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LG Nexus 4 Specs Review: Can LG's Nexus crush Samsung's "Next Big Thing"?

Posted: , by Ray S.

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LG Nexus 4 Specs Review: Can LG's Nexus crush Samsung's
Without any notice in advance, Google has just announced its new Nexus smartphone - the LG Nexus 4. As the name implies, this time Google has decided to partner with LG for the production of its latest 'pure Android' handset, instead of Samsung, which was the producer of the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. Apparently, this year LG has managed to impress El Goog with the remarkable technology that it managed to pack inside its Optimus G - not only does this phone excel when it comes to the quality of its screen, but it also features a faster processor and more RAM... overall, it's a geek's dream come true.

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.

LG Nexus 4 Specs Review: Can LG's Nexus crush Samsung's "Next Big Thing"?


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.

LG Nexus 4 Specs Review: Can LG's Nexus crush Samsung's "Next Big Thing"?
But with screens this big, what's going on with the dimensions of the phones? It is very interesting to see how the Nexus 4 stacks up against the GS III in this respect, because Samsung is known for its quite thin and light devices. Well, while the Optimus G is a very large smartphone, LG has come up with an entirely different design for the Nexus 4, and the result is a device that is surprisingly compact (for that screen size, that is). The Nexus 4 is both shorter and narrower than the GS III, and is only 0.5 mm thicker.

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.

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.

LG Nexus 4 Specs Review: Can LG's Nexus crush Samsung's "Next Big Thing"?

  • Options

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 08:56 15

1. Ohrules (Posts: 327; Member since: 11 Jun 2012)


posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:06 3

3. eisenbricher (Posts: 973; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)

No surprise. Your link address itself screams what lies under xD
Well add me in the list as well :)

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 10:45 6

23. eisenbricher (Posts: 973; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)

btw is it just me or the title kinda sounds perv?? @_@

posted on 03 Nov 2012, 21:50

43. Nadr1212 (Posts: 741; Member since: 22 Sep 2012)

What is this? A full freakin' review or an average article?

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:08 13

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.

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 10:28 1

20. PhenomFaz (Posts: 1236; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)

Absolutely agree!
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

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 14:17 2

28. XPERIA-KNIGHT (unregistered)

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

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:31

13. Synack (Posts: 681; 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.

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 14:19

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....

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 11:28 3

38. remixfa (Posts: 14604; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

sorry buddy,
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.

posted on 04 Nov 2012, 13:10

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...

posted on 01 Nov 2012, 16:28

39. bigstrudel (Posts: 523; Member since: 20 Aug 2012)

Enjoy those carrier hobbled software updates.

posted on 31 Oct 2012, 00:23

34. ScottSchneider (Posts: 336; Member since: 06 Dec 2011)

Well For you,.... I am not able to push the like button more than 1'ce... O_e

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:04 3

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?

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:08 5

5. Ray.S (Posts: 383; Member since: 19 Jul 2011)

Depends on what you mean by "near future"...

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:11 8

7. ahomad (Posts: 175; Member since: 15 May 2012)

next few hours?

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:24 4

11. pikapowerize (banned) (Posts: 1869; Member since: 03 May 2012)

on the next day?

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:40

15. Captain_Doug (Posts: 1034; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


posted on 30 Oct 2012, 10:07 1

19. sid07desai (Posts: 290; 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.

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 12:31

26. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; 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 ?

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 19:35

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!

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 20:36

33. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; 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 ?

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:08 2

4. bloodline (Posts: 706; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)

love this phone, can't wait to purchase it

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:13 1

8. redmd (Posts: 1351; 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.

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:18

9. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; 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.

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 10:37 10

21. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; 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

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 12:30 4

25. aahmed215 (Posts: 168; 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.

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:19

10. ajac09 (Posts: 1482; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:31 9

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.

posted on 30 Oct 2012, 09:40 4

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

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