Nexus 4 redesign

Small nubs now lift the back of the phone up off a table; camera lens gets a slight redesign

Android Central has confirmed that the Nexus 4 has undergone a little bit of a design tweak. As first reported by German site MobiFlip. there are now a couple of small nubs on the rear of the phone, where the glass meets the foot, positioned just above the two screw holes. 

We've confirmed the change on a pair of Nexus 4s we ordered on Monday this week and received on Wednesday. In the image above, our original Nexus 4, now some four months old, is on top, with a new retail unit (still in its protective plastic) at the bottom. Note the little nub between the screw holes of the two phones.

This small design change has a couple of effects. It lifts phone up ever so slightly, allowing sound to escape the flush speaker. We can confirm that sounds are a little fuller and louder. Not a great deal, but we can tell. The change also should help keep the glass back from getting the little hairline scratches it's been prone to pick up.

And perhaps more important, it should keep the ultra-slick phone from sliding off any similarly slick surfaces.

Nexus 4 redesign

The little nubs are just big enough to be felt when you're holding it. You'll know if you've got them on your phone.

Nexus 4 camera housing also gets a tweak

Nexus 4 redesign

Another small change noticed regards the camera lens. There's a little less exposed area around the lens. It's unclear whether that's simply a design change, or if it helps with light leakage, or if it's just discrepancies in the manufacturing process. (We're working on tracking that down.) But it is noticeable, at least when you're looking at two phones side by side. Interesting is that in our old Nexus 4, the lens is centered in the hole -- it's definitely not in the new unit we picked up this week.

All in all, good signs that neither LG nor Google has given up on the Nexus 4 (we debunked that rumor months ago). Oh, and the new phone still has the glittery back.

via Android Police

There are 87 comments

atrixfll says:

should have been this way from the beginning..the speaker volume is the worst part of the original design..I cant wait to get my hands on an HTC ONE... and hear my phone ring

crash180 says:

agreed. Waiting for the HTC One to become available for purchase.

magneira says:

HTC One is not loud enough.. wating for my stero system to become available... what a bad coment... just because the sound is not so loud you will buy the HTC One? gezz...

iphone4 says:


Chris Nacca says:

in fairness have you head the HTC One sound? it really is amazing

return_0 says:

I highly doubt it's enough to counterbalance the loss of the Nexus experience.

Here's our unscientific comparison, if you wanna listen. (Home more information)

Lazaretto says:

Perhaps y'all should rename site to HTC Central.

like Pauline replied I'm amazed that some people can make $5237 in four weeks on the internet. have you seen this

blessedred says:

You do realize that the Nexus can still stutter while everyone has said the HTC One has never skipped a beat. So in reality the Nexus is worse in performance overall your argument isn't valid goodbye.

Spork1673 says:

you must have bad ears ... i can hear my n4 from the other room when it rings or when i get a text message

movielover76 says:

Speaker is fine for me, during normal use in any orientation, though I admit I use my phone as a alarm clock and I have to place it screen down on my nightstand or it won't wake me up (I'm a heavy sleeper) screen down is no issue for me, I use a case and screen protector.

Triclops says:

Or, spend two-whole-dollars and get Volume+ like everyone who has the same issue with other phones. Why replace the entire phone when it can be fixed with software (and cheap software at that)? If your biggest problem with a phone can be solved as easily as installing an app then you don't actually have a problem.

The equivalent: "My Nexus didn't come with the Sense clock widget! I'm ditching it and getting a...oh wait. There are Sense-style clock widgets in the Play Store."

atrixfll says:

Volume + ...does not work on nexus devices.. that has always been my go to app for volume...

d3Xt3r says:

Perhaps not Volume+, but you could use the FauxSpeaker app by faux123. There's also a FauxSound app for headphone amplification if you're interested.

I use both on my phone and the volume boost is very noticeable.

cozzy123 says:

I own the nexus 4 and I keep it on its face when I put it down on a desk or table unless its a couch for instance (so I don't scratch the back). Either way, I hear the phone fine as long as I leave the volume up.

I do agree though, I like the idea of speakers on the front of a phone like the HTC one but the nexus 4 speakers on the back are loud and proud.

NickA says:

You said Nubs...

mstrblueskys says:

Heh... heh.

HAAS599 says:

Do few camera shots and let us know if there is any noticeable difference.

ralphwiggum1 says:

Is LTE still usable on the newer model? Any internal changes?

still1 says:

LTE changes are software change not hardware

deltatux says:

We're assuming they didn't modify the motherboard of the phone.

Have to assume that'd be far more work (and money) than it is worth.

Nonymous666 says:

They'd have to get recertified if they modified the board to that extent. It's a safe assumption they didn't modify it.

ltredbeard says:

I wonder if the nubs will help at all if you have a screen protector on the back? The one I have already has lifts the phone slightly so I'm thinking that the nubs may not lift it any more and leaving the speaker still flush.

Also, I wonder how easy it would be to get one of these as a spare part and install it on an existing phone.

icebike says:

Its sad that they made the back out of glass so soft that you have to put a Screen protector on the back. Other than trying to ape Apple, I don't see the point of a glass back.

Still I wonder how the nubs are going to stand up to wear. You can always replace a screen protector, but a worn down nub leaves you with a scratched screen eventually.

return_0 says:

Obviously you haven't used a Nexus 4 and noticed how nice it feels compared to plastic phones like the S3 and S4.

movielover76 says:

Well, the back is prettier than other phones, I bought a bumper case because the back looks nice, I've never thought twice about slapping a cover that covers the back on any other device, I think the devices fragile nature is overstated, with a bumper I dropped this phone on a concrete laundry room floor, and from an elliptical machine (multiple hits as it went down) the screen protectors plus bumper case seem to make it more than sturdy enough.

Most of the really bad smashes are from people who carry it naked, and you can smash up any phone when you choose to carry your phone like that.

d3Xt3r says:

I disagree with your statement, that you can "smash up any phone" that way. I upgraded to a N4 from my S2, and I find the N4 fragile as heck, prompting me to buy a case - the first for me in my smartphone history (I never liked cases or bumpers).

Now for a little bit of history - my S2 has been dropped more than 30 times or so - many times on hard concrete. Once it even fell out of my phone while I was jogging on the concrete sidewalk, and because of the way it fell I even stepped on it with full force. Naturally the phone got dragged along a bit on the concrete. The plastic back did get a few scratches and dents, but the phone was still perfectly usable. The scratches were easily covered by using a wrapper/skin. I could have gotten a replacement housing as well, which was quite cheap on eBay (only $6!)

Now the phone I had before my S2 - the HTC Desire, fell down a similar number of times. Once it even fell down a flight of concrete stairs - down two stories - and came out unscathed. People generally say it matters on which angle the phone fell, but on the flight of stairs, the phone bounced around so many times I doubt it would have mattered. Anyways, it was so well built that I didn't even feel the need to cover it up or get a replacement back.

I never used to use a case or bumper, and always used to proudly showoff the small nicks, dents and scratches to everyone - as a testimony on how well built Android phones are - while making fun of Apple phones and giving a hard time to my Apple mates. Unfortunately, with the Nexus 4 the tables have turned I can't do that anymore - I ended up ordering a Lloyd TPU case from here about a month ago (which *still* hasn't arrived btw) :(
Anyways, just the other day I dropped my N4 from a height of 4 feet on my mezzanine kitchen floor and instantly there was a large scratch (more like a gash) across the back. Really, this is poor, poor design by LG. Now I'm forced to either buy a replacement glass back (which is way more expensive than the $6 for the S2), or buy a skin which would hide that beautiful back design. ._.

(FYI: I did buy the LG bumper, but it was of a really poor quality - the bit near the USB port broke within a week of use so I stopped using it immediately.)

lightyear420 says:

the back has a disco-ball style glitter pattern. If they used plastic it would scratch far easier, and the glitter effect would definitely lose some shine. I have a feeling that it wouldn't be as shiny to start with, even without scratches if it were plastic.

Also, as mentioned above, glass just feels better on your hand.

I still have yet another reason I'm glad the back of the phone is glass, though. I work in homes that are still being built and being remodeled 6 days a week. Lots of times there are painters in the house while I'm working. They usually use paint sprayers, since it's the most efficient way to get the job done. If you have ever been around a paint sprayer, you know how far the paint can travel, even if the air is totally still. I can't count how many times my phone has been hit by a cloud of paint. Once, I didn't even recognize my phone there was so much paint on it. But now, there is not one speck of paint on the back of my phone. That's because paint does stick to glass, but it's easily wiped off just by rubbing it with your finger. My bumper has seen better days (namely, ones when it was still its original color) but my phone still looks good as new, thanks to the glass on the front and back!!

deltatux says:

How do these nubs fit in existing phone cases? Also, does it have the speaker buzzing issue? I'm still waiting on a new phone revision in hoping that they fixed it before sending mine for RMA.

Aaah, the Humpty Dumpty of phones. Still a nice phone but I wish it had less glass :(


dovlek says:

Mmmmm i dig the new design!

ConTejas says:

Seriously? Tell me you'd ever notice a differece if it wasn't directly pointed out...

djfoo000 says:

Can you check and see if USB OTG now works? The feature was previously removed after the Google devs found out the board couldn't provide 5V.

leroy_sunset says:

OTG, OTG, OTG. This is what I was hoping to read.

sml_blok says:

Rip it apart, quickly! I wonder if the actual camera module is different(hopefully better)...

ChromeJob says:

Put a Google bumper on it and ... the nubs are nuthin'. :D

a2Squard says:


lightyear420 says:

Yup :) Nubs are a good idea, but a dumb redesign, I think. I really hope the camera got an overhaul!!

Channan says:

I got my Nexus 4 over two weeks ago and mine has the updated design. Didn't realize the old design didn't have that so that's neat. I was wondering why people were saying it slides around on flat surfaces too easily but mine didn't.

But curse you for pointing out the camera lens. Mine isn't centered either.

These little nubs remind me of my Ringke Fusion case. Same principle.

In regards to the camera, mine is already not lined up perfectly (little thinner area near top of camera).

donm527 says:

yeah, i'm thinking the camera or related component is from a different source and not lining up properly causing the offcenter.

Chadlip says:

I wonder if that affects the camera quality or if it is the same? Has anyone seen any differences in the camera so far?

donm527 says:

this is all guessing but without a case i doubt it. but with a case it could.

i mean i was using a cruzrlite smoke tpu case and i found myself taking terrible pics and suspected that the smoked/clear around the camera hole was disrupting the light when taking pics.

ever since i went back to my ringke case which is much thinner and more importantly all black and black around the camera hole... i have been much happier with how pics turn out and lighting.

i imagine a scenario where a camera that is offcenter along with a case i mentioned above could cause issues.

judasmachine says:

I got mine on March 4th and it has nubs. This might have been around for a while. I never would have noticed.

judasmachine says:

And it doesn't affect the two piece case I use when cycling or the Poetic bumper I use the rest of the time.

hirs00091 says:

I think there may have been a iterim version also I got my Nexus 4 about 2 weeks ago. I have the updated camera with the off center lens but I do not have the nubs

ereming1 says:

Yeah me too. Got mine in January. The camera window change is old.

judasmachine says:

I have nubs and a nearly centered camera. I don't know why. Maybe its more a random happenstance.

Shadowslash says:

My Nexus 4 does not have the nubs but the camera is off centered exactly like the image above. I ordered it in early March.

slywalk says:

my n4 has both these things =p i got it early march.

RapMasterC says:

I received my Nexus is December. It has the slightly off center camera but no nubs.

Synycalwon says:

Good? No, I see it as bad; crappy design is crappy. You couldn't pay me to own a LG phone Nexus or not. Although truthfully Nexus is overrated IMO, contrary to popular opinion around here. :(

movielover76 says:

The LG nexus is one of the most solid well built phones I've owned. Companies do make progress you know? just because LG had a few bad phones in the beginning doesn't mean every phone after that is crap. I had the first samsung android phone and it had more than it's share of problems. Is the phone perfect? No, no phone is. But at $350 it comes much much closer than any other phone at it's price range as well as a lot that cost twice as much.

lightyear420 says:

You owe nexus users a debt of gratitude. If it weren't for us testing new features, android would not be where it is today!! You do realize that a crap-ton of android's aosp code is borrowed from cyanogen, right?? That also goes for motorola, samsung, sony, htc, lg, etc.

Every single flavor of android has borrowed code from roms tested on a nexus device. Yes, other devices can run some of the roms as well....but the big ones are always originally intended to run on a nexus. It's because we nexus users are willing to put our devices on the line for the sake of new innovations for the masses that manufacturers are able to add in so many of the cool features. I've had some features for two years that samsung is just now adding to touchwiz because I'm a nexus user and I like to run custom roms. The same could be said for every other manufacturer in the world.

You're welcome!

Jealousy and wrong statements all in one comment, good job Syn

MCLAIN2013 says:

cant wait till the new nexus.

hmmm says:

They must be in it for the long haul if they are updating the design of a phone that gets updated yearly.

Dr. Triffid says:

So, will changing anything to the process cause the Nexus 4 to descend back into Order Backlog Hell?

Metro1088 says:

This update might be useful but seems nonetheless aesthetically unpleasant.

smileman says:

i'm wondering if this update fixed both the camera rattle noise and buzzing from the earpiece that many people have reported in the forums?

Stychill says:

If only it was now shipping with 64gb built in storage, then i would get one.

cooperaaaron says:

I have a Ballistic Case with nubs on it. I am good with that. Thanks Ballistic!

I just did a warranty exchange and got the"updated" nubs added version. After 2 days my volume rocker went mush....

awesome, improvement is important.

I have zero intention of going naked with this phone, even with nubs and my camera works just fine. I know damn well what's going to happen if I go naked just to be able to see the glittery back: I'll drop the damn thing multiple times and scuff the hell out of it. But I guess this will keep the nudists happy. I'm keeping mine all wrapped up so I can sell it scuff-free once the Nexus 5 comes out

Nexusmaniac says:

It should have always been like this and now im slightly annoyed because i would love those little bumps instead of using the bumper case

Chemicool says:

Why is the htc one so expensive?

hotice says:

It's not. The Nexus 4 is so inexpensive because it's subsidized by Google.

BernieDC says:

Incorrect, the Nexus 4 is being sold at cost, the HTC One has the standard retail markup.

hotice says:

Ok, I guess that's an improvement but when will these companies stop putting glass on the back of phones. Apple, naturally, started this poorly thought out trend. LG and now Sony have followed suite. Hopefully people will just go back to plastic or Kevlar soon. Metal isn't a great option because it interferes with wireless signals. There's nothing wrong with plastic and I think Kevlar is a great option too.

swissunix says:

FWIW My Nexus 4 seems to be in-between: it has the smaller shutter, but not the nubs

Looks like thats the case for a lot of people who purchased around the holidays or early '13

MarkSeven says:

The off-center camera lens would so bother me tho..

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bergeronjc says:

Hooray for cheap manufacturing!!!

Did anyone answer the question about existing cases? Will the new nubby version fit properly in existing cases?


Overall, nice improvements even though obscure at best, but why does that raised glass near the nubs worry me?

Raylz says:

My Nexus 4 has the nubs.

ruel24 says:

Why not make yet another change and send the device to Verizon's network?

Edbertin says:

i got my N4 this week in Brazil (Made in Brazil), mine doesn´t have the hub. But camera lens is the new one.

godsend85 says:

Same here. Imported from USA to India and it doesn't nubs though camera lens is smaller. Seems like they've removed nubs for now.

ashishb says:

For those who have received the newer version; did you order directly from Google or from T-Mobile or another carrier? I'm thinking of picking 1 up - I know, now may not be the best time with I/O beginning tomorrow, but want to make sure whoever I end up ordering from will have this newest iteration.


ahawgfan says:

I ordered my 16GB N4 from Google Play directly last week. I received it on last Wednesday. It too has the small nubs on the back of the phone. What is different in mine though the lens is perfectly centered.