Nexus 4 Review

It’s been over a month since I got my Nexus 4, “and I posted about my initial impressions.”: Now that I’ve had some time to really _live_ with the phone, I can put together a more full review. You may want to check out the aforementioned link because I covered a lot of the visual aspects of it there, so no point in repeating it here. Read on for the rest of the review!

As I mentioned previously, the Nexus 4 is a very handsome device. Simple, sleek, and understated. It’s quite comfortable to hold and looks amazing no matter which way I’m looking at it. The only buttons on it are the power and volume up/down buttons, which are well-positioned and easy to use. I also got the official Nexus 4 bumper case, and it fits quite snugly, protecting the device without making it look like a brick. It’s the first case that I don’t mind having on, because it doesn’t make the Nexus look any worse or bulkier.

h4. Performance

The Nexus 4 has a quad-core Snapdragon processor, so I expected performance to be quite snappy. And indeed everything runs amazingly well. Temple Run 2 runs smoothly even with music and other applications in the background. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City runs perfectly, with nary a stutter or lag in sight. Multi-tasking is fluid and effortless, as it should be. Everything flows beautifully, animations are subtle and smooth, and it finally feels like I’m using a phone from the future. No benchmarks here, go check Engadget for that. I use it rather heavily, and even when running a lot of things in the background everything still works smoothly. I haven’t had to restart my phone in weeks, everything just plain works.

h4. Battery Life

The battery life was initially reported to be poor by Engadget, but I’ve found my experience to be rather different. I can easily get through a long day with a good amount of usage, with 4G/wifi on almost all day. I do keep the brightness rather low, but this display is so bright that even the lowest setting will be more than enough for most people (more on that in the next section). I charge my phone at night, wake up at around 9am and put the phone back on charger when I go to sleep sometime around 1 or 2am (sometimes 5am). Usually at that point the phone has 30+ percent left. Not bad for a phone with a rather large display and a quad-core processor.

h4. Display

The display is wonderful, it can get super bright and even at the lowest settings it’s quite bright and legible even in direct sunlight. I love that about it, I could never see my G2’s display outside, even with the brightness at 30%. I assume the good outdoors performance has something to do with the display being closer to the glass due to the touch sensor being in the screen itself instead of in a separate layer. Colors are displayed fairly well, not too saturated or overdone, which I like. Blacks are displayed very well too, I can hardly tell the onscreen soft keys apart from the rest of the black front.

h4. Android

I never thought I’d be able to use stock Android for this long. But not only do I use it, I love it! Stock Android really has come a long way since I started using it at 2.2 (Froyo). Back then, stock Android was ugly, cumbersome, and poorly organized. Now with actual design guidelines and a unified style, Android looks sleek and functions almost perfectly. At this point, it is (in my opinion) miles ahead of iOS, which looks to be stuck in 2007. I could write about how wonderful Android is all day, but there are already plenty of reviews about it all over the internet. Back when I start using Android, I pretty much *needed* to root the phone and have custom ROMs to get the functionality I wanted, but now on 4.2 I really can’t ask for much more. The fact that I’ve been happily using this phone completely stock and unrooted for over a month speaks volumes about how far Android has come.

h4. Other Notes

Much like the Nexus devices that preceded it, the Nexus 4 does not have removable storage, a testament to Google’s commitment to the cloud. When the Nexus 4 was announced, this was almost a dealbreaker for me, but the low unlocked price of the Nexus ($350, with no contract!) convinced me to get the Nexus anyway. Google has done a great job with Google Play Music, especially with the Music Manager. In essence it allows you to upload all of your existing library to Google Play Music, which you can then stream in the Play Music app on Android. It’s super easy to use, and it allows you to store the songs on the device for offline listening. Super convenient. I often have moments when I want to hear a specific song, and having everything on the cloud makes it easy to find and listen to what I want, no matter where I am. This eliminates the need to have every single band on my phone, nowadays I only keep my most frequently listened-to stuff on my phone.

h4. Wrap-Up

As countless other websites have said, the Nexus 4 is an amazing value. It’s a very good looking device, with a solid OS, solid specs, a beautiful display, and a fantastic price. I’m excited to see how Google will top this phone with the next Nexus!

Posted in Android, Review, Technology