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.
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.
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.