Interface:

Normally, the introduction of a new Nexus device typically signals a totally new version of Google’s Android platform, but that’s not the case here. Rather, as Google plainly says, it’s nothing more than a “new flavor” of Jelly Bean. To be specific, the Nexus 4 is rocking out to a stock Android 4.2 Jelly Bean experience, and we have to say, it’s carrying along some surprises that steers the platform’s evolution into the correct direction. At heart though, the look and feel of Android 4.2 is identical to the previous 4.1 Jelly Bean version, so many users will be familiar with the surroundings. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty part of the platform, Google has really toned things down with its UI – meaning, it’s more minimalistic and straightforward with its presentation.


From its early beginnings, it’s amazing how far the platform has come since its inception – and it obviously shows with this latest edition. As we’ve slowly seen with the last couple versions of Android, it’s moving away from the glowing TRON-appearance of Honeycomb, and to an extent, Ice Cream Sandwich as well. Hitting the mark as usual, there’s plenty of personalization found with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, but with certain widgets, they’ll automatically resize and move to accommodate new ones being placed onto the homescreen. Also, we notice a new transition animation in play when apps are launched for the first time, or when we’re switching between them from within the recent apps tray. Certainly, these two new items don’t have a drastic effect on the operation and appearance of the platform, but nonetheless, they’re small things that are appreciated. With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at some of the other major new features with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

Native widget support in the lock screen:

Making things even easier, there’s now native support for certain widgets in the lock screen. Well, the limited listing includes the Calendar, Digital Clock, Gmail, Messaging, and Sound Search widgets. In order to access them, all you need to do is swipe right from the left bezel in the main lock screen – while swiping left from the right bezel gets us the camera app. No doubt, we love having access to certain things without getting into the handset, but some of the supported widgets are more practical than others.



Updated notifications panel:

This time around, the notifications panel now boasts expandable, actionable notifications. Well, we’re already familiar with the expandable portion that allows us to preview things, but now we’re given different actionable options with each of them.

In addition, there’s a button in the top right corner that gives us access to the usual assortment of connectivity items with the handset – like Wi-Fi, Airplane mode, Bluetooth, etc. Even better, we can modify the screen’s brightness all from this hub, so yeah, it’s a native feature that’s always welcoming.

Daydreams:

Technically not something new, since we’ve seen something similar with some of LG’s Android devices, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean packs the new “Daydream” feature. Essentially, it’s a screensaver that automatically activates whenever it’s docked or charging. Surely, it adds a nice visual touch to the whole charging process, but considering we rarely finding ourselves oogling over our device as it’s charging, it’s not something that we can relish over.

Functionality:

Quickly looking at some of the core organizer apps on the Nexus 4, their features are customary of any other Android device out there, but their layouts are favoring the platform’s general minimalistic look. Beyond that, there isn’t anything particularly out of place, as the Calendar, Clock, and Calculator apps all function the same. Still, Google Now is present to keep up organized with our everyday affairs.


Layout wise, the stock Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on-screen keyboard is an exact facsimile to the previous version. Combining its spacious layout and responsiveness, we’re able to casually type at a reasonable rate with minimal accidents along the way. New to the experience is a native Swype-like feature, which allows us to glide our finger over each letter to predict our input. Yes, it works well, plus, the animation attached to it is pretty cool too.


Yet again, there’s nothing dramatically different with the Gmail and Email apps on the Nexus 4, as they employ all the usual arsenal of features we’re accustomed to experiencing. Actually, there’s one single feature found with Gmail – the ability to quickly archive things by swiping left or right in the inbox.



Processor and Memory:

Showing off its closeness to its distant relative in the LG Optimus G, the Nexus 4 is powered by the same chipset – so it’s very much high-end by today’s current standards. Under the hood, it’s running a quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor with the Adreno 320 GPU and 2GB of RAM. No doubt a powerful item, its presence is felt as it’s able to handle all operations with minimal fluff. However, we’re a bit surprised to see that it doesn’t match the same level of snappiness we’ve seen on the LG Optimus G, which is made stranger considering this is a stock Android experience we’re dealing with here. Regardless of that, we’re satisfied with its overall performance, despite the so-so benchmark scores, which can be due to them not being fully optimized for Android 4.2. Yet, we do come across a few pauses every now and then.


Quadrant Standard AnTuTu NenaMark 2
Google Nexus 4 4757 10188 58,6
Samsung Galaxy Nexus 2000 5503 24
LG Optimus G 7669 11245 60,1
Samsung Galaxy Note II 5715 13579 58

Hardly a shocker, since the concept is all too realized with many of the premier smartphones out there, the Nexus 4 doesn’t offer storage expandability via a microSD card slot. Instead, you’ll need to rely on its inept starting capacity of 8GB – while alternatively, you can choose to get with the 16GB model. Whichever you decide to go with, it’s just unfortunate that it can’t be supplemented.


Internet and Connectivity:

One of the biggest surprises with the Nexus 4, has to be none other than the fact that it doesn’t support LTE. For something so grand, that’s surely a big letdown for anyone used to the comforts associated with LTE’s lightning fast data speeds. Conversely, it shouldn’t be a factor for those living in non-LTE areas, since the device is sporting HSPA+ speeds. Although it’s nowhere as fast as LTE, complex pages didn’t take an inordinate amount of time to load on the Nexus 4, and for the most part, we’re content with it. Furthermore, thanks to its powerful processor, it’s able to maintain a lovely response with Chrome’s performance – so we can’t complain about it that much, since it works well for the occasion. No, we’re not going to die because it’s lacking LTE support, especially when the web browsing experience is more than adequate to our liking.


In truly showing its compatibility on a worldwide level, the Nexus 4 features penta-band HSPA+ connection – the kind that receives 42Mbps speeds. Well, in our testing, we’re able to get maximum download and upload speeds of 6.3Mbps and 1.3Mbps respectively. On top of that, it’s your typical quad-band GSM device, which merely guarantees that it’ll be compatible with a wide array of networks around the world. Lastly, it’s outfitted with the crew of connectivity features we’re normally exposed to – like aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, NFC, and mobile hotspot functionality.

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114 Comments

1. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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: Jul 15, 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: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: 2356; Member since: Feb 14, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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: 281; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

hspa+ on T-Mobile i myarea averages 21 & 19 what's your point

56. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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: 281; Member since: Jan 31, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: Oct 19, 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: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 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 unregistered

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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 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.http://www.anandtech.com/show/6440/google-nexus-4-review/7

61. Zero0

Posts: 592; Member since: Jul 05, 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+. http://www.qualcomm.com/chipsets/gobi 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 unregistered

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: Nov 01, 2012

Suck it up, it doesnt have LTE, move on!

84. Raymond_htc

Posts: 430; Member since: Apr 06, 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: Nov 12, 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: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 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: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 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!

23. Retro-touch unregistered

First world problems!

66. epdm2be

Posts: 822; Member since: Apr 20, 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: Mar 31, 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 unregistered

"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.
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(15.3h talk time)

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