LG Nexus 4 Specs Review: Can LG's Nexus crush Samsung's "Next Big Thing"?
It comes as no surprise then that the Optimus G has served as a template for the Nexus 4. Last year's Galaxy Nexus wasn't particularly impressive specs-wise even when it launched, and it was soon largely overshadowed by other, higher-spec'd devices that came out. Well, this time it's different. No Android handset can currently compete with the Nexus 4 when it comes to sheer specs and screen quality, and with the other major players' top phones for the year already revealed, chances are that things will stay like this at least for a while.
But LG has a tough journey ahead of it. It's facing a fearful opponent in Samsung, which is constantly in pursuit of "The Next Big Thing." In our case, this means that Samsung is not only successful, but it's also surprising customers with new gadgets and ideas - some of which not making much sense, but the company's pushing them anyway, flooding the market and drowning everything in its way. With the Nexus 4, though, LG has a window of opportunity. Very rarely does the smaller South Korean company manage to come out with tech that is ahead of its bigger neighbor, and now is one of those rare occasions. Not only that, but it has also gotten the blessing from Google, which can be a pretty significant boost in the land of smartphones.
So who is going to win this battle? Of course, we cannot talk about winning the war, but we have a very interesting battle going on at the end of 2012, which will probably extend to the beginning of 2013 as well. On one hand, we have LG with its well-balanced Nexus 4, and on the other, we have Samsung's line-up of "Next Big Things." Will LG's affair with Google be enough to disrupt the empire that Samsung is building on top of Android? Let's take a closer look at what the LG Nexus 4 offers and try to determine its chances of delivering a heavy blow to the seemingly unstoppable force that Samsung is becoming.
We said it already - the hardware of the Nexus 4 is remarkable. From the display to the chipset, everything in the LG Nexus 4 screams power.
The display is one of the main assets of the Nexus 4, and it's also one that will likely not be bested by Samsung soon. That is because LG has decided to specialize in the LCD technology, while Samsung is developing its screens around the AMOLED tech. Of course, it cannot be said that one is definitely better than the other, as both have their pros and cons, but for the time being, LG's in-cell touch panels have a clear lead against Samsung's Super AMOLED, as far as resolution and color quality goes. When it comes to the size, the LG Nexus 4 is just as generous as Samsung's top smartphone, the Galaxy S III, so every geek should be happy with it.
In terms of looks, Nexus devices have never been ugly. The same goes for the LG Nexus 4, which may not win a design award (at least we hope it won't), but is by no means bad. Comparing it to Samsung's latest creations like the Galaxy S III and Note II, we do think that LG has the upper hand in this department.
Moving on to the chipset now. This is another area where LG currently has a lead, but Samsung will probably catch up soon. The Nexus 4 uses Qualcomm's marvelous Snapdragon S4 Pro, which features four powerful Krait cores clocked at 1.5 GHz, while Samsung's top offerings right now, the GS III and Note II are equipped with the quad-core Exynos 4 processor, which is still extremely fast, but not quite on the same level as the Snapdragon S4 Pro. Using the Optimus G, we've found the S4 Pro to be incredibly snappy, although its full potential is not really revealed because of LG's Optimus UI. In the Nexus 4, though, this software skin will not be present, so we expect the handset to perform unbelievably well, especially when we know that it packs numerous performance enhancements courtesy of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
One thing that the Nexus 4 won't be that excellent, though, is storage space. The base variant of the handset comes with "just" 8 GB, and there's also one with 16 GB. Since this is a Nexus device, however, there is not microSD card slot anywhere on the handset. Meanwhile, Samsung, which likes to put all sorts of features and options in its devices, offers the Galaxy S III with up to 32 GB of built-in storage and a microSD card slot for a lot more. All in all, this should trouble only those users who have enormous music and video libraries and want to store them all on their mobile device, you know, just in case there's a hurricane going through the city and the power goes down.
Who likes to take photos? That's right - almost everyone. That is why phone manufacturers are constantly trying to improve the quality of the cameras they are using, although we wouldn't say that there has been much advancement in the recent years, save for some monster camera phones by Nokia which we wouldn't really consider to be mainstream smartphones. Still, after we tested the cameras of the Optimus G for AT&T and Sprint, we were left somewhat disappointed by the results, which lacked any wow-factor. They were OK for the most part, but not as great as what we've come to expect from the other top-end smartphones out there like the iPhone 5 and Galaxy S III. To tell you the truth, we don't expect the camera of the Nexus 4 to be any better. But who says that every smartphone should be a great camera phone as well? Obviously, the Nexus 4's main strengths will be the display and performance, while the camera mastery in the Android world will remain a Samsung exclusive.
Always a major part of the whole experience, software is yet another strong side of the LG Nexus 4. With LG's custom UI nowhere to be seen on this phone, and with Google ready with the latest version of Android - 4.2, we can only be super-excited about the platform experience of the Nexus 4. Not only will it be super-fast and good-looking, but we'll also be enjoying a number of cool new features that won't be present on other handsets for the time being. These include lockscreen widgets, updated Gmail app, Play Store, Google Now Photo Sphere and more.
Obviously, the Nexus 4 will have a vanilla Android 4.2 UI, which we quite like, and if we have to pit it against Samsung's TouchWiz Nature UX, we'd probably prefer the stock Android one. Samsung does have a strong player now with its latest TouchWiz, which is good-looking (except for certain menus and pop-ups) and smooth, but with so many TouchWiz phones out there, it's like the stock Android UI is the exotic one here, and it's an exotic that will certainly be much quicker in getting software fixes and updates. Plus, there's nothing in TouchWiz that we can't live without, so this seems to be a win for LG. If only it could learn from this experience and improve the custom UI it uses for its other phones...
Of course, Android 4.2 is a much bigger topic that deserves its own article. If you'd like to learn more about Google's latest mobile OS, please check this post for more details.
All in all, we are convinced that LG has a shot at closing in on Samsung, but the Nexus 4 will not be enough. It's very hard to close such an enormous gap with a single handset, no matter how good it is. Instead, LG will have to continue producing such impressive devices, in order to change its status of an underdog in people's minds. But while it's more than certain that Samsung is much more deeply ingrained in the mind of the smartphone user, it's also undeniable that the best Android handset this Holiday season will, most probably, be an LG.
1. Ohrules (Posts: 299; Member since: 11 Jun 2012)
3. eisenbricher (Posts: 964; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)
No surprise. Your link address itself screams what lies under xD
Well add me in the list as well :)
23. eisenbricher (Posts: 964; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)
btw is it just me or the title kinda sounds perv?? @_@
43. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)
What is this? A full freakin' review or an average article?
6. MeoCao (unregistered)
Nexus 4 is not designed to compete with LTE phones which include Note 2.
Nexus 4 is top phone with affordable price and will serve all people around the World not just in the US.
20. PhenomFaz (Posts: 1059; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)
Nexus is one heck of a device and its unfair to compare it to Samsung's flagships or the upcoming Galaxy s4. They're both very different.
Hardware-wise Galaxy S4 will win the battle simply because its coming out after 6 months or so and will definitely sport superior hardware like processor, more ram, better screen tech, yada-yada...and will have a great fan following if not the greatest but the Nexus has always carved a niche of its own.
Its a pure google device with specs which'll still be respectable even around the launch time of Galaxy s4 and at a budget price. so they're not competing with each other
28. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2384; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)
agree with everything except better buld and better screen.......which is why I would never buy a samsung device over this nexus 4 and HTC phones as well.......so samsung can have all the power and features it wants to have but if samsung continues to put that dim and blueish tinted "amoled" in there, then I will always look past them for something with a better display and a more "premium".build.....If the galaxy S4 is just a larger Gs3 wit more power, then they will be doing what apple has been dong for 5 years now........Selling the same old stuff to people and calling it new
13. Synack (Posts: 641; Member since: 05 Jul 2011)
Without LTE it'll lose a lot of US customers. But the price will encourage many other carrier US customers and many other world customers. Expect the same sales as the GNex overall worldwide sales.
29. richardyarrell2011 (banned) (Posts: 510; Member since: 16 Mar 2011)
Sorry guys gotta laugh LG is soft even with this Lg Nexus 4. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is on a level totally different from other handsets. Trust me no stock Nexus 4 will ever touch this Galaxy Note 2 or Galaxy S3 for that matter....
38. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
but the US SGS3 is crap. The Note2 is awesome, but that comes with an overclocked CPU and GPU to make it awesome. The Nexus4's krait quad pro is stronger without the CPU/GPU clock, and will get even strong when peeps do start O/Cing it.
It doesnt hold a candle to Samsung's soon to be released Exynos 5 dual and quads, but for now, the N4 is the big guy on the block.
All the extra functionality in the note is just apps that can be ported. I intend on taking that spiral pic gallery for my nexus4.
44. richardyarrell2011 (banned) (Posts: 510; Member since: 16 Mar 2011)
Lg is far from a major player in the android game. Samsung is android that will always be. NO current manufacturer can hold a candle to the Galaxy Note features and optimized sofware. Samsung PIMP SLAPS ALL...
39. bigstrudel (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)
Enjoy those carrier hobbled software updates.
34. ScottSchneider (Posts: 280; Member since: 06 Dec 2011)
Well For you,.... I am not able to push the like button more than 1'ce... O_e
2. pikapowerize (banned) (Posts: 1869; Member since: 03 May 2012)
are we going to see galaxy nexus 2 or xperia nexus in the near future?
19. sid07desai (Posts: 237; Member since: 03 May 2012)
not until 2013. Or else it would creat disputes among multi-nexus oems. And overall porfits of all will reduce.
26. Nikolas.Oliver (Posts: 1340; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
The price of this phone is obviously putting a shame on bb, rim's flagship model the bold 9900 sells for 5.500.000 idr in my country which is equivalent to 570 bucks, what do i get with it ? Small screen ! Slow processor ! Small battery ! And that is only the tip of the iceberg...i've no doubt that rim will ask a lot for bb 10 devices...
Do you still wanna defend bb ?
31. pikapowerize (banned) (Posts: 1869; Member since: 03 May 2012)
yes.... lol that was history!!! hate all you want!!! but i dont care you loser!
33. Nikolas.Oliver (Posts: 1340; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
You cant answer my statement can you ? Because what i said is a fact, bb is kinda greedy but not as greedy as apple, google is putting consumer first,
What history? You said in the last article "bold 9900 is amazing!!" If bold is amazing then how about this nexus ?
4. bloodline (Posts: 686; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
love this phone, can't wait to purchase it
8. redmd (Posts: 786; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
I hope the folllow up next year wont be called Nexus 4S. lol
anyhow, this is a must have android phone or can i say an almost perfect android phone.
9. ardent1 (Posts: 1983; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)
I can't believe this phone is 4.9 ounces. This is going against the current trend of larger phones but also being lighter at the same time. No wonder LG is losing against Samsung. I would have been impressed if LG was able to get the phone to be around 4.5 ounces. The LG Nexus is a smaller phone than the GS III so it should weigh less, respectively.
21. protozeloz (Posts: 5328; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
I don't get you people, first if a device is light "it feels cheap" but suddenly a device packs some "premium" and a nice weight to it and its a bad thing too? How can you make people happy these days jeez
25. aahmed215 (Posts: 74; Member since: 18 Jun 2012)
I don't get why people care if a phone is 5 ounces or 2 ounces. Can you not carry it for hours at a time? Are you seriously that weak? I feel weight only starts to matter when it comes to tablets and laptops. I also feel the same about thickness. The thickest phone out there is still good enough for me.
12. ilia1986 (unregistered)
There is no need to "Crush" anybody. One Android manufacturer can live very happily with another. It's Apple which is a direct threat to all the Android manufacturers with Apple's sue-first-ask-questions-later policy. *It* must be crushed.
16. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)
Amen to that
Btw, I'd never take a nexus 4 over my galaxy s3 (not enough storage and screen estate given the on screen buttons ) but in the price value and tech level comparison it wins without a shadow of doubt
17. ilia1986 (unregistered)
Aye. The Exinos can be OCed very easily - something we don't know when it comes to the Snapdragon S4.
Plus - 4.8" is still bigger. :D
Regardless - my SGS3 being a CM-friendly device will last for at least 2 years from now with full Android support via custom Roms. :)
37. mtweg12 (Posts: 5; Member since: 21 Jun 2011)
I have been using android 'from the begining of time' and recently had to swap my Xperia with iPhone4s for few days with a friend. After enjoying the liberty of customization for years, I'm unable to bear this 'closed' iSh!t. More 2 days to go, then I'm liberated. Just got temporarily relieved by pasting iPhone photo on my punching bag.
14. lifelesslump (Posts: 2; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)
The deal breaker here for me is the no external micro SDHC or SDXC card. and the 8 GB internal, or pay more for more GB's.
18. Hammerfest (Posts: 348; Member since: 12 May 2012)
Ya, ill agree with others... the lack of an external storage option is a killer for me... 32GB is even becoming not enough, add to that the rising cost AND restrictions of carrier bandwidth... well, GL with that Cloud life!
That doesnt mean there arent plunty of people that 8GB or 16GB of space will suit just fine... just saying...
To add to my list of dislikes: onscreeen keys are a novelty, the space wasted is heart-breaking, both for the wasted screen space, and the bezel below the screen where they could have gone, but instead, look like an ugly... WASTE OF SPACE!
Oh, and the glass back... going to scratch the ever-living crap out of it...
24. monkeytown (Posts: 89; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)
"some of which not making much sense, but the company's pushing them anyway, flooding the market and drowning everything in its way"
30. someones4 (Posts: 613; Member since: 16 Sep 2012)
For now, the nexus 4 may be the best. But Samsung never plays catch-up for too long.
Samsung s the only company (IMO) that offers a full-feature package in its smartphones. Something that everyone else couldn't/didn't do.
32. ortego (Posts: 2; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)
I think we can compare the LG nexus 4 to all the flagship phones at the moment. It has some very attractive features: it's running stock android that many people like, for that reason it will be very fast and it is dirt cheap. The only thing I am worried about is the camera because the LG optimus G (which is based on) was not stellar on that department. If the camera quality improved, I think we will have a winner on our hands.
Not sure why Google went with full glass on the back, especially when they were criticizing the iphone 4 for that feature, since they (google) specifically mentioned to the Verge that they had reviewed multiple designs and since a lot of people were indeed complaining that phones with a glass back (ala iphone 4) are very prone to damage (you drop it, 2x the chance to break something glass compared to any other phone).
35. rustyimtiaz (Posts: 44; Member since: 16 Oct 2012)
it has sony bsi sensor not the lg crap!!! the video below says that!!!
36. ortego (Posts: 2; Member since: 30 Oct 2012)
It does indeed. Let's see if it's the one from the iphone and/or if it is indeed better than the LG offering (fingers crossed).
40. nubwaxer (Posts: 4; Member since: 31 Oct 2012)
google telling verizon and sprint to suck it--priceless.
42. Mke5Mke (Posts: 18; Member since: 10 Oct 2012)
"No Android handset can currently compete with the Nexus 4 when it comes to sheer specs and screen quality, and with the other major players' top phones for the year already revealed, chances are that things will stay like this at least for a while."
Excuse me? The LG Optimus G for AT&T just came out yesterday. Same specs (though 8 MP camera) and screen quality AND LTE AND MICROSD STORAGE. Root that puppy and you've got a better handset in your hands. Hands down.
45. omahony99 (Posts: 1; Member since: 07 Nov 2012)
Will a Nexus 4 purchases in the US work if used in the UK with a UK simcard?
46. mydi.maus (unregistered)
YEAH NEXUS 4 WILL crush the next big thing,