and N4 share many similarities there’s a few things that the N4 is simply better at. The curved glass on the N4 is amazing and the logo-free front makes the phone look very clean.

    2) Unlocked & Pentaband

    The N4 comes unlocked and will work on any one of our fine Canadian carriers. Sure, you can probably buy an unlock code for the OG, and hope that it supports other bands. But the N4 is a true world phone.

    3) It’s a Nexus

    While the CM community is amazing and I have relied on them for the past 3 years of my devices, it is time for a change. I am tired of flashing nightlies and hoping everything works. The N4 gets official updates from Google and if you still want CM then you can also get the most bug-free version available.

    4) It’s a Nexus 4

    Let’s face it: It’s nice to have things other people don’t. The Nexus 4 feels like some exclusive device among Google fanboys. Those who have one know the feeling of being asked what phone it is, and where to get it. Replying with “it’s sold out everywhere” makes me feel somewhat proud of owning one. I would compare it to owning the original iPhone back before it was available in Canada.

  • Comment Master

    Lets face the fact

    Any manufacturer ( HTC , SAMSUNG AND MOTOROLA ) would make a better nexus… then Lg…hoping to see a HTC nexus…I would pay $500 for that..it will have that value…but LG nexus MEH

  • clockwork

    “The Nexus 4 does support LTE, but it’s a happy accident and requires flipping a switch every time you restart the phone.”

    People still turn their phone off? My N4 has been on since the day it arrives (as well my past phones). So that’s a minor issue to me. I just hope updates don’t remove the “feature”.

    • Poor Argument

      LOL!
      If I have to turn on and off my phone to turn LTE on (not true with the newest Kernel actually) I’ll do it!

      Heck! at TWICE THE PRICE I can buy TWO N4, and keep one on and the other off! end of the argument!

  • screamer

    All s!@#… only 16 gig storage? ??? Download 2 games and one movie. Ohhh no more space.

    • nexus lover

      listen to fool I don’t know what games you’re downloading but not even Xbox 360 games are 8 gigs so quit lying and get yourself a Nexus and stop being a little virgin

    • nexus 4 life

      listen to fool I don’t know what games you’re downloading but not even Xbox 360 games are 8 gigs so quit lying and get yourself a Nexus and stop being a little virgin

  • KID ANDROID

    An LG phone that someones proud to own, lol wow thats an odd thing to hear.

    • freestaterocker

      Yeah. Next up, the Maple Leafs win the cup…

    • Distortion Field

      “An LG phone that someones proud to own, lol wow thats an odd thing to hear.”

      What surprises me are all the hypocrites, who have been hating on LG for some time and all of a sudden claim that the N4 is the greatest smartphone ever.

      Talk about distortion field… just because it carries the Nexus moniker, all previous hate towards LG goes out the window for these fans.

      Who are the sheep?

  • callmebymyname

    Who cares…I got the Nexus 4 already :)

    Sent from my Nexus 4 that’s sold out for you.

  • LittleBallz

    Who cares…I got the Nexus 4 already.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 that’s sold out for you.

  • screamer

    Where is my buddy? Rip rim

  • Comment Master

    Really I hear people saying they are proud to own a $380 phone ..guys be proud to own an Andriod…just because you got a Nexus 4 doesnt mean … people give a ****

    • HAHA

      They know you give a f*** when you comment like that.

    • PeopleTheseDay

      So basically you’re saying, if you own a $2000 phone (eg. Blackberry Porsche) you’d be proud? It’s not the cost of a phone that defines if one shall be proud. However, its lack of availability could be; reason why there are things that are limited edition(and google was sure successful in doing that). Face it, if you were one of those that wanted the Nexus 4 and knew this would’ve happen. You too, would be proud if you managed to grab one.

  • mola

    Putting an AOSP makes any phone better but the main reason the nexus is the best phone is because it is the only phone that runs a Google built AOSP version and first to receive updates. Lack of carrier bloatware, unlocked and at a great price. The N4 just from the software side alone makes it the best device on the market.

  • Optimus G

    There is one feature the Nexus 4 has and the G doesn’t, WIRELESS CHARGING! I own the G and was hoping it cam with it too but no.

  • andy c

    On big thing the n4 can’t do is use mobile networks to triangulate your position. When not on WiFi and you need a rough location you need to turn on the gps

    • Matt

      Only if you’re using LTE

  • dv

    Too bad it doesn’t have an entry price of $299….

  • Walter Price

    LG stop playing games. get those Nexus out. Do you thing everybody can afford $ 600 + for a phone. You are big sucker to sport the big three wireless phone company. Way back in thouse days you pay less that 20 for phone and $15 for service. Why rip us off?????????

  • Temi

    1. microsd
    2. better camera

    • spanky

      cloud for storage, decent camera,unlocked,no contract obligations,hundreds less,(could buy 2)need I say more?

  • Zeeb

    CM10.1 ? If it ain’t stock it’s schlock.

  • Cyrano

    i wonder how much lg pay… nevermind

  • monsterduc1000

    try some other roms over cm. I’ve found that others like rasbeanjelly by Rascarlo run smoother and have better battery life over cm.

  • hoo dat

    Apparently, Daniel, you’re not allowed your own opinion professional or otherwise. Why on earth people are getting so upset over an opinion of a phone I have no idea. Some of these people need to check their anger, it’s almost as if you spat at their mother or something!

    • Jack

      The author does and already did. Also by allowing comments, it doesn’t make it any less right for us to comment on why we do or don’t agree with the author.

  • tomatoes11

    The optimus G screen looks way better too due to software and colour calibration.

  • KyoKeun

    These reasons are reasons why g is better phone, not better nexus. I do understand what you’re trying to say though.

  • MattyMattMatt

    How did you connect to Bells 2600 network? The E973 is not supposed to run the 2600 radio. Please let me know, because I would love to do that.

  • Ed

    They’re just exploiting the popularity of the infamous shortage of Nexus 4s.

  • Weslley

    wait, wait, wait… was the Nexus 4 the choice of MSyrup as the best device of the year in 2012, beating SGS3 and iPhone?

  • ilikecutegirls

    Nexus 4… Optimus G… who cares!! Smartphones can’t substitute for cute girls!!

  • markus

    for those of you who keep whining about the price I purchased my optimus
    G for 450 new from kijij 2 months ago. now they’re going for around 400. Cost me $8 to unlocked. plus the on screen buttons take up real estate. not a lot but enough to make the bottom bezel look huge. Jb 4.1 is being rolled out to all carriers as we speak. I’ve always liked a bit of weight in my phones. makes it feel solid. The N4 feels a bit flimsy and cheap with the rubber sides.

  • screamer

    So I have two games on my phone they are around 1 gig how much taken the OS? Oh a good movie is around 2 gig at least.

    Don’t know but I need 32 gig on my phone.

  • wotzit2ya

    I just hope the next Nexus comes from Sony .

  • Michael McGuinness

    Look at all these pathetic fanboys. Nexus fanboys are no better than iPhone fanboys. I couldn’t care less about “vanilla Android” now that Touchwiz and Sense are implementing many more features above and beyond “vanilla Android.” Nexus 4 owners seem to think they are holier than thou because they bought a cheap phone which has a plain version of the OS. I have used ever Nexus preceding the 4 and really don’t care about it. Go ahead, thumbs down this post. Go cry a river and while you are at it, drown your sorry selves. This goes for all fanboys in general… BB, iPhone, Nexus… etc.

  • AbeZ

    This was the worst article I have ever read from this website….this kind of article reminds me of engadget or Gizmodo. For half the price of the Optimus G,I’ll can live with the N4s very few short comings.

  • Daniel AJ

    Isn’t it nice when people are proud of something they have? Would you rather have everybody be miserable about it?

  • Jay Chan

    Seriously????!!!

  • Moody Jones

    I had my nexus 4 for one week.

    it fell and the screen broke.

    & i am in canada, and apparently LG canada cant fix it.

    The glass sticker was still on the phone – when it broke.

    RIP my shortest lived phone. No wonder it was only 350.

    • Nathen

      Congrats, you are now officially just another buyer or one OF the many consumers whom purchase a mobile phone and DONT GET A CASE for it. Welcome to the world of Iphone4 users.

      Seriously though ? what did you THINK would happen if you drop something with Glass on it?
      EVERY phone out there will crack the glass if the phone hit just on the right spot. No Manufacture will GUARANTEE that the Glass will not break %100 or money back.
      Not gonna happen. I had dropped mine and got lucky but since have put a CASE on it.

  • ian

    Ok I love my LGOG it has internal amd external storage. It is the one time LG ever did anything right.

  • Frady

    LG Optimus G is for 0$ plus free Otter Box commuter cover :)
    email me for more info.

    Cheers

  • Frady

    LG Optimus G is $0 right now at Rogers Wireless
    email me for more info.

    + get a free Otter Box Commuter when you get the LG G!

    Cheers

  • ukrainian fob

    “Michael McGuinness” is a proud owner of flip phone, and he’s loving it. Lol.

  • Nathen

    What a Minute ? Is the Author of this Article saying that the LG OG ( or LG’s version of Nexus 4) is a PENTA BAND phone?

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think the LG Version is NOT a PENTA band phone. Unlike the Nexus 4.
    Sorry but I have a Nexus 4 and very much happy with it. At $650 or even at $550 I would NOT have purchased this phone.

  • Andrew

    As somebody who owns both handsets… I can agree wholeheartedly with the OP. The Optimus G is superior to the Nexus 4.

    I’m hanging on to the Nexus 4 ONLY because I know it will get more custom firmware support, being a “Nexus” device.. however I think that’s a shame and feel that the Optimus G should have the spotlight. For day-to-day use, I would take the G with me in a heartbeat. It’s the most underrated phone of the year.

    Cheers.

  • Jeremy

    Just curious if I flash cyanogen mod 10 you say capacitive buttons don’t work. Do I get JB on screen buttons and will the area with capacitive not light up. I prefer on screen buttons, but I don’t want two home buttons. Etc.