So, I had the Nexus 4 for a month, and it is relatively better than I expected in most instances, but it left me disappointed in a couple of instances. So, for those of you who hadn’t bought a Nexus 4, but will like to – here is my full review on it.
The Nexus 4 has a 4.7” display. The number 4 is not the screen size, but the generation which succeeded the Nexus One, Nexus S, and Galaxy Nexus. The Nexus has a 320 ppi which is 6 pixel per inch short of the iPhone 5. The phone weighs at 139 grams which but with a good feel.
The phone supports Bluetooth, NFC, Wifi-N, and GSM 2G/3G. It does support all bands, so it is a truly global phone. The phone is unlocked, so those that travel in areas of other carriers will find this phone a benefit as long as the carrier supports a micro-SIM. If not, you could buy a micro-SIM cutter, but be sure to buy a quality one, otherwise you damage your SIM card. The phone also supports HSPA+42 which allows for a potential of 42MBPS download. Your carrier obviously has to support it. Last, it supports Qi enabled wireless charging. Power Mat does not use the Qi standard, so if you have one, you will not benefit from this.
As for components, there is a physical power button on the right top side. This is a change from most phones that have their power on the top. The volume rocker is on the left top side. There is a 1.3MP front camera, and a 8MP rear camera. I am not a big camera person, so I can’t really give the quality of the pictures, and anyone that uses a camera a lot should know that it isn’t just megapixels. Needless to say, there is an ear piece as well and where where one expects it to be. There is a primary microphone, and a secondary microphone for noise cancellation. There is a speaker which is obviously good, and since it is grilled exposed, it has a better sound in comparison to my previous phone. There is a USB port, but it can also handle HDMI through the less common Slim Port protocol.
The phone uses a Snap Dragon S4 1.5Ghz Quad Core CPU. If I had the resources to connect my phone to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, I could even replace my PC (to some degree) with this phone. It has 2GB of memory which is typical for higher end phones. There is also a choice of 8GB or 16GB (just go for the 16GB). The price difference of the two phones is $50, but as with the previous Nexus Phones, this one has no micro-SD card. And since the Nexus does not support mass storage with OTG, don’t expect any help there. This wouldn’t be a problem if there wasn’t an artificial shortage of data capabilities over cellular. In the United States, only Sprint and T-Mobile (+$20) offers unlimited services. Since Sprint uses the CDMA network, you will not be able to use the Nexus 4 on Sprint. This makes sense since even the CDMA carriers are eventually phasing out CDMA for the Global GSM – LTE standard. However, if you have a lot of data you want access to, you need to rely on cloud storage, and therefore you might benefit from the $20 unlimited data. Thankfully, T-Mobile’s prices (in comparison) is very reasonable and competitive.
The phone comes with 4.1, so expect the phone to upgrade itself to 4.2.2 once you connect to a network, and set up your credentials. 4.2.2 is the most up to date version of Android, and well worth the upgrade – not so much right now, but you can expect your phone to keep receiving OS updates years from now until the hardware can no longer support it.
The OS at time of writing is Android 4.2.2. I will expect that during Google I/O, there should be a new version of the Android OS, and I (having a Nexus Phone) will receive that update relatively quickly. Because the phone checks directly with Google for updates, the updates are not under the control of the manufacturer nor the carrier. This is one reason why I chosen the Nexus over the Galaxy S3, or Note 2.
Folders is a good thing to have. It has been available in iOS, and one of the things that I preferred with iOS over Android. However, the folders on Android 4 and higher beats that out. You only get 5 screens, and Home defaults to the center screen. The back, Home, and Task Management screen are virtual keys rather than physical or capacitive. This allows for the screen real estate to be optimized in comparison to the dimensions of the phone.
Google Now is similar to Siri, but does much more. However, most likely because of my life, I hadn’t benefited much from the personal assistant features of Google Now. I will hope as time goes, it will recognize my lifestyle, and use my calendar to tell me when I need to go (on time) to take buses to appointments. However, until this (if at all) happens, I will be my own personal assistant.
The phone app is functional for what you would expect. However, the expanded feature of SIP dialing is completely useless in my opinion. First, if you are like me, and use Google Voice for calls, then this is the default system. This means trying to use the phone’s dialer to make a SIP call is not possible unless you are making a SIP to SIP address call. I could never seem to get a QWERTY keyboard to come up when trying to dial a SIP address, so I will have to assume this will only be beneficial if I am contacting a contact’s SIP address. In addition, when a POTS based call came to my SIP service and therefore the integrated SIP client, it used the number @ the IP address of the server. This made returning missed calls impossible without manually dialing the number.
Application management is easier. First, there is a task manager button. Selecting this will bring up a visual list of all of the apps in memory. Swiping right will shut the app down. Also, holding an installed app from the app drawer will allow you to drag it to a Delete option which will remove the app from the device. If you purchased the app, you can still have access to it from the Play Store. You can’t uninstall included apps such as the email or Gmail app. You can disable them, by using the App Info. This should also work with S**tware apps from carriers or manufacturers. Since the Nexus is void of these apps, the only ones are those part of the OS. An exception is the default web browser found on most devices has been replaced with the Chrome Browser. This is going to probably be the standard browser in future versions which makes sense on Google’s part.
I am a big music person. When I leave my apartment, I like to have my headphones, and listen to music. Media management on Android is still as incompetent as it always has been. Yes, one could plug their phone in their computer, and drag and drop. However, iOS puts the media capabilities to shame. Mind you, to use an iOS device officially requires the media player that is larger than some office suites, but Google can do so much more. They can either provide proper integration with media players like Windows Media Player, and try to work with Apple for some integration with iTunes (maybe limiting the support with Macs). However, as Play Music and the online capabilities stand, there is no smart play lists. If you like listening to same thing over and over again, or don’t mind wasting your time trying to find different play lists – this is not an issue. However, for a more discerning person like me where I want to be able to have the PC shuffle music based on the parameters is my preference. I been doing it with an iPod Touch for a few years to say the least. It works, and it is ass backwards to not cater to that means of music management. To help compensate for this, I have to use iSyncr, and there is no such media manager that will work with Windows Media Player.
First, it is a Nexus phone. This means that it will have a reliable update path. The last two Android phones I had both had stock Android, and the manufacturer or T-Mobile chose to not update the OS after purchase beyond a minor package upgrade. The only Nexus phone that didn’t receive Android 4.0 or better was the Nexus One due to hardware issues. I can feel confident that I will have this phone for more than the 2 year expectancy that most phones these days see.
The phone is a nice size. I can see even women being able to use this phone without feeling overwhelmed by the size. My 16 year old niece loves the phone, so that has to say something about the “cool” factor.
Yes, I know that many phones are moving to integrated batteries to stuff more battery in a smaller package. However, this can be a disadvantage if you rely on your phone, and you use it to do something crazy like make phone calls. If your work requires you to be out of the office, and being able to make and receive phone calls, then you may not like the fact you can’t swap the battery. Yes, you can always use an auto charger (if you have a car), but this takes resources that could possibly be needed for something else, and as of 2013-03-26, the only car I know that has Qi charging built in is the Toyota Avalon.
I personally feel that 16GB should have been the smallest capacity. In hindsight, Google is probably thinking the same. The 16GB model has regularly been sold out with the 8GB only going as the 16 will be gone. The Nexus 7 used to have an 8GB option. Now, it is just 16, and 32.
The glass background is begging to be cracked and shattered. While it may look pretty, it has its issues. First, expect to put the phone only completely flat or slight angles but the surface is rough. I have occasionally placed my phone on top of my iPod Touch (gen 3), and in a few moments, I hear something hit the floor. Can you guess what it was? Be prepared to buy a case to go with your phone. The bumper that Google marketed might help, but a $10 case from Ringke will work better and cheaper.
Google Wallet is not supported if you are using T-Mobile’s network. Why the wallet is disabled because of this is beyond me. Google Wallet should be encrypted from app to server and work no matter the pipeline it is transmitted on. I don’t have AT&T’s service, so I don’t know their support on this, but if you had dreams of using your phone as a virtual wallet to buy your food, and other items you want day to day and this single device consolidating all of your cards (2 in my case) into one secured system – keep dreaming. T-Mobile will eventually allow you to use Isis when that becomes available anytime between now and not in your lifetime. Even when Isis comes out, if the merchants don’t support it, you are still SOL. Google Wallet is supported with any merchant that supports Google Checkout (obviously), and Mastercard PayPass. The cards in Google Wallet doesn’t even have to be Mastercard.
If You Want One?
First, if you noticed, I didn’t mention anything about LTE. There is no official LTE support, and I think with good reason why. Consider reading my post on Why LTE Sucks for my reasoning. I seen very different prices, but I am going to give you the best options here.
Go to Google’s Nexus Page. You will pay $350 for the 16GB version. Expect $15 for shipping (in the United States), and you may have to pay for sales tax. You will not be able to get insurance through your carrier, so you would want to find a company that will insure phones. Expect $100 for 2 years which is cheaper than the carrier any how. The phone must be less than 30 days old. Buy a Ringke case (about $15) from Amazon, and an Energizer Qi charging pad. You could use the USB charging, but you might prefer to just set the phone down to charge, and lift it up when you need to take it.
If you can not afford such a large investment, and you are a T-Mobile customer, you might qualify for an EIP plan. $50 down, and $18 per month for 24 months will get you the Nexus 4. You will still have to get a case, but this should make the payments while more expensive a more obtainable option. If you don’t qualify for EIP – The Google Nexus site is you only realistic option.
Your carrier needs to be a GSM 2G/3G carrier. This means that it will not work with Verizon, nor Sprint. Your carrier will also need to provide you with a micro-SIM card. This card is about half the size of a mini SIM (what are normally found in phones).
And yes, there are faster, and better phones. However, until a manufacturer and carrier shows that they will update the OS on their phones, I don’t see why you would want to spend $500 – $800 on something that will be a regret 2 years from now because you can’t get the updates that your $800 phone can obviously support.