With the LG Nexus 4 Hitting in Two Days, is it the Right Smartphone for You?

The LG Nexus 4 lands on the 13th of November. For those that prefer to avoid contracts or simply wish to go down the prepaid route, the LG Nexus 4 represents a powerful, vanilla Android experience that is extremely tempting. If you are a developer who wants an unlocked and incredible Android experience without the hassle, this Nexus smartphone certainly could fit the bill.

That being said, you’ve probably heard about a few “negative” aspects for the Nexus 4 as well, such as the lack of LTE– which primarily only affects select U.S. Markets but is largely a non-issue for the vast majority of the globe– for now.

So is the Nexus 4 what it is cracked up to be? While we’ve yet to get our hands on the Nexus 4 directly at Mobile Magazine yet, we have done quite a bit of research, read several reviews and other first impressions in order to bring you a run down of the hardware and other factors like battery.

Overall Design

The LG Nexus 4 is essentially a rebranded LG Optimus G with a few tweaks, such as the removal of LTE support. While not be considered a “gorgeous” device, it isn’t ugly either. It has an all-black chassis that might be a little boring for some consumers.

It is also worth noting that the device’s frame is plastic, though the screen does feature Corning Glass 2 so it isn’t a ‘cheap’ build design by any means.

The design probably won’t WOW everyone around you, but that doesn’t detract from the many other WOW factors that surround its low pricing and powerful hardware.

As for size, the phone measures 133.9x7x9.1mm and weighs just 139 grams. This might not be as light as the iPhone 5′s 122 gram weight– but it isn’t a massive difference either.

The Actual Hardware

Alright, let’s start with a spec list that gives us a run down of the hardware inside this beast of a Nexus:

  • 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 8 or 16GB internal storage4.7-inch-inch IPS display with 1280 x 768 resolution
  • no microSD support
  • 8-megapixel camera
  • 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera
  • Quad-band GSM/EDGE/GPRS (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • Penta-band 3G (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • HSPA+ 42Mbps support
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2100mAh Litium polymer battery
  • Sensors: compass, gyroscope, microphone, ambient light, barometer, accelerometer
  • Bluetooth
  • NFC
  • GPS
  • Micro USB
  • SlimPort HDMI
  • Weight: 139g
  • Size: 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1mm
  • wireless charging (optional)
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

With a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, and Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM— the Nexus 4 is no slouch. But how well does it actually perform when it comes to real world results?

 

As you can see from GeekBench, the LG Nexus 4 actually does quite well for itself, outpacing other major devices like the Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5. For some reason it even manages to out perform the LG Optimus G that it is based on — probably because it is a vanilla experience without out all the extra ‘fluff’ to weight it down?

It is worth noting that the LG Nexus 4 is said to get rather hot during extreme use sessions. Bottom-line, you will be hard-pressed to find another smartphone that performs much better. Of course the smartphone world is constantly changing and it won’t be long before something better comes along, but the quad-core power in the LG Nexus 4 isn’t going to disappoint and should happily chug along with any app out there into the foreseeable future.

The Display

So how good is the LG Nexus 4′s display? A 1280 x 768 IPS display with 320 ppi is a slightly less in pixels than the iPhone 5, though it probably would be almost impossible to notice the difference for the average person. The screen is easy to read and is one of the best display around.

The Camera

The Nexus 4 features a 8MP back cam and 1.3MP front cam. Are they the best smartphone cameras around? Probably not, but the 8MP back cam seems more than good enough for taking clear and vibrant pictures and new features like “Photo Sphere” and new photo filters in Android 4.2 can take your camera experience to the next level.

Battery Performance

The LG Nexus 4 should handle moderate usage quite well and will last about a day and a half, according to most of the reviews showing up on the net. As for high usage? If you are pounding the device hard with things like videos, expect about 4 ½ hours of battery life.

Other Notable Stuff

The LG Nexus 4 not only comes with the newest version of Android, Jelly Bean 4.2, but being a Nexus device means it will get first dibs on upgrades and other improvements for quite a while to come.

Yes, there is no LTE, but this really isn’t as big of an issue as many folks are making it out to be. If you live in an LTE market— it might be a dealbreaker. The fact is that globally, that’s a pretty small amount of folks. If you want a phone with LTE and don’t mind a locked experience, perhaps you should look for the LG Optimus G or maybe even go for something entirely different like the upcoming HTC Droid DNA 5-inch 1080p smartphone.

Also worth mentioning, the Nexus 4 has a few “negative” aspects such as a non-removable battery, the aforementioned lack of LTE and the lack of a micro-SD port.

Bottom Line

For $299 unlocked for an 8GB version, the LG Nexus 4 is a steal. Is it perfect? No.. LTE would have been nice. Having a microSD port and a removable battery would have been epic as well.

There are some trade-offs, here– that much is true. In many ways, the “openness” we love about Android is stifled a little by the lack of these features but from a developer/modder point of view, the ability to load ROMs and other customizations with ease makes up for some of this. If you can’t live without LTE, microSD and don’t want a non-removable battery— there are other phones out there that might appeal to you more. If you want a solid vanilla Android experience that is blazing fast (with the exception of mobile broadband speed), this is an excellent phone. Aside from the few missing features, this is a wonderful device.

So what do you think? Interested in getting the LG Nexus 4 or is there another phone that looks like a better fit for you?

Looking for even more great information on the Nexus 4? Here are just a few of the great Nexus 4 hands-on reviews out there on the net:

ArsTechia | UberGizmo | Engadget


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29 Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    Damn only one more day! Google please take my hard working money and give me this black jewel, my white Amaze 4G is ready to be passed on to the next person, i so can’t wait to order this.

  2. It’s impossible to have a nexus phone with LTE. LTE isn’t standardized and I’d rather never have LTE than have to go through another verizon galaxy nexus experience. I don’t think anyone would ever notice the difference in real world applications between LTE and HSPA+ except one drains the battery faster and costs more for no benefits.

  3. Can’t wait for this thing. This is the right direction for phones.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wish we’d get a 32gb already, I’ve been using 16gb storage since my nexus one, and that got mostly full in 2010.

  5. How Can you make this whole article Without even mentioning the wireless charging!?

  6. cardi777 says:

    The battery can be changed at least, just not on the fly. Couple of screws

  7. Genius@Work says:

    Guys have you considered the fact that these reviews are based on the preview version of the phone. In this way Google wishes to receive feedback from these criticisms. They are due to also release an OTA update that should fix a lot of the glitches and optimization problems such as the low battery life during heavy use i.e. video and gaming.

  8. I consider this extremely gorgeous !!!

  9. Anonymous says:

    How does a 1280×768 screen have less pixels than a 1136×640 screen? You may need to brush up on the difference between pixel amount and pixel density. You can’t compare a 4.7″ screen to the iPhone’s smallish 4″ screen. Apples and oranges…

  10. Jim says:

    Any review that starts by saying that you haven’t touched the device is not worth reading.

  11. Can’t wait, I really do wish they had a 32gig but 16 will do.

  12. Dream says:

    its a good buy considering the specs and price. just wondering when a mobile device will give us battery experience of a iPad (10 hrs).

  13. maxrun says:

    PS: Why is the picture at top featuring the LG Optimus G, when this review is covering the Nexus 4?

  14. maxrun says:

    Take my money! Nice review but under your hardware spec section you mention it has HSPA+ 21Mbps support. Google’s play store states it has HSPA+ 42, which is considerably faster.

  15. Andrew Biz says:

    Thank you for a great review. Fair and balanced. Unlike the Auto-o-Mobile site which released 8 posts in 12 hours of negative bum fluff I’m happy there are sites that do not take the dishonest route.

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