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Google Nexus 4 Review

Google Nexus 4

Posted: , posted by John V.

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Camera:

Another area that we see a major shakeup with the platform is the camera UI of the Nexus 4, which now sports an even more uncluttered interface – continuing the UI’s stance of being more minimalistic. Basically, the viewfinder dominates most of the interface, with the shutter key, camera settings, and shooting modes accessible towards the right edge. By default, it’s set for facial recognition to automatically focus, but of course, it can be overridden with touch focus. Sadly, there aren’t a whole lot of manual controls and shooting options, but the few that are found include HDR, changing the white balance & exposure, and picture size. As for some of its other features, it packs the same panoramic mode as before, as well as the ability to snap a photo while simultaneously shooting video. However, there’s an interesting new addition called “Photo Sphere.”

Camera interface - Google Nexus 4 Review
Camera interface - Google Nexus 4 Review
Camera interface - Google Nexus 4 Review
Camera interface - Google Nexus 4 Review
Camera interface - Google Nexus 4 Review
Camera interface - Google Nexus 4 Review
Camera interface - Google Nexus 4 Review
Camera interface - Google Nexus 4 Review

In this mode, it essentially allows us to take a full first-person perspective of our view – something similar to Street View in Google Maps. Following the blue dots that appear as we’re scanning our surrounding, the handset takes all the shots and stiches them together to produce a 360-degree rotatable view. It’s pretty neat and work rather well, though, we do notice some distortions in some cases, but for the most part, it does a seamless job. As much as we adore this feature, the finalized production is only accessible to other Android 4.2 devices. Nevertheless, it’s going to be interesting to see how Google incorporates this in the future with its ecosystem. Plainly, handset users can become real-world geographers and possibly help to expand Google’s Street View ecosystem.


For a device privileged to uphold the Nexus branding, we were expecting more from the quality of its 8-megapixel auto-focus camera. Instead, its results are nothing more than average, which doesn’t rival some of the elites. We can dream of course, but even though it is not among the best, it still produces some pleasant looking images that are acceptable. Naturally, the best results are found with images taken outdoors with plentiful lighting, as it has a good balance between details and colors – though really, details can appear muddy at times. Although it has a neutral tone with its color reproduction outdoors, it casts noticeably cooler tones indoors under artificial lighting. Rather unfortunate, it doesn’t handle low lighting situations all that well, since it’s flawed by general noise, graininess, and soft details.

Usually there isn’t a huge disparity between still and video capture quality, but with this, it’s not the case. Disappointing to say the least, we were expecting a whole lot more out of its 1080p video recording quality. Distracting us the most is the heavy presence of artifacting that’s abundant in everything, which even poses a problem while holding the handset still. Moreover, it lacks continuous auto-focus and its details are very soft to point that it doesn’t appear to be high definition quality at all. So yes, we’re extremely upset by the poor results in this category!

LG Nexus 4 Sample Video 1:



LG Nexus 4 Sample Video 2:




Multimedia:

Overall, it appears as though there’s nothing anew in the Gallery app at first glance, but upon diving deeper, it’s so uplifting to find that it’s now laying claim to an extensive set of photo editing tools. In addition to some basic things like cropping and resizing, the updated gallery packs a ton of cool Instagram-ish filter effects and borders to appease our hungry need of spiffying our shots – and it’s nice that we don’t have to download a third part app for it!

Gallery - Google Nexus 4 Review
Gallery - Google Nexus 4 Review
Gallery - Google Nexus 4 Review
Gallery - Google Nexus 4 Review
Gallery - Google Nexus 4 Review
Gallery - Google Nexus 4 Review
Gallery - Google Nexus 4 Review
Gallery - Google Nexus 4 Review

Taking into account that the Nexus 4 is packing along the tried and true Google Play Music app, there’s nothing particularly new about it, seeing it’s employing the same interface as before. Still, we got to hand it to them for offering that cool 3D carousel to browse through our music collection. Audio-wise, its internal speaker is sufficient enough with its pleasant output, which is strong and distortion-free. However, its lacks any meaningful bass tones to give it that pop – ultimately making it sound a bit mute. Luckily, there are a few different equalizer settings to better fine tune its output.

The Google Play Music app - Google Nexus 4 Review
The Google Play Music app - Google Nexus 4 Review
The Google Play Music app - Google Nexus 4 Review
The Google Play Music app - Google Nexus 4 Review

As expected, the handset is excellent for watching videos – thanks to its large screen real estate, high resolution, pleasant color reproduction, and swift performance. With the latter, it’s attributed to its beefy quad-core processor of course, but beyond that, it executes flawlessly to make the experience lovable. Interestingly, it lacks support for video codecs like DivX and Xvid out of the box, but at least it has MPEG-4 and H264 support.

Watching videos - Google Nexus 4 Review
Watching videos - Google Nexus 4 Review

Mentioning it earlier, the Nexus 4 features a Slimport socket for video-out functionality. Certainly, it’s infuriating to know that they decided to go with a totally new standard with this one, as opposed to sticking it firm with some kind of MHL connection instead.


Software:

Being the pure Google smartphone it is, there is no bloatware on the handset, but as usual, it’s stuffed with all the customary Google apps – like Google+, Google Maps, Movie Studio, News & Weather, Play Books, Play Movies & TV, Play Store, Google Talk, Google Wallet, and YouTube. Peering at all of them, they’re the same ones we’ve been familiar with this entire time.

The Google Nexus 4 is stuffed with all the customary Google apps - Google Nexus 4 Review
The Google Nexus 4 is stuffed with all the customary Google apps - Google Nexus 4 Review
The Google Nexus 4 is stuffed with all the customary Google apps - Google Nexus 4 Review
The Google Nexus 4 is stuffed with all the customary Google apps - Google Nexus 4 Review


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Google Nexus 4

Google Nexus 4

OS: Android 5.1 5.0 4.4.4 4.4.3 4.4.2 4.4 4.3 4.2.2 4.2.1 4.2
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
9Excellent
Display4.7 inches, 768 x 1280 pixels (318 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera8 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, Quad-core, 1500 MHz, Krait processor
2 GB RAM
Size5.27 x 2.70 x 0.36 inches
(133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm)
4.90 oz  (139 g)
Battery2100 mAh, 15.3 hours talk time

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