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Google Nexus 4 by LG.

The Google Nexus 4 is easily the best since the original, but this one does come with some compromise​

There's something about taking a Nexus phone out of the box that still gives goosebumps. Even now, with the LG Nexus 4 -- a phone that leaked every which way to Sunday before finally being announced, sans Google event, thanks to Hurricane Sandy -- hands tremble a little bit. This time around, however, those tremors are from a sense of unease as much as they are from excitement.

After two generations of Samsung devices, Google's Nexus phone line shifts to LG. Worldwide standing aside -- and make no mistake, there's a big world out there, and a lot of it owns LG hardware -- it's not a company with much cachet here in the States.  

Add to that the preconceived hangups folks have about some of the Nexus 4's specs, and we're in for a drama-filled start for the fourth iteration of Google's premier smartphone. 

This is going to be fun. Strap in, everybody. It's time for the full Android Central review of the Google Nexus 4 by LG.


The Good

The Nexus 4 builds on the design of the Galaxy Nexus - and makes it even better. LG's build quality is supurb. The display is excellent, with a fast processor and GPU to push things. Android 4.2 brings some welcome new features (see Photo Share and Quick Settings). Unlocked price cannot be beat.

The Bad

Storage options are on the low side at 8 and 16GB, with no microSD storage. No option for LTE data. Internal battery will be a turn-off for some. Long-term durability of the glassy back is unknown.

Conclusion

The Nexus 4, LG's first phone in Google's premier line, easily is the best "stock" Android phone thus far, and it's the best in the Nexus line since HTC's Nexus One. The hardware is more top-of-the-line than we're used to in the Nexus platform. The design improves on what LG's done with its own Optimus G. And the software improvements in Android 4.2 make the platform that much more impressive. The phone's not without compromise, but it's also an easy phone to recommend, especially for the price.

Inside this review

More info

The Nexus 4 walkthrough

The hardware

Here's the funny thing about the Nexus 4 -- we kind of knew it was coming, and we kind of knew what it would be like. First came the rumblings that LG would be the manufacturer, and that it'd be a close cousin to the Optimus G, which the Korean manufacturer launched in September in Seoul. LG brought in journalists from throughout the world (including us) to get the first look at the Optimus G. And looking at the first leaked pictures, as well as the rumored specs, it was pretty apparent we'd be seeing the same species in the Nexus 4.

The Nexus 4 display

Google Nexus 4 by LG

So let's start out front. LG's using the same 4.7-inch IPS display at 768x1280 resolution as on the Optimus G. That packs in a few more pixels than the Samsung Galaxy did (a mere 720p wide). IPS displays are known for their brilliance, and LG's proved itself here. Colors, while toned down a tad from the Super AMOLED panel in the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, are very crisp, and individual pixels aren't as apparent. But the biggest difference perhaps is in color temperature. Whites are white again, and side-by-side the Nexus 4 makes the Galaxy Nexus display look like a yellow tobacco stain. If we had to pick two displays to duke it out for the next year, we'd pick LG's IPS display, and the Super LCD2 display being used by HTC.

The Nexus 4 display is covered by Gorilla Glass 2, and it takes a subtle curve toward the edges of the phone -- a very nice design touch. We wouldn't call that "curved glass" or a "curved display" or anything, though. The front-facing camera's in the top right corner, and the earpiece is a sliver where the display meets the top edge.  There's a notification light below the screen that works the same as on the Galaxy Nexus.

Google Nexus 4 by LG.

Outdoors, the display is very much usable in direction sunlight. Maybe not quite as much as the HTC One X, but it's really close. Same goes for if you're wearing sunglasses.

Reading text on the Nexus 4 was a breeze, be it in Chrome or in Google Play Books or Amazon's Kindle app. 

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The body

The really interesting thing here is that the Nexus 4, from the front anyway, could easily be mistaken for the Galaxy Nexus, at least by a layman. They're close enough in size and shape, though the Nexus 4 has better design cues. (Whether that's from LG or Google we'll be debating for some time.)

Google Nexus 4 by LG.

First, the boring stuff: The Nexus 4's 8-megapixel camera is flush with the body of the phone. It doesn't stick out at all. But then there's the flash, which has a tiny little ring around it. The more astute will recall that this is the same scheme used in the 8MP version of the Optimus G.

Google Nexus 4 by LG.

There's also a little sliver of a speaker in the lower right corner of the back of the phone. Again, it's done in exactly the same fashion as the Optimus G. (See the trend here yet?) The bad news is that it's also flush with the phone, so sound is severely muted if the phone's left flat on a table. Prop it up, however, and you've got a decently loud speaker that's pretty crisp.

A lot of folks have asked about the speaker quality compared to the Galaxy Nexus. We're pretty confident in saying it's better. (How much better is subjective, though.) More highs get through, and you get a fuller sound because of it.

Google Nexus 4 by LG. Google Nexus 4 by LG.

The sides of the Nexus 4 are done up in a rubber soft-touch coating. And it's a good thing, too, because it provides some much-needed grip for what is an otherwise very slippery phone. (A couple big panels of smooth glass will do that.) Power button's on the right, volume rocker is on the left. Fun fact: The micro-SIM tray is in nearly the exact same spot as on the Optimus G. That's not overly surprising, given that they share the same internals. Still interesting, though. (Oh, and the little tool you use to pop out the SIM card try is the same as you get with the Optimus G.)

Google Nexus 4 by LG.

The 3.5 mm headphone jack is on the top edge. I prefer it on the bottom, as I'm a head-down-in-the-pocket kind of smartphone user, and that way the headphone jack points toward my melon, just the way I like it.

Google Nexus 4 by LG.

The bottom bezel's got a microphone and the micro-USB port. It's also got a couple of exposed screws -- just like the Optimus G. (Hey, we said they're close cousins.) While it is possible to remove them and get to the internal battery, that's "serviceable" isn't anywhere near the same as "removable." You will not be swapping batteries on the fly, and unless you're the tinkering type with zero regard for warranties, just forgot those screws even exist.

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That beautiful backside

Google Nexus 4 by LG.

And now the really cool part: The back of the Nexus 4. Oh, that back. This is another one of those features where we knew we were looking at the Optimus G incarnate. Just like on its worldwide cousin, the Nexus 4 has the "Crystal Reflective Process" from head to toe. That's LG's name for a really cool design feature that's almost holographic and adds the illusion of a 3-D texture. But it's covered by some sort of hard, glassy material (we still don't actually know why LG refuses to call it glass, but whatever), and where your brain expects your fingers to actually feel something there is only smoothness. 

It's important to note that a few of our pictures here (especially above and back at the beginning of this review) overemphasize the Crystal Reflective Process design. It's not shining in your face all day. It doesn't look like bad '70s bling in your hand. It's much more subtle. And unless you look at the phone at just the right angle, the design its completely muted -- you might not notice it at all. 

Google Nexus 4 by LG.

At the more macro level, with the phone in your hand and not a half-inch from your eyeball, the Nexus 4's Crystal Reflective Process design actually goes back to the live wallpaper of the original Nexus 1. Only here it's even more like watching the code of The Matrix fly by. It's beautiful, especially if you catch it in the right light. It's wonderfully done, and so much more sophisticated than the textured plastic of the Galaxy Nexus.

The bad news is that this back is still a glass-like substance. We're already seeing a few hairline scratches. Chances are there will be more, and the jury's out on the long-term durability of this design, in both the Nexus 4 and the Optimus G. Drops will happen. Breaks will happen. How easily, and to how many owners? We'll just have to see.

Our suggestion? Hang onto the damn thing.

The feel

Google Nexus 4 by LG.

And that's really the metaphor for the entire industrial design of the Nexus 4 versus its predecessor. Whereas the Galaxy Nexus wowed us by being the first traditional smartphone (ie not the Galaxy Note) with a display of such size, and its sweeping lines and subtle curve kept things interesting, the plastic body was a turn-off for many. I've never given too much credence to the "if it's plastic, it's crap" crowd. But there's no denying that a lot of glass and a little bit of soft-touch go a long way toward producing a much more sophisticated looking -- and feeling -- smartphone. And that's what LG's got in the Optimus G, and now in the Nexus 4.

We use the word "solid" a lot when it comes to quality smartphones, and I'm going to use it again here. Two big glass panels (or one glass and one something like glass) make for a solid phone. The design is a little more boxy than the Galaxy Nexus or Galaxy S3, but the Nexus 4 just feels like a solid smartphone, because it is solid. It weighs 4 grams more than the Galaxy nexus, it's just a smidge wider, and it doesn't have the same curves. But the soft-touch edges -- and their dual-angle design still make it a comfortable fit in the hand.

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Under the hood

The Nexus 4 is rocking Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro processor. That's a quad-core processor running at 1.5 GHz, for those worried about that sort of thing. It's got the Adreno 320 graphics processor, and 2 gigabytes of RAM. Yeah. It's a beast. (It's also the same as what you'll find in the -- awww, you know this line by now.) We've got zero problems with the phone's performance. It can get pretty warm when it's really gets going, though. One thing missing from the Nexus 4 that the Optimus G has, however, is the "Quad-core control" settings. You'll be able to tweak things through third-party apps, of course. 

Battery life

This is a big one, seeing as how the 2100 mAh battery isn't removable. But let's not pretend this is new. Android has been moving toward internal batteries for a year or so now, even if it's new for the Nexus line. Every manufacturer we've talked to has told how it frees up space. There's no sense in acting like it's not a viable design option. If you have to be able to swap batteries on the fly -- and there's absolutely no shame in that -- you'll want to look elsewhere.

The usual caveats apply, of course. We all use our phones differently. After a week of use, both in our usual at-home configuration as well as away from the comfort of stable Wifi, we're very happy with battery life. The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro is supposed to be extremely economical, and that's what we're seeing in our initial testing. Ten hours of moderate to rough use isn't out of the question on a cellular connection. And make no mistake -- your network connection matters a lot. It's not impossible to drain the battery in just a few hours if the radio's constantly looking for signal. We've done it.

On Wifi all day -- even with the usual battery suck that is smartphone testing -- we eked out more than 18 hours on our first full day of use, and 15 or so thereafter. (For those who worry about screen-on time -- which along with network connection is just one of the things we take into consideration when it comes to battery use, we've been averaging between 3 and 5 hours on a charge.) 

We'll keep an eye on battery life and update here as needed. But our impression after a week of use is very good. Some phones are better, sure. But you can always just plug in the phone at some point during the day.

Charging is quick, as well, if you're worried about that sort of thing. The Nexus 4 also is set up for wireless charging with the Qi standard. (For all you folks who have a Palm Touchstone laying around, no, it doesn't work.)

Storage

Google Nexus 4 by LG

Storage is where we hit another of the major sticking points for the Nexus 4. Google's making the phone available with either 8 gigabytes of on-board storage, or 16GB of storage. There's a $50 difference between the two, and we're going so far as recommending you opt for the larger storage option. The 16 GB version of the Nexus 4 has about 13GB of space available to you at first boot. (With my usual suite of apps installed, as well as a couple games for testing, I've still got more than 11 GB available.)

The other side of that coin is that the Nexus 4 doesn't have any expandable storage. There's no microSD card. We've been trying to prep folks for that for some time now (as has Google). It's the way it was on the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7, and such is the case now. If that's a deal-breaker for you, then it's a deal-breaker. Not a whole lot we can do about it.

We're not going wade too deep into the storage debate here. It is what it is, and you'll have to make the purchase decision yourself. While we'd prefer at least a 32GB option, we're OK with 16GB, but just barely. That's our minimum. Is it possible Google at some point will make available Nexus 4s with more storage? Sure. It's possible. But for now, this is what we've got, and we recommending spending the extra money now.

Data and the drama over LTE

Google Nexus 4 by LG

Then there's this. The Nexus 4 is a GSM device only. That is, GSM/UMTS/HSPA+ data only. No CDMA, no LTE. The good news is that the Nexus 4 is a 42 Mbps-capable device, so you've got some fast data at the ready, if your carrier supports it. But, no. It's not LTE. Again, we're not terribly surprised but that move, for any number of reasons. (If we had to pick one, though, we'd point toward Verizon's treatment of the Galaxy Nexus, basically reducing it to peasant smartphone status.)

We've gone round and round internally over whether this should be a showstopper. And the truth is we're split down the middle. For some of us, it's a big deal. For others, we understand Google's reasoning, and we're OK with it. If this were any other device -- a "regular" phone on a regular carrier with LTE -- we'd be raising holy hell on principle. But Google's Nexus line has never been about having the most top-of-the-line hardware. (Though no one can argue that the Nexus 4 shuns that paradigm and simply rocks it on paper.) Simply put, Nexus is not your typical smartphone.

Google doesn't have to care about promoting a hot phone on the Biggest/Fastest/Hardest/Longest 4G LTE Network In The Whole Freakin' Universe™ like the carriers do. Its tune is HSPA+. You can either dance with the one that brung you, or go find a phone that's more your speed.

Put it another way: You've got three options: Killer specs, LTE, and an affordable price. Pick two. See if you came up with the same ones Google did for the Nexus 4.

But, Google, we implore you: Find a way to make LTE work. Be it battery, be it frequency, standards, or be it the godawful mess that is the carrier system in the U.S. -- LTE needs to happen on the Nexus line. It's what's next. Otherwise, it becomes the equivalent of the Google homepage being slaved to dial-up modems while the rest of the Internet rolls on 100Mbps fiber. 

We've used the Nexus 4 on AT&T proper and on a Straight Talk T-Mobile account, and both performed as well as they do on our other devices. (The Nexus 4 has all the radio frequencies to use AT&T or T-Mobile's services, or any other GSM network outside the U.S.) Neither gives some magical speed boost; the Nexus 4 serves up data exactly how we'd expect. Reception will, of course, vary where you live. Whether you can live without LTE or CDMA version is something you'll have to decide on your own. If you really want to give it a go, our recommendation is to buy a Nexus 4 and try it on one of the no-contract options out there. If you decide it's not for you, there's a better than average chance you'll be able to resell the phone for full value.

Wifi test

Oh, and of course there's Wifi on board. The Nexus 4 has 802.11 b/g/n (with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz available). In some quick unscientific testing, the Nexus 4 appears to do Wifi a little better than its predecessor, especially at greater distances.

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The software

The LG Nexus 4 is the first phone to run Android 4.2. It's still Jelly Bean, and it's not a radical departure or anything. but it's got some new features and some visual tweaks. If you've used Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean through Android 4.1.2, you'll be right at home here. There are no real surprises, and all the usual Google apps are on board, though there are some new treats.

Nexus 4 home screens

When you talk about Nexus phones, you're talking about "stock" Android. That is, the user interface and apps are "pure Google." They come directly from Google, and its designers and engineers. To some, this is the only way to fly. Stock Android and its "Holo"-themed user interface is quick, clean and relatively unburdened. It's not trying to do too much while remaining flexible and extensible.

To that end, not a whole lot has changed. Jelly Bean still looks and feels like Jelly Bean. There still are five home screens, with widgets and apps and whatnot. (The biggest addition there is the "My Library" widget that debuted on the Nexus 7.) The Nexus 4 does not change the way you use Jelly Bean (mostly), and it's not a radical departure from Android in any way.

There are some noticeable additions in features. Let's highlight some of them. (And we'll go into more detail of these features in future posts in the coming days.)

Developer settings, unlocking and rooting

Google Nexus 4 by LG

This is a Nexus. There will be hacking. There will be rooting. And the bootloader shall be unlocked. These are all fairly trivial things when it comes to a Nexus phone, but Google's had a little fun with us in Android 4.2 when it comes to the developer options. They're simply not visible in the usual place in the settings menu. Have a look for yourself when you get an Android 4.2 device. They're not there.

Here's the deal: You know those Easter eggs Google likes to bake into Android, where you tap the version name enough times and a little graphic comes up? (See Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean.) The developer settings have been hidden behind one of these, too.

To unlock the Nexus 4 developer settings, go to the settings menu. Then choose "About phone." Scroll down to the bottom, to "Build number." Tap it once. Tap it twice. Tap it three times and you'll get a little message saying you're now four steps from being a developer. (Well, four steps from unlocking the dev options on your phone anyway.)

Yes, the developer settings have been hidden on the Nexus 4, hidden behind seven taps of the build number. There's certainly an argument for doing that. I've always been a little surprised that the dev options have been left visible on non-Nexus (I like to call them "consumer") Android smartphones. There's not really anything in there that'll get you in trouble, but it's also not something grandma needs to get into. It'll be interesting to see what the likes of HTC and Motorola and Samsung and the other manufacturers do with this. (My bet is they'll follow Google's lead, and you'll have to unhide them.)

If you're going to do any tinkering with your Nexus 4, like unlocking the bootloader or using a rooted image or loading a custom ROM, you're going to need the developer setting (and USB debugging specifically). And that's how you get to them. 

The lock screen

Android Central

Android 4.2 introduces lock screen widgets, with the intention bringing even greater functionality to the OS even when the device isn’t fully unlocked. That means there’s a lot more going on than the simple clock and slide-to-unlock mechanism we’ve become used to. The lock screen -- like the home screen -- is made out of panels, and each can be occupied by an expandable widget. By default you’ve got a digital clock, and a swipe to the right will reveal a camera widget... which isn’t really a widget so much as a blank space that vaguely resembles the camera app.

Swipe down on a widget to expand it, or up from below when it’s full-screen to minimize it. If a widget is minimized, you can switch between panels by dragging the edge of the screen left or right. If not, you can scroll by dragging anywhere on the screen. And if you’ve set lock screen security, like a PIN or pattern lock, this appears instead of the circular unlock area.

If all that sounds a little convoluted, it’s because it is. It’s easy enough to use once you’ve gotten the hang of it, but the lock screen widget setup isn’t quite as intuitive and well-designed as the rest of the OS -- bluntly, the widgets feel a little out of place. There are also security concerns to do with having your information displayed at the lock screen, though applying lock screen security is one solution to this. But our biggest usability gripe has to do with the inconsistent way you’re meant to navigate between lock screen widgets. That’s made worse by the fact that with some widgets, like the default clock, it’s not immediately obvious whether they’re expanded or not. These are all issues that could confuse newer smartphone users, and on an app as frequently-used as the lock screen, that's a big deal.

On the whole, lock screen widgets on Android 4.2 aren’t terrible, and depending on how you use your phone, they could actually be pretty useful. Personally, though, we’re not convinced just yet, and think this area of Android could use a little refinement. That said, we're interested to see what happens when third-party devs start getting stuck into lock screen widgets.

The notification/quick settings pulldown

Google Nexus 4 by LG

Just about every manufacturer and enthusiast custom ROM has, at some point, added quick settings to the notification pulldown. Google, finally, has joined that club, though it's done so in a different manner. Pull down the notification shade and you'll see the settings shortcut button has changed to … something else. Tap that button, and notifications flip over to quick settings. By default (at least in our preview build), you'll your name and face, as attached to your Google account. Then there are quick settings for brightness, general settings, Wifi, data usage, battery, airplane mode and Bluetooth.

Here's a neat trick, though: You can access the quick settings directly by dragging down from the top of the screen with two fingers. It might take a couple tries, but you'll quickly get the hang of it. Why do things this way? It keeps the notification bar clean (see our recent review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 for why that's important), and it gives you a fast way to get to the settings. These aren't merely toggles -- and there's certainly an argument for them, both in design and function. Instead, you've got full settings shortcuts. (Read: More on the new quick settings.)

New and improved Gmail app

Google Nexus 4 by LG

This new version of Jelly Bean brings a new version of the Gmail app. Scrolling in HTML e-mails is ridiculously smooth. (There's still no zooming in and out, though.) There's a new option (you'll have to enable it in settings) that shrinks messages to fit the screen and allows you to zoom back in. I never really got used to it, but it does help some.

Icons have been tweaked a little, too. Gone is the file cabinet for archiving e-mails. (That one always seemed a little forced.) There's also a new "report phishing" button for e-mails that go beyond spam.

But for us, probably the biggest improvement is the ability to swipe e-mails in the conversation list. By default, it archives or deletes. You can change that in the settings to always delete, or you can set it to have no effect. Once you remember to use it, e-mail management becomes infinitely easier.

We expect this updated Gmail app to roll out to other phones once the Nexus 4 and Android 4.2 are officially released.

Keyboard gets its swipe on

Nexus 4 keyboard

Google keeps improving its stock keyboard with every release of Android. The big changes this time around are the addition of a gesture-input method (yes, like Swype, or the upcoming version of SwiftKey), and some new prediction to go with it, plus updated dictionaries. (Again, that's treading into waters traditionally owned by SwiftKey.)

As stock keyboards go, Android 4.2 remains pretty good, if maybe a little too simple. The prediction is decent enough. The gesture input is smooth, and the the path your finger takes is indicated by a blue line that trails off as you move from letter to letter. It's very nicely done.

The way predictions are presented to you are interesting. You get a choice of three words, just above the keyboard. That's pretty standard. But if you're using the gesture input, the No. 1 prediction floats just above your finger on the screen, so your eyes don't have to move from where you're going to swipe next back to the center of the screen.

Both the gesture input and floating predictions can be toggled in the keyboard settings.

One place the stock keyboard still falls short compared to alternatives is in secondary functions. It's just too clean, too simple. Having to tap over (the equivalent of hitting shift on a full keyboard) to access basic punctuation and symbols (thus keeping the design of the keyboard cleaner) probably is seen as a feature, but keyboards such as Swype and Swiftkey (among many others) have proven that functionality can still look good.

I've used the stock Android 4.2 exclusively on the Nexus 4. It's good. But as Swype promotes improved prediction and SwiftKey adds gesture input, they both trump Google's stock keyboard on ye olde hunt-and-peck front. 

Miracast display sharing

Google Nexus 4 by LG..

Another phone, another way to stream content wirelessly to a monitor. Or so it seems. Apple has AirPlay. DLNA has been around on Android phones, off and on, for some time. Samsung has its AllShare system. HTC does its MediaLink HD over Wifi Direct. Intel has Wi-Di, and its cousin, Miracast, is what's next.

You turn it on in the settings menu. (And once you do so, it'll be an option in the Quick Settings.) The catch, of course, is that you'll need a Miracast-capable TV or monitor to stream to. Or you'll need an adapter. The Nexus 4 and Android 4.2 have Miracast built in. Find something you can stream to, and, um, stream to it.

Something to be aware of, however, is that Miracast is a relatively new technology. We've already run into the hiccup of a Miracast television adapter that doesn't actually connect to the Nexus 4 because it's "pre-standard compliant." That is, while Android 4.2 may have working Miracast software, the hardware we're trying to connect it to doesn't. (Sort of like what happened in the early days of 802.11 n Wifi connections.) Miracast display sharing is a cool feature to have, but don't buy the phone for it just yet.

Daydreams

Google Nexus 4 by LG

Tucked into the display settings you'll find an option for "Daydreams." These are screensaver-type options that can run when the phone is docked, or when it's charging. 

Daydreams has options to show a digital or analog clock, a rainbow color pattern, subscriptions from Google Currents, serve as a photo frame, or as a sort of photo gallery. It's a cool little feature, and it'll works even better (both in form and function) on a tablet. (And you can't help but wonder if this'll make its way to Google TV or a future version of the Nexus Q.)

New Clock app

Google Nexus 4 by LG

Google's beefed up the clock app in Android 4.2. It's doing wearing a number of hats. Consider: Basic desktop clock. Timer. World clock. Stopwatch. Emphasizing the hour was (ahem) a bold move. Not sure it's necessary from a design standpoint, but it does look cool. 

Remember how in the early days of smartphones you might have to hack in your city to get world clocks and weather settings to work? The list of locations you can add to the world clock functions is ridiculous. 

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The camera and its new app

This one's the biggie, folks. Google has a brand-new camera in Android 4.2. It's simultaneously familiar, yet new features are going to take some serious getting used to.

Nexus 4 camera

The camera app at first appears to be pretty sparse. Big blue shutter button, camera modes (Ooooo, look! A new one!) and a circle that does … something. Every now and then you'll see a focus ring appear. (Or you can touch the screen to focus on a point, and the ring pops up then.)

That circle button and the focus ring are the first big changes, and they're actually one and the same (which is why the look the same). Tap the circle button and it brings up options, in a circular pattern around that focus ring. Those options are HDR mode (finally!), flash settings, white balance, front/rear camera toggle, exposure and camera settings. The camera settings themselves are pretty sparse -- you have action, night, sunset, party and auto scene modes, a toggle for storing your GPS location, and a choice of image size, which by default is 8 megapixels, or 3264×2448. The settings ring takes a little getting used to -- training your brain that it's there -- but it works, even if it is a little awkward. 

Photosphere

Photo Sphere

The new camera mode is the much-heralded "Photo Sphere." This is different than panorama shots, which first arrived in stock Android with the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0. Instead of stitching five or six linear shots together, you can pan up and down as well, making a 360-degree "Photo Sphere." You might look a little silly taking the Photo Sphere pic -- and it helps if there's no body walking nearby (forget about doing it in a group of people) -- but the result is very cool. You've got a 360-degree panorama that you can explore from your phone and even upload to Google Maps. (There's also a weird "Tiny Planet" option that takes your Photo Sphere pic and wraps it around, well, a tiny planet. (You can change the size of your orb.)

Photo Sphere on Google+

Another sharing option is Google+. View a Photo Sphere pic from your desktop and laptop, and you can pan and zoom all day. That's also a genius move by Google, basically saying "Here's a cool new feature in Android -- now come use our G+ social network to really take advantage of it!" You won't find Photo Sphere pics on Facebook. You can't even properly view them in the Google+ app. (We'd really like to see that change.) And if you open a Photo Sphere pic on the desktop, it just looks like a poorly stitched panorama. It's either the Android 4.2 Gallery, or Google+

For examples of Photo Share pics, I recommend the following:

Camera Filters

There are new options for after you've taken your picture, too. Yes, filters have come to stock Android, for better or for worse, complete with frames, cropping and post-shot saturation controls.

One feature that's still lacking in the stock Android camera/gallery apps is the ability to snap a still image from a video during playback. You can, however, snap one while recording by tapping the display.

Camera samples

This is, as we say, where the rubber meets the road.

The front-facing camera

The rear-facing camera

Warning: Sample images open in full resolution in a new window

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Nexus 4 sample

Other odds and ends

  • We've had nary a problem with GPS or Bluetooth. Work as advertised.
  • Mentioned above, but worth repeating: The rear speaker is loud. Maybe a little overdriven at times.
  • As has been the case with the Galaxy Nexus for a number of months now, Google Wallet is pre-installed (along with all the other Google apps you'd expect -- Gmail, Google Maps, etc).
  • There's currently a wicked bug in Google Voice in Android 4.2 that crashes the app if you create a new text message and attempt to add a contact to the message. 
  • Phone calls (yes, some people still do those) were crisp and clear, with the earpiece speaker sufficiently loud.

Pricing

Much hay has been made over how Google has priced the Nexus 4. At launch, the 8-gigabyte version costs $299, and the 16GB model is $349. Those are both off-contract prices. (T-Mobile U.S. is offering a subsidized 16GB model at $199.)

Frankly. We don't care if Google's taking a bath on the hardware costs, or if it had to sacrifice a baby goat at the stroke of midnight. For an unlocked, cutting-edge smartphone -- LTE, battery and storage concerns not withstanding -- these are ridiculous prices. No contracts. No plans. If you're on a GSM carrier, you pop in your SIM card and go. We'd gladly pay a little extra for a 32GB version of the Nexus 4, sure. But $350 outright for a 16GB model is nothing to scoff at.

Throw out the carrier politics. Ignore how much of a hit Google might be taking on the device itself. Those are fun things to argue about, but they really don't matter to our wallets in the slightest. You simply cannot find a better deal on a high-end smartphone.

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The bottom line

Nexus Family

It's easy to say that this is the best Nexus phone Google has released in its four generations. That should be a given, right? Bigger, better display. More power. Better battery life. Camera you won't be ashamed to take out in public.

Android keeps improving, keeps adding features. It's the inevitable march of the Android evolution. In terms of build quality -- fit and finish, materials, etc. -- this is the best Nexus since HTC was first up to bat with the Nexus One, a phone that still evokes a good deal of nerdy emotion anytime you pick it up. (If it doesn't, get your head examined.) We said it before, and we'll say it again -- glass and soft-touch beat plastic any day of the week. (That is, of course, presuming that the Nexus 4 holds up in the long run -- we're still a tad skittish about all that scratchable, crackable surface.)

But it's more than all that, really. The idea of "Nexus" keeps growing with each version. Whereas the Nexus One was born from the early Android developer phones, it remaind out of the hands of most normal consumers. That slowly started to change with the Nexus S 4G on Sprint. And then with the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon (though that may have cause more harm than good), and later on Sprint. 

At the same time, Google has taken a bit of a step back with the Nexus 4, at least initially. We'd recommend this phone to just about anyone -- short of someone working on a construction site, perhaps -- but that's not to say there aren't compromises. There's no CDMA version. No LTE. No expandable storage. And Google has its reasons for that. Don't agree with 'em? Go buy another phone. There are lots of good ones out there. 

This is the Nexus. This is Google's phone. It's built, designed and sold the way Google wants it to be done. It showcases Google's Android operating system and sense of design better than any other manufacturer, and does so leaving room for the owner to customize, tinker and hack as he or she see fit. That's the way it should be. And that's the way it is with the Nexus 4.

 

Reader comments

LG Nexus 4 review

287 Comments

Well done, indeed. Thank you for covering all the reasons why this phone is a non-starter.

It is ridiculous that a phone like this cannot do something as simple as replace my iPod Touch. There is no excuse for that. To replace my iPod Touch, it would have to be able to hold all 40 GB of MP3s that I (currently) keep on my iPod Touch. Simply unbelievable! Well, except when you understand how Google makes their money. They NEED us all to store all of our stuff in their Cloud - so they can data mine it. Aha! So THAT is why they are pushing phones with non-expandable storage! And, of course, the carriers are happy to go along with this because now that they've (mostly) eliminated Unlimited Data plans, it means that they get to charge us every time we listen to an MP3 that we bought and own, if we stream it from the Cloud. Suddenly, phones with small, non-expandable storage make so much more sense - for everybody except the actual consumer...

Everybody is going LTE. Verizon, Sprint, AT&T. Isn't T-Mobile even doing something to be able to offer LTE? LTE smartphones have been out for well over a year and a half. Tethering is ubiquitous. I tether my laptop and my tablet and my g/f's laptop and tablet frequently. Anybody buying a tablet should think really hard about buying a tablet with 3G/4G versus getting a WiFi-only tablet and tethering to a smartphone. Why pay for 2 data plans when you don't have to? At least on Verizon, adding tethering to a smartphone data plan is way cheaper than adding a second data plan just for a tablet. LTE MAY (you might argue) be more speed than anybody needs in a smartphone. But, it's not when you're using it as a hotspot! Again, there is no excuse for not having LTE in a phone of this (otherwise) caliber. What's that? LTE eats too much battery? Lots of other phones somehow manager to get by. And, anyway, see my next point.

Non-removable batteries may be a trend, but, Android Central, rather than doing us, your readers, a disservice by selling us a bill of goods on why it's fine, why don't you ante up some editorial integrity and help us push back on this trend? You may piss off some of your friends at Google. The ones that invite you to the cool private parties at the press events and mobile tech conventions. But, that's just part of the price, if you want to add "journalistic integrity" to your resumé.

You said in this very review that "you can always just plug in the phone at some point during the day". But, you and I both know the reality is that, no, you can not ALWAYS just plug in. You also said, "it's not impossible to drain the battery in just a few hours if the radio's constantly looking for signal."

Between people who have an on-the-go lifestyle and people who live (or often or even occasionally find themselves) where coverage is not good, there are LOTS of people out there who would benefit from being able to swap batteries. Especially if this phone had, as it should, LTE capability.

Current high end smartphones are thin enough. We don't need them to be more thin. We need them to have more storage capability (i.e. a microSD slot which we can choose to use or not), longer battery life, and swappable batteries.

Fight back! Don't let Google turn our phones into dumbed-down iPhone clones!

You're absolutely right. There are lots of people who need to be able to swap batteries. And they should not buy this phone. Or the iPhone. Or any of the Motorola phones of the past year. Or HTC phones. Or some Sony phones. And I said as much.

I've said for some months that Google needs to find a way to make LTE happen on Nexus phones. And I said it again here. Whining about it not being on a phone that goes on sale in a week is a waste of breath. (And who's to say there won't be an LTE version at some point?)

Vote with your wallet. But asking me to pretend internal batteries are not a viable design when, in fact, they are -- as evidenced by the sales of millions and millions of phones with non-removable batteries -- is as ridiculous as your belief that I'm not doing my job or am worried about pissing anybody off.

Frankly, you're just wrong.

Well said Phil. It's just funny all the whiners on the N4 forum about LTE/storage. If you don't like it, then don't buy it?! There is NO smartphone now and, never will, have ALL the features/design to satisfy every single person/their use in the world. Just will never happen. People just get stuck on bashing a product and think it's crap. Maybe to them, but not to others. Get over it Stuart! DON"T BUY THIS PHONE. Better for me and my purchase! LMAO

Whining and voting with your wallet go hand-in-hand. We need to tell manufacturers what we want with words too. They won't care if we quietly spend our money on another of their phones instead of telling them how we actually want the Nexus.

Your voice is stronger than any of ours, so you need to be at the forefront of our pushback. You need to stand with us rather than be a complacent sheep like so many others.

Oh, wow! Phil is a manufacturer! I didn't know that.

P.S. Read the review before bashing

"But, Google, we implore you: Find a way to make LTE work."

I like how you ignored he second part.

I did read your comment, and I know you did not say phil is a manufacturer. I'm guessing you didn't get the first part

Considering Google isn't trying to make money with the Nexus or is too worried about sales, you can't exactly vote with your wallet here.

But then again, you as the enduser, needs to realize google isn't out to please you. This is a dev phone intended for devs to get the latest version of android in a quick & cheap way.

I believe this, I can't imagine they will be making a lot/any money from this phone. Like the nexus 7 it will be to push the ecosystem.

Wow Phil get offended easily? No he's not wrong. He's entitled to his opinion just as you're entitled to yours. I wouldn't say you're wrong either, but I don't agree with your opinion either.

There's a reason many of us prefer Android because of the openness and that it's not iPhone, with built-in obsolescence due to the battery crapping out in a year or two.

This is not the direction we would like to see Google going. Just because others accept it and buy into iOS model doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. Apple had their shiny marketing machine doing the spin on non-removable battery / storage, but many iOS fans are not happy about it either. This was one of the reasons people like myself shied away from Apple.

Telling an Android fan that he's wrong for wanting removable battery / storage is asinine.

Being entitled to have an opinion doesn't grant somebody immunity from being wrong, lol!

When did he tell him that it is wrong to want a removable battery/removable storage? Let me answer that for you. He didn't.

Being entitled to have an opinion doesn't grant somebody immunity from being wrong, lol!

When did he tell him that it is wrong to want a removable battery/removable storage? Let me answer that for you. He didn't.

Why is everyone up in arms about this? There are plenty of android phones that do have LTE tech and storage. That is the beauty of android, all these choices.

If this nexus is not for you than don't get it. I will get a sparklefury phone with limited storage and be happy about it.

I'm with Phil. When I read the "if you want to add "journalistic integrity" to your resumé" line, I too interpreted that as a personal attack. It's one thing to disagree, it's another thing to question a man's integrity.

I had a nexus one, until my microSD corrupted and I lost all my info. I did have an extended battery, but now a days you can buy cheap microUSB batteries that give you the extra juice when you need it.

I have 16GB on my iPhone, I dont need any more, its a phone not a computer or an ipod.

I had an iPhone, it got corrupted and lost all my data. If it had a microSD card, I could have taken it out and downloaded the data.

Boom, microSD card for the win.

and thats why cloud backups exist. I see from your previous comments that you simply dont get it, this device is NOT BUILT FOR YOU IN MIND. Move on, buy another phone. I plan on buying 2, one for me and one for my fiance.

Carefully avoiding the onboard storage issue, eh?

Your article reviews this phone in the most positive possible light. It may as well have been written by Google. It certainly represents Google's (and LG's) desired way of presenting the phone.

As opposed to reviewing it representing the consumers.

The fact is, you have a lot of readers. Many of whom won't know much about this or any other smartphones beyond what you write. When you are totally dismissive of things like the lack of onboard storage and suggest that they are "explained", it pushes consumers in the direction of accepting this phone's limitations as reasonable. Instead, you have the opportunity to actually be critical of the phone's limitations - to really encourage consumers to consider all the possible scenarios where lack of onboard storage COULD be a problem. Or lack of a swappable battery COULD be a problem. Or lack of LTE COULD be a problem. You acknowledged all these limitations, but did it in the best way possible to encourage consumers to ignore those limitations. "You can always just plug in during the day if you need to."

You have the opportunity to really advocate FOR the consumers, instead of for Google and LG sales. And you didn't take advantage of that opportunity.

As it is, I think more people who read your article will buy this phone than would have if you had really discussed these various issues in truly critical (i.e. as in the role of a critic, versus a Marketing outlet) fashion. Sure, there are people for whom this phone will be just fine. But, it would be equally fine for them and a lot more people if it did not have all these limitations.

So, why are you not doing what you can to hold Google's feet to the fire on these issues? Where is your rebuttal to the onboard storage issue? People are a lot more accepting of things when the "experts" tell them it has to be the way it is. Some people, at least, would vote a lot differently with their wallets if the "experts" told it like it really is. If the experts actually published statements that the limited onboard storage has no reasonable explanation other than forcing you to let Google mine your data and pay your carrier more for data usage. And statements that pointed out how little practical difference in size it would make to have the phone use swappable batteries and that the only reasonable explanation for the non-swappable battery is that the manufacturers want you to buy a new phone when your battery wears out in a year or two, and also that it helps them compete in the (pointless) specs race for thinness.

If you, as a person whose voice is heard by millions(?) of consumers, would actually write about these things in a way that is objective and put in the best possible terms for the consumer to understand what they're buying and how its limitations might impact them (instead of acknowledging the limitations in a totally dismissive way that sounds like it came straight from the Google Marketing department), YOU could make a real difference in how the voting of wallets goes. For the benefit of all us consumers.

If you really wanted to help your readers (instead of Google), you would be pointing out that they could buy the N4, OR they could buy any of a number of phones that have been out for a year (more or less, depending on the phone) that have NONE of these limitations, and compared to which, the only thing the N4 offers is a quad-core processor, possibly a better display, and JellyBean. All of which are of questionable value in comparison to having LTE, having a microSD slot, and having a swappable battery.

For that matter, you could also be a voice advocating for Google to use its considerable influence to force the phone manufacturers to do a better job of updating older phones to the latest versions of Android. It is absolutely ridiculous that a phone that was sold brand new within the last year would not get an upgrade to JellyBean. And Google COULD do something about it, but they have no incentive to do so. It's easier for them and better for the manufacturers if they just make new devices and let people like you tell people how great the new stuff is instead of telling people "hey, you'd be better off to buy an HTC Rezound [or other older phone] that will give you more and cost you less." You could encourage consumers to refuse to buy any new phone that doesn't come with a guarantee that it will receive upgrades to the latest OS for a minimum of 1 year after purchase. But, that would potentially help consumers and piss off Google and the phone manufacturers and the phone carriers.

Sorry, but you seem to overstate the amount of consumers who would ever see this review. The type of user who reads sites like these numbers very small, in comparison to most "average" users, who are fine with every feature this phone has.

It's not AC's job to hold Google's feet to the fire for anything. If you as a consumer don't care for their product, you can let them know through various outlets. If enough of the Android userbase sends those complaints up, Google would be much more likely to change things.

Other faults in your argument:

1- There are not regular battery failures at the one or two year mark. You can try to claim planned obsolescence all you want, but battery the cause.

2- Your idea that Google wants to data mine everyone cloud storage is tinfoil hat paranoia. More fear mongering on your part to try and make them look bad for putting out a phone you don't like the specs of.

You clearly understand that there are other options for phones that people who don't like the feature set the N$ has, so why are you wasting your time arguing about Google's product. Go a different way. But stop trying to guilt trip, and demonize the writers here for doing their job. They aren't lobbyists for the small group of users that wants certain features you agree with. The review is solid, and any layperson (read: average android user) would get everything they need from it to make a decision on the device.

wow.

way i see it is phil spent a good while longer than any other reviewer to get to know this phone. In his review he gave his honest opinion of it. It apparently doesn't match your but that doesn't make either of you wrong.fact is for some people what this phone does offer is more than the things it doesnt. I don't have LTE in my area, wont use 16gb of storage, and on my evo never carried my spare batteries because it was just a hassle to carry them when i personally could AlWAYS just plug my phone in. I do however want fast updates from Google, a quadcore processor, nice display, and a $350 unlocked price. so i will buy the n4. This phone is not right for you and no one is arguing that it is or that you should change to make it right for you. so why not just buy a different phone?

So you don't want a Nexus 4, and would prefer to spend twice as much on a different phone with more features. So?

It's almost like there are different people with different priorities to you - amazing!

I love LTE / MicroSD / removable battery in a phone. But you know what I love more than all 3 of those? $300.

Because for the price of a phone with all 3 of your "must have" features, I'm going to buy two Nexus 4s and be perfectly happy.

I can understand your anger in that it is nice when we see our opinions on things reflected by our favorite critics. However; I think it is extremely important that writers like Phil give their honest opinion about the devices they review. While it is also important that they take the wants and needs of other users into the equation as they review a particular product. In this case I think he did, as he mentions that there are certain use cases that this may not be the perfect phone for. Still the most important person should be the reviewer. For Phil this is a good phone. It meets his needs and to him it is the best nexus phone to date. It wouldn't be right for him to hold Google's feet to the fire for issues that he doesn't feel ruin the experience.

Clearly this phone isn't for you, and I welcome your feedback on why it isn't the phone for you. I believe that your feedback could be important, and for Google getting it right for you on the next round of Nexus phones. I don't think that it is right to attack Phil on this. He liked the phone and felt that its good qualities outweighed its bad qualities for most users. I believe he is giving his honest opinion on the matter, if you don't I can't understand why you would want to even read the opinions of an individual you don't find trustworthy.

Your posts are totally ridiculous. You obviously know you don't want this phone, even before you read this review so why are you so bent out of shape? This was a great review, and he said why it will be his next phone. Other people on AT&T and T-Mobile should buy this phone, period.

Stop crying about LTE. If this phone had LTE, you still wouldn't be able to use it on Sprint or Verizon because they are CDMA networks. That is your real problem. You choose to use one of the very few closed networks in the world. Why would Google raise the cost of the Nexus 4 just for AT&T's small LTE network at this time? It would be stupid. Maybe LTE will be ready in a year when the next Nexus is released but even then, guess what? You still won't be able to use it on Verizon!

You said, "it pushes consumers in the direction of accepting this phone's limitations as reasonable." That's because they are reasonable, especially for most people on AT&T and T-Mobile! I haven't had any reason to have more than 16Gb in my Galaxy Nexus so far. Yes, I use the cloud, and your data mining rhetoric is laughable. I have never changed a battery in my Nexus One or my Galaxy Nexus either. As Phil pointed out, it seems there are millions of people using phones with built in batteries who are perfectly happy.

This is nothing but a terrible review of the reviewer lol. If I felt the need to upgrade from my Galaxy Nexus right now, this would definitely be the phone I would get.

seriously dude, are you the editor or the owner of this site? if u don't agree with the review, then write your own review for goodness sake. i think most of the reader here agreed that the review is honest and fair. and anyone can find the pros and cons in the earlier part of the article (unless of course you missed that part for some reason).

Uh, and 13 weeks later N4 is just about the only phone with 4.2, except maybe on Sprint a few days ago? I got this phone for two reason: low cost (both handset and carrier fees) & most updated firmware. I'm willing to trade a lack of LTE for the $1,000 I save in yearly cell bills. And FYI, batteries are simple to replace in these types of phones, YouTube can be your friend!

I may not agree with everything he said but he does have a point in some of it. I don't think it is a waste of breath to complain about something that is not in a phone, I think it is important that people speak of the problems they see or how a phone could be improved. I really enjoy the work you do here and it is my go to site for Android news, but I do get the feeling sometimes you are being an apologist for certain phones that you review. Just my humble opinion. Anyway, keep up the good work.

First off: Wonderful review.

But don't agree with your comment. I completely agree with StuartV here. It's a Nexus - doesn't mean that I have to support everything about it.

You guys keep talking about freedom and giving the users options as part of Android philosophy. But when it comes to nexus, you completely forget it. It's like isheep-ish mentality we have here. Whenever you say something against nexus, it's like you are saying against the almighty Steve Gods (or was it Jobs).

1] So, suddenly micro-SD card is not necessary. I have heard so many times about this topic when we talk about iPhone in this same forum. But it's ok for nexus not to have external storage.

2] Non-removable battery is suddenly so good now as Nexus doesn't have it. Do I need to remind how many people cursed iPhone/HOX for not having this?

3] Pathetic battery life, yet you say "But you can always just plug in the phone at some point during the day." So, it's okay for Nexus not to have a good battery life . If I can always plug my phone somewhere, why should I have a battery in the phone at all? Let us just throw it out and keep the phone plugged to the charger.

I have numbers from Anandtech: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6425/google-nexus-4-and-nexus-10-review/2

Either you are not telling the truth or Anand/Brian doesn't know how to perform battery test.

4] It's better to buy a basic feature phone than buying 8GB phone in 2012.

5] It's interesting when you say millions are phones are sold with non-removable batteries to justify Nexus 4's non-removable battery. I wonder how are you different from any isheeps who will defend Apple no matter how wrong it is. You actually are showing the same attitude. It's nexus, so definitely it has to be right.

6] Photos of broken iPhone4/4S glass looked great till yesterday. Are they still funny now? or are we allowed to joke about broken N4 glass body?

7] Camera quality doesn't look too inspiring. Why don't you show a comparison against GS3/iPhone5/920/HOX etc? GSMArena gives a perfect tool to compare same photo taken from different camera. Why don't you do the same? How would I judge if you simply say photo quality is good? Instead of properly reviewing the camera quality, most of the time is spent on Photosphere. Have you heard about Photosynth?

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photosynth/id430065256?mt=8&at=10l3Vy&ct...

I think reviewing the camera properly would be of much better use to normal people.

8] You totally lose your credibility with such statements. Do I care that many people is going to flame me for this? What you prove its that all your big dialogues about "freedom, providing users options, being open" is just a big show-off. You just love google, rather you are infatuated by google/android. Your "open-movement" starts and ends here itself.

All valid counter points. And I agree, when one's preferred platform gets a feature from a rival - even if that feature was previously derided - suddenly, it's not so bad. Human nature I'm afraid.

But to say you should whine and moan about what the Nexus has or doesn't have is a bit silly. I agree, you should point out short comings when compared to the market as a whole. The CONs column sort of does that.

But unlike the iPhone, where you have precisely one model/form factor to choose from, the Nexus is just one of many different phones. If it doesn't work for you, you do have other form factors/models/feature sets to choose from. I believe that is all the author is trying to convey in his review. Point out the flaws, and if they're deal breakers for the reader, than perhaps this particular phone is not for you.

I'm not being apologetic. Just being realistic. I even steer people to iPhones if I think that would work better for them. (It doesn't mean I don't take little jabs at them, though! lol).

Except those other options have carrier and/or manufacturer interference regarding skins and updates.

Not everyone wants to troll forums for hacking tips and the latest custom gagglef*ck of a ROM. Personally I'm sick of it. I want a phone, with direct Google updates, that's clean and fresh. Unfortunately, I can't get one because it lacks adequate storage or some other random high end feature that would make it otherwise perfect.

you have issues. this obviously isn't the phone for you. simply go find one that is.

thanks for the review phil, coming from the previous gsm nexus, LTE means didly squat to me. and out of the 5+ android phones i've owned, i've never carried a swappable battery in my back pocket. not to mention the biggest micro-sd i've carried in one was 16gb that was never full of music.

Then get a Galaxy S3! Problem solved. :)
I think google should be applauded for what they managed to do with this phone and at that price point, no phone comes close in terms of value and quality. If you don't like this particular android phone, you can always find one that meets your needs. That's what is great about android, its choice!

Price point? You must be from those 7/8 countries where google is selling the phone for 349. How about rest of the 200 countries? Have you checked the prices? I see you truly have a "global-mind"

I never mentioned the rest of the world, i said google. If you don't like the price then blame lg.

There is an excuse for not having LTE (as said for the 100th time), not everyone needs it. Most countries don't take advantage of LTE, and in the countries that do (US), only some carriers have it (Verizon is the only carrier with a real LTE footprint, and they don't deserve a Nexus at this point). Also, the more important reason is because as far as I know, there is simply no way to have all those LTE frequencies on one phone. The closest a phone has gotten was the iPhone 5 and even that phone has 3 different versions. They could have made more phones but at this price I'd say that was damn near impossible. If you want LTE, get a One X, S3, or Optimus G. Some of those will give you an SD Card and a remvable battery in it. No phone is perfect.

I wanted LTE, so I bought an Optimus G. I live in Los Angeles and expected AT&T's network to be firing on all cylinders. Running the speedtest.net app gave me about 6-8 Mb down and about 4-6 Mb up in/around Westwood with a full signal(-87dBm).

While this compared favorably to my International SGS3 (GT-I9300), which struggled to get half the LG's speeds, it still didn't impress me since I was expecting LTE to be off the chart. My roommate, on Verizon, with his IP5, got 20 down and 16 up in the same location, and completely embarrassed both my phone and network.

Since I'll probably be using the Nexus 4 on AT&T's HSPA+ network, mostly in/around LA, and knowing what I do now about the comparable LTE coverage, for me it's a no brainer: I'll be selling the Optimus when I get the Nexus. For others, the choice may not be so clear cut, since the lack of removable storage is a big sticking point for some.

In terms of build quality, I kept an open mind for LG and am very impressed with the Optimus G. It's a big, solid phone and feels very high-quality. My SGS3 had creakiness, mainly because of the removable back cover, but the direct result of that phone's design 'versatility' is that it doesn't feel as solid as a device with a sealed back.

I did notice that using the phone while plugged in and charging made the touchscreen somewhat unresponsive, and caused scrolling lag. I wonder if that's just a software bug and whether the Nexus will exhibit the same issue, since the devices are so similar.

Also, does anyone know how to check what carriers have deployed DC-HSPA and in what areas? AT&T's HSPA+ is nothing to write home about, but similarly their LTE speeds were not significantly better (or anywhere near what my expectations were), so I'm inclined to look around at different carriers, like T-Mobile, provided their network ends up being faster.

T-Mobile is the only one to have deployed DC-HSPA+ (42mbps) to most of its network. So any major T-Mobile area (or prepaid carrier on T-Mobile towers) will offer it. AT&T has not and will not deploy DC-HSPA+, they've decided on LTE.

It really depends on where one spends most of his time. AT&T's LTE is not very fast in west LA. When I lived there, I did a speed test on the One X at the ATT Store and a One S at the T-Mobile store across the street. The One S had a faster download rate! I even pulled out my Skyrocket to test against T-Mobile's HSPA, and the results were the same. So, if I wasn't on contract still, I think I'd be more than satisfied getting the N4 unlocked and paying way less for T-Mo (or Straight Talk). ATT's LTE in SF is really fast. But, there are many pockets in the city where I only get HSPA+. Not much point in having LTE if you can't count on it.

For someone really complaining about non removable battery, you'd think you'd hate your iPod Touch (non removable). LTE is not as popular yet, and unless you love downloading porn, or updating your social status 2 seconds faster than anyone else, no LTE is not a killer. not everyone needs masses of storage. And yeah, a SHIT load of people find ways to charge mid-day, be it through car, in class, at work, Solar, or external battery. Hassle? Yeah. Outright killer, fuck no. And for the price? I can't rightfully and respectfully complain. And you write in such a subjective, arrogant way too. It's like you are on sort of Ivory Tower, or high horse (your highness). Here's the beauty of android, there are many choices. Go shop for another phone that's android based and suits your needs. The S3 sounds like it will fit you nicely.

Haha fight back. It's not that serious. Either buy the phone or don't. As Phil said numerous times in the review, this is how they designed THIS phone. Don't like it, don't buy it. It's really that simple. There are other options at any given time. Don't make it more complicated or dramatic than it needs to be.

I can tell you another reason to ditch expandable storage... it is confusing...

True situation: an app my wife uses daily on her Evo 4g LTE was supposed to be backing up to the SD card.. but because the SD card wasn't inserted the first time she ran the app, it was actually backing it up to the phone's internal memory..

When the phone glitched all her data from that app was gone...

It is confusing understanding the difference between an internal memory partition and an external memory card for a casual user...

I agree with you, however, isn't the nexus supposed to be really aimed for developers? With this in mind, why do they worry about confusion? Developers, and geeks alike, are going to know the difference between internal storage and external storage. Right?

Even if you ignore the fact that LTE isn't available in most countries and focus only on the US:
LTE data plans from AT&T/Verizon are bigger ripoffs than text messaging plans were 5 years ago. Why would anyone in the States think that paying $50 a month for a 1GB data bucket is ok?

The only people who should be complaining about the lack of LTE are those who are still grandfathered into reasonably priced unlimited plans. And that's a pretty niche group of people.

You just wasted all the ink in your typewriter with this essay of a rant. First an foremost you have to understand what Google is doing with the Nexus Project. Google Experience Device = Pure Android, 100% Google. LTE is only growing in the US. If you go back to last yeah Google and Verizon teamed up for this "Google" experience which was not. Verizon hosed Google from the advertisement to the updates for ICS and JellyBean. Google taking that step this year and not starting off with an LTE phone was ok by me. LTE has not been adopted by the world and will not for a long time if ever! You point of storing 40gb worth of music physically on the device is insane! Google music provides a great service to the user for FREE! Most users of a Nexus device are power users, They are going to root and flash custom roms where the tethering will be there. I tether to my Nexus 7 with my Galaxy nexus with no issue. The battery is not and issue..Your device and power management is! People that are buying this device knows what they are getting and im quite sure that they have taking the due diligence in weighing the pros and the cons. So stop complaining and insulting Android Central for doing there job. They didnt make the phone or have a say in the development. There are other options out there and you should look elsewhere, because this is obviously not the phone for you.. Hell you would fit nice with the Apple crowd! Enjoy your iPod! :)

Take the tin foil hat off of your head dude. This is a beautiful piece of hardware. Its nearly top notch in every way except for storage and LTE. If the phone isnt for you, move on. It will be fine for the vast majority of people throughout the world. And to top it all off, its $350!

@StuartV
The beautifull thing about android is that you have options! I understand when people complain that a certain iPhone doesn't include some feature cause iPhone users don't have any other phone to choose, but with android you have a multitude of choices to choose from, if you don't like this one but still want to buy an android phone you can look elsewhere. It is not like anyone is forcing you to buy anything.
As for me, this phone is very good for my needs, of all of the phones I had in my life I never had to swap a battery and the largest SD card I ever owned was 16gb that has never been full, right now I have 6gb available. Also I can't even use LTE in the region where I live and I am sure it will take a lot of time for that to be possible, keep in mind this phone is not targeted for U.S. only, it is supposed to be sold worldwide and there are just a handfull of countries that could benefit from a LTE capable device.

Also I would like to compliment the reviewer on the terrifc job he's done, this is hands-down the best review on the N4 I have read so far. Keep up the good work.

Good points, I agree with you on the likely reason no large storage is available, though I think there's an implied pact that they can't produce a perfect phone to give the competition some edge, as this is not their bread and butter and they have to give the industry something to munch on above and beyond a Nexus phone.

Non removable batteries is a non-issue IMHO, not providing a phone with a smaller form factor plausibly with a large phone like this one is simple stupid.. They are giving away that form factor clientele to Apple!!!

Also, I really don't see any reason why waste screen pixels on fixed on screen buttons, I think HTC buttons are the best, especially in tablets as well, why on earth in landscape was super precious vertical space, and put buttons in a very unfriendly location rather than keeping them on the side like how it works with phones in landscape where you don't have to change your hand grip while holding the tablet.

Also, they must lose that darn search that is not movable on every screen, since one google's policy is to stick themselves in your face.. this is the primary reason why people buy skins...

And how much of that 40gb do you actually listen to? Do you really never hit skip? Here is another thing I don't understand, if you get upset for carriers limiting our data usage, why does LTE matter? Even with LTE you are still going to be limited. Do you really rely that much on your carrier for DATA? Or are you never connected to wifi. If it's about coverage then you will be fine considering that VOICE and TEXT do not use any of your data. I am constantly on wifi through work and home. I rarely hit 300MB on my 2GB plan on ATT, and I don't complain. The only time I ever use data is when I am streaming on a long drive, and if I get tired of Pandora or online radios, I use google play, which has my 25GB of music. I understand why people will be mad at this device, but can you really complain about a 299 or 349 out right price?

youre an idiot with your arguments.
40 GB of music is about .... 5 months of constant listening to (depending on quality)
Youre gonna tell me you listen to that in 1 day??
LTE - Not everyone lives in US of friggin A. And LTE would slow down the updates (look Gnexus)
Galaxy Nexus on a smaller battery lasts a whole day. This is good choice for LG to make non removable battery. You dont have power sucking LTE so there is no need to swap batteries. Unless youre so obsessed and very unsocial person thatyou have to play with it avery 5 minutes
If you have on the go lifestyle I recommend:
Battery pack (a lot bigger capacity and cheaper in a long run)
On the go lifestyle could mean youre driving a car...

No SD was in Nexus S do you really expect google to change that? ohh and than you didnt have cloud storage

Calm down son! A bit over the line there..

1. You have no right to attack Phil's editorial integrity. He's presented a very balanced and fair picture of the situation.

2. No LTE is nothing new for GSM phones. This is a GSM world phone. There isn't a LTE variant yet, that's all. Google wanted to keep the price low while keeping the device out of carriers' evil clutches. Making 100 different LTE variants for each carrier would push the price up significantly, which Google does not want to do. LTE is not a standard and is broken mess at best. Every carrier uses its own random band and unlike GSM, there's no single radio that can do 4 or 5 different LTE bands. Also, LTE doesn't matter to 95% of people in the world, which is a MUCH bigger market than the LTE enabled ones.

3. Storage is what it is. If you need more, simple, get another phone. I'm not happy about it either, but, I can squeeze it and just about manage with 16 GB. Can't really complain for that price after all! And btw, you're worried about Google data-mining your music? You must have some really rare and secret tunes in your library then. /s

4. Non-removable battery is not an issue at all for me and plenty others. I managed just fine with the One X even though it didn't have the best battery life in the world. Non-removable battery is essential for build quality and that's very evident from the difference between the One X and the GS3. One feels significantly better built than the other. If you need a removable battery, there's a TON of other options available. This is Android - choice is its second name.

you're an idiot who needs hundreds of hours of music on his phone. And as far as LTE is concerned, oh wait that's only a USA concern, i'll stick with my 20 Mbits HSPA+.
Go ahead and pay double this phone just so you can have all your music library with you at all times as if it was necessary.

Dude... I might be time to lay off the caffeine. First off, you really don't seem to know what you're talking about with the LTE thing. There *is* a very *good* reason why Google didn't get LTE on this phone. Namely, every carrier's LTE is a little different, and they're all on different frequencies. There simply *isn't* a "universal" LTE chip. In order to have an LTE-enabled Nexus, that means making a different version for each carrier and going through all the carrier acceptance testing that caused such an uproar last year (search "Verizon Galaxy Nexus" on AndroidCentral). They (Google) simply can't include LTE and it still *be* what they want a Nexus device to be. Nothing we (or Phil) say or do can possibly change that. At least right now.

As for the non-removable storage and battery. No one is asking you to like it. This is what Google thinks is the best design right now. Plenty of other manufacturers aren't going this route and no one is removing your ability to choose. And not all carriers have "capped" data plans. I put about 10-15 gigs per month through my Sprint phone. And T-Mo has some unlimited plans that they're getting implemented. The whole "capping" thing, while I get why people don't like it, the carriers have implemented to try and keep the sudden surge of smart-phones from inundating their network. Just look at what happened to AT&T's network after they started selling the iPhone.

This phone obviously isn't for everyone, and no one is demanding that you like this phone. Personally, I think this phone looks amazing, but as I said before I'm on Sprint so I will never be able to get this phone. Rather than complain or start fires, I'm going to say "shucks" and look at other options. There are *plenty* of them out there.

Relax, man. There's no need to "fight back".

Google's goal as a company is to move more to the cloud. In that case, huge amounts of memory is not needed.

If you need LTE, a removable battery and removable storage don't buy the phone. There are multiple models and manufacturers for a reason.

I have had my nexus 4 for around 5 weeks now, using it for work and leisure. I am an engineer who does a lot of manual work with the phone in my overall pocket, I have a bumper and screen guards front and rear, seems pretty durable to me! The battery easily lasts me a full day even in a dodgy cell reception area. It rarely dips below 30% before I place it on the mat. There is very limited uptake of 4g in the UK at the moment so lack of LTE is not an issue. For the price I paid for the phone, it is an absolute blockbuster and all I can say is well done Google. As for the storage, I have over a hundred apps and still have 10gb left, my 5500 song collection is all now on Google's music cloud and it streams via my unlimited data package with 3, flawlessly. Anyone who is thinking about buying this phone, do it...its a great deal!
Thanks for reading, Brian.

If you break the back cover the only
way to replace it is to send it to lg for a
quote to repair the entire phone.
they will not tell you what the quote is
likly to be but if you reject it you will
be charged £23
the calltaker at lg told me to buy a blackmarket cover
but it will void your warrenty .amazing customer sevice, NOT.

Comprehensive indeed. I just get a kick out of the fact that call quality is reduced to a footnote. It is a phone afterall. Of course, that just shows how much "phones" have changed over the years.

I think that probably has to do with the fact that they have that pretty figured out at this point. I mean most phones call quality is on a pretty even playing field, atleast in my recent experience. Also like you said phones have changed...

Looks like an awesome phone! I currently have a galaxy note, are there any plans for a 5.5" phone?

A nice battery pack will be like this: a 2-3 mm back cover width and a battery with wireless charging. So the "juice" from the add-on battery will charge the main battery with no wires.

Really interesting idea. I wonder if they could pull off wireless charging, with a decent amount of mAh, in that cramped of a space.

Putting a decent amount of MAh in that kind of space spread out over the area of a back cover is easy, I'm not sure if the wireless part will be possible in that kind of space. The circuitry alone can bump the thickness by a fair 2 to 3 mm. But it would be a really neat thing if someone can pull it off.

Great review and an epic phone. I am so glad AC doesn't rely on benchmarks to measure phones, they don't tell the full story

Punctuation can be accessed on the new Keyboard by long pressing the period. All punctuation is located there, and its actually much more functional than Swype's implementation.

I didn't realize this until a few days ago myself. It's taking me a little while to get used to it, but it is definitely a good solution for having a clean keyboard yet having all the punctuations easily accessable.

Nice write up Phil! If I didn't already have the GNex I would definitely upgrade. Perhaps I will be getting the next Nexus this time next year. The great thing is that if anything was to happen to my phone (broken, stolen, etc), I know where I need to go to get a reasonably cheap off contract phone - The Play Store...

Damn Phil, that was kind of a crap review. First, the photo editing features in the new camera app are really advanced. You have a Photoshop like curves adjustment where you can grab just one of the RGB channels and make adjustments. Plus, if you swipe down on the image you're tweaking, you can see a nice before and after preview. Also, if you swipe from the right, it shows the editing history, much like the history panel in Photoshop. For me, this was a BIG addition.

Also, you CAN pinch to zoom in the new Gmail app. Not sure how you missed that. At least you can in the leaked 4.2 app on my Gnex.

Finally, please tell us if the camera is any good. You go on about the features, give us some samples (I can give you samples from my Gnex, by the way, that will make you think that crap camera is actually good) but don't actually say anything about the quality.

Agreed 100%. This is pretty much a 24hr overview that took a week and a half. I was expecting a deeper dive.

Since the camera is one of key features of the hardware, please compare it with at least one of the other top phones instead of saying "Camera you won't be ashamed to take out in public."

I'm less amazed by exposure controls in post, I guess. I'm OK with that.

And I'm not reviewing a leaked Gmail app on your GNex. I'm reviewing the one that's on the Nexus 4. There's a difference. I know there's a difference because I've used the leaked Gmail app. And I've used the app that's on the Nexus 4. Maybe something will change in final software. But your argument here is no bueno.

I'm very suprised to hear it doesn't have zoom. Pretty much all the other reviews/firstlooks/previews of 4.2 make a point to mention the 4.2 Gmail app has zoom and/or fit to screen. This is the first one I've seen saying it doesn't. Now I'm curious if the actual release will get it or not.

I don't get it. Did different reviewers receive different versions of the software? All the Nexus 4 reviews I've read up to date have said the new Gmail app has pinch to zoom features, this review said it's missing. Something isn't right here.

ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why can't you just make everyone happy Phil! Is that so much to ask. Why can't you make a killer phone and take our money. I just don't believe it your not even trying.
[end sarcasm]

Well, that's why I said, "on my Gmail app at least". Strange that pinch to zoom isn't in your version. Also strange that Google sent half baked software to you guys to review. I mean, a BIG addition is the home screen widgets. Basically, what Google has done is make everyone have to review the device twice, which seems pretty dumb. Oh well. I'm sure I'll buy it any way.

Well, I AM amazed, and if I hadn't flashed those apps, I would never have know about this awesome feature that's important to me.

I know it sounds like I'm nit picking, but sorry Phil, we hold your reviews to a higher standard than the rest of those hacks out there =)

+1.. Phone specs have been out for over a week. Get over it people. NO LTE, NO SD and NO MORE than 16GB model. PERIOD! ARRRGGGG people just don't get it.

Glad you guys waited a few more days to actually use the device before giving a review. Unlike most sites who had reviews posted as soon as the embargo was lifted.

considering to buy this phone! i'm not sure about the 8GB, or what will be better if waiting for it or right away.

Great review!
Well worth the read although there was one little thing that didn't make sense to me..
Gmail, email zooming?
A leaked apk for 4.2 was outted a while back and that was one of the biggest features along with swipe delete/archiving.
I used it, works great.
Now I'm using the apk right from the N4 and it has pinch and zoom for Gmail?
Mine is version 4.2-478
what version is on your N4?

You are def a bigger tool than Phil.

In actuality, You and Phil are tools in completely different ways, so it's not really relevant.

How?! Now you have your Android updates controlled by AT&T, Verizon or Sprint... good luck getting them in a decent time frame.

Great review I must say. I stand behind what Google decided to do with NO LTE because that means NO VERIZON. That's exactly how it should be since they pretty much shitted all over the only cdma Lte Galaxy Nexus ever. I hope Verizon rots in hell forever and I have a funny feeling they will. Hoping Verizon gets this Nexus 4 on Tmobile is just like everyone hoping Romney would become President last night then they found out the truth. Verizon has gotten to big for their britches and so has all it's users. They can't even see when they are being pissed on by their own carrier. They are so strung out on that Lte stem it's pretty comical. No carrier is bigger than android and Google is sending that message to Verizon right now... I appreciate and applaud that..

"I hope Verizon rots in hell forever and I have a funny feeling they will." What did Verizon ever do to you? Good lord you sound like a little bitchy child.
"They can't even see when they are being pissed on by their own carrier." I think people would notice if they were literally being "pissed on". But even if you meant it figuratively, you're just bitter because you couldn't afford Verizon's services. You *are* the one who won't shut up about how "overpriced" it is, after all.
"They are so strung out on that Lte stem it's pretty comical" Yep, it's pretty comical indeed that your "high-and-mighty* T-Mobile is also going to be rolling out LTE later next year. What a f*cking hypocrite.
"No carrier is bigger than android" Android isn't a carrier you moron. Android is the OS, just like iOS is (OMG) the OS. How stupid are you?

Sounds like you work for Verizon. Verizon is a plague.. that's accepted by even people who are long time Verizon users.
And what he meant by "No carrier is bigger than android" is - no carrier is more important than Android itself. Who's the stupid one now for not getting it?

Is there a notification light (LED) like the GNex on this new Nexus 4? Can't find any confirmation...

Wow! Very comprehensive and thankfully no benchmarks when you know its not a final product! SOLD!

Nice review..

>>Oh, and of course there's Wifi on board. The Nexus 4 has 802.11 b/g/n (with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz available).

As far as wifi though, it is bgn only, i.e., 2.4GHz band alone and no 5GHz support like the Galaxy Nexus (Which is abgn)

Because 802.11n supports both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. 802.11a is almost obsolete and it makes no sense to include it these days.

p.s - I see Insp_gadget answered that already.

802.11n supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, rendering 802.11a obsolete. I suppose it could be an issue if you have an older router that only supports 11a, b, and g; but if that's the case, then you really should upgrade to an 11n router anyway.

This is one of the best reviews AC has ever had, great job! Answered all my questions and everything I wanted to know. I have the GNex now, and was thinking about trying out the Lumia 920 available Friday, but now I don't know what to do.

Awesome job on the review. I already planned on getting the Nexus but this review just sent me over the top. Can't wait.

Happy with this review but was really hoping for an in-depth review of the camera and camcorder. Everything else has been beaten to death already.

I'm disappointed that the Netgear Miracast adapter doesn't work. Do you know if the firmware on the adapter can be upgraded? If it doesn't work with the N4 then what does it work with?

Netgear has told me it should be getting an update soon, but I'm waiting on confirmation that the update will actually make it work. :)

Will do a separate post on that later.

Glad to hear it; I picked up one of those at Best buy in advance of getting the phone. I guess I will hold off opening it until we know it's going to work with it!

That would be great since I'm really most interested in Miracast above all the other normal smartphone stuff. I'm trying to come up with a configuration where I can use a networked harddrive, or maybe a whole computer, for massive storage of media and use the Nexus 4 or Nexus 7 (that's supposed to get Miracast support right?) as the remote control. I may have to wait for a Miracast compatible piece of Network Attached Storage, or wait until Google finally lets us use Chrome's remote desktop with an Android device.

Miracast will hopefully be great and widely adopted.

It also supports Intel WiDi; so if you have a computer with that built in it should work. That's a more final standard also so it should actually work. A shame the miracast isn't working yet, I hope they update quick, maybe we should bug them about it!

Uhh.. I don't think you're getting to what I'm getting at.

In the forums, people were upset that reviewers were listing "No LTE option" as a con in their reviews, insisting that it wasn't a con.

And here in the official AC review..

Boom. "No LTE option" falls into the list of cons.

So yes, "No LTE option" is in the bad column, along with no SD card, no memory option higher than 16GB, and no removable (user-serviceable) battery - as it should be.

Hi,
And what about the shutter lag? and slow focus in the camera? In other reviews they say that is horrible.
Thanks and sorry for my english!

Will touch on that a little more in a separate camera piece, but I don't think they're horrible. Are there better cameras? Absolutely. Is this one better than the Galaxy Nexus? Most definitely. :)

Enjoyed the review Phil. I wish you had a wireless charging station to report on how well or not well that works. Curious to know if it will work if you have a case on your phone. How were low light photos compared to the GNex and some of the other phones known to have decent cameras? How fast is the shutter compared to the GNex? Is there a multi shoot setting, takes multiple pictures?

I also want to know if the new camera app will have any positive impact on the GNex? Of course that's a different issue, will HDR mode and the photo sphere be options on the GNex?

I, for one, will buy this phone outright so I can skip the draconian Canadian 3 year contract. Huzzah!!

I disagree that a non-removal battery should be considered a viable design option. There is no excuse for this design option unless they want to offer two versions of the phone - one with and one without a removal battery.

There are many of us who have no way to charge our phones during the day and also many who live in areas where there is not strong signal (which drains the battery quickly). I (not unlike many others) have no opportunity to charge my phone for at least 12 hours during the day and oftentimes more than that. I go through a least 2 batteries a day and sometimes 3 on my Galaxy Nexus.

I don't understand why people have such a hard time realizing not everyone lives exactly the same way they do. For some reason, people who work in offices or spend a lot of time in cars think everyone can easily charge their phone when needed. There are MANY people who do not have access to an outlet at work and/or do things on their off days in the outdoors and either take public transportation or walk everywhere.

The above does not even take into account all the times a user needs to pull their battery because nothing else will make the phone responsive again. There are going to be a lot of people showing up at T-mobile and calling Google and LG for warranty service for simple things that could've been fixed with a battery pull.

If they wanted to offer a slimmer built-in version for those people who don't have to worry about running out of battery and a slightly bigger removable battery version for those of us who need it, fine. But this supposed "trend" towards non-removal batteries should be fought against if it is going to be the only option available. It should not be deemed a viable option. Viable is exactly what it is not.

I hear ya, but that argument goes both ways. For as many people who have to have a removable battery, there are as many (or, likely, more) who don't. Just the way it works.

But those who don't need one are not hurt by having one, while those who do need one are hurt by not having one. So if only one version is going to be made, then it should be the one that covers both groups. Like I said, if they want to make both versions, I have no problem with that. But if they are going to make only one, it makes no sense to make the one that excludes a large number of people rather than the one (with a user-replaceable battery) that includes all users.

Then this phone is not for you. Just as it might not be for those that REQUIRE removable storage or REQUIRE LTE or REQUIRE the best camera or REQUIRE it to be ruggedized.

If it doesn't meet your needs, get something else. The most vocal complaint is but a whisper compared to voting with your wallet. Buy something else.

Obviously, I'm not buying it. I still can express an opinion and my opinion is still valid. I'm not stopping anyone else from buying it. You don't get to police my thoughts.

love this comment!

I bet everyone with an iphone in New York after the power went out wish they could swap batteries.

No one is denying you the right to your opinion. I agree with your points. I've just heard them all before, and I feel that given there are enough options available with other phones, I feel that your rant is wasted energy. Of course it's YOUR energy to waste. That's MY opinion.

But you go ahead and complain your head off to whomever will listen. I'm sure I won't be the last to "police" your thoughts. ;-)

I'm sure you'll be shocked to hear that his energy is NOT wasted.

People like myself happen to agree with him, and am glad he's expressing them.

When people don't express something to their dislike, people think that everything is peachy. Disagreement and vocal expression is what communicates these things to readers.

I happen to be a huge influencer in smart phone purchasers in my family, relatives, and friends, and you can bet none of them will be spending their money on this Nexus 4. Voting with our wallets - you betcha!!! Loud and clear!!

I'm in no way shocked that there are people that share his opinion. As I said, I share his opinion, too. I just don't think Google will care about his ranting on a blog post. Like any company, all they pay attention to is money. The OP seemed to take offence to the fact that I suggested voting with his wallet instead of ranting about design choices that Google/LG made long before any of us knew about the Nexus 4.

My point is that all the ranting in the world is not going to change the Nexus 4. It is what it is. When companies see their devices not sell, perhaps they'll listen (or better yet, ask people what they want). But ranting about it in the comments on a review that already discussed all the shortcomings is pointless.

I think people are voting with there wallet. Look at the sales of HTC 1X (with no SD card or removable battery) versus the Samsung S3 (with SD and removable battery). When HTC wakes up, maybe they'll start selling a few more phones again.

I know its a different OS but why does the iPhone sell so well then? It doesnt have an SD card or removable battery.

Some people care more about build quality, non-removable battery is easier to make a sturdier phone with less creaks. Just my thoughts, I actually do prefer a removable battery. Just pointing out as earlier stated, there is no phone that will please everyone (dispite what apple says). Everyone has a different opinion on what they value in a phone. That's why android is great, you have a choice. If iPhone does something you don't like you don't have an option. If you don't like the Nexus very simple solution, don't buy it; get a GSIII if you want a removable battery or GNEX if you need stock + removable battery. Just stop the complaining, please. Also they do make external battery packs, I have 2 and they're nice. Don't have to buy a new one every time you upgrade phones also.

Exactly. Everyone has their own needs/wants. Some people think that just because a design consideration doesn't meet THEIR particular needs, that the design consideration is invalid or stupid. It's not. It's merely one option among many in an open market.

I'll probably pass on this particular Nexus. I'm getting great mileage out of my Galaxy Nexus. But I'll keep an eye on it and the path that Google takes with the Nexus line. When I feel the technology can support my needs with the level of compromise that I'm comfortable with, then I'll buy a phone with the Nexus 4's design considerations.

Well said Phil. In the end it all comes down to choice. With some companies moving to non removeable batteries the ones that don't can now use that as a feature as you said in the last podcast. Great review as well.

Just wanted to point out that there are ways to reset the device without doing a battery pull. I believe you just hold down the power button for an extended period of time on the nexus 4 to reset it.

I don't understand all the hullabaloo over the lack of removable battery. Swapping batteries is nice and all, but then you have to buy extra batteries and charging stations for each phone you have, every time you upgrade.

OR you could just buy one of these http://tinyurl.com/b5l53o8 or something else like it that allows you to use it on any of your devices. Problem solved. Right?

Sort of.

Having a fully charged battery in 30 seconds is much more convenient than having your phone tethered to a brick for an hour. That being said, anything is better than nothing.

I suspect we'll see a juice pack sort of accessory by a 3rd party for this one. Hell, they've got one for the Galaxy S III now. Patience my Android friend...

"I don't understand why people have such a hard time realizing not everyone lives exactly the same way they do"

What I have hard time understanding is how people can be so hypocritical.

Isn't this basically what you are doing? If you need/want to have a removable that doesn't mean everybody does. That doesn't mean that there should be no phones with non-removable batteries. It's not like the nexus 4 is the only available phone. Get over yourself.

Do you know what the words "viable" and "option" mean?
Saying that a non-removable battery is not a viable option because it should not be the only option is just horrible logic.

It is viable. It can work for people. From what I read, it is even viable for you! Yup. Viable, definition :"Capable of working successfully; feasible". You can buy an external pack instead of extra batteries. It may be more expensive, but will it work successfully, yes, and it will also work other phones as well!

P.S. now I'm expecting some reply bashing me for thinking that a non-removable battery is better than a removable battery or something like that.

Whoever was going to write that, don't waste your time. All else being equal, I'd naturally prefer a removable over a non-removable*.Does that mean that I think that all phones should have removable batteries? Of course not (which may be due to me being able to understand that one single phone can satisfy everybody/is the best for everybody, or understand that not everybody agrees with me, or perhaps it is because I'm just downright crazy and should be locked up in a mental institution)

*The Nexus 4 having a non removable battery made me think twice about getting it, though, admittedly, it that didn't last long, the price is just too overwhelmingly low.

Definitely a worthwhile read, thanks for taking the time that this phone deserves (considering the excitement about it and anticipation among the Google faithful).

I'm going to buy one, leave the bootloader locked, and quit my crack flashing, because it appears to be the porridge bowl, i.e. phone, that is just right for me. Nice photos in the review.

I think I'll be fine with the battery life after quitting the flashing problem, but it would be nice for those occasional times to extend power availability with a mophie juice-pack-like product. Ideally, that product would be sleek, and permit wired or wireless charging without removing it.

Does it have the zero-shutter-lag camera from the Galaxy Nexus? That's been a real boon to me when taking photos of my kids and it would be good to know if it's been maintained.

I'd certainly get this as a replacement for the Galaxy Nexus if I could keep that feature and address the poor detail/noise problems on that device.

THIS! Someone please, please answer this. I would trade a bit of image quality for zero shutter lag on my smartphone camera. I'm already resigned to getting not-great image quality on any affordable unlocked smartphone, so it's not a dealbreaker -- but horrible shutter lag (such as on my current phone) is.

They hyped that up so much for the galaxy nexus and the camera on that turned out to be crap so I am guessing they don't want to touch the phrase "zero shutter lag" with a ten foot pole.

Thanks for the review Phil, pretty damn good. I'm picking this up next week and giving it a go on ST for a month trial.

Thanks Phil...

Two things: you need an editor, and when taking low light photos please use some kind of tripod so we can see the real capability (instead of motion blur). From what I have seen so far though, your assessment that it is "almost" adequate is spot on. Disappointing, but I bet I buy one.

Yes because everybody who takes photos with their phones also uses a tripod that he or she caries everywhere they go. You know, just in case they wanna take a photo.

The $349 price is really good but in all honesty, it's really only about $100 less than a mid-level, no-LTE, limited storage off contract phone from AT&T.

Yes because those mid-level, no LTE, limited storage off-contract phones from AT&T that cost $100 MORE also come with Qualcomms best quad-core CPU and an awesome GPU, 2gb RAM, a very usable camera, one of the best HD displays out there, wireless charging, nfc, and immediate software updates direct from Google for 2 years plus right?

Actually the mid-level $100 more phones from AT&T have expandable storage and LTE.

So, I'll just go ahead and pull out the DIFFERENT PRIORITIES trump card that everyone's using. Some people prioritize LTE more than a superfast quad-core CPU. If you browse and/or use data more than play games, LTE could make a bigger difference for some people.

Per Phil: "Put it another way: You've got three options: Killer specs, LTE, and an affordable price. Pick two. See if you came up with the same ones Google did for the Nexus 4."

$100 is not chump change. If someone isnt bothered by LTE or if HSPA+ is good enough, you'd be hard pressed to beat this phone for the price.

I've come around on both the removable battery and lack of expandable storage. I can live with both. I'll charge up wherever I can, consider getting a large brick battery, and I'll buy me a Galaxy Player 5.8 (don't judge me). I will not compromise on the lack of LTE. I'm making the move to Verizon because as a current T-Mobile customer in the backyard of their headquarters, I'm thoroughly unsatisfied. Network quality and performance trump having a Nexus experience any day of my 2 year contract. I'm taking your advice, Phil, and voting with my wallet. Droid DNA or Note 2, either one. I cannot wait.

Yes, I get some of you folks are pleased with your T-Mobile experience. I don't care. My experience is different from yours. Go sniff some paint.

if you like VZW, might wait for the HD Phablet from htc.

I'm the opposite. live in NYC and travel in major cities so t-mobile about as good coverage as vzw (which i think is overrated). the 4g is spotty so i'm giving up
verizon. i really like nexus unlocked but will miss replaceable battery more than LTE which for now is just not there

I don't care about you either. VZW sucks where I am and I'm switching to TMobile for N4. Go sniff some of your daddy's schmega while your at it. LMAO!

I understand your recommendation for the 16GB model but was wondering if the 8GB would work using Dropbox. I have a GS3 with 16GB of storage and hardly use it mainly because of Dropbox but also because I don't download many games which take up most of the storage. Would saving the 50 bucks be better off in this situation?

Just remember, the OS comes out of that storage space right off the bat. As the review indicated, on the 16 gig version, the user is left with 13 gigs, so the OS and related files are about 3 gigs. On the 8 gig model, that would leave you with about 5 gigs. If you really don't keep much, if anything, on your phone it could be fine, but a few photos/videos and a nandroid backup or two would eat through that pretty quick.

Great review! It's a good phone overall, but that glass back and the design of the whole thing is a major turn-off for me. I can live with 16 gigs of storage, even though it is a PITA having to deal with limited storage. No LTE doesn't bother me, and I'm sure there are many people who don't care about it anyway since they're on T-Mobile as well.

By the way, why does the rear-facing camera video sample looks worse than the one from the front-facing camera?

Finally!! Phil I've been waiting all week for this, and it looks like you've done an excellent job with this review. Very comprehensive, very (I guess) non-biased. The only real complains about this phone come in the form of storage and LTE, but for $350 I can't think of a single reason not to get this phone--unless you hate the future

Nice review, Phil! Looking forward to the updated review when the final version of Android 4.2 comes to the Nexus 4. I'm curious about the lockscreen widgets.

great job phil, hands down the most informative, honest and well rounded review of this phone on the internet. might not be as eye-candy as the verge but it most definitely has better content thats helpful to the reader, im glad to say i read it all which i think has exercised my brain a bit lol.
I'm from the UK and i really hope my parents get me this thing for christmas, gonna be easier to beg because of the price at least :D. once again, thanks for putting in WORK. looking forward to see an updated software review when the phone actually comes out.

Phil - any comments about the signal strength as compared to a GNex? If it can hold a stronger signal better than a GNex (and thus use the battery more conservatively), that'd be reason enough for me to upgrade.

Thanks for the review!

I don't understand ... I don't know if there was a smudge on the rear facing camera, but that sample is horrible....the Gnex seems much better. Hopefully there was a smudge or something!

All Android phone reviews should come with a one-handed thumb test. How far do you have to stretch before needing to adjust the grip.

Great review...I'm on Verizon and have been going back and forth whether to get this since I would have to jump ship to get it. I've finally decided to pass on it (in its current state) and the deal breaker for me was not the lack of LTE, but the lack of storage. I'm already using 15gb of storage on my Galaxy Nexus which is less than a year old, so 12.92gb with no sd card slot is just not doable for me...and I refuse to get burned like with the Nexus 7, and buy a 16gd, only to hear 3 months later "We're releasing a 32gb version!"

Great stuff... I can't wait to place my order! The question I have is in the quick settings. When pressing... let's say the Bluetooth,does it act as a toggle switch or does it take you the settings menu for the Bluetooth?

Settings menu. I'd prefer it be like in CM (and wherever else it is), short press=toggle, long press=menu. I can't see it getting better than that

It's really too bad CDMA is such a large presence in the US. I would love this phone but not the network it is apparently designed for...in the US anyway...

You dont like GSM or you dont like the GSM carriers in the US? If the latter then do you really think it was designed for them (or one of them)? If the latter I think you meant to say something like "it will work on" instead of "it is apparently designed for".

If the former, why (and dont base it (solely) off of US carriers, I would say it is the latter)? I'm just curios, maybe you know something I dont.

Well done Phil... You covered all a good user needs to know about the phone and your conclusion made me pop out a tear =]

Epic review. Phil. Eff the naysayers who attacked you for reviewing a phone and stating what YOU thought about it, and not agreeing with what they had to say. I thought your review was thorough and non biased. You clearly stated why this phone may or may not be for some people. Your opinion is your opinion or the opinions of others and thats why I love reading AC every damn day :-)

it would be nice if you could take some comparison pictures from galaxy nexus display vs nexus 4 using the same settings. thanks

I haven't read the review, but I like the format of the review much better. I shall read it later after I get off work. I also think the "Jump to Section" should be right before the hardware section.

I love the improvements to the clock app

No need now for an app to show world clock

At least, I can now delete an app I really did not use that much

I hope google would add numerical value of the battery state in the status bar since they now show it in the settings pulldown

While I would love to see a 32GB model the LTE thing isn't a big deal considering 90% of the world doesn't have LTE and further more Verizon is the only carrier that has good coverage of it being in over 400 markets vs the number 2 competitor AT&T being in only 70. It makes sense that they can skip LTE this round cause hopefully it will have better coverage and on more carriers globally for next years Nexus. Also the HSPA+ 42 Mbps that the Nexus 4 is packing is nothing to shake a stick at in terms of speed, it's on par with LTE in most places and you don't take the battery hit from multiple radios and the juice hog LTE is.

Does 8 megs hspa make that big a differece from lte while browsing the web? Sick of reading all theis pointless lte crap. You only need those speeds for downloads and if thats all your doing do it on another phone. Damnit

If there is any phone that will tempt me away from BlackBerry, it would be this one! The price is EXTREMELY tempting and the features are solid!

i like everything about this phone except there's no sd card slot AGAIN!!!.. i don't know why google is moving towards internal storage only but most android users like their phones b/c most android phones have sd card slots not like CRAPPLE's internal storage i really don't mind about the internal battery but not having sd card slot? that's a big disappointment again... but eventually i'll probably buy one even though i'm complaining right now and it's only $350 for 16GB!! i hope they bring back sd card slot again on the next Nexus. By the way great review PHIL!! Thanks!!

I know that everyone is comparing the Nexus 4 to the HTC one X, but remember, yes the HTC One X comes with 32gb built in which doesn't seem to be the WORST thing everyone is complaining about, it too doesn't have a removable battery and only has a 1800 mAh battery and the Nexus 4 has a 2100 mAh pre-installed. So all of you who are whining about the battery and have the one X ....you can go take a hike :) jk and idk about you guys but i spoiled myself with "stock" or "vanilla" android or whatever you wanna call it so i cant turn back. Plus this phone is gorgeous and i will be up at 12 am on Tuesday just to buy it even though i have to be up at 5 cause i want my Nexus. LONG LIVE THE NEXUS!!!!!

the one x was released forever ago in mobile time. and I don't think the nexus is gorgeous. It's decent looking but the back is kind of ugly.

Great review as always Phil. The SDcard issue is not that big of a deal to me. You have to sacrifice certain things for the greater good of Android. If they were to have offer a LTE Nexus with 16gbs of storage and a MicroSD card slot for $350 what would all the Manufacturers do? This is a business for Google also. If they were to come out and set the bar low for the other Manufacturers to produce a phone that is the same or better then the Nexus line with all the bells and whistles for $350 or less then everyone would loss money or no other company would make Android phones with great specs and they would go to Windows 8. I say Google is doing it right. They are giving us a phone that represents who they are and also leaves the other Manufacturers openings to create a better phone with better specs and options like LTE and MicroSD slots. So they too can make money which will also bring Google Money. This phone is still a great phone and presents other players in the Phone market with new customers. Straight talk for one can and will probably see a jump in customers because of this phone.

I do hope for die hard fans of the Nexus line that they bring a 32gb and or 64gb version out so everyone can enjoy this phone. If I could i would get this phone to see what i am missing since i have been a Samsung Galaxy S user for the past 2 years and love my Note2. Anyway for those who will get this phone hope you Enjoy it.

Just to throw this out there. What happens when LTE is the dominant wireless data technology? What does el goog do then?

Nice review Phil. My thoughts on the negatives.

LTE. I'm on T-Mobile and will not have LTE for at least a year, so I don't care about it not having it. By the time T-Mobile gets LTE network up and running in many cities, there will be a new Nexus phone out which may have LTE. HSPA+ 42Mbps is fast enough for me right now.

Internal Storage. As for all those incessantly complaining about the internal storage, there is only a tiny number of Android phones currently for sale in the US that have more than 16GB internal storage memory. Galaxy S3 (32GB if you're on T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon) and that's it, except the upcoming One X+ with 64GB if you're on AT&T. Every other Android phone for sale in the US other than those has 16GB internal or less. And I'm talking about internal storage, not expandable storage. If you want expandable you can always toss things onto a 64GB or 128GB flash drive and use it with your phone. The only difference is that one is inside the phone and one is not. If you feel you MUST have a microSD card in your phone, then you shouldn't buy it and should get something else.

Non-removable battery. Again, some of you say you need to be able to swap out batteries when needed. I say if you're carrying an extra battery/batteries around anyway, then just get an external battery pack. Mine is a 10000mAh one and charges 2 devices. I can charge my Nexus 7 and my phone. Simple. You're already carrying around an extra battery so it isn't too much more of a hassle to carry a battery pack (mine weighs little more than 1/2 lb). No swapping, just plug it in. Easy.

Just my opinion and personal use case. For me, the positives of this phone outweigh any of the negatives. If you're on T-Mobile, this is definitely the phone to get. The only other phone I was considering was the Note 2. However, Touchwiz and bloat, along with a stylus that I don't need, and a price of $699 unlocked compared to $349 unlocked, make it an easy choice for me. I'm ready for the real super Tuesday. Nexus 4 day.

Apparently it does not. Phil just answered my question regarding this (via twitter), and said it does not support USB OTG out of the box. Just means a little extra work like the N7 to get it. Root and StickMount (and ES file Explorer) like the Nexus 7, I guess.

Too bad. I've been holding on to my Nexus S since it shipped. I change batteries about every day. I have a pair of them to get me through the day. It's lack of memory has always been an issue.

My next phone must have LTE, microSD (or 64GB), and switchable batteries (or 2 days, under constant use). That's just the reality of my operating environment.

The disappointment is that ONLY in the Nexus line do you get a pure droid, timely system upgrades, and an easily hackable platform.

Then they "knee-cap" that flexibility with limited hardware: no memory flexibility, no power flexibility, no communications flexibility.

This leaves the phone a self-contradiction. If feels like the system and HW are at odds. Which seems to be off-putting for the nexus's historic target market (hackers). I think that's the problem.

Oh well. S3 here I come...

Great review Phil. I'm not too disappointed with lack of LTE. I'll pick up the 8GB for my TMobile prepaid sim and it'll be just fine there. Anyone in a country with Good GSM and HSPA+ data coverage will be happy with this phone as well.

Lack of removable battery doesn't bother me as much as it once might have. Battery tech has gotten better and as this phone doesn't have battery-killing LTE, it should be fine.

Great review, Phil. I personally don't care about the removable battery since im always around with my portable charger. It helped me with my Galaxy S, with the S2 and i know that it'l help me with the nexus 4. What bugs me is the SDcard! Dammmn that sucked! But i got a Nexus 7 so i know that i wont be installing any games on the Nexus 4 anyways. Important Apps are not that huge to be taking the whole storage and i can always send my videos and pictures to the cloud if i need to. I noticed that when you placed the nexus 4 next to the other nexus kinda looked like the N4 screen was too blue..or was it just me? Which screen is better?

Do you think that the battery life is better than a GS2 ? No matter what flaws this phone has, ill be purchasing the 16GB next week from Google. If they release a 32GB version im going to cry like a baby tho. lol

I really really wish I could get this phone and go with Straight Talk like he mentioned, but att is not very good where I live; vzw is pretty much it here. Bummer

StraightTalk uses the T-Mobile network, too. Will that work for you?\

This is totally unrelated, but this was the 200th comment.

I don't care if usable storage is just around 13gb nor if it doesn't have LTE. I LOVE this phone, me and my girlfriend will be getting this one. I already know the run around on how to order this thru Google play even if our region is not yet supported to order devices.

My 2 year contract with my Nexus S is ending soon, but I called T-Mobile and they said I could upgrade early (i guess they really want me to extend my contract lol) but Im still hesitant about switching to a phone that large. It seems everything with good specs has a screen of over 4.5 inches except for the iphone (which i obviously dont want) and its pretty disappointing. The nexus S seems like a perfect size with its 4 inch screen. But I really dont want to get anything but a nexus after having this phone, and this would be SUCH a good upgrade. Ill see if I can test one out somehow, Phil's hands dont look like their big, im mostly concerned about one handed use.

Exactly my thoughts going from the Nexus S to the Galaxy Nexus. I won't lie, it's bigger, and by a lot. But surprisingly, it wasn't as big I had thought it would be. It felt about the same as the Moto Razr with its 4.3" screen.

The GN and I would guess the N4 as it's only a millimeter or so wider do make good use of the onscreen buttons to trim some physical size off. That said, I think the 4.7" screen is about my limit. 5 and bigger is a bit much.

Phil, thanks for the long and detailed review. I was already going to buy this phone, but I'm was waiting on this review above all others. I really feel there will NEVER be a phone that pleases everyone. This phone will work great with my AT&T StraghtTalk plan. I might even get the $30 5GB T-Mobile plan for a month to see how good the HSPA+ 42 network is.

I'm one of those people, who when I don't like something, simply say, "I don't like it, and I move on". Everyone is not like I am, so they will go on a rant, kinda like this one, and call people names.

I'm so excited to get this phone. Come on, 11/13/12!

I have to say that all the complainers should go buy an iPhone on contract and enjoy the $2000 you'll spend on "LTE" data over the next 12 months. You will fit in well with the iWhiners @Apple that spend more time in court than making innovative products.

The Nexus 4 is a ridiculous value and a consumer friendly product.

I am looking forward to a more in-depth camera review. That and the speaker are reasons alone for me to upgrade from the Gnex.

It should be noted that the ATT Optimus G has essentially the same hardware, which will lead to stable/quickly released roms (as long as the radio driver works with future Android versions), with the addition of LTE and mSD.

Easy choice,if you have ATT just get the optimus g... root it and put aosp on it ,then you will basically have the nexus running on a LTE network,plus expandable memory.Because under the skin the nexus and optimus g are the same phone

In MY opinion, here'swhat I think about this phone...1) I can give two shits about LTE...42 mbps theoretical speeds are decent...2) No SD card? where it instantly fails for me and here's why...correct me if I'm wrong but Mathias Duarte stated that including external SD storage was giving users a hard time managing they're data...but guess what...as everyone on here keeps stating, this phone isn't for the average user, so please find a better excuse Google...3)Removable battery...My galaxy S3 is thinner than this phone...and according to reports about internal build quality, it's not helping "keep everything safe and set."next excuse Google...just my two cents...thanks!

I think people are up in arms over storage because while there are many many Android-Based phones out there, if you want a new Nexus, this is your only choice. Frankly, it's baffling to me. Prices on flash memory are way down and a 64GB microSD is the exact same size as an 8GB one. Telling people what they want and why they want it is a very Apple thing to do and as far as the cloud, ask someone who went through Verizon's outages over the last year how much they trust the network to be there that one moment they really need that file.

It surprises me how many people get excited about this phone, as if it's a top of the line "gotta have." It seems to me that the Nexus line has been and continues to be mid level devices and the only real attraction is that they have the latest version of Android on them. No thanks!

Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's low quality. Have you seen the specs? They're equal to or better than any smartphone on the market. Boom.

It's all subjective. In my view having the latest version of Android automatically makes it a top tier device.

Anyhow, I don't see how a device with close to the best CPU, GPU, RAM and screen of any Android phone can be relegated to the mid-level category because it lacks LTE but that's just my opinion.

For those of us who never remove their battery, don't need more than 16Gb and are on Wifi most of the time, the Nexus 4 is probably the best Android phone available.

Also, for anyone who gets decent HSPA+ speeds this phone is just like the HTC One X but better.

Good review.

I live in Australia, so 4G isn't a big deal for me (currently has a small rollout). Our 3G network (well one of them anyway) is very robust and I always get 6-10mbit down on my 3G phone, so hopefully with this phone being DC-HSPA, I'll get into the teens.

Memory is a bit different though. I, like everyone else, would have liked 32gb internal considering it doesn't have an sd slot, but it's a compromise I can live with.

What I am a bit disappointed with is the camera. Those shots you took don't look terribly impressive to me. Excessive noise and blur, even for a smartphone. It's passable I guess....

But see here's the thing, Google doesn't seem to particularly care weather a lot of people buy this (or any other previous nexus) phone. They are a niche item, first and foremost meant for developers and those who like to hack their phones; who are a significant minority in the overall Android nation. The are making them more available because there is a market for them but that market is not very large. If they wanted this to be a blockbuster iPhone competitor (and it could be if they wanted it to) they would be marketing the crap out of it and have it on every major carrier a la the GSIII, but they haven't done that and to date they haven't shown any signs that they are going to.

Developers don't need a ton of space and are much more likely to buy a device if it is cheap. Part of keeping it cheap is skimping on a few things like flash memory (which costs a lot more than just an SD card), and having ONE SKU to maintain. The cheap price isn't so they sell more of them it's to make it easier to get them into the hands of those who need them (developers), which wasn't happening when they were over $500.

The future is the cloud you can either embrace it or be content with fewer device choices. I will freely admit that I dont have a ton of music on my phone, nor do I have any desire to. I have a standalone device for that (iPod classic) specifically because I like having ALL of my collection available, and nothing else on the market has the space to store all of my music with room to grow. But that's me. I'm a niche in that regard and I know it. Once upon a time I had a ton of wallpapers and ringtones and other files I put on the SD card of every phone I got. Now I save them to Google Drive (and pin the ones I am actually using), back up my pics and other files to the various cloud sources and never have to worry about loosing those files. If you have ever had an SD card fail on you you know how that sucks.

As for the non removable battery argument, I am so over that. I've owned the Razr, Droid 4, HTC One X (and yes a couple iPhones), and they all have better battery life than the phones that I have had that I can swap batteries out. When I got the first one I got one of those external battery charger things to carry around and have actually used it maybe two or three times, because I dont need it. Yes there are people like Phil who NEED to swap batteries when they go to trade shows (although I think even he could make due with an external battery if he needed to), which is one of the reason Motorola made the Max but for the vast majority of us we get along just fine with built in batteries.

This phone isn't for everybody. If it isn't for you there are plenty of other devices out there to choose from (like the Galaxy Nexus which many people will be selling now that the Nexus 4 is coming), as well as a ton of top notch carrier branded phones (which contrary to the snobby attitude of some on this site are just as good if not better than the Nexus line for MOST people).

I'm not impressed at all with the camera shots. In bright sunlight it's still badly lacking detail when close up. Miles behind other top range phones.

Zoom in on any of them and there's tons of noise. They should be pin sharp in that light. Video looks choppy as well, 22fps? What's that about?

Why do the Nexus devices always have shit cameras? the GSIII shows it can be done.

Shut up and TAKE MY MONEY.

no LTE in europe and i don't need to move around with hundred of hours of music on my phone. BEST PHONE EVER!

Re. the rear camera test, could you re-upload it in 1080? I'm not sure if that's a youtube foible but it's frustrating that the Nexus 4 is billed as capable of 1080p recording and they the sample video provided is max 720.

Other than that, easily the most fantastic review I've ever read.

I only have one problem with this phone and it isn't the storage, battery or LTE. In my area I have great T-Mobile coverage, except inside my apartment and that is where WiFi calling becomes crucial to me. I tried so many other options and the built in T-Mobile WiFi calling app is vastly superior. I want this phone, but it would be all but useless during the hours I am in my house. I hope the guys at XDA can find a way to bring WiFi calling to custom roms for this phone, but I can't risk it at this point. I know this is "pure" Android, but I wish T-Mobile would give an option to pre-load it or download it from the Google Play.

This is the best and most through review I have read in a long time, good job and this is another reason why I cant wait to get my hands on it to retire the GNex, excellent phone, Sprint gave me a horrible experience. Straight Talk ATT here I come

Am I only crazy-pills? Stock photo filters aren't new on Nexus. My NS4G has them if you edit a photo. Regardless, I hardly ever use them and think it's rad that they include the option anyway.

Good review Phil, always appreciate it. I still have 100+ days on my Sprint contract but each day paying the ETA fee sounds more and more tempting. Then it jumping ship into the pre-pay world again with this.

First of, great review Phil.

I've read through some of the comments here and have to agree with what some people are saying. I've been on android for over two years and when I was deciding to go android or ios some of the things that made me decide android where the option of having a removable battery, expandable storage. Lte got me even more into android phones. The previous three where some of the things android fans prided on while comparing their phones to iphones. I really could live withoug Lte, and would be fine without removeable battery, but still cant see how I would do without expandable storage with most carriers doing away with their unlimited plans.

So can we start a petition for either a 32gb, or a nexus with expandable storage.

I want this phone so bad. Screw LTE. I have it on my Galaxy Nexus and tho it sometimes is fast, i most definitely can live with HSPA+. I was going to go that route anyway, considering once I'm out from underneath this contract, I'm going prepaid. Verizon's LTE is not nearly as fast as it once was. Probably because of the amount of users it now has sucking up LTE. And as far as the "limited storage" is concerned, I don't have, nor personally need, a micro sd slot. True, it is incredibly nice to have, but I no longer believe it is a necessity anymore. just my two cents on the two of the major "flaws" people believe the nexus 4 has. I think LG did a great job with this device. I'm sure Google is proud to call it a Nexus.

I think a lot of you are missing a very important point - the N4 and LTE devices ARE NOT COMPETITORS!

Here in Aus, any LTE enabled handset is $250-$400 MORE than the RRP of the N4.

If the N4 had come out with a retail of $699-$799 then absolutely, no LTE is a deal-breaker because it's direct competitors offer it.

Simple fact is, there is no other phone with this kind of spec for $299-$349 outright on the market.

If you want LTE, buy and LTE handset and spend the extra $250. Otherwise it's like complaining that the new Honda Civic doesn't go as fast as a Ferrari 458.

Absolutely absurd posts about (lack of) LTE in here...

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This phone is perfect for me, having 2 (older) ipods I have all the music I need ON MY IPODs, I dont have to rely on my phone for it. Secondly, the area in my province JUST got 3G, we aren't even close to 4G yet, so I doubt they even know what LTE is (tbaytel sucks) so its MUCH better this phone doesnt have LTE (obviously for ppl in my situation).

its looks are amazing, specs are top notch, instant upgrades from Google, while all those other ppl have to wait over a year.

I get a kick out of coming here and reading the comments from you guys/gals. It's funny how the same rant is said over and over and over again, "NO LTE, NO INTERNAL STORAGE, NO REMOVABLE BATTERY." Are any of you reading the prior posts? LMAO!! Phil you have thick skin and patience, brother..lol

This phone is perfect for me. I use straight talk so LTE is not an issue with me especially with T-mobile speeds being just as fast as LTE in my area. I sure if big red or Sprint decides to carry this phone there will be LTE versions of it. For my one of the biggest values of the Nexus is it being unlocked and I don't know how much LTE effects that. Do we expect Google to create a phone that is unlocked and able to work on every LTE network? I also use wifi whenever I can. As far as storage, my phone mostly holds apps. I use Google music so no matter what phone, pc or tablet I use, its always there. Google drive I have just started using to store other things like photos. I dont plan on keep anything on my phone i don't have to. I broke my Galaxy Nexus and can't access any of the things I had saved on it and that taught me the cloud is the way to go. I am currently using the Xperia S and I make it through the day on one charge so if the battery life is better than that i will be pleased. I want to know more about Miracast. Will Google be selling accessories that are compatible with it? This will be my next phone. Time to sell the Xperia.

Google data mines everything...including your voice. Don't fool yourself...I don't mind the data mining. If they can read my mind...then I have just found my digital butler.

Has the software update come down yet? I thought it was to be released yesterday?

Edit: hmmm sorry just realised its still the 11th there. :p

Does anyone know when the page for the nexus 4 will go live ?? like at 12 am ? 1 am? 2 am?

Great review. I was curious about some other components in the system, like the radios etc. Could you run dmesg and lsmod in the adb shell after a fresh boot and post the results?

As much as I will say there are other phones that has the external microsd but they cost $ 300 more aka the sgs3 or even the lg optimus g to get lte but the thing that makes the Nexus 4 so great is not having carrier locked, proprietary ui *i.e. touchwiz*, and being that it is a aosp device, no waiting or hacking a version of cm10 or aokp on it to get rid of bloatware and carrier crap. I love aokp on my sgs2, however, I still had to wait for the port of aokp to get it and even it is not perfect, chrome under aokp is buggy, where on my nexus 7 chrome works perfectly. Plus to me, spending 250 more for the Optimus G to get 16 gig internal storage, external storage and lte or save the $ 250 to get the n4.. I will save the money and not have to add a contract. Plus to be truthful, I have 32 GB external sd card in my sgs2 i777 and I hardly use it, I use the internal more. So it is no longer a deal breaker anymore. But I might wait a couple of months because the n4 might get updated to 32 GB storage for $ 350 and I will be all over that one. Either way in the next couple of months I am upgrading and the nexus 4 is looking like my next phone either way.

Hey Phil.
I have a question. Suppose something goes wrong with my Nexus 4 batteries. Will I be able to get it fixed in an LG center (since they are partnered with google in this phone)?