Here is why some Nexus 4 models have slightly different screens

We recently noticed an issue with two Nexus 4 units that we happen to have in the office - one of them had a screen with noticeably warmer color temperature.

So, we decided to get scientific and run some tests, and indeed, it turned out that our mind wasn't playing tricks on us - we measured an average color temperature of 7100K for Nexus 4 #1, and 7900K for Nexus 4 #2. Here are the resulting measurements:

Here is why some Nexus 4 models have slightly different screens

Here is why some Nexus 4 models have slightly different screens

What's all this supposed to mean? Well, when it comes to screen color temperature, 6500K (Kelvin) is considered the ideal. Anything above this number means that colors will gravitate towards blue (or cold). Anything below 6500K will be more "reddish." So the numbers that we've measured prove that one of the units we have here has a more bluish screen than the other. Why is that?

We contacted LG to see what they have to say about this, and here's what a company spokesperson told us:


So that explains why the two displays look different - at a certain point of Nexus 4 production, LG has decided to tweak the screen so that colors appear a bit closer to the real deal. That's why later Nexus 4 units have slightly better screens. However, the following question naturally occurred to us: "Isn't it possible to adjust the screens of the earlier Nexus 4 units by issuing a software update?"

And here's the answer that we got from LG:


Well, you can always try using a screen calibration app of some sort in order to fix the color balance of your screen, but we do feel that most people out there will stick with what comes out of the box, which means that we'd like to see smartphone and tablet manufacturers try even harder when it comes to making the most out of the available screen technology. In this case, it's actually a good thing that LG has tweaked the Nexus 4's display so that it gets better, though it can't be denied that owners of an earlier Nexus 4 won't be so happy that their screens will have to remain the same.

We do want to point out that this isn't an LG-only issue. We've seen many other examples of different units of the same model (from other manufacturers) having slightly different screens, so the fact that we're discussing an LG device here doesn't mean that it's the only company to do that. In fact, we want to thank LG for being so open and willing to help us out in clearing things up!

Related phones

Nexus 4
  • Display 4.7" 768 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.3 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, Quad-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB
  • Battery 2100 mAh

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10 Comments

1. baza58

Posts: 19; Member since: Jul 30, 2012

"Today’s smartphones are configured a specific way to give average consumers a specific user experience and the way the phone’s display looks is certainly part of that." That's a good one LG. So why is N4's screen calibration fu*ked up?

2. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

To their defense the Optimus G seems to have a good calibration. I reckon its Google's fault because the Nexus 7 also seems to have a bad screen calibration.

3. sats.mine2k4

Posts: 208; Member since: Aug 10, 2012

I got my Nexus 4... 6months ago and am very happy with the display... It has the great viewing angles and sunlight visibility...

5. Googler

Posts: 813; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

I was concerned about the screen before I bought it, having come from SAMOLED screens previously. After first glance, I was hooked, the screen on the N4 is beautiful.

4. eisenbricher

Posts: 973; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

Not so good defense by LG.

6. msilv88

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 15, 2013

I recently switched my Sprint GSIII for an AT&T GSIII and ported my number. I was surprised holding the two phones side by side with the same wallpaper, websites, and ads on...the AT&T model had a much duller less vibrant screen

7. ChrisG

Posts: 38; Member since: Aug 22, 2012

CyanogenMod 10.1 features three different screens of color calibration adjustment. It'd be pretty simple for Google to do the same, under an "advanced" menu or something like that. Screenshots here: flickr.com/photos/cgramer2/sets/72157634359942788/

8. Qbancelli

Posts: 75; Member since: Mar 11, 2010

I have one of the early ones with the horrible yellow tint. Nexus 4 Display Control app from Google Play, problem solved.

9. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

It's not just nexus 4 but most phones are like this.. Some iPhone 5 screens are warmer than others, same for galaxy s3 or s4...

10. Trex95

Posts: 2315; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

No screen issue on my Nexus 4. One of the best screen under sunlight visibility

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