Google Nexus 4 – A Hands-On Experience

I have retired from the scene of wireless phone review.  But I could not resist from writing a little entry about my new Nexus 4.  I was not able to procure one last November when the phone was first launched.  Within 30 minutes of release, the phone was sold out.  It appears that this iteration of Nexus is a lot more popular than the previous versions.  Hence, either or both LG and Google have underestimated its demand.  Whichever the story is, Google has started taking orders since end of January.  That was when I bought mine.

I have not been so excited about a phone for a long time!

What is Nexus 4?

It is essentially a Google reference phone, built by LG.  It is a Android phone sold directly via Google Play.  As of today, there are two versions.  The 8GB version is priced at US$299 while the 16GB version US$349.

Let’s Talk About Its Price

It is hard not to start with its price.  Starting from US$299 without contract, it sounds almost like a steal.  Nexus 4 may be affordable, but it is not a cheap phone.  I suppose when you take away heavy marketing budget, the middleman, and the need for inventory (just-in-time manufacturing), a phone does not have to be that expensive.  Nexus’s affordable price is no doubt one of its selling points.

Form Factor

You have to hold a Nexus 4 to truly appreciate its beauty.  A 4.7″ touchscreen built using Corning Gorilla Glass 2 curves nicely towards the edge of the phone.  There is a silver rim wrapped around the phone followed by a non-slip surface that forms the edge of Nexus 4.  At the back is another piece of glass.  Some find the back glass too slippery.  I have applied a non-slip protective film on it (Xtremeguard).  So it feels just right.  Strongly recommend you to do the same!  The phone is slim, relatively light.  It fits well on my palm.  Nexus 4’s touchscreen has a ~318 ppi pixel density.  That is a pretty good resolution.

On the flip side, Nexus 4 does feel fragile.  It wouldn’t survive a drop test.  So, handle with care.  Also, the color of the screen seems a bit off.  For a start, the white doesn’t look that white.    But like all things in life.  After you get used to the color, it should not bother you that much.

Pure Android Platform

One challenge of the Android platform is that most Android phones do have not the latest operating system installed.  It’s a pity.  Getting a Nexus 4 means that you will have the latest OS whenever Google makes an update.  To me, that is one huge advantage.  One of the reasons why I bought the phone.

Stock OS is great, if you accept it the way it is.  It does not come with all the bloatwares that your telco would have installed for you (yay to no Facebook app!).  But it also does not have all the bells and whistles like the apps that Samsung has developed for their phones.  I am still unable to set the ringtone using one of the songs in my phone.  Nor I am able to change the alarm tone to a song.  Besides these, I have no complain.

It is Fast

Nexus 4 comes with a Quad-core 1.5 GHz CPU.  The phone feels responsive.  Only time will tell if it remains so as technology always pushes the boundary.

Card Slot?

Nexus 4 does not have a card slot to extend the storage.  If you manage to buy Nexus 4 directly from Google Play, I would assume that you can upload up to 20,000 songs to Google’s cloud.  I don’t store my music library in my phone.  I stream it online.  Hence, 16GB is sufficient to me.  For now.

What About The Battery?

Nexus 4’s battery life is likely the most discussed topic.  Before we talk about its battery performance, perhaps what we should do is to take a step back and take stock of the things we do with our phones these days.  To date, I stream music over the air.  I play Ingress, which is very demanding on battery life.  With such a pretty screen, I tend to surf the Internet more often.  And there are YouTube, Google+, and Google Now.  The demand on battery is only getting higher and higher.

Just how good or terrible is Nexus 4’s battery performance?

On heavy usage, I managed to squeeze 7 hours out of the phone.  I wouldn’t say that is great.  Nor bad.  It is average, just as expected.

In Summary

Nexus 4 is a decent phone with a decent price.  I am happy with my purchase.

4 thoughts on “Google Nexus 4 – A Hands-On Experience”

  1. I’m watching closely on Nexus 4 too , but i never manage to get much news on the battery life .
    – On ingress , YT , Google Now , and music streaming with overall of 7 hours battery life !
    That is a very valuable piece on info to me 😀
    Great Article 😀

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