nexii

Back now with a review of the Nexus 4, which I received last Thursday. I was really excited to receive this smart phone and move on from the iPhone 4. I decided to get the 8GB version. The smartphone is by far the nicest Android Smartphone I’ve seen, the superb build quality reminds me of something Apple products always boast. The software side (Android 4.2) is a nice addition to the Android 4.1 update, and quick toggles being the most useful and helpful.

So without further delay, here comes the full on review.

Build Quality & Looks

Let me start off by saying that the build quality is superb. This isn’t something you find from most Android phones. The Nexus 4 is a fast device, and the premium sleek finish really adds that profile to it. The phone is rock solid with some exceptions, the Nexus 4 doesn’t creak from bending and twisting the device. The only creaking you’ll find (which doesn’t have much to do with how the phone was put together, but how the buttons were places) is in the volume rocker and power buttons. The rubberized band aligned around the phone’s edge is helpful, keeping a nice grip in your hand, and protects itself from falls to the corner; I dropped my phone a few days ago and the phone hit the corner, the rubberized edge undid itself, and it took a bit of pushing to get it back into place but none the less, no scratching or cracked screens.

Software, Android 4.2

The software update isn’t much from Jellybean Android 4.1, but it adds a few things and replaces a few things. Chrome is now the main browser (my favorite!) and the regular “browser” has been removed. Photosphere and a QuickToggle system has been added. Photosphere is a cool panoramic picture taking mode that takes pictures similar to the ones from Google Map’s Streetview. The QuickToggles are convienent, but lacking. For starters, there isn’t a GPS toggle or a Auto-Rotation toggle, they also missed a Silent/Loud mode toggle, which would’ve been really helpful. Lockscreen widgets have also been added, and although most apps don’t support them, the few basic Gmail, Messaging, Clock and Camera are around. I find them cool, but I rarely use em’ (except for Camera). They’re really useful, because all it takes is a swipe to get to where you need to go.

Performance

The Nexus 4 comes equipped with the Qualcomm S4 Pro, Quad-Core Next-Gen A15 Architecture (Dubbed Krait) processor @ 1.5Ghz. For graphical purposes, it also has the Adreno 320, which is also a next gen GPU. The phone almost never lags, and when it does it seems to be because of software issues (Chrome!). The graphical processing is phenomonal, hitting 60 FPS for most games (although they are old). The Nexus 4 is known to have thermal throttling “issues”, which throttles the processor to 1.1Ghz after 60C. This usually happens with benchmarking (Quadrant, GLBenchmark). None the less, a beast.

Radios

Quick and brief, I believe this should be noted and is really important. Although the information listed doesn’t officially support LTE, the phone has LTE capabilities. I was able to grab LTE on Fido’s network in Toronto, downloading at 4600 KB’s and uploading at 3600 KB’s. The phone has a penta-band 3G radio and is considered a world phone, and is also equipped with HSPA+ with a theoretical download of 42mbps.

Sound Quality, Screen Quality, Cameras

The camera is an 8MP shooter with an LED flash, f/2.4 aperture, and a Sony BSI Image Processing Unit. It snips nice photos in the day and has decent low-light photo capabilities. The camera software equipped with Android 4.2 is a simplistic look, but keeps all the things you’d need for a camera like exposure, white balance, and more.

The sound quality of the Nexus 4 speaker is decent, sometimes a bit quiet when laid down, but enough to hear it. The speakers don’t have the bass I would prefer like the iPhone 4/4S has but it will do. Through the headphone jack, the sound is great. I’ve yet to have any issues with noise. I listen to my music with PowerAmp, which allows me to configure things like treble and bass, as well as a few other advanced details like buffering.

The screen quality of the Nexus 4 is brilliant. At first, the colors were hard to get used to because I was used to the over saturation of an AMOLED screen, but after a bit of usage I adjusted and the colors are pretty accurate. Only issue I had is the screen being tinted too blue, but after rooting and installing the Faux’s Enhancement Project App, I was able to calibrate the screens color to my liking (RGB, 255 for each). Storage -insert ss of storage screen- The one drawback the Nexus 4 has is that the storage capacity is small. There are two models, the 8GB and the 16GB. I find that the 8GB is enough for me, as I don’t play many 3D high-graphically demanding games. I did have to shrink my music library by a bit, and convert my music to 96-128 kbit variable bit-rate music to save space– and I guess the lack of SD card is even more heart wrenching. The storage was my number one drawback. With the 8GB model, you get 5.5GB’s of room for your own stuff, and with the 16GB you get 13.5GB’s of room.

I think this sums up my review. If you’re looking into the pure Android experience, look no further, the Nexus 4 is the go-to device, even with it’s few drawbacks.

Author’s Note: I’m running AOKP, and changed the dpi.  So the phone looks a bit different.

Rumors: New Google Nexus Phones Will Come in Regular and King-Size

(@OnLeaks/Twitter)

Google announced Monday that the next version of its mobile operating system, Android 6.0, will be officially nicknamed Marshmallow. And just as Google is sticking to tradition with a confection-themed name for 6.0, it appears it will also continue its custom of pairing the next mobile OS launch with a new Google-commissioned Nexus device or two.

Nexus Android phones, tablets, and smart TV boxes are built with a nonbloated, unmodified version of Google’s Android and are sold directly from Google’s Play store.  According to a report by the Android Police blog, this year’s new twist to Android’s annual Nexus phone and tablet releases will be the axing of a tablet in favor of a second phone.

Assuming that Google keeps its normal release cycle unchanged, we could be seeing these new Nexii (not a real word) as early as September. So here’s everything you need to know, including all that the hearsay reports are telling (and showing) us, about its upcoming phones.

Note: Though sources like Android Police, @evleaks (formerly @evleaker), and @OnLeaks have been reliable sources for Android rumors in the past, feel free to take the following “intel” with a healthy amount of skepticism.

Two Nexus phones: Regular and plus-size

In what sure looks like a play out of Apple’s book, Google will commission two phones this year — one smaller and one larger.

Nexus 5
Inside info from Android Police and others indicates that LG will be back to make a sequel to 2013’s affordable Nexus 5 smartphone, with this one coming in at a slightly larger 5.2 inches.

This Nexus 5 illustration mockup is based on detailed factory schematics provided to accessory makers. (@OnLeaks/Twitter)

Its name will allegedly be a familiar one: Nexus 5. Given that Asus’s 7-inch, Google-designed tablets in 2012 and 2013 both carried the Nexus 7 moniker, there is a solid precedent for this type of Nexus name recycling. 

Nexus 6
The same sources have Nexus newbie Huawei pegged to build what may be called the Nexus 6. Last year, Motorola built a Nexus phone with the same name. Its screen was nearer to the 6-inch threshold, at 5.96 inches, than the rumored 2015 Nexus 6, which is said to carry a 5.7-inch display.

Another computer illustration, this one of the rumored Nexus 6, based on schematics for accessory makers. (@OnLeaks/Twitter)

Fingerprint reader

Alleged feature specifications obtained by @OnLeaks and computer illustrations based on third-party accessory schematics have shown that both 2015 Nexus phones will come with fingerprint readers. (Yep, ostensibly another trick picked from Apple.)

And even though this speculation is reinforced by the fact that Android 6.0 explicitly includes new systemwide support for fingerprint input, this latest picture, allegedly showing a fingerprint reader on the back of the Nexus 5, looks good enough to convince us.

Apparently this is the new Nexus. Looks fine from this angle. Give us more, Mr Blurricam! pic.twitter.com/qmmvDDCZyY

— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD)

August 17, 2015

As with the iPhone’s TouchID, the Nexus fingerprint reader in Android Marshmallow will replace PIN codes for unlocking the phone and be used for making purchases with compatible apps.

USB Type-C

Though Chinese phone maker OnePlus claimed “First!” in bringing the USB Type-C port to smartphones in the States, Google will likely be right on its heels with its two new Nexus phones.

The supposed device schematics delivered by @OnLeaks and uSwitch show that both the LG and Huawei Nexus phones will be compatible with the upcoming USB-C cable standard, eschewing the current Micro-USB that Android phones have used for a number of years. 

(Google)

This new tech not only solves the irritating problem of never knowing the right way to plug your charger in (it works in either direction, like Apple’s Lightning cable), but it also charges phones at a faster rate than current USB cables.

Comparable hardware, at a decent price (usually)

With the exception of last year’s pricey Nexus 6 (launched with a starting price of $649), buying your smartphones and tablets directly from Google has traditionally been a way to cut costs without cutting corners.

Though the blog Android Headlines has reported that at least the LG Nexus will be modestly priced ($300 to $400), both new Nexus phones, according to info in the same report, will offer deluxe hardware. These details, backed up in part by @evleaks and others, indicate that both phones will pack Sony camera sensors, wireless charging capabilities, front-facing stereo speakers, and zippy processors.

LG’s previous two Nexus phones, the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, started at $299 and $349, respectively. And both Nexus 7 tablets by Asus entered the Play Store with base prices around $200. Despite costing significantly less than iPhones and iPads, Nexus devices have always entered the market with hardware comparable to the top-of-the-line devices.

Pure Android, full Google

Since these new phones will likely pack hardware that’s on par with most other flagship Android phones released this year, the main appeal of Google’s upcoming Nexus devices is that — unlike the Samsung Galaxy, HTC One, or LG G handsets — they will run pure unadulterated Android. The real Android, the way God and Google intended. 

This means that software updates come directly from Google to Nexus phones, tablets, and smart TV boxes, without the need for a third-party manufacturer or cellphone carrier to tweak them. And after a nasty and widespread Android security flaw was discovered last month, Google promised to begin sending out monthly software security updates, of which Nexus phones and tablets will receive first.

Today, the 2014 Nexus 6 is the only phone compatible with Google’s new cellphone service, Project Fi. But it would probably be a safe guess to assume that one, if not both, of this year’s Nexus phones will also eventually be offered as devices on the program as well.

***

We submit the above Nexus 2015 speculation as food for thought. But suffice it to say that, if you’re currently in the market for a new Android phone, you might want to try and stave off your hunger until the end of the summer so you can see with your own two eyes what tasty treat(s) Google will be serving up next.

Email me at danbean@yahoo-inc.com. Follow me on Twitter at danielwbean.

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