The Nexus 4 phone from LG is Google’s latest attempt at showing the world what a Android phone should look like. The big question that everyone has is, does it meet those high expectations? Well, as usual this all depends on what you are looking for.
- Qualcomm Quad-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon
- 8/16 GB storage, 2 GB RAM
- 8 MP camera, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
- 4.7″ IPS panel display, with a resolution of 1280×768
- Li-Po 2100mAh battery
The Nexus 4 sports a Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro processor. This is a quad-core processor running at 1.5 GHz. It also has an Adreno 320 graphics processor, and 2 gigabytes of RAM which means it should be fast. Compared to my Droid Incredible which only had a single core 1 Ghz processor the Nexus 4 should fly circles around my old phone.
While the advertisements claim that the Nexus 4 has 8 and 16 GB of storage, the OS and built in apps take up about 3 GB so you really have 5 GB and 13 GB of available space when you get the phone.
The phone includes two cameras, an 8 MP camera on the back, and a 1.3 MP camera on the front. The front camera has a lower resolution because it is mainly for video chatting and the lower resolution will use less bandwidth.
LG built into the Nexus 4 the same IPS display that they used in the Optimus G. The Display is 4.7″ and has a resolution of 768×1280. This screen is one of the best smartphone displays available. It has good viewing angles and brightness which all help with making the screen beautiful to look at.
The Nexus 4 includes a 2100 mAh battery, which I am concerned will be too small for everyday use. The battery is not replaceable or expandable which adds to my concern.
One of the benefits of the Android OS is the widgets. These allow you to see info without having to activate any apps. The Lock screen also has the ability to have widgets. I was hoping that one of the widgets would allow me to play music, unfortunately that is not included.
When you first look at the nexus 4 phone you will notice that it has a very minimalist design. On the front you will not see any buttons, keys or anything else that will detract from the sleek look. In the upper right corner you will see the front camera. The front camera is nothing special, it has a 1.3 MP chip which is bad for photos, but great for video chatting because it does not use a lot of bandwidth. In the upper left of the front is the proximity sensor. The proximity sensor is what turns off the display when you put the phone up to your head. This prevent accidentally pressing buttons with your face. Also on the front, but invisible at first, is the notification light. This light is located at the bottom of the screen. It comes one when you have a new message or something else that the phone wants your attention for.
The right side has the power button at the top, and nothing else. I personally prefer the power button on top of the phone because it is easier to press while I am holding it. Having the power button on the side means that I sometimes press the volume button at the same time, which will change the volume instead of turning off the phone.
The left side has the volume buttons at the top and the micro sim card slot in the middle.
The top has a headphone jack and a microphone for when you are recording audio or video.
The bottom has the micro usb port for charging and data transfer, and a microphone for speaking into. I’m not really happy about having the charger at the bottom of the phone because it makes it very difficult to prop up the phone while its charging. My last phone had the charger on the side which I liked a lot better.
When you flip the phone over the first thing you notice is that it has a cool reflective design that changes as you move the phone around in the light. At the top left of the back is the camera and flash, and at the bottom right is the speaker. The speaker design is really poor because if you lay the phone down on its back the speaker is completely blocked and hardly any sound makes it through. I am actually thinking of modifying the back by adding little feet around the speaker so that the phone does not lay flat. This should allow the sound of the speaker, like the phone ringing, to project better and I won’t miss as many calls.
Performance of a phone is determined by several factors. The CPU, the GPU, the battery, and the screen. The first three can be tested with software, but the screen is purely subjective. So to test the CPU, GPU, and battery I hve employed several different apps.
The first thing I did before running any benchmarks is to make sure everything is up to date. I was pleasantly surprised to see that their was an update to the OS.
The first app I am using is called Linpack. Linpack checks the speed of a device by solving dense N by N system of linear equations Ax = b. Linpack has the ability to run in either single or multi thread mode. So I tested with both. When run in single thread mode I got a score of 55.74 MFLOPS, and when run in multi-thread mode I got a score of 167.054 MFLOPS. This is a huge improvement from scores I have gotten from previous devices.
The next test is Nenamark. This tests the CPU and GPU together by rendering a real time scene while moving around.
Quadrant is another benchmark
For the battery test I performed 2 tests. The first test was a simple refresh of a webpage. The webpage consisted of a mix of graphics, text and Flash media and was refreshed every three minutes. The display at 50% brightness and Wi-Fi turned off so the phone would use only mobile data for the test. The phone was able to last 315 minutes.
The second battery test I timed how long the phone would last while playing games with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on. For this test the phone lasted 135 minutes before the phone automatically shut down. So you can see that the battery will last longer if you only do simple things like surfing web pages, and keep nonessential functions turned off.
Support and Warranty
In the past Google has struggled with warranty and support issues because they were not setup to handle the volumes of calls that they received. However, they have had time to improve things and it seems like they have done a decent job. During my order with Google I have called them a few times and each time I got through fairly quickly.
The warranty, which comes from LG, is for 12 months and only covers the original purchaser. This is really weak in my opinion. With no moving parts the warranty should be much longer to cover things that might take longer to show up.
So taking all the above information into account and then adding that this phone only costs $299 unlocked this turns out to be an amazing phone. If you are in the market for a new phone and you don’t like to be tied down by a 2 year contract then their isn’t a better phone.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|