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Google Nexus 4 Review

Google Nexus 4 9

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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

Camera interface

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:


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

The Google Play Music app

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

Watching videos

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.


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

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

  • Options

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 08:04 12

1. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; 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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 08:14 39

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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 08:31 7

8. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; 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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 08:58 21

21. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4290; 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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 09:08 6

24. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; 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!!"

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 12:19 5

45. Dr.Phil (Posts: 1622; 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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 12:38 2

47. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; 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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 13:17 2

50. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; 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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 13:47 2

54. Lboogey6 (Posts: 281; Member since: 31 Jan 2012)

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

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 14:02 1

56. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; 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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 13:44 3

52. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; 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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 13:46 2

53. Lboogey6 (Posts: 281; 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

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 14:09 2

57. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; 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?

posted on 28 Nov 2012, 01:34

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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 15:11 3

62. tedkord (Posts: 13863; 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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 09:03 9

22. Retro-touch (Posts: 277; 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

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 09:15 2

26. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; 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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 14:27 1

59. Zero0 (Posts: 592; 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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 14:42 2

61. Zero0 (Posts: 592; 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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 12:40 3

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.

posted on 23 Nov 2012, 13:49

99. JussSaynMayn (Posts: 6; Member since: 01 Nov 2012)

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

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 01:49 1

84. Raymond_htc (Posts: 430; Member since: 06 Apr 2012)



Live with it.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 22:38

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..

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 08:53 6

18. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4888; 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!

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 08:56 1

19. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; 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!

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 09:04 4

23. Retro-touch (Posts: 277; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)

First world problems!

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 18:20

66. epdm2be (Posts: 640; 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!

posted on 31 Mar 2013, 17:15

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)

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 10:38 1

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.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 21:37

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.

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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
Display4.7 inches, 768 x 1280 pixels (318 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera8 megapixels
Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, Quad-core, 1500 MHz, Krait processor
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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