Earlier today, I received the Nexus 4-16GB model, and while I am sure there are a lot of more in depth reviews of this older phone, here is my perspective on it with my first impressions.
First, it is running Android (latest version) always. In a matter of fact, once I turned the phone on, and connected to my wifi Network, it pulled an update to the phone, and asked to reboot. In other words, within two minutes, I had more updates on this new phone, than I had with the G2x in two years.
The phone is bigger than the older one. It is a 4.7” screen but it doesn’t feel like it. The screen is nice and vibrant as well. I also like the new color scheme in comparison to the dated Android 2.3 I been dealing with for 2 years. There is also an additional feature for SIP calling which I could essentially use a server to connect the phone to and make calls from the home when the reception with T-Mobile is poor which sometimes happens.
Google Now is a nice feature, although so far it has only brought up weather. Later this week, I will have to take the bus, so I will if I can get more capabilities done. The phone also has a better audio set in my opinion to the G2x, or even my 3rd gen iPod Touch when headphones are plugged into it.
And last, but not least – it is unlocked. Even when buying from T-Mobile, the phone is unlocked. By having the phone natively unlocked means that I don’t have to beg permission, or wait a couple of weeks for them to finally unlocked the phone.
Being a Nexus Phone, there is no S**tware. My G2x had EA Games, T-Mobile Music Hub, T-Mobile My Account, and My Device, NFS Shift, Nova, Smartshare, Telenav GPS Navigator, T-Mobile TV, and T-Mobile Video Chat – none of these I ever used. About the only software that I used that T-Mobile shoved down the throat is Wifi-Calling. Wifi Calling is not available on the Nexus, and some T-Mobile customers complained. Boo Hoo, and cry a river. Wifi Calling is to help compensate poor coverage areas, and requires Wifi. Here’s a better solution, Use Google Voice, and get a SIP provider like TelTub. Android supports integrated SIP support, and set it so calls over wifi uses the SIP account. You will probably save some minutes on your plan. To me, the lost of Wifi Calling is a small price to pay to not be stuck on false promises by T-Mobile to update their devices.
This phone is not perfect, and not even perfect for me. Simply put, I knew that going in as for the disadvantages of the phone. None the less, I will gripe about them now.
First, I am paying more than full price for the phone. This was not my plan, however a representative offered to deduct $50 from my next bill, and while this does not make up for it, this was the best deal I was likely to get between then and when I could afford to buy the phone 4 months down the road. The G2x was giving me more problems, and there was times where if I asked it to run a couple of programs in the background, I will be stuck having to reboot the phone 3 or 4 times a day. So, if I purchased the phone from Google Play, I would have paid $400 including taxes, and S&H. I would have got an insurance plan from an outside source, and paid about the same as I did with T-Mobile without insurance. However, in my opinion, the most insulting prospect is my contract has been extended to February 2015. Thankfully, the other line is still due to end in April 2014. The T-Mobile Tax, and Contract will not apply if one buys directly from Google.
Second, everything is integrated. The battery is integrated, and the storage has no SD card slot. At just 16GB, this is the same capacity as the smallest capacity iPhone 5. Simply put, I would have expected better from the Google Flagship phone. I knew this going in, but this is even more of a shame as it is also the best sound media player I have.
The backing is too fancy for my taste. It doesn’t scream look at me, but quietly nudges people to look at it. I know this is a trivial point, but I would have much rather had a plain back side. The back also has a glass feel to it, which will concern me if it drops.
The micro-USB port feels a little snug when plugging in a standard micro-USB cord. This isn’t a concern, but I actually a couple of times to make sure the port wasn’t upside down. The power button is located at the high left side rather than on the top of the phone. This is a big change for me as the phone from the last couple of years was on the top and left of the phone. Even many other phones I seen has their buttons on the top. This will take some getting used to.
Google Wallet is disabled. As with the price gouging, this is not an action of Google, but a decision of T-Mobile. They however will support Isis, but it is not available yet. And while they could not prevent Wallet from being included into the Nexus Phone, they seem to have made this would have been valuable feature invalid. My option would have to be to move to the much more expensive AT&T, and pay the ETF even though I paid full price for the phone.
There are a few things I hadn’t got to use yet. The first is NFC. I will like to get NFC tags to make certain changes. For example, I will set a tag by the door to my apartment to toggle Wifi, and GPS (Bluetooth when I get a device). When I leave, it will turn Wifi Off, and GPS on. When I come home, it will switch those. NFC can do a bit more too, but this is a sample.
Also, I hadn’t got a chance to use the Qi charging. This will definitely be something I will want though. I will like to simply set my phone on the pad, and have it charge. I only wished there was more options of devices to support it.
I also hadn’t got to use the cameras just yet. I am not a big camera person, so this isn’t a big deal to me.
Verdict and What’s Next
First, if you are using a GSM carrier, and you are willing to accept the limitations, then the Nexus 4 based on first impressions is a great phone. If you are a T-Mobile customer, you will definitely want to buy from the Google Play Store. The only reason I didn’t is I had to put $135 down, and will be doing $20 per month for the next 20 months with 0% APR. I also got a $50 credit, and this would have been a better option without the contract extension. I hadn’t got to deal with the battery life yet, but consider myself a moderate user.
As for the G2x, it will be demoted to a SIP phone. Unknown callers will ring this phone leaving me with peace on the cellular phone. The G2x will use a GTalk client which will be sufficient for my needs. I will likely do a reset on the phone, and wipe it clean of everything on the phone, although will still be stuck with the S**tware.
However, no matter what, I am confident that I will have better reliability with the Nexus 4 for the next 2 years than I had with the G2x for the past 2 years. And since updates are taken out of both LG (the manufacturer of the Nexus 4), and T-Mobile, I will have some confidence that my investment will be better off.