Google Nexus 4 Review
Neither dropping any of our phone calls or fluctuating severely with its connection, the Nexus 4 manages to put up a strong signal strength in the high coverage areas of the greater Philadelphia region.
Sure, we’re able to get by through a single day of normal usage with the 2,100 mAh battery of the Nexus 4, but it’s worth remembering that it’s enabled for HSPA+ only – as opposed to the battery hungry usage of LTE. Interestingly, wireless charging is supported on the Nexus 4, seeing that its adheres to the Qi wireless charging standard.
Specs-wise, the Google Nexus 4 is an impressive smartphone. Sure, it may not be the best in any particular category, but it's a very well-balanced package with an incredibly powerful processor and a gorgeous IPS screen. When it comes to its design, we do appreciate some of the delicacies of its premium exterior elements, but it doesn’t really come off as something totally invigorating to cause us to drool over it. Still, we can’t help that the majority of its finer qualities are found with the pure vanilla Android experience it’s sporting. Sure, it’s not a totally new version of Android that we have here on the Nexus 4 per se, but hey, we’re not complaining about the new features found with this “new flavor” of Jelly Bean.
Better yet, it’s comforting to know that this smartphone will be receiving Android updates significantly faster that some other devices – so that’s one of the driving factors to pick this up. Above all, though, it’s the impeccable outright pricing it’s sporting that’s undeniably spectacular on so many levels. At a mere $299.99 without a contract outright, there’s no arguing the fact that it’s boasting a ton of value for the money, but more importantly, it goes to show that Google is increasingly becoming aggressive with its presence in the wireless ecosystem. Certainly, the Nexus 4 may not be the ultimate smartphone right now, but taking all things into consideration, it’s hard to not to admire this smartphone.
Software of the review unit:
Android Version: 4.2
Build Number: JOP40C
Kernel Version: 3.4.0-perf-ge039dcb
Google Nexus 4 Video Review:
- Phenomenal price point
- New features with Android 4.2 JB
- No memory expansion
- No LTE version
- Underwhelming still and video capturing quality
1. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4705; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
It is a shame that the Nexus4 didn't get LTE radios. LTE chip technology has advanced to the point where multiple frequency bands can be supported, so it would seem to be technically possible.
5. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
As some other tech sites explained, the US is just a small portion of the market. It'd rather sacrifice LTE than having carriers blemish the software. You know, I don't really get Americans and 4G. We don't NEED 4G. It's some sort of extra - but we can live with 3G. Some countries even rely on 1mbps WiFI.
8. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4705; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
That sounds like rationalizing the absence of LTE as opposed to a reason not to have LTE. There is a reason why most of the flagship phones are shipping with LTE.... Even Apple is now on the LTE bandwagon.
21. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 2951; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Come on...how fast would you want your phone to be??? As i see it, 3G is quite enough!!
Have to agree with BobFreak...
It's a accessory we can do without, but having it is a plus.
24. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Ok, you are definitely entitled to your opinion. 4G LTE is the future. It will take over as the world standard in less than 10 years. Voice & data will be handled with 4G LTE.
Also 100mbps is going to be the norm. GSM & CDMA is going to go extinct. Might as well embrace 4G LTE because sooner than later you won’t have a choice & once you get a taste you are going to wonder how you ever could say "Come on...how fast would you want your phone to be??? As i see it, 3G is quite enough!!"
45. Dr.Phil (Posts: 788; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
The problem with LTE is that the speeds that they promise you are just theoretical. I mean think about it: how many times have you gotten your phone to clock in at or around the speed the carrier supposedly has? I can tell you only one time I had close to the theoretical speeds on a carrier and that was when they were first rolling out LTE into our area. I believe carriers need to work on the problem of network traffic instead of just promising more and more theoretical speed.
And while LTE may be the future of wireless networks, it doesn't justify needing it on a phone at this point in time. I have seen people use HSPA+ and get the same speeds as someone using 4G LTE. The truth of the matter is that LTE is not in it's prime state right now. It will indeed take a few more years for it to get to a prime state, and when it does you can bet the next Nexus phone will have LTE on it.
47. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Just did a speed test after I read your post & it hit 16mbps. I only did it once. I bet I would get higher if I kept trying. Verizon is the only carrier that backs up what they sell. Yes they are expensive but they are ALWAYS investing into their network & I reap the benefits by being a Verizon customer. Again LTE for Verizon covers over 225 million people in the U.S. at this point. That is almost the whole population of the U.S.
They are talking about releasing LTE Advance in 2013. So let's say they never reach 100mbps, can you imagine consistent 35 to 50mbps? That just blows my mind!
Fact is it will happen & in a few short years (I say 6 to 7 years heck even sooner) that type of speed WILL be common worldwide.
50. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4705; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
I just did a speed test and my score was 43 ms latency, 22 mb/s down and 21 mb/s up. For comparison, with Comcast cable Internet service, I am reliably seeing 25 m/s latency, 26 mb/s down and 8 mb/s up.
I wonder if those same people who question the need for LTE have the same opinion about processor improvement? 'Cause with a slow Internet connection, you really don't need the faster processors. Unless all you do with your phone is play games.
54. Lboogey6 (Posts: 221; Member since: 31 Jan 2012)
hspa+ on T-Mobile i myarea averages 21 & 19 what's your point
56. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
My point is, that T-Mobile doesn't have HSPA+ everywhere like Verizon has 4G LTE. Hey I am very stoked you have that, but my boys DON'T & lots of other people I know who I see & talk to most everyday don't also.
Verizon's 4G LTE coverage is blanketing over 225 million people in the U.S. T-Mobile not so much. I know I travel a lot for my job.
52. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4705; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
In the S.F. Bay Area, HSPA+ seems to suffer from variable speeds. When the Note II was exclusive to T-Mo, I purchased one and did a test of speed at a number of places on the S.F. peninsula over the course of 2 days at different times. The best I saw was latency of 65 m/s, 8 mb/s down and 5 mb/s up. The worst was latency of 1,200 m/s (that is 1.2 SECONDS), 500 kb/s down and 115 kb/s up. At the same time as the worst HSPA+ result was produced, I ran a separate check on my GS III on VZW and scored 68 m/s latency, 15 mb/s down with 16 mb/s up.
Needless to say, I returned the T-Mo Note II and am impatiently waiting for the VZW edition of the Note II to spit out from FedEx.
LTE IS where the future is headed.
53. Lboogey6 (Posts: 221; Member since: 31 Jan 2012)
that argument is irrelevant forthis because in a year you'll have a new phone until then all the Americanspeeds aren't muchdifferent live in a real lte countrywith 100 mbps speeds thencomplain
57. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
I really don't follow you. Why is my argument irrelevant? You know BOTH GSM & CDMA are obsolete technologies right? You know it's only a matter of time until they go away right?
106. nacho69 (Posts: 21; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
I agree. LTE is the future. But also, this phone does have everything it needs to support LTE on tmobile who will use band 4 1700/2100mhz for LTE, which is a plus for t- mobile customers(especially the ones with unlimited data plans). I have VZW LTE service, and am very satisfied. they have the best and largest LTE network by far and will continue until the entire 3G footprint is covered with LTE. That means all the red 3G you see on their map will also be LTE by next summer. For everyone reading, If your on t-mobile get a nexus 4 since its future proof for you, if your on AT&T/VZW/sprint get a LTE device.
62. tedkord (Posts: 3393; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
You must have never used Verizon's 3g. My old dial up 14.4 modem was faster. When I was on Verizon's 3g, all these wonderful things I can do now, like stream Netflix, were impossible. Even loading webpages was painful. Hell, I couldn't even get through a while song on Pandora.
Now, Netflix looks almost HD. My Slingbox streams smooth. Webpages are just there. So, yeah, LTE is lined of a big deal.
22. Retro-touch (Posts: 233; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)
So you think the whole world consists of America? This is why Americans are considered stupid, there is a whole world out there and the LTE markets are tiny when you take that into account. Apple including LTE still doesn't benefit most people since 95% or more the world has no LTE its just not important, not to mention the insane prices for Apple products
26. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Retro-touch, Droid_X_Doug didn't say that, you did.
There is no need to name call. We are all adults here & we are all entitled to our opinions.
4G LTE is going to be the world's future standard not just here in the U.S. GSM & CDMA are obsolete technologies. In less than 10 years you won't even remember what GSM or CDMA was like.
CDMA is HUGE in VERY populous countries (China anyone). There is money to be made with a CDMA LTE Google Nexus 4.
59. Zero0 (Posts: 533; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)
LTE is an evolution of GSM.
In other news, give it a few days. There is some evidence that the Nexus 4 has LTE capabilities somehow on bands 1, 2, and 4.
I don't know too much about networks, so I don't know if this makes any sense. What I've seen is that it has a 7-band LTE chip, as well as full radio/antenna sets for 5 GSM bands. Bands I, II, and IV are on both, so it might have LTE on this bands.
Problems: I don't know if a HSPA+ radio can accept LTE waves, and I read that the LTE chip has no power source.
That said, AnandTech seems to have some amount of confidence that LTE theoretically would work, so take from that what you will.
61. Zero0 (Posts: 533; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)
Update to my earlier post:
According to iFixit, the Nexus 4 packs a Qualcomm MDM9215 modem. This modem supports LTE, apparently. It is also used by the HTC One X+.
There you have it. LTE appears to be a thing on the Nexus 4. The real difference maker here is whether the LTE chip is hardware disconnected from the rest of the phone. If not, a bit of software hacking might be all it takes. Again, I'm not an expert, but this is looking pretty awesome.
48. theo14461 (Posts: 117; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
Sorry my bitter friend, I'm reading this article in the U.S.A.!! I CAN get LTE, so that is why it should be offered with the LTE radio. Who cares if the rest of the world doesn't.
99. JussSaynMayn (Posts: 6; Member since: 01 Nov 2012)
Suck it up, it doesnt have LTE, move on!
84. Raymond_htc (Posts: 430; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)
One word- IT'S JUST A PHONE. HOW SUPER DO YOU WANT IT TO BE??!? 5.5GHZ, EIGHT CORE PROCESSOR? 5 G? 10 INCH SCREEN?!!? 4MM THICKNESS!?!?!?
ITS JUST A BLOOODY PHONE!
Live with it.
91. ajnxs4androd (Posts: 8; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)
And how much data do you use on your LTE Device may I ask?? Because the plans are just too expensive if you want more data caps, so you're eventually gonna use WIFI at home or office whenever possible. So what's the point of Having LTE if you're gonna use it very rarely. And plus LTE eats battery faster than HSPA+ and also it has 41 Bands worldwide so it's a very complicated thing to include support for so many bands. Even Iphone 5 doesn't cover all LTE Bands. I'm not saying that LTE is a bad thing, but as per it's current situation, it's still got a long way to go. Maybe an year or two down the line, it will become a well-estabilished technology and definitely the Next Nexus Device will support it natively. Also LTE will be widespread all over the world like HSPA+ and then we'll get to see some good data plans for it too. But for now and maybe an year or so down the line, HSPA+ 42 is more than enough to satisfy your needs as it's plans are much more reasonable than LTE Plans..
18. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Once you try 4G LTE you will be BLOWN away. It literally is a life changer. You need to experience it & you WILL be converted. It REALLY is THAT "BIG" of a deal! You couldn’t pay me to go back to 3G!
19. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4705; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
"You couldn't pay me to go back to 3G!"
That kind of says it all. And is a significant reason why VZW is doing as well as it is. Dogs like dog food that tastes great!
66. epdm2be (Posts: 139; Member since: 20 Apr 2012)
probably because the jackasses who sell 3G never really exploited good. The fact is that average 20Mbps LTE or 20Mbps HSDPA+ makes no difference. Sure LTE 'could' go higher but they (the telco's) won't deliver it higher (for now).
Unfortunately in my country LTE is a dream and since 3G isn't even properly installed... pfft... I have no illusions. I'd rather have a microUSB card slot (and root access). To download stuff at home and sideload them on the phone when wanted.
Anyway. Has anyone seen those awfull photos. Holly Crap, my old SE K750i can do better. This nexus just SUCKS! It isn't good in anything but average in everything!
8Gb internal storage are you kidding! Awfull photo's, oh come on! Sure it has 'photo editing' on the gallery.. so what? Nokia's Symbian phones have had photo editing since the N8 in their gallery.
Is there anything significant on this phone that would make want it? Nope! So LG.. Nice try but no cigar!
113. h1234abcd (Posts: 1; Member since: 31 Mar 2013)
You can get a 16 GB version of this pphone. Lets be honest who cares about the camera? it's pointless if you want a high quality camera go and buy one seriously if your going to spend £280 on a phone just for the camera then you're a bit retarded. 'It isn't good in anything'? are you on crack this phone has awesome specs for a reasonable price, it has the same cpu and gpu as the Sony xperia z (which costs around £550 for an unlocked one), it also has the same amount of ram as the xperia (2GB) all of this means that this phone is excellent for gaming and multi-tasking and day to day use, you obviously do not know much about smartphones (forgot to mention that this phone is the first to updates and is very cheap for what you're getting)
35. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)
exactly.You guys are lucky in the States to get it and that also for $350. In most of the countries it wont be even available despite a huge demand;(
here in India N4 16GB is selling for approx $560 and above on ebay without any warranty.
77. Mkondrak (Posts: 9; Member since: 19 Feb 2011)
"Some countries"? Ha I live in Chicago and my att (15$) u-verse gets me 1.4 mbps up (speedtest). In real world downloads i get 170-180 kbps.
6. MeoCao (unregistered)
Firstly I guess it's cost saving measure, Google would have to pay for LTE patents and it would push the cost of N4 way up.
Secondly it's battery life, Google clearly learned from GNex lesson.
Thirdly I think Google did not try to cover all bases, their goal is to reach as many users as possible and from the initial users response we can see that lack of LTE did not do any harm at all.
20. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
EVERYONE keeps talking about cost. A CDMA, LTE version has nothing to do with a GSM version. The GSM version WILL always be cheaper, as that was shown with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The GSM GNex is always cheaper than the CDMA LTE version.
SO if they did it once then why not again with the Google Nexus 4? That is my problem with the new Google Nexus 4.
17. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Yes that is my biggest disappointment with the Google Nexus 4. How can you drop the ball with 4G LTE. They are losing money in "KEY" regions in the world. CDMA is big here in the US, also in China, North Korea, & Japan. To me it's just ridiculous for Google to do this.
I said this before but the Google Nexus 4 will come out with a CDMA radio & with 4G LTE in about 6 months or so. The problem is no one will buy it because other OEM will scoop up all those people that WOULD have bought a CDMA 4G LTE Google Nexus 4.
To me the Google Nexus 4 is really a 8.5 because the BAD camera & the lack of 4G LTE.
HTC Droid DNA here I come, you already have been preordered & I ALREADY know how to root you, so I think I will rename you the HTC Nexus 5 because I am ONLY ROCKING AOSP ROMS on the EPIC WORLD phone that you are! :-) Man is it the 21st YET?
30. blazee (Posts: 197; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)
"I said this before but the Google Nexus 4 will come out with a CDMA radio & with 4G LTE in about 6 months or so." That's assuming that the lack of support for lte radios is due only to cut the costs. But if Google is doing this bc they want to improve the nexus experience and make sure that all their customers receive new updates at the time of release, then idk if nexus 4 will ever get lte
32. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
I get you I really do but the CDMA version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus did get the updates WAY faster than other phones. Sure they waited a bit longer than the GSM version but it wasn't like it was 6 months.
I STILL think it's puzzling that Google went that route, but hey it is what it is.
42. thethirdelric (Posts: 2; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)
It doesn't need 4g, 3g is fast enough, google decided to not make the phone 4g because they wanted wanted to conserve battery life because too many people were complaining, you can't have it all, just be happy you will get updates extremely fast because it is a google product.
82. robocopvn (Posts: 137; Member since: 10 Mar 2010)
In Vietnam, Carriers say you have 3G connection. But it's only 1mbps with 1st 550mb, after this you have only 256 kbps, in what they call unlimitted plan =DDD haha. But it's good enough for email and sms through viber
85. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
it is possible, however it is missing the actual chip to make LTE work which would bring up costs. Also, where would u use it? The only LTE capable carrier it could be used on is ATT. That's a lot of extra cost for a very small pool of possible customers.
In order to work on CDMA carriers like VZW and Sprint, they have to get access codes from the carriers. In order to get those access codes, you have to bow down to their rules which breaks the whole point of the nexus. If that was not a reality, it probably WOULD have been an LTE phone because its customer base would have been much greater. The nexus4 is a niche device, not a mainstream device. To keep demanding things that would force it to be mainstream (like the G-Nex VZW disaster) is to completely disregard what makes a nexus... a nexus.
There are 20 other big name LTE phones out there.. if having "LTE" plastered on your phone is all you care about, grab one of those. I dont miss LTE one bit nor do I feel like its a needed feature for anyone other than those on slowRison or Sprint and their really slow "3g" networks. Since the phone is not available on EITHER of those networks, its a waste to even worry about it.
As it is, LTE is still more hype than need by far. I average 15mb/s on my Nexus4 on Tmobile. Tell me again how that is not fast enough for regular usage.
101. richardyarrell2011 (banned) (Posts: 510; Member since: 16 Mar 2011)
I applaud GOOGLE for the choice they made to pull it's NEXUS LINE DEVICES from Verizon this time around and hopefully forever. Verizon tarnished the NEXUS BRAND last year with the Galaxy Nexus and poor updates as well as just an overall dreadful experience. I kicked Verizon to curb because of the overall experience I went through with my Galaxy Nexus. Glad I am on tmobile today and just purchase my Galaxy Note 2 and had the Galaxy S3 this past june on tmobile as well. Tmobile is jumping off very well this year and the best is yet to come. Verizon has gotten to big for it's britches and they think they control s**t which they don't. I applaud Google for letting Verizon know they can stuff it were the sun don't shine......
2. bobfreking55 (Posts: 866; Member since: 15 Jul 2011)
Ohhhh baby I love the way.... *heavens sing*
3. Mr.Mr.Upgrade (Posts: 373; Member since: 30 Aug 2011)
Best phone without 4g.... And no hspa is not 4g....I will not update my Samsung galaxy nexus until...Verizon comes out with a nexus phablet or new nexus phone..
7. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 4705; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Droid DNA? Initial reviews seem positive, and HTC seems to be more rooting-friendly than in times past.
58. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3394; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
S-ON does suck but it's no deal killer like Motorola not unlocking bootloaders. In almost all cases the S-ON gets hacked & everyone gets S-OFF eventually.
Here is what S-OFF get's you:
It's not THAT big of a deal.
10. Retro-touch (Posts: 233; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)
Who lied to you that LTE is true 4G it was marketed so heavily as 4G that they decided to include it as 4G to avoid confusion, thank US carriers for that, true 4G is 100Mbps+ to 1Gbps
14. networkdood (Posts: 4748; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
I can get 15.00 Mbps down with an HSPA+ phone, so it is not all that bad.
28. PapaSmurf (Posts: 4140; Member since: 14 May 2012)
I get between 20-25 with T-Mobile here in the Chicago.
29. Aeires (unregistered)
I clocked 13 Mbps on my GNex with HSPA+. For me, as long as my music doesn't cut out while I'm driving down the road, that's fast enough.
46. squeeb (Posts: 99; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)
Yea but then its not really a Nexus is it. Enjoy waiting 6 months for an update. Meanwhile I'm running 4.2 days after release.
LTE is so overrated.
9. pankajgupta (Posts: 56; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)
Frequent Updates from Google
8MP Camera (Actually its pretty decent)
Purple flare in camera (iPhone has it too)
Possibly modified to give lesser performance than Optimus G. (justified in my opinion)
No LTE. (Not a very big con though)
Anyday, Pros of it outweigh the Cons.
Agreed there are more powerful smartphones out there, but how much and how many at this price by Google.
Anyways, any technology is going to be made obsolete within 6-8 months by Android manufacturers.
I would love to have it.
12. Shubham412302 (Posts: 276; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)
i also think that google delivers software which limits performance even gnexus gives 30 fps with gpu oc and stock frequency on nenamark
maybe to save battery
but in realtime the nexus are powerfull than benchmarks
as there is no lag in gaming or other
36. jan25 (Posts: 327; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)
"Possibly modified to give lesser performance than Optimus G" i don't think so. it's probably the new kernel which i think was a bit rushed. either way, community will make a good use of the S4 pro so there should be no worries there.
87. deathyyy (Posts: 101; Member since: 20 Dec 2011)
This camera is actually just average at best... So i'm not sure how you think it's a pro.
No CDMA means no Nexus 4 for me. :[
88. remixfa (Posts: 13882; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
yea, its average when compared to phones at twice the cost. the camera is still pretty darn good. But hey, if you want to spend $700 to get a 10% better camera than the $350 nexus, you go right ahead. I'll take the saved money and go buy a real point n shoot if I'm so worried about it..
Regardless of what the reviews say, the camera is pretty darn nice. It might not be a pureview camera, but again, for half the cost, its just slightly less good than the big samsung/sony cameras. It's still a sony camera module in the device anyways, so the difference is most likely software. This is a nexus.. find better camera software. lol
11. sorcio46 (Posts: 390; Member since: 27 Jul 2011)
Why there isn't any mention of his performance and fluidity in the PROS?
25. Retro-touch (Posts: 233; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)
PA are benchmark junkies, either way the phone has no lag so enjoy it, doesn't matter if they give credit where its due
15. ODabaja (unregistered)
Oh those jelly beans just taste so good served on the nexus 4 platter.