Money

The Nexus 4's new price tag makes it cheaper than a lot of entry-level phones and older models

Google’s recent, dramatic price cut for the Nexus 4 on the Google Play Store has made it one of the best value handsets you can pick up. In fact, at £159 in the UK and $199 in the U.S., the Nexus 4 easily provides the best bang for your buy when buying an Android smartphone, with just a few caveats attached.

So we decided to take a look at the phone market at large and see where exactly the Nexus 4 fits at its new price point. And it’s surprising to see the company it’s keeping at its new $200-level price. Check past the break to see ten devices that are now more expensive than the Nexus 4.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus (around $290)

Galaxy Nexus

The Galaxy Nexus has never been as cheap as its successor, and even as it approaches its second birthday, it’s hard to get hold of a new, unlocked GSM GNex for much less than $300 — around $50 more than the equivalent 16GB Nexus 4. Considering the hardware (and performance, and build quality) delta between the two, you'd be insane to opt for the older Nexus.

Even pre-owned prices for Samsung’s last Nexus phone hover around the $200 mark, the same amount you’ll pay for brand new 8GB Nexus 4.

iPhone 4 ($450 / £315)

iPhone 4

Apple’s never been in the budget phone market — though that may be about to change in the next few weeks. Until then, Cupertino’s solution for budget buyers continues to be the three-year-old iPhone 4. The fourth-gen iPhone, the first to use that famous glass back an aluminum trim, is by no means a bad device, but we’d argue there’s better value to be had elsewhere. That includes Google and LG’s 8GB Nexus 4, at half the price of a SIM-free 8-gig iPhone 4.

More: iPhone 4 at iMore

BlackBerry 9720 (£169.95)

BlackBerry 9720

Even as BlackBerry moves ahead with its new BB10 platform, it’s recently launched one more budget-level focused phone based on the earlier BB7 OS. The 9720 sells for £169.95 SIM-free in the UK through Carphone Warehouse, and runs BB7 on a 2.8-inch 480x360 display. Clearly the manufacturer is targeting a different audience with this device, toting a physical keyboard and messaging focus, but it’s interesting to note that the 8GB Nexus 4 is a little over £10 cheaper than this low-cost BlackBerry.

More: CrackBerry’s hands-on and first impressions

Samsung Galaxy Fame (£169.95)

Galaxy Fame

One of Samsung’s most basic Android phones, the Galaxy Fame was announced earlier in the year, and ports Samsung’s Android-based smartphone experience onto a tiny 3.5-inch HVGA display. Inside there’s a 1GHz processor running the show. In the UK, it sells for £169.95; needless to say, there’s almost no reason to pick the Galaxy Fame over the cheaper 8GB Nexus 4 at this price point.

HTC HD2 (£210)

HTC HD2

The venerable HTC HD2, which has had just about every mobile OS in existence ported to it at some point, still goes for £210 on Amazon UK. Released in 2010 with a 1GHz processor and 4.3-inch screen (massive, for the time), the HD2 never really got the love it deserved, and was denied an official upgrade path to Windows Phone 7. In 2013, we think you’ll probably have a better time with Android 4.3 on the Nexus 4 than Windows Mobile 6.x on the HD2

Nokia N9 ($258 / £240)

Nokia N9

The Nokia-backed Meego open-source OS never really got off the ground, but despite this the flagship Nokia N9 was a really nice piece of hardware — a clear precursor to the Finnish manufacturer’s Lumia series. But it’s old hardware now, and we’d hesitate to pay the $258 asking price for an N9 running a dead OS when the N4 is so cheap.

Nokia Lumia 620 (£179.95 / $204.99)

Lumia 620

We’ve seen some great entry-level hardware from Nokia in recent months, including the Lumia 620, which sells for £179.95 in the UK. Windows Phone enthusiasts will argue that the platform has always competed on user experience, not hardware — and they’d be right. But there’s also the fact that Android boasts a more complete app ecosystem than Windows Phone — and that the Nexus 4’s beefy internals make it a better low-cost gaming phone.

More: Windows Phone Central’s review

LG Enact ($349.99)

LG Enact

Keyboard sliders refuse to die, and just last week Verizon introduced the LG Enact, a mid-level QWERTY slider with a 4-inch WVGA display, a dual-core 1.2GHz CPU and Android 4.1. While the Enact does boast 4G LTE connectivity, something not officially supported on the N4, you’ll have a better overall Android experience on the Nexus device — and save about $150 if you buy without a contract.

The Grandstream Enterprise Multimedia Phone (£173.99)

Phone

OK, OK. Chances are this isn’t going to replace anyone’s smartphone — it’s wired to a base station, after all — but there are enterprise-level landline phones that run more than the basic Nexus 4 price. This model happens to run on Android 2.3 on a 480x272 display, and support SIP calling. You won’t be playing Asphalt 8 on it anytime soon, though.

'Lenovo' Cartoon Character Phone Suit ($255.99)

Phone suit

Finally, it seems you can’t even dress up as a phone for less than the price of a Nexus 4. This bright pink "Lenovo"-branded phone suit, complete with polka-dot hair bow and freakish cartoon face, will set you back just under $256 from Amazon.com.

As you can see, it’s sporting a traditional three capacitive button setup, along with with an approximately-30-inch screen. Inside the handset's silk and foam chassis you’ll find a live human with no sense of shame.

A few things to bear in mind ...

Firstly, let’s remember the reason why the Nexus 4 is so affordable -- Google is subsidizing the cost of the phone on the Play Store. Pick up the phone from LG through any other retailer around the world and you’ll pay the full retail price, often as high as double the Play Store price. We’re not sure if someone, somewhere is actually making a loss on Nexus 4 hardware sales, but we wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. After all, if every manufacturer were able to put out this level of smartphone hardware at this price point, we wouldn’t be writing articles like this.

Secondly, there’s one pretty big reason why you might want to pass on the Nexus 4, and that’s LTE. The current Nexus phone lacks official LTE support, and though it’s possible to hack it onto there with the use of an radio image downgrade, there’s no guarantee that’ll continue to work in the longrun. It’s also only good on T-Mobile in the US, leaving AT&T and international LTE users in the lurch.

We're also talking about up-front cost to buy the phone in this article, rather than subsidized prices. While it's true that the Nexus 4's SIM-free price matches many other phones' on-contract price, we're not taking into account the total cost of ownership over multiple years of use.

With the Nexus 4 approaching its first birthday, we wouldn’t bet on the device getting any cheaper than it is right now, so if you’ve been holding off, now would be a great time to pick up one of the best Android phones around. It’s true that we’re potentially just a couple of months away from the next Nexus launch, but that doesn’t make the current one any less of a bargain.

 

Reader comments

10 phones that now cost more than the Nexus 4

54 Comments

This makes me thankful I just bought one for my Grandma! She's going to love it and I'm going to love playin... I mean, teaching her how to use it. ;)

Maybe pick one N4 before gone but honestly not sure about my new phone was and probably want SGN3 if not pay a leg or arm plus if TMO not bring more coverage area I will looking forward too.

Posted via Android Central App

OK I'm gonna troll here...

Your post is a jumbled mess. Learn some punctuation. Or just have your phone do it for you. Something. Anything.

I don't think you're trolling. You could have been a lot harsher. Grammar and punctuation are important to express yourself clearly.

Posted from my HTC One via AC App

What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Posted via Android Central App

I just bust out laughing in Starbucks at this!

Posted via Droid RAZR M on the Android Central App

This is the result of translating from Russian to English with Google Translate. I'm convinced. This is what you get. Enjoy.

"Inside the handset's silk and foam chassis you’ll find a live human with no sense of shame."

I lol'd hard.

Someone please tell me why google play in India doesn't sell the nexus4? Its almost a year now and still no nexus 4 on Indian play store.. *-*

The fame is £109.99 in the UK at o2; my brother WAS going to get it but he can afford the n4 now, we'll have the same phone since I sold my old phone to get my nexus on top of birthday money and from selling a kindle.

Posted via Android central app on my LG Google Nexus 4

This was fantastic, thanks. Also interesting on the GNex, I have one laying around though I bet the VZW versions sell for much less.

Posted via Android Central App

How dare you say Google is subsidizing the cost of the Nexus 4? THIS IS WHAT PHONES ARE SUPPOSED TO COST!

/s

;)

I think it's worth noting that while hardware costs are one feature of a phone's price, the other add-on for a phone's price are to recoup R&D.

This is not something Google, as a vertical company has to concern itself with as it's R&D in Android OS is recouped via the main aim of the company - advertising.

So all of the hope that X phone that costs $XXX to make will follow this model misses the point.

Google might "subsidize" the cost of the Nexus (though I'd probably argue that it doesn't sell them for a loss, instead selling them at or near cost), because of it's vertical model, it gains it's revenue elsewhere, something most other manufacturers can't do.

Google is still footing the bill. LG is just putting the parts together and getting paid for labor. Not sure they are even getting that since it is like free advertising

Posted via Android Central App

Bargain? Depends on your needs/wants. :) It could be free and would still have little value to me (beyond selling it for a profit) as it doesn't work on the carrier that provides the best coverage where I live, work, and travel (Carrier > phone - Talk Mobile topic this week! :)). Not to mention it has a sealed embedded battery (absolute deal breaker) and doesn't support SD cards. /notaNexusfanboy ;)

Just because you don't need a SD Card slot or removable battery doesn't make you a Nexus fanboy.

Signed yours truly:
-A Nexus Fanboy.

At that price you could buy two, keep one in reserve for when the first one's battery fails.

Those points aren't deal breakers for me but the 8 or 16gb total storage is. With that I don't care what the price is, I'm not interested. It's a great phone for people that don't care about that though.

Bought two for one on the GN4 because our contracts were up at Sprint (and before everyone jumps on me, I haven't had trouble with them in the 15+ years I've been with them - when they were Nextel and had two phone models) so I paid $199 for two. I couldn't beat that and I still have a less expensive plan than the same would have cost me at Verizon.

And I love the phones. For me (and I know, not everyone,) that was a win-win.

This is indeed a stellar deal. I'm still very happy with my gs3 though so I think I'll wait for the next nexus.

Posted via Android Central App

You know it's bad when a cartoon face gives you uncanny valley. Die creepy Lenovo phone, die!

Posted via Android Central App

No one in their right mind would get a GNex over the Nexus 4...unless they're still stuck on a CDMA carrier...crap

I agree the price is great but I just can't go with HSPA, 16GB and that camera after selling my Nexus 4 months ago, not even as a backup...to my S4.

Come on next Nexus and please please please have a 32GB option...

>"The Nexus 4's new price tag makes it cheaper than a lot of entry-level phones and older models"

It could be free and I still wouldn't want it (except maybe to put it on Ebay). With no reasonable local storage, I have no use for it.

I want the phone suit! Halloween ain't too far away. Aww heck. Who am I kidding? I want to wear it just because... PHON.ES!!!

I really like the Nexus. The lack of internal memory and 4G connection was the deal breaker for me. I'm also a fan of SD slots. Knowing that they will not include one on a nexus device I hope that they will consider a higher amount of memory for the next Nexus.
LG made a nice phone, but I wouldn't mind seeing Google placing the key manufactures on a rotation. I will say that I've always been a Motorola fan and would like to see what they could develop. HTC and Sony should also be considered. Sony definitely intrigues me.

Posted via Android Central App

my dream price. Play store is not available in Vietnam. And LG sells it here 450 USD for 16gb version lolz !!

Just to clarify your comment, T-Mobile bought Metro PCS so and merging/migration to just one single LTE network is happening.

The number of markets for which ATT is using band IV for LTE is so small, that LTE will NOT work for the VAST majority of ATT's customers. And for the tiny percentage of people who live in those scarce markets where ATT does use band IV for LTE, everytime they travel outside of it, they will not have LTE.

But also in Canada, the vast majority of people can get LTE with the the N4.

And enabling LTE is just a one step .zip flash away. It just could not be any simpler. It'll even stick during updates for custom ROMs (those that use use CM addon.d scripts).

google search: *UPDATED* [ZIP] All in One LTE Enabler, Flash ONE zip, and have BAND 4 LTE on any ROM

I have to say in the past 9 months I've had my Nexus 4, not once have I wished for LTE support.

Nope not interested.

Oh that and the fact why would I want to pay £20 extra a month for the privilege?

At 42 years of age I still have yet to work out why I would want to stream movies on my phone.

@iowabeakster: Thanks for sharing. Your info is also true as was mine. Flashing a zip is fine for those who do not wish to enable LTE manually. However, not sure how what you posted does any clarifying of what I posted? You just provided an alternate method. As far as the merger, until that is finalized and Metro's customers can't use T-Mobile's settings, they must use Metro's settings. So, again, my post stands.