Review of the LG / Google Nexus 4 Super-Phone

Google's Nexus 4

The Nexus 4

So, I’ve been using the new LG / Google Nexus 4 for the past week or so and thought I’d give a quick review.  If you’re an Android fan, you’ve no doubt considered this phone. You’ve probably also already realized that it’s very VERY hard to get. Google’s now famous “Play store fail” made it basically impossible for anyone to get one in time for the Christmas season. After giving up on Google Play, and refusing to pay the inflated prices for one on eBay, I found one in-stock at a T-Mobile store in Houston. (No help from T-Mobile finding it … neither their Customer Care nor the stores are able to check stock for an area … you just have to call around.)

Despite the trouble finding one, I can already tell this is going to be the best cell phone purchase I’ve ever made. The Nexus is fast (really, really fast) thanks to a 1.5GHz Qualcomm S4 Pro processor and 2 gb of RAM. I went with the 16 gb of internal storage (there’s also a lesser 8 gb option.) No SD card slot, but that’s no big deal for me because I’m already accustomed to cloud storage. (Also, Google+ backs up any photos you take on the phone to your Google account automatically, if you opt-in.)

If you’re familiar with the Nexus brand, you know that the phone is running the latest version of Android (currently Jelly Bean) with no bloatware from carriers. Smooth, smooth, smooth. I highly recommend going with an unlocked phone and getting away from the “upgrade” and contract traps with the carriers.  It’s worth the initial cost up front, ends up saving you money in the long run, and gives you a feeling of freedom from your carrier.

The phone has a very high-end, premium feel. The display is a 4.7 inch, ultra smooth glass which extends all the way to the edges of the phone. The back is glass also, with a unique, Matrix-like pattern on the back that is only visible from certain angles.  Sounds a little tacky, but it actually works … in fact, it looks great.  Both front and back are Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2 … scratch resistant and so smooth. I don’t worry about my screen getting scratched in my pocket, even with keys or change in the same pocket. Compared to my previous phone (Samsung Galaxy Nexus and my friends’ Galaxy SIII), the display looks a little washed out … not noticeable when you compare it to iPhones or most other phones, but it’s really hard to look as good as those Samsung SuperAMOLED displays.

The phone features wireless charging, but there just aren’t many wireless chargers out there that are compatible. Google will be releasing a wireless charging “orb,” but there’s no scheduled released date yet. The battery life is typical of an Android smartphone … you’ll need to keep a charger handy if you’re a frequent texter, web browser, and app user. Mine goes for about 8 hours of pretty solid use between charges. The battery is non-removable. 

The new camera app loaded on the device is truly remarkable … it allows you to take immersive, animated photos similar to what you see on Google Maps Street View. 

I’ll give an updated review in a few weeks, once I’ve had more time with the phone. In the meantime, Slashgear has a good review.

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