Anything and everything coming out of Google has got to be awesome and respect worthy. At-least so is my perception. Nexus line-up is Google’s quest in smartphone arena. The latest, Nexus 4, developed in association with LG, is a killer device.
Nexus 4 looks a lot like the LG Optimus G in terms of design and specifications but with tweaks here and there to make it more Google’ish. On specifications front, Google Nexus 4 is at par with prevailing competition. However, with booming technology it will be severely un-fair to compare months old phone with recent market shakers (read Galaxy S 4, HTC One).
This being said, lets get on with the actual review of Nexus 4 and see the reason why it’s a “love at first sight” sort of device.
Ergonomics – Design, The Looks!
Before getting into discussing all the technical stuff let me tell you, Nexus 4 is a beautifully carved phone. Period.
It may not be the slimmest or curviest mobile phone but the 0.4″ inch profile portrays elegance. On the rear you’ll find a glass covering beneath which you’ll notice a sparkle pattern peeking through, depending on the viewing angle. Not many hardware manufacturers are courageous enough to use glass back since because of obvious drawbacks but LG has played it well. The underlying sparkle pattern (call it glitters, if you may) looks absolutely gorgeous. A stunner.
On the downside, needless to say the glass attracts fingerprints beyond your liking. And you would want to be extra careful with device handling, dropping it might increase chances of visiting a nearby LG service centre.
The front of Nexus 4 sports a very simplistic look. There’s just the display, front-facing camera. No physical buttons whatsoever. The display has curved edges thus allowing easier navigation through menus and applications consuming more screen portion.
All in all the smartphone is curvy, slim (no comparisons!) and sexy. Add to this, catchy textured glass back, it’s a definite eye candy.
Software, UI, et al
Being a Google iteration, Nexus 4 runs the latest version of Android viz. Android 4.2.2 or Jelly Bean. It doesn’t include any skinned version of Android or pre-loaded bloatware. Provides pure stock android experience.
And when I say stock android, I mean:
- You’ll get to enjoy a cleaner interface, faster performance.
- Be the first one to get Android upgrades as and when they are released.
- No more additional waiting time for your mobile phone manufacturer check compatibility, tune up it’s own skin and then push the update to your phone.
There’s no doubt that Android 4.2.2 will certainly make way for other compatible devices as well however with Nexus 4 (and other nexus line up), you can be sure that Google will not leave the users in the dark. There’s a good chance of getting the latest updates for at-least a generation old devices if not more. Unlike other manufacturers which are keen on selling their products rather than keeping the existing one’s happy.
Performance – Hardware – Yay or Nay?
To begin with let’s not blow things out of proportion. Nexus 4 is indeed a powerful device but it doesn’t carry the top of the range specs as do Samsung’s or HTC’s. However, the hardware powering the device is still quite stellar for the price at which it comes for. Everything on 1.5 Ghz quad core processor runs like butter!
Google Nexus 4 poses a 4.7″ IPS display with 1280×768 pixel resolution (318 ppi), the response of which is brilliant. Now this is one area I feel let down. I have been using Samsung Galaxy S II and S III for quite a while now and have grown to like to over saturated colour of their AMOLED’s. This might be the reason why I found colour reproduction of Nexus 4 to be dull and boring.
On the audio reproduction part, Nexus 4 speaker is nice, crisp and clear. However they suffer from a small drawback. The speaker is housed at the back of the smartphone, so if you were to place it on a flat surface (you can feel it while holding it your hand) the rear of the device suffers from vibrations induced by sound waves.
I have heard and read people claiming issues about audio leakage. However, I didn’t face any such problems with it. Even at full volume there were no issues.
Coming to the camera of Google Nexus 4, I am in a fix. The experience varies based on lighting conditions. In broad daylight, Nexus 4 captured really good images, not as bright as I get in Galaxy S III but they do look natural. However the problem arises when lighting conditions are bad, Nexus 4 struggles to capture quality images even with the prescence of LED flash. Noisy images, loss of colour, loss of details.
What good is a phone without a worthy battery capacity?
Nexus 4 comes with a 2100 mAh non-removable battery (courtesy unibody design). In terms of battery life, I was able to get through the battery in almost 17 hours of moderate use. This should be good enough for majority of users. However, it should be noted that this test was done on a relatively newer purchase of Nexus 4. The battery performance degrades over a period of time.
Moreover a non-removable battery means that there’s no such thing as extra batteries. You would have to do with portable chargers if need be.
Also, another worth mentioning aspect is the integrated support for wireless charging. What this means is, you can just place Nexus 4 on charging pad, no need to connect any wires, and it’ll start charging in no time! Doing so on regular basis will keep your device power packed all the time…!
Summing Up – To Buy or Not To Buy?
For every Nexus phone there are 2 segments of customers, one who have been waiting for the device, and then there are those who are diving into experiencing pure android experience for first time.
If you belong to former group, my advise would be to just go and buy it. You have already wasted time reading this review. It’s awesome as you expected. Nothing more nothing less. Those belonging to latter group, Nexus 4 is the right device to get started. Nexus line-up has matured to offer competitive hardware, stock android is no more ugly, it’s fast, it’s beautiful. You don’t need the likes of TouchWiz, Sense UI, etc to make is usable. And with apt pricing (INR 25,990 in India), Nexus 4 is a great choice. Indeed.