I’m a tad late to the party I know, even more so considering in a few hours Google’s Annual event Google I/O is about to start where they’re most likely going to announce a brand new flagship phone. But better late then never eh? Hmm..
The Google Nexus 4 is currently (as of 11:28 am on the 15th May) Google’s latest flagship device which is manufactured by LG rather than Samsung who were responsible for the Nexus S. It’s home to a 4.7 inch “True HD” screen that sits at around 318 ppi which is a few pixels per inch off the iPhone 5. The Nexus 4 comes in either 8 or 16GB versions, and the one I own is the 8GB model. I’ll continue to reel of the specs a little further down but for now let’s get to a hands on review!
The Nexus 4 is a complete unit and the build quality of the device is phenomenal. As someone who’s only had an iPhone 3G, a Samsung Galaxy S, and a Samsung Galaxy Note I was surprised at the way it felt in my hands. It has a very slight aluminium/metal effect border which then leads into a nice rubberised outer edge which is also slanted a little at the back so it fits even better in your hands.
The Nexus 4’s touch screen is curved at the edges which gives the device a smooth feel and appearance which is something I’m definitely a fan of. The edge of the phone as well is slanted so it sits more comfortably in your hand and has a rubberised texture so you can grip it much better. The phone itself is very minimal with no buttons on the face of the phone like most Samsug Galaxy devices here in the UK. It was a little weird to get used to but you soon break the habit. The phone itself only has a power button on the right and volume buttons and a very discreet MicroSIM slot on the left – very minimal.
The only real down side to the build of the phone is the flat smooth back. Though it looks very stylish with the glittery back pattern, it’s as smooth as glass and after a few hours of owning the phone I found it on the floor – multiple times. My advice to you would be to get a case as soon as possible or carry around a spirit level before placing your new Nexus 4 on any surface. Due to the smooth back you’ll also find that when you place the device down whilst playing music you’ll cover the back speaker. This is something LG/Google have been made aware of and have since added small raised bumps on the edge of the device in order to leave the speaker exposed a little.
Something else I’ve discovered too is that even though the Nexus 4 has Corning Gorilla Glass 2, it’s prone to scratches. After around a month of average use I’ve found that I’ve collected a few minor scratches and quite a deep one that I’m trying to forget about. This may be down to the fact that it doesn’t have a raised bevel like other handsets but it’s something I’m definitely concious of. If you’re a neat freak you won’t be happy to hear that the earpiece is also a dust magnet.
The Nexus 4 comes with Vanilla Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean). One of the main reasons why I was attracted to the Nexus 4 rather than waiting out for the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the HTC One is the fact it comes with an un touched version of Android. There’s no TouchWiz or HTC Sense or any other skins. This also means that when Google announce Key Lime Pie over the next few days the Nexus 4 will be the first to get it (that’s usually the case anyway).
The Nexus 4 is also home to a 1.5Ghz Snapdragon processor with 2GB of RAM. What that means is that this device is blisteringly fast. Not once have I had to sit and wait for a game to load or experienced lag even with the most resource hungry games. It wakes up in an instant too which is something I’ve sometimes struggled to find with my previous phones. The phone also has the option to add specific things to the lock screen such as access to your clock, camera, SMS and Google Now without having to unlock the device before hand, and once you’re done it’ll lock itself back up.
The camera on the Nexus 4 is also fantastic. With an 8-megapixel rear camera it shoots fantastic photo’s. Another reason why I wanted the Nexus 4 is the 360 photo sphere feature. This feature gives you the chance to capture an entire scene in what appears to be a huge sphere. Once you’ve panned around in circles around 6 times the Nexus 4 splices all of the photo’s together in one moveable sphere. The only real disadvantage is the fact that only the Nexus 4 can view the Photo spheres to the full effect. Uploading the image to your computer displays a weird type of wonky panorama.
Another thing that attracted to me to the Nexus 4 was the price, at £249 (including delivery) for the 8GB model is truly a steal with the phones specs. The only real down side to the 8GB model is that in reality you only have about 5GB of storage that you can actually use, it also doesn’t have a MicroSD slot so there’s no option for expandable storage so if you’re an app hoarder I’d recommend going for the 16GB model instead.
If you’re coming from a Samsung device which has a Super HD AMOLED screen, you’ll instantly notice that the colours on the Nexus 4 aren’t as vibrant or as bright, at first I was a little let down by this. After a few weeks of using my Nexus 4 and then looking at my wife’s Galaxy S 2 I realised that the colours on the Samsung were ridiculously bright and a little over the top – a strange description I know, but believe me I’m now a little off put by Super HD AMOLED screens.
In terms of battery life the Nexus 4 has a 2100 mAh battery which lasts me from around 9:30am from when I take it off charge to around 6:30/7:00pm. This is with general usage such as texting, occasional game play, and Twitter and Facebook useage. If I were to use the phone a little more heavily for Navigation for example the battery can only last around 4 hours. Another disadvantage is that the phone doesn’t have a removable battery, for me this is fine because I have multiple chargers all over the place but if you commute often and don’t have acces to a charger as readily as I do then you might have to re-think getting the phone or invest in a portable charger like this one.
Overall I’m in love with my Nexus 4. I knew that I would be sacrificing having a huge library of music and the ability to swap batteries when I’m running low, but for the price, the option to have the latest Android updates, the overall appearance and feel of the phone, and the speed, and lack of bloatware, I was more than happy to compromise. All of my music is available to me in an instant from Google Play Music and like I mentioned I have various chargers dotted around the house and in the car.
The only real downside to this phone is what I mentioned before; the back is ridiculously smooth it slips off of almost everything but for a couple of quid you can grab a nice looking case to stop that issue.