LG Nexus 4 Review
The LG Nexus 4 or Google Nexus 4 is the 4th reincarnation of the Nexus smartphone and this time, it’s LG’s turn to show the world what they cooked up with Google, and it’s beautiful I tell you.
What makes this an interesting piece of device is that it’s the first Android phone that supports wireless charging and is also the first Nexus phone that’s priced really low for its specs ($349 for the 16GB)… for Google Play countries only that is.
Here in our country, this handset retails for about $150 more so it becomes less attractive… or does it? Read on for our review to find out.
The first time I took out this phone from its box and peel off its plastic covering, I immediately fell in love with its design. The Gorilla Glass panel covering its entire front has that curved edge on both sides which looked really classy.
Following the Nexus design, there are no physical buttons at the front and the capacitive touch panels for Back, Home, and Task Switcher are part of the 4.7-inch screen display utilizing a dedicated space at the bottom. Dead center at the bottom of the screen (not visible) is a notification LED indicator.
The sides have that edgy, smooth, matte hard plastic finish which is probably the boring part of this phone. On the left we got the volume rocker and the microSIM slot that requires you to push with a pin to eject. On the right is where the Power/Sleep button is situated making it natural for your thumb to do the waking.
On top is the 3.5mm audio jack and a microphone. At the bottom is the microUSB port that doubles as HDMI via SlimPort, a port standard similar to MHL. In fact, it’s the first handset to use SlimPort and the sad thing is, no SlimPort cable/adapter is included in the package.
I find the back as gorgeous as the front. There are little Matrix-like hologram squares that blinks randomly when viewed in different angles. The back is also covered with a Gorilla Glass 2 panel making this phone tough even without a case on. It’s not removable though and inside is a 2100mAh battery.
For a 4.7-inch phone, I like how the Google Nexus 4 feels in my hand. It’s thin but still adequate to grip without feeling fragile. It’s light but still has that heft that makes it feel like you’re holding a quality phone.
Display and UI
The Nexus 4 uses a 4.7″ True HD IPS Plus screen with a WXGA resolution (768 x 1280) resulting to a high 318 pixel density. That makes for a 15:9 aspect ratio but with the space dedicated to the Android buttons at the bottom, it further shrinks to a 14:9 aspect ratio. It does allow the buttons to rotate based on the orientation of the screen.
The display is quite sharp thanks to its full RGB stripe which gives you more subpixels per pixel than PenTile ones. Contrast is really good for an LCD screen and viewing angle is simply amazing on this phone. Brightness is quite high as well although due to the highly reflective glass, sunlight readability is not that good. Because of the curvature of the glass, it gives the illusion that the display is closer to the surface which is nice.
Using Google’s stock Android Jelly Bean OS, the UI on the Nexus 4 is as simple as it gets. Lockscreen icons are now gone but you can add widgets into it such as calendar and messages. Swipe to the right will launch the camera for you.
Everything else is quite basic (Home Screen, App Drawer, even the keyboard) so there’s not much to write about. I do like the effect when you put this phone to sleep which is like turning off an old TV.
The Nexus 4 is powered by Qualcomm’s APQ 8064 Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset, which uses the new generation Krait CPU cores and the new generation Adreno 320 GPU.
Syntethic benchmark using Quadrant gives the Nexus 4 a high score (4947) but still not high enough to distant itself from the NVIDIA Tegra 3.
However, because of the latest Android 4.2 Jellyb Bean, everything performs smoothly as it should. From launching apps, web browsing, browsing through a huge list of contacts, everything is “buttery” smooth.
I was impressed when I was streaming a 720p MKV movie from my NAS drive via the MX Player app. Software processing took a very short time and I was able to scan through the whole movie without any lag or stuttering at all. Not the case with previous Android phones I tried.
Audio coming from the speakers are clear even at loud volumes so that’s a good thing.
Tried Beach Buggy Blitz as my game and I was able to run through a bunch of laps without any lags or frame skips at all.
What’s missing on the Google Nexus 4 is LTE support. Network connection is listed as up to HSPA+ speeds only. It does, however, have NFC and wireless charging capability although both aren’t widely used yet.
The Nexus 4 is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera with back-side illuminated sensor. The Camera menu is quite simple, intuitive and is fully loaded. You can use touch to focus which is quick by the way.
You’ll get the usual Scenes, White Balance, flash settings, exposure compensation, and HDR. It can do panoramic shots and also a thing called Photo Sphere, which allows you to easily take a full spherical 360 panning photo. It’s not perfect but it’s easy and fun to use and show off.
Below is a sample Photo Sphere image laid as flat JPG. You can pan the photo in all angles when viewed from the phone or from Google Plus.
Meanwhile, here are a few shots taken with the Google Nexus 4:
As you can see, colors are quite accurate but often times, a lot of noise can be found on the image. Photos look actually good by themselves especially if you can keep your hands steady.
This phone can also shoot full HD videos at 30 fps. There’s also a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats.
The battery on the Nexus 4 is rated at 2100mAh which is the same on the Samsung Galaxy S III. On regular usage: WiFi always on but not connected, data usage every now and then, minimal calls and text, a few games, a few photos — the phone’s battery lasted for about 14 hours which should be good for a day and half of average use.
The Google Nexus 4’s selling factor is its affordable price in the US. Locally, it’s priced at Php24,490 which puts it near the other quad-core phones such as the HTC One X/X+ and the Samsung Galaxy S III. However, those phones debuted at a 30k+ price tag so the SRP of the Nexus 4 is considerably low for a quad-core phone, and it might even drop some more in a couple of months.
Another good thing the Nexus 4 has going is that you don’t have to wait ages once an OS update is released. Being a Google phone, you’re guaranteed that you’ll always get the latest version. Aside from that, it’s a really nice-looking piece of device with a very capable overall performance for those not needing too much storage on their handset.
|LG Nexus 4 E960 Specs:|
|4.7” True HD IPS+ display 1280 x 768 @318ppi|
|Gorilla Glass 2 (front and back)|
|Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait, Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon|
|Adreno 320 GPU|
|Android 4.2 Jelly Bean|
|16 GB storage, 2GB RAM, no microSD|
|8 MP (3,264×2,448) back-side illuminated sensor with LED flash|
|HDR, Panoramic shot, Photo Sphere|
|1080p @ 30fps video recording|
|1.3 MP front-facing camera|
|microUSB v2.0 / SlimPort for HDMI|
|DC-HSDPA, 42 Mbps; HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps|
|Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot|
|Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP|
|Li-Po 2100mAh battery|
|133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm|