Google Nexus 4 Review

The Nexus 4 is Google’s flagship device that was released on November 13, 2012 and it still stands as one of the best smart phones in the market. The reason is because under the hood it boasts an impressive, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chip, 2 GB of RAM and pure vanilla Android. It does not come installed with any other launchers/skins, such as Touch Wiz. Thus meaning that the Nexus 4 runs pure Android.

Software and Accessories

Originally, the smartphone ran Android 4.1, however due to it being a Google/LG product, the phone receives the latest software updates from Google. Currently, the phone runs the latest Android OS (version 4.3). A strong aspect of this phone is that it is future-proof due to its 2 GB of RAM and its quick processor. Not only is the phone future-proofed due to its hardware, it is because Google is bound to release more updates for the phone to keep it running the latest version of Android for another year or two. In the box comes a standard charger, owner’s manual and the phone. Surprisingly, the package does not contain earphones. However, due to the smartphone’s low price, the lack of earphones does not seem to be a big issue.

Camera

The 8 MP rear camera of the phone is not that good of a camera and the lighting on pictures is not great. Especially, during low light conditions, the camera really fails to take decent images. The phone has a 1.3 MP front-facing camera that is good for video chatting, however the front camera is nothing amazing.

Storage Capacity

The phone comes in two variants–an 8 GB version and 16 GB version. It would not be a significant drawback had Google decided to incorporate a slot for external storage. Unfortunately, Google did not include a slot.  This means that by purchasing the 8 GB version, you will have about 5.5 GB of available storage and if you decide to get the 16 GB version, you will have about 12.5 GB of available storage. Currently, the 8 GB version will cost $199 (Canada) and the 16 GB version will cost $249 (Canada). However, I think that it is definitely worth paying the extra $50, because the 8 GB model does not have enough storage space. For instance, if you want to download two high-end Android games, you are going to run out of memory.

Battery

The Nexus 4 is built with a non-removable battery. Sometimes, it comes in handy to be able to switch batteries like on the Galaxy Nexus and other cell phones. The battery life is not entirely bad, seeing how it has a non-removable Li-Po 2100 mAh battery. You can expect about 3 hours of screen-on time and the battery will surely last throughout the day.

Display Screen

The phone contains a 4.7 inch, 720P, True HD IPS Plus screen with about 318 ppi. The high resolution and ppi of the phone (768 x 1280 pixels) means that everything looks very sharp and the pixels are almost indistinguishable. However, the colors of the screen are a little washed out. The display screen has potential. After rooting the phone and adjusting the color settings, the colors looked fantastic and really popped out. The screen was very bright and under the sunlight the screen seemed very vivid.

Design and Build

The build quality is very good and is a very elegant-looking phone, especially with the back of the Nexus 4 having small, shiny mirrors. The screen is covered using Corning Gorilla Glass 2 which is very strong and durable. The phone itself is a bit slippery without a case and it might be due to the back being encased with glass. Unfortunately, the back of the phone is not covered using Corning Gorilla Glass. In the event of a fall, the front of the phone should be fine, however the back of the phone may not be as fortunate. I found the form factor of the device to be fantastic. Coming in at 33.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm (5.27 x 2.70 x 0.36 in), the phone was not too big or too small. The weight is well-balanced and weighs 139 g (4.90 oz), which I found to be the perfect weight. The Nexus 4 was not too light to feel as if it was cheap and the phone was not too heavy to feel as if it was a brick. The phone feels sturdy, yet not too heavy.

LTE Compatibility

The last major drawback of the Nexus 4 is that it does not have LTE compatibility, although the phone contains the chip for LTE. However, due to the phone being an international phone, LG and Google could not get the licensing to enable the LTE feature. There are some methods to enable the phone’s LTE, but I find HSPA+ very fast and don’t think that it is worth the hassle. A benefit of the phone being an international phone is that it is unlocked and can be used around the world.

Conclusion

In all, I am very happy with the Nexus 4 and would recommend it to anyone on a tight budget. However, if you are willing to wait a month and pay about $100 more, then it may be better if you bought the Nexus 5 due to it’s LTE capability, larger battery, and 1080P screen.

Pros: Great processor, 2 GB of RAM, ease of use, future proof, high end design and build quality

Cons: Washed out screen, non-removable battery, lack of LTE and no slot for expandable storage

Rating: 4/5 stars

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