Android Central

It's been a little more than two months since the LG Nexus 4 first made its way onto Google Play's virtual store shelves. And as we all know all too well, it sold out record fashion. (Or, if you prefer, Google failed to ensure supply kept up with demand even worse than with previous devices.) So it's probably safe to say that those of us with nine or 10 weeks of Nexus 4 usage under our belts are firmly in the minority.

With that in mind, we thought we'd revisit the Nexus 4 ownership experience two months on, and examine how the Android flag-bearer has performed as a daily driver. If you've recently picked up a Nexus 4, or you're still waiting to place your order, here's your chance to find out what the future holds.

Check past the break to find out how well the Nexus 4 has weathered 70 days in the hands of an Android Central editor.

That glass back is going to scratch

My Nexus 4 has been used to some extent every day since mid-November, including a week-long stint in Las Vegas for CES 2013. It’s been dropped, on carpet, exactly once. Besides that, its tour of duty has been without incident. And externally, it’s held up about as well as any phone that’s served as my daily driver.

In two months of normal use it’s accumulated its share of scrapes, with the glass back panel bearing the brunt of the damage. Use it without a case, and the back is going to scratch, even if you’re extremely careful. In my case, the top section of the rear glass is peppered with hairline scratches, in much the same way as the back of a well-used iPod Classic. Fortunately the darkness of the glass and the reflective pattern make these scratches difficult to see most of the time. But they’re there, and you know they’re there. Worse, a few are perilously close to the camera lens, which could be problematic.

So far I've managed to avoid cracking the back of the phone, but there's a forum thread for unfortunate Nexus 4 owners who have, along with plenty of photographic evidence.

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The only other area that’s a little scratched-up is the top part of the silver trim around the front -- though bizarrely the bottom part of the trim looks good as new. The damage is clear to see in the photo below, but it's worth re-stating that these aberrations are much more difficult to make out in person. In any case, it shows the results of LG's design decisions -- a shiny phone is more likely to scratch.

You’d be hard pushed to find any phone that doesn’t pick up some signs of wear and tear after a couple of months of use, and the Nexus 4, though vulnerable to scrapes, is no worse than the average handset. For example, the Galaxy S3, which I used for about the same amount of time, accumulated some scratches on its back. In the S3's case, however, these marks were limited to the easily-replaceable plastic battery door. Also figure that anything glossy will show scratches more than a matte device, such as the HTC One X, with its flat polycarb body.

Over on the forums, a majority of poll respondents said they're using a case of some kind on their Nexus 4 to avoid this kind of damage. But some seem to be happy with the risk. Forum poster palitsyn writes "[I] do have a bumper and a case, but stopped using them, as I like the phone as it is. If it breaks, it breaks. I want to enjoy my phone."

Android Central

8 gigabytes of storage is enough, except for when it’s not

So, after telling you not to buy the 8-gigaybte Nexus 4, I went and bought the 8GB Nexus 4. With all the launch day chaos, I had a choice between an 8GB Nexus 4 or no Nexus 4, and I made the only decision I could -- to opt for the cheaper model with less on-board storage. Given a free choice, I’d still recommend paying the extra $50 or £40 to double your storage, for all the reasons I went into in the original article.

But since I’ve been slumming it on an 8GB Nexus 4, the limitation of 5.67GB of space for all my assorted crap hasn't been a huge impediment. Regular Android apps don't take up that much space, and since I'm on an unlimited data plan, streaming through Google Play Music is preferable to loading up the phone with MP3s the old-fashioned way.

The overwhelming majority of the time, 8GB is enough. (And we've had more than one manufacturer tell us their surveys support that.) There are just a couple of instances where the Nexus's anemic internal storage becomes troublesome. The first is gaming -- high-end Android games regularly weigh in at 1GB of more. Need for Speed: Most Wanted, for example, tips the scales at 2GB once all its files are installed. On an 8GB Nexus 4, that's more than a third of your available storage, meaning you'll have to ration what's left of your internal flash if you're a big gamer.

The second problem use-case is any kind of media consumption that relies on local files. If you're taking a long flight (say, halfway across the world for a major trade show), or traveling anywhere with less-than-stellar data connectivity (say, a major trade show halfway across the world), media streaming suddenly isn't an option. That means you'll need to load your phone up with files beforehand. And 5.67GB is easier to fill than you might think, especially when all your apps and downloads have to come out of that same allowance.

The community consensus is that 8GB is a little wanting, but 16GB is enough. Forum poster badbrad17 says of his 16GB model, "I have every app I could need installed plus lots of photos and videos and I still have 9GB free. And this is with 1.3GB for my Titanium backup. 8GB is certainly not enough but 16 is plenty for most people."

Android Central

Android 4.2 is quirky, but loveable

Two months after launch, and the Nexus 4 is one of only two phones officially running the latest version of Android, 4.2 Jelly Bean. The "vanilla" experience remains the fastest, cleanest and best-designed Android UI to be found on any device, and 4.2 adds several important improvements to the stock UI.

One change I wasn't exactly enamored with, though, was the new 4.2 lock screen, which introduces lock screen widget support. Something about it seemed tacked-on (Phil, who's used the Nexus 4 with pre-release software that lacked lock screen widgets, agrees here), and after two months of use it still stands out as one of the poorer areas of the OS, from a design perspective. That said, I've gotten used to it, and it now feels natural -- and fast -- to drag from the center of the screen to unlock, or grab the right edge to hop straight into the camera app.

I haven't been tempted to try any more varied lock screen widgets, though. It's still my argument that this kind of feature sort of defeats the point of having a lock screen at all.

The hardware’s future-proofed, with one crucial exception

For the most part, the Nexus 4 is bleeding-edge smartphone, just as it was back in November. There's not a chip out there (currently available) that bests Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro, and combined with speedy updates directly from Google, you're in for a great experience in the coming year. I'm not about to complain that the Nexus 4 lacks a ridiculous 1080p screen like the Droid DNA. We'll probably revisit this subject throughout the year, but the difference between 720p and 1080p on a smartphone just isn't worth getting worked up about.

But once again, a Nexus' Achilles heel is its camera setup. Back in November I called the Nexus 4's camera "good enough," and I stand by that. There's a forum thread full of great pictures taken by folks who'd agree with me. But camera technology is one area of smartphone hardware that's not slowing down, and this year we've already seen camera capabilities that utterly trounce the Nexus 4, specifically on Sony's Xperia Z. So the Nexus 4’s camera is no match for what we’ll see fitted on high-end smartphones in 2013, and that's something to bear in mind if you're still on the fence.

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LTE is still a mess

Officially, cell data on the current Nexus 4 is limited to HSPA+. Unofficially, the picture is still pretty murky. Nexus 4 owners in Canada and a couple places in the U.S. got a pleasant surprise when shortly after launch it emerged that the phone was hiding Band 4 LTE support. Those are the same LTE frequencies that’ll soon be used by T-Mobile USA, so TMo fans are hoping for official LTE support via a future software update. However, the requisite paperwork doesn’t seem to have passed through the FCC yet, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens on that one.

Whatever happens with LTE on the current Nexus 4, I have a feeling we’ll eventually see new, LTE-supporting Nexus 4 models on other carriers and territories. The U.S. market may be naturally hostile towards unlocked LTE devices, but in Europe things are generally standardized across 800, 1800 and 2600MHz, and it’s already possible to buy unlocked European LTE phones.

While we’re speculating, let’s not forget about Sprint, which proudly carried both the Nexus S 4G and Galaxy Nexus. At this stage, an LTE-enabled Nexus 4 would make one hell of a hero device for this floundering carrier.

Android Central

It’s still impossible to buy one from the Play Store

Whether supply issues or underestimated demand were to blame, the Google Play Store has spectacularly failed to get Nexus 4s into consumers' hands. Google's working on it, but in the meantime it's experienced two months of throttled Play Store sales. 

LG has indicated that things should get better by mid-February, but if you've already waited months to pick up a Nexus 4, what's another few weeks to snag an Xperia Z instead? Or whatever new hotness HTC brings to Mobile World Congress? Smartphone nerds are a fickle bunch.

Wrapping up

No surprise -- two months on, the Nexus 4 is still a fantastic piece of technology. Other devices will eclipse it in the months ahead, such is the natural order of the smartphone world. If you buy one today, it won't stay in pristine condition forever -- after all, no gadget is indestructible.

The Nexus 4 wasn't our first choice for the best smartphone of 2012, for reasons we've covered in another article. But with two months of experience with the first LG-built Nexus behind me, would I still recommend it? Absolutely.


Fellow Nexus 4 owners, how've you been finding the handset over the past couple of months? Let us know in the comments!

 
There are 124 comments

Alex Dobie says:

Thanks. Was definitely going to ask. ;)

still1 says:

haha!! That's really thoughful

benurd says:

Ha! I was going to ask. Thnx!!

Kem Alimole says:

Thank you for the wallpaper by the way!

TLB69 says:

Alex,stop acting like you know us.lol!!!Thxz

G_The_One says:

Nice one!

Thanks. You know your audience well - we were going to ask!

Ankit Mirkar says:

thanks a lot :)

Wizard101sco says:

I've had mine since Nov and agree; slight scratching on the back and thats with a case?!?
However; I'm hoping it's ok as applyed a skin to the back as well as the front.

Nexus 4 is such a class act and agree that it will be superseeded soon enough. But believe it'll hold its game for some time to come.

The fact it's a pure android was the biggest buying point and went with you're recommendation, in getting the 16Gb instead since both were available.

Also found the key combo (Am sure it's kicking about here) for access to the likes of the LTE chip enabling/disabling etc

Still Highly recommend this phone to anyone thinking about it :-)

URPREY says:

I noticed some minor scratching on the top chrome bezel on mine also. I believe it's happening while in the pocket of my jeans. There is just enough coarseness to the thread and/or the stonewash material still in my pocket that causes it. I noticed the happened on my Note 2 also once I took it out of the case.

My phone always goes face in and down into my pocket, so that's the only thing that makes sense.

Same here. I have the exact same pattern of tiny scratches on the top chrome bezel, and I pocket my phone in the same way. Unlike Alex, though, the back of my Nexus 4 is still scratch free. That might be because I never took off the piece of protective plastic that came with the phone, which definitely has some scratches/marks on it. I planned on removing it once I got a case, but I never did. Now that I'm back to naked (sans case), I'm glad I didn't. I still might look into a more durable, aftermarket skin for the back.

dennislaska says:

I got a carbon fiber skin on ebay for the back. love it.

veryjiggy says:

You did not mention the awful (or probably 'nothing great') battery life. On 3g, it barely gives me 2 hours of screen on time. :(

Alex Dobie says:

Battery life's been great on my N4. Easily on par with the SGS3, and superior to the Gnex.

btgrave says:

I agree. I've gotten at least 4 hours screen time on my N4 before it needed to be charged.

sentinelred says:

Trust me when I say that I'm not trolling here, because I am totally hooked on my Verizon Galaxy Nexus, but not so much on it's battery life. My brother's iPhone 5 get's way more than a measly 4 hours. The fact that people think 4 hours of screen time is good would be enough reason for me to switch to an iPhone with my upgrade this month, except that I love trying out new ROMs and changing everything all the time.

There is a kernel bug that is causing the phone to not sleep when accessing data via 3G. I wasn't aware of it until Paul O'Brien pointed it out and a kernel fix. Battery increase was staggering.

My wife and I have both smashed the backs of ours and they are a staggering £80 to replace. I don't think the phone is that much more prone to breaking ie its breaks / drop ratio is probably about the same as any other phone. The problem is that it just doesn't stay put. Rest it on the arm of a sofa or a glass table and it will end up on the floor. I have never dropped a phone as often as I have dropped this N4. Tempted to fit a non slip sticker to the back of it.

Wireless charging is a bit iffy and, as per all nexus devices, the accessories remain just fiction.

Headphone jack at the top is a massive fail.

Android 4.2 feels like a true beta.

Overall its a good phone, not a great phone.

C0deM0nkey says:

Change wireless chargers - I'm using an LG WCP-700 (sourced from eBay USA) and a Maxell Air Voltage. Both charge faultlessly.

DavidDesu says:

Could you please help, I'm seriously considering getting a Nexus 4 (just waiting for it to become available to actually buy tbh) but I'm worried about the "massive fail" with the headphone jack... what's the problem... it isn't designed in a such a way that headphones with a bulkier plug won't fit will it? I hope not :(

drwohl says:

It wasn't my response, so I'm speculating here about the reason, but some people are remarkably concerned that the jack is on the top, rather than the bottom, of the phone. Now, to me that's so completely irrelevant, but I guess it matters to some people. I love my N4, wherever the jack is located. (OK, I probably wouldn't like it if the jack were in the middle of the screen....)

masterpfa says:

Personally I don't count 'On Screen' time but time between charges and with my own usage at anywhere between 12-18 hours, is more than good enough for me. On my
Galaxy Nexus I was required to carry a spare battery to see anything near this amount of use.

aimetti says:

yep , i easily get 4-5 hours screentime and thats with all normal sync / google now etc.

veryjiggy says:

I get that kind of screen on time when I am on wifi. Never on 3g. :(

cheapskate88 says:

sounds like you get craptastic network coverage.

icebike says:

Then your complaint isn't about screen-on time, its about poor reception areas.

jbrandonf says:

True, but when your phone comes with only five gigs, streaming becomes a necessity. They really should've doubled the storage on both options.

mercado79 says:

Battery life for me isn't as good as the GS3, but it's not that bad. about 4 to 5 hours screen-on time with sync and everything running. Mix of wifi and 3g. It doesn't blow me away, but neither am I stressing over it. Have you let it go to just about dead on it's own? I think I didn't start getting good battery life until the first time I did that. Until then, it'd show as discharging much faster. Letting it go to just about empty resulted in it staying at around 10% for a LONG time. Worth a try.

DirkBelig says:

The HSIC wakelock bug has been the bane of my existence and the people who sneer, "I get such great battery life, I have 24 hours screen on and plugged my refrigerator into it, too," are annoying. If I put it in Airplane mode, it barely drains 1% in 4 hours. On wifi, I can get 14-20 hours with 2 hours screen time.

However, today I was at 10% after only 7h 40m of 3G use; 3h 12m of screen time; and before anyone says it's poor coverage, this was 72% 4-bars, 20% 3-bars, 6% 2-bars, 1% 1-bar. (ST AT&T) I'm undervolting using fauz123's kernel and setting for maximum economy (screen at 25%), but due to the HSIC bug which apparently can't be swatted without a new radio firmware because LG/Qualcomm decided to tie data to USB.

A phone which can't deliver a full work day away from wifi does NOT qualify has having "good battery life" IMO.

Anthony W says:

I just checked my phone and the battery is at 57% charged with it running for 8h 45m with 2h on-screen time. It's running on 4G. I don't know what to tell you other than I get great battery life out the phone. I have my phone at the default brightness level with WiFi and Bluetooth off. I don't know how much of a difference that makes.

return_0 says:

Turning off Wi-Fi makes a pretty substantial difference in a positive way, but keeping the screen at default brightness (which I assume is full brightness, as was the case, I believe, on my N7) adversely affects the battery, so on average you're getting pretty good battery life.

jhotmann says:

I'm patiently waiting for the Nexus 4 to arrive on the play store. I don't care what other phones will come out shortly after because they don't bare the Nexus badge. I'd go back to a dumb phone before buying another non-Nexus Android device.

hmmm says:

If Sprint does get it I wish they didn't take so long.

Most people who would buy a N4 on Sprint probably bought something else like a GS3 most likely. Or, by the time it would make an appearance I have a feeling the GS4 would be released and a GS4 running CM 10.1 would probably be better all around on Sprint. With the large developer support for Samsung phones now custom roms are very easy to do and they are released quite fast and relatively bug free which kind of takes away the allure of a Nexus phone. Anyway, with the current supply issues I don't think LG or Google would want to release this phone on any more carriers. They can't even keep up with supply on the number 4 carrier and it isn't like this phone is selling in GS3 or iPhone type numbers...

It is interesting the glass scratches so easily. It definitely isn't made of the same glass the front is unfortunately. Imagine if screens scratched that easily? I have a friend who has one and the scratches are very noticeable. It is no worse than the glossy plastic of the GS3 though which scratches just as easily even when cared for.

Mobius360 says:

The GNex came to Sprint in April, so if the N4 comes to Sprint the window is still there.

bearballz72 says:

Well that's a big if. But I would love to see the N4 on Sprint.

vansmack says:

Yep, the Nexus S4G came to Sprint in May as well. They've been about 6 months behind the times on the Nexus for the last 2 years and have given no indication that they won't be this time.

That being said, I jumped ship from Sprint after many years, have gone contract less with T-Mo and haven't had a single regret in the last 3 months. Some of you who have business contracts and what have you will enjoy the N4 on Sprint too.

What utter tripe.

" but if you've already waited months to pick up a Nexus 4, what's another few weeks to snag an Xperia Z"

Errm £300 for starters.....

Bruh-Man says:

I think the Galaxy Note 2 is much better. Oh well about the Vanilla Android experience.

I agree. And I can get a Vanilla Android experience on my Note 2 using Nova Launcher. With 2GB of RAM, 16GB of built in storage, & an SD card slot that will support a 64GB card...this is the first phone I have ever had with enough storage & power that I don't notice a little bloat that comes on non-Vanilla devices.

Synycalwon says:

My sentiments as well. I have a Nexus 7 and find vanilla Android leaves something to be desired. It’s ok, but my Note 2 blows it out of the water! :P

Wesley1 says:

I agree too, Galaxy S3 also by a long way...

BookReader2 says:

We should be getting a lot more Nexus 4 soon.

according to XDA Developers users who poking the serial number, they have found that there have been over 752,000 Nexus 4 produced so far

the thread is titled
[INFO] LG Nexus 4 Production Date and Place Identification

from poking at the serial number, they have found the following

October: 70,000 devices produced
November: 90,000
Dec: 210,000
January: 500,000+ is very likely

752,000 - 70,000 - 90,000 - 210,000 = 382,000 so far in January. And the month has about 10 more days to go.

Nonymous666 says:

But I bet the Play store still won't be able to handle all that when they're made available.

CoolBeit says:

I was dead set on getting a Nexus 4....

But at this point, I'm probably going to wait to see what HTC brings to MWC. And that Xperia Z is a very cool phone.

Johnly says:

The Nexus 4 is a beautiful device. I want one with LTE. Flagship and being unavailable carrier wide seems like an oxymoron, and that is where samsung has done very well. Love the note 2, but I would have popped on a nexus 4 had it been up to "flagship" duty if you will.

smathew4 says:

I am still ecstatic about my Nexus 4 (16gb) purchase back in November.
-My smartphone history was Palm Pre > LG Optimus S > NS4G > N4 (Tmobile). So battery life was always an issue until now. My NS4G would drain battery like no other, down to 20% by noon or so. So being at 75% at noon on my N4 with the same usage is a Godsend.
-I'm very careful about the physical condition of my phones. So I didn't even use my N4 until my bumper came in, and I even left the protective plastic on for awhile until my XtremeGUARD Full Body screen & back protector came in(from Amazon). BTW, thumbs way up for this screen protector. It is a water based one, in case that matters to you. Ultimately, no scratches yet, even after dropping it outdoors (onto concrete) 3 days ago.
-I think the camera software in Android 4.2 is great, but I can definitely see the lack of great camera hardware. I still don't understand why Nexus phones can't have the type of camera that was even in an iPhone 4... 2 years ago!
-I don't use lock screen widgets either, I find them pretty useless. But I do use the lock screen camera access, which I never did on my NS4G running 4.1

return_0 says:

I totally agree with you on the third one. It pretty much works like this:
iPhone: 2 years behind Android on nearly everything
Nexus devices (and some other Android ones too): 2 years behind iPhone on camera hardware

Just a stream of conciousness before I leave work...

I've had mine since mid-dec and overall i'm happy with it.
I came from an iphone 4 so the n4 is blisteringly fast for me. I've found decent music, podcast, twitter, google reader and calendar apps so i'm all set-up!

I would say that build quality is pretty good ... it has a few rattles and squeaks. and the edges seem to be a bit of a dust trap.

I like the big screen ... tho I've managed to scratch the edge of the glass on the front - no idea how!

I've toyed with lock screen widgets but my main use case (music and podcasts) isn't adequately covered (tho i imagine this will get covered by someone at some stage).

I find battery life a bit of a mystery - it seems poor to me but that might be because I probably had my iphone docked a lot more than I realise so the battery never got a chance to run down. (i've got a dock on order)

I've found an in-car dash holder that is reasonably good.

The price is the killer feature ... I'd have no hesitation in recommending it

cheers!
n

PWC Realtor says:

Luckily the Nexus 4 is future proofed for T-Mobile USA. Only thing is that how can a carrier do an OTA software update on an unlocked phone? Sounds like Google would have to push an update to all Nexus 4s.

Of course if you're like me and rooted you don't need to wait for T-mo to enable LTE (unless they pull a fast one and require new SIM cards or reprovisioning to enable LTE).

MrLadoodle says:

LTE requires new SIM-cards. Just how UTMS required new SIM cards.

MazoMark says:

Agree with your comments Alex. I was lucky enough to get a 16 gb Nexus 4 in the first mad scramble. After using it for a month, I sold my GS3 and made it my daily driver.

I put a cheap case on it after using it naked for a few weeks. Had hoped to get the bumper, but this works for now. If I look extremely closely at the back under a strong light, I can find a few scratches, but nothing that would be seen under normal use.

Overall - this phone is perfect for me. Prepaid setup saves money over 2 year contracts with major carrier. Phone is fast and has no weaknesses that impact how I use it. I really don't miss LTE that much - for me it is a 'nice to have' feature, not a must have. Screen is sharp without oversaturated colors that Samsung seems to love. Unlike some others, my battery life is more than enough to get me through the day.

piizzadude says:

So you write an article outlining the negatives of the device and then recommend it wholeheartedly?

dazweeja says:

...which implies that the negatives are minor to the reviewer compared to the overwhelming positives...

benurd says:

I received my nexii 12/12/12. 16.gb and I even downloaded Transformers 3, I still have a nice amount of storage left over. No scratches or anything because the plastics have just come off the front and back last week lol. The battery life is better than my HTC Amaze, but I was expecting more. I keep my screen on automatic (vs full 100% on the Amaze) and I generally have all the radios turned on and autosync enabled. But the second I turn off Bluetooth, my battery life is lengthened.

I love this phone and it's easily the best Android phone I've had. It's a beast and handles everything I throw at it with ease. It never sweats. I use mine on Family Mobile thru Walmart running on the T-Mobile network. My data speeds in the Bay Area are pretty decent.

mlynch01 says:

I am very happy with my Nexus 4. It is without question the fastest android phone I have used (coming from a One S and then an Galaxy S3) and will be content with it for the next 2 years. I am carrying it naked as I like the look and feel of it without a case but I do have the Skinomi Techskin screen protectors on the front and back glass of mine for scratch protection and it has worked like a champ.

jeffreytz says:

Nice summary. My only additional comments would be that since the 4.2.1 upgrade the phone has been a little wonky with things like bluetooth. It works perfectly fine but I'm forced to reboot my phone every couple of days (or it crashes on its own) to keep it working (after a couple of days it will randomly stop connecting to my Jawbone Era and other devices). I've looked for an app that I can set my phone to reboot every morning at 4am like I had on my Palm Pre but so far can't find one (any suggestions would be appreciated).

Personally I love the lock screen widgets, I have my calendar agenda and flashlight icon just a swipe away. I also changed the main clock to use Beautiful Widgets clock/weather as I like it's blue halo theme better and I can just swipe down to get the updated weather right at the lock screen. Good stuff.

paulswift36 says:

Bluetooth and Wifi issues are quite common on the N4 with 4.2, Google has a number of heavily populated fault logs from a lot of people. This is likely to be a software issue though so I'm hoping that 4.2.2 will solve it. Turning off Bluetooth seems to require a reboot and Wifi drops out by itself on a variety of different routers.

With quite a few hundred people experiencing these issues it amazes me that its not more publicised. I still love it though and knowing the issues means you can work around them, as long as they get fixed soon.

The glass back seems almost too slippery and makes the phone slip off almost anything given time likes its trying to escape somewhere.

Shame that the OTG cable doesn't work otherwise memory issues would be easily solved.

iowabeakster says:

The app AutomateIt Pro would certainly give you ability to reboot at a set time everyday. There is also a free version, but that version doesn't have full functionality. I don't know what functions are available in the free or not. I've been using Pro for a long time.

It's not the easiest thing to use. Basically you create rules which includes a "trigger" and an "action". In your case the trigger would be a time setting (4AM) and the action would be to reboot. I use AutomateIt for many things. My list of rules is huge and complex... it's a "nerd-tweakers" friend.

I have never used Tasker, but I have to imagine that it would work too. AutomateIt is much cheaper though.

schrickloid says:

I'm really getting tired of all the complaints about the glass breaking. I mean every story I read about the Nexus 4 on here has to throw in a jab about the glass. I've had my Nexus 4 for over two months with only the Bumper and have not had a single scratch. That includes dropping it at least once. Maybe it has more to do with the user and less about the phone.

planoman says:

Current Note 2 owner and I love it. I picked up a Nexus 7 around Christmas and love it. I would love to have a Nexus 4 for the weekend when I do not need the longer battery life or higher storage. I like the pure google experience so far.

I can wait until they show up on the play store. Not going get gouged by some of these people selling them.

Just realized I have a lot of love for android! Lol!

JobiWan144 says:

"There's not a chip out there (currently available) that bests Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 Pro..."

I'm pretty sure you're contradicting what Jerry said about the dual-core Samsung Exynos 5 in the Nexus 10. Tank (i.e. A15-based) beats everything, as they say.

vansmack says:

The Exynos 5 has not made it's way onto any phones yet (just the Chromebook and the Nexus tablet). I think Alex was comparing phones, not tablets.

spielnicht says:

Nexus One - had me drooling upon its announcement because it was truly "the" revolutionary Android phone
Nexus S - I yawned and said "pass"
Galaxy Nexus - Again had me drooling as being the first Android phone to get 720p HD screen and a beautiful default skin in Android 4.0
Nexus 4 - I yawned and said "pass"

I'm noticing a trend here. I'll have to wait for the next Nexus I guess, and my new HTC One X+ will do just fine until then.

I got the Nexus One then I passed on the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus since I felt they were both lacking in areas that were important to me, then I got the Nexus 4. Everyone has it's own pattern, you'll get the Nexus Phone 5, I'll get the Nexus Phone 7, but what is interesting, is that you will also get the Nexus Phone 7... Therefore I predict Nexus Phone 7 will blow our minds!

Got mine just before New Years from the Play store.

Having previously been on an old Desire HD it's been a huge upgrade for me and I'm still loving it. And now I've settled down to using it normally rather than playing with it every second I get through a days use with around 30% remaining on the battery.

I keep mine in a gel case, but haven't bothered with a screen protector and it is still pristine as far as my bespectacled eyes can make out.

Not fond of the lock screen widgets either and I'm still figuring out the camera, haven't figured out how to get the best out of it yet, but on all other fronts it's been a fantastic device.

Turboboxer says:

What were you doing to scratch the back? My N4 is always at my side, in pocket or hand.I have a first batch N4 and have exactly 0 glass scratches and I have dropped mine on the carpet more times that I will admit. I do have some very and I mean very minor chrome bezel scratches on the bottom from taking my bumper on and off a few times since I got it but you have to be really looking for them to see them and you can't feel them...

Shaun Coyle says:

I've had the Nexus 4 since early Dec and with no case and no screen protector I can safely say there is not one scratch on it. However I always keep one pocket spare for my phone exclusively (no keys or loose change) so maybe that's why. Don't buy a case, It's a really beautiful phone!

I left the back screen protector on my Nexus since I first unboxed it about a month and half ago now. No scratches. Also have a case, not one of those cases that take away from the design though. Just a flexible black case, rubber along the sides for good grip. No damage for me after destroying my last Nexus 4 in just about 3 days lol

StuartV says:

"since I'm on an unlimited data plan"

You rationalize that the phone's paltry storage is okay because you have a data plan that nobody else can get?!?!

"The overwhelming majority of the time, 8GB is enough"

Yeah, sure. As long as you have an Unlimited Data plan, which nobody else can get!! Ditto for the 16GB version.

There is simply no reasonable explanation for a top-of-the-line smartphone not to be able to completely dispel the need to carry an iPod (which come in up to 160GB variants) around with you.

Well, no explanation except that Google makes more money as a result of you storing everything in their Cloud, and the carriers make more money by not offering unlimited data plans and then charging you for every byte you stream from the Cloud.

Please stop acting as Google and the carriers' mouthpiece by trying to obfuscate the blatant money-grabbing and convincing everybody it's okay that Google is cramming more and more limited storage down everybody's throats!

Thank goodness for Samsung telling them to stick it and continuing to make phones with decent storage built in plus microSD slots onboard.

Hear hear! They get everyone used to paying $100 for $8 worth of flash memory then Google takes away that option and users say, "Thank you for not giving us that option and for forcing me to have to manage my storage more often!"

vansmack says:

Not sure what country you're in, but I pay $70 a month in the US and have unlimited data off contract.

Others who need less phone minutes pay less.

sRedwolf says:

In Canada $65 a month gets you 1GB and no voicemail or call display. $50 (which otherwise would be a perfectly reasonable plan for the average smart phone user) gets you 150MB. Unlimited data doesn't even exist. So streaming everything is not a viable option in this country. Phones without adequate internal storage here are totally and completely useless.

vansmack says:

Thanks for that info, and this is how comments to Alex's article should be approached. Phones with 8GBs of storage would be useless in Canada, and an argument can be made for 16GB phones too.

But it was unfair for the original poster to say that "no one could get" a plan like Alex's because they definitely exist in varying markets around the world.

sRedwolf says:

Yeah I can certainly agree with that.

ysstog says:

Huh?

I'm in Toronto, Canada. I use Mobilicity as my provider. I pay $22.50 (yes, you read that right) for UNLIMITED everything (yes, you read that right), including long distance for North America (yes, you read that right). Admittedly, I got it when they were having a promotion, but they do offer the same thing right now for $45.

70$ a month! God damn, that feels so expensive to me

MrLadoodle says:

He lives in the UK, which is quite obvious. In the UK (and many parts of Europe and Asia) its super duper easy to get unlimited data plan still. Heck the unlimited data plans are usually cheaper then the capped plans. (e.g Three vs T-Mobile)

nbell978 says:

Uhh.. If you're in the US, T-Mobile has unlimited data...

StuartV says:

Oooooo!!! An All You Can Eat Buffet! And for only $4.99. Oh, but they only have lettuce and carrots....

My apologies for the U.S.-centric reply. By "unlimited data plan that nobody else can get", I really was talking about unlimited data plans that have modern speed and useful coverage - in the U.S..

And even for people with unlimited data, 16GB (or less) of storage, with no expandability, is still a design that lets Google make more money off you by pushing most stuff to the Cloud - even though with an unlimited plan, the carrier gets paid the same money, either way.

IN NO CASE is having less storage an actual benefit to the consumer.

Anthony W says:

I'm in New York City and I get unlimited talk, text and 4G data for $50 a month with Simple Mobile. I had a 4GLTE phone before the Nexus 4 and I barely notice the speed difference.

The only thing I have stored in the cloud is my music which cost nothing and I bought a WiFi hard drive for more space but I haven't needed it so far.

And what a low storage phone does is make you get rid of things you weren't really using anyway. I got rid of a lot of stuff and so far I don't miss them.

Right but if they had simply put in an extra $8-$16 worth of flash memory, would you have bothered to buy a wifi hard drive that probably cost $100?

"Yeah, sure. As long as you have an Unlimited Data plan, which nobody else can get!!"

America is not everyone.

Plenty of reasonably priced unlimited data plans in other parts of the world. I pay 12 GBP (19 USD) a month for mine.

I moved from a Samsung Galaxy SII to the N4 and not looked back. I never used the sd-card slot on it as 16gb was enough as all my music came from the cloud. However I was constantly fed up with the crappy software and long delays for updates. The SII is just getting Jelly Bean now, 6 months after release. My friend currently has an SIII and has had nothing but trouble with it since the latest software update, he's eagerly waiting the N4 to come back in stock. But then he has one of these unlimited data plans that "nobody else can get".

Speak for yourself! Unlimited data is freely available in the UK from the 3 carrier! Had it for nearly 2 years now and it has been fantastic. There's more to the world than your backyard mate so open your eyes a bit wider before going off on a rant!

warrenis1234 says:

I'm two weeks in now and I've actually become one of the few I'm sure who uses widgets in the lock screen. I disagree with the "need for a lock screen" part, because I regularly turn off the lock when in at my desk for example, but i always need to put it back on because when it's in my pocket, it turns on too easily.

I think putting the widgets in the lock screen opens up more variation in the way you use your phone. I turned my home screen into an iPhone style grid of my favorite apps, customized with alternate icons of course, so when I unlock the device, i can go either swipe to go through my favorite widgets, or unlock to go directly to my refined app drawer

EDIT: forgot to add, I'm sure I'm one of many who work absolutely fine with 8gb. mostly because im not a heavy gamer or an app guy. I believe this phone was created to be a developer phone, and I spend most of my fun with this phone on xda playing with all the different Roms and features those geniuses come up with. I leave media on the cloud since there is a wifi signal everywhere I go, and I delete apps I know I won't really use to keep the phone light. the point is, I'm ecstatic Google gave me the option for less space, shoot I would have been glad to save another hundred for a 4gb version lol

Kem Alimole says:

I'm glad to say I have no scratches, or cracks anywhere on my device. The first thing I did when I got my phone is put the screen protectors on the front and back of the device. Then I put the phone in the official bumper case.

cooperaaaron says:

Got my Nexus 4 on launch day, 8GB version, no scratches or issues, I'm on the $30 Tmobile unlimited plan, no storage issues as I have only used 2.5 GB's. I came from a T-Mobile Comet and if you know phones, it was crap.. My speeds are from 20-30 down and 1.5 to 3 up, so no need for LTE at this poing. If T-Mobile switches over to LTE, I will be ready. I'm running the Matr1x kernel, I get two days of use on my phone, as I don't game much or stream.

I'm HAPPY with my 8GB Nexus 4.

RadHaz75 says:

I managed to get mine on launch day and opted for the bumper case as well. I bought screen protectors but have been too lazy too try and put them on yet since they're the ones you need to use soapy water with. I've had a few good drops from 3-4 feet up (several of which were it sliding off of my leather couch arm) and I have zero scratches on the front or back. That being said I also take care to not shove it in my pocket with my keys and what not. I've dedicated my front left pants pocket almost exclusively to my cell phone since I started carrying a flip phone 10 years ago.

talhamid says:

Yes, other phones will eclipse it in specs, but there's no eclipsing Pure Android. None. For this reason alone this phone is unbeatable.

Secondly, for the scratching problem I cane up with a novel solution : take the screen protector of a Galaxy Nexus, turn it upside down, cut a slit for the speaker, and stick it on the back. See, the backside is glass too just like the front, so the screen protector ought to be enough!it fits like a glove and keeps the phone looking and feeling like the stunning beauty that it is

Well thank you for rubbing it in. Still can't get one from the Play Store.

EVO28312 says:

Best decision I made when it comes to purchasing a phone. Went thru the evo lte got rid of it and bought the s3. Grew tired of touch wiz rooted and still wasn't feeling it and sold it. Lucky enough to snag a 16g with a bumper and I never looked back. Love this phone. Seriously vanilla is the only way to go! Haven't seen any scratches on it which is surprising but the bumper does what its designed for. The only way I'm getting rid of this phone is to upgrade to the new nexus or if and when moto comes out with there own vanilla android device. Other than that im sticking with this bad boy for a min

bsharitt says:

"Pure" Android or not, there are too many good Android phones out there to deal with the insane idea of a glass back and no expandable storage or replaceable battery.

What clock widget is that?

Got a little scratch on the front of mine, I've had it for about a month and a half. I thought I'd be more upset but for the price if this gets too beat up I'm still better off buying a second one then if I got a GS3 or such.

Small_law says:

Not a scratch on my baby (knock on wood). I have the official bumpers on it and I use a sleeve I got from timbuk2 a while back. I absolutely baby the phone. If it isn't in my hand, it's in the sleeve.

That being said, I hate the official bumpers on the phone. The N4 is so svelte and comfortable to hold that any sort of thick case on it seems wrong, but the official bumpers are especially egregious. They make the N4 too wide to hold comfortably and hide the killer sloping display. If it wasn't for my crippling OEM accessory OCD, I would not use the official bumpers.

sRedwolf says:

What are people's thoughts on the touchscreen sensitivity issues I've been reading about? Honestly I've been considering the Nexus 4 if it ever reappears but this issue makes me a little reluctant. I know there's some work arounds floating around out there but I'm kind of looking for a stock fix in a future patch.

MazoMark says:

I've never observed any issue on touchscreen sensitivity with mine. In fact, I would say I saw more problems in this area with my old GS3 than the Nexus 4.

bertwgreen says:

Got the 16GB version in early December. Switched to this from Sprint EVO Shift 4G (not LTE) and using T-Mobile $60 per month off contract with 2BG data. Am on WiFi at home and work so use the network only while out and have not come anywhere near its limit yet, even while traveling. HSPA is adequate and works for me when needed. I am in Chicago (downtown) where coverage is excellent.

Overall I LOVE this phone, the lack of carrier bloat, and the stock Android. It's sleek, fast, and I have not even used half of the storage available. Battery life is good, and I can get through most of the day without charging but I almost always re-charge it in the afternoon whether it needs it or not. I conditioned the battery carefully when I got the phone which helped a lot with battery life. Drained it to 1% several times before charging, reliability has been great since.

I have had a couple of strange events happen, though. On two occasions the phone went dead. Just dead. Could not restart it for a while, but it finally responded and came back in the reboot, and there was no apparent cause. The battery was charged, but the phone was off and not responding. Both times this happened in the morning while attached to the charger, and caused me to miss my wake up alarm ( I use the phone as my alarm clock). I am guessing that it was a software issue, so I am going to be rebooting now and then to see it it prevents a recurrence.

The other issue I see has been addressed in other comments: this thing is slippery. It slides off table tops, and once off my desk. Luckily no damage as a result, but now I keep it either in a dedicated pocket or attached to the charger at all times. I was using a screen protector but I took it off because I like the look better without it and I'm doing my best to be extra careful with it now.

Overall I love it and would recommend it to anyone.

superflyxxi says:

You forgot to mention that the car dock is now gone! Gone are the days of a special app and pressing home to go back to that app.

ryan5609 says:

The Nexus 4 to me seems kind of like a fail for LG and Google. I am a big Android supporter but I feel like this device just has too many things going against it to be considered a success.

No LTE, limited storage, limited carriers, very limited availability, no micro SD slot, non-replaceable battery, etc. Hardware improvements aside it seems like a step backwards when compared to the Galaxy Nexus.

MrLadoodle says:

"limited carriers"

The Nexus 4 works on more operators then the Galaxy Nexus (only like 3 more however). So I don't know why your saying that. I think it has around 6 operators now selling it worldwide, but it works on over 100 operators.

ryan5609 says:

Carriers are limited here in the US. You can only use the Nexus 4 on two major carriers, AT&T and T-Mobile. If you are with Verizon or Sprint, no Nexus 4 for you. The Galaxy Nexus was eventually available for a 4 of the major US carriers. No LTE is the biggest killer though. Verizon 4G LTE users would tell you, it would be like a kick to the balls to go back to 3G.

return_0 says:

Except that the N4 still has 4G (yes, even without hacking). People just don't get that HSPA+ is still 4G. LTE is mostly a gimmick and in reality is only a few megabits per second faster than HSPA+42. Yes, the carriers are limited here in the US, but CDMA carriers are far rarer in the rest of the world than here.

MrLadoodle says:

Can you get the Galaxy Nexus GSM and move it to Sprint? NO!

Your market is so fucked up that many manufacturers don't bother with it. That's not Google's, LG etc problem that is does not work on VZW or Sprint, its your regulators problem for letting your operators use non-standard technology. (CDMA).

They can make a CDMA device, and it works on two operators, they can make a GSM device and it works on 100s. Which is why nearly all mobiles phones made, are GSM.

magneto198 says:

Why would "The U.S. market may be naturally hostile towards unlocked LTE devices"? I think people would embrace it not being locked down. If you mean the carriers, why would they care? LTE isn't standardized here in America so if the phone had Band X LTE support, it would have to go on that carrier's service so its a win for that carrier regardless.

MrLadoodle says:

Because Americans like to bow down to their carrier monopolies?

Really good points there Alex.

Something else I'd like to add that you didn't mention (probably because it may not be an issue for you) is the lackluster battery life. I'm not too happy with the battery life of the phone, and find it dying on me very quickly. I'll be lucky to get 2 hours of screen time before it's flat.

I also agree with the camera. It's actually pretty poor, even for a smartphone camera. I'd seen those videos of LG's designers talking about the camera used in their Optimus G phones, and was excited, thinking it'd be pretty good on the Nexus, but that's not the case. Pictures are always very blurry, noisy and just not very good.

Other than that, I've been pretty lucky. Where I live/work, I regularly get 20mbit down on DC-HSPA, so LTE is not really an issue for me. I have an office job, so my phone just sits on my desk, so I still don't have a scratch on it. I also don't play games on the phone, so storage isn't an issue (I have about 4gigs of music which is a lot of songs for me).

Even with those gripes I have, the phone is easily the best phone I've owned, and I don't think I could go to a phone that doesn't have stock android (or at least an AOSP/AOKP rom). The UX is just that good.

strider_mt2k says:

The only thing lacking in the article was the author's unwillingness to nut-up and admit that it should have an external storage slot.

It's the elephant in the room.

blarelli says:

8 gigs really isn't enough. Just checked my nexus, and I have 7 gigs of audio and I don't even have that many albums.

Taz89 says:

i know will never get device with out a external storage slot as long as someone is making phones with them...honestly i dont know how anyone can argue against it,its one of the main reasons why i chose android.

return_0 says:

I don't mind the lack of expandable storage. I'm not arguing against it (I would prefer having the option), but I could definitely live without it. Because with cheap plans like T-Mobile's $30 plan having unlimited data, it's easy to stream. But I would definitely not lower myself to 8 gigs.

BeauCharles says:

Using my Nexus for only a little while I do enjoy it, and I aint going to complain with 350$ and being unlocked, its worth the price and its unlocked and I dont have to worry about contracts again

Phone does everything I ask for which is everything but video games

Have some scratches but doesnt bother me its like working in a kitchen with aluminum work benches they will get scratched and once they are all scratched to hell they look good

John Zwiers says:

I've had my 16GB Nexus for 5 weeks and love it. I moved most of my music library to the cloud and can pop music on and off. I wish the headphone jack was on the bottom! No case, no scratches. The phone part is very good. I love the instant upload feature on photos and video.

I'm an app hog and still have 5GB free. I think 16GB is great. But...if they offered a 32 GB version, I would give this one to my wife and by that one. I'm looking for better cloud management from Google in future Android updates.

I am on AT&T, planning to switch to prepaid T-Mobile once I can get another Nexus 4 for my wife. My only complaint is that I've occasionally had connection issues on AT&T.

milan03 says:

"TMo fans are hoping for official LTE support via a future software update."

We are actually hoping there is absolutely no baseband update since Nexus 4 already fully supports LTE Band 4. We're just hoping T-Mobile LTE goes live asap!

Qbancelli says:

Uh? Why would anyone use a phone mostly made of glass without a case or a bumper?
So that you can stare at the back?

Silly if you ask me...

biggbrother2 says:

I just upgraded my Verizon Galaxy Nexus to Android 4.2.1 and I must say that I love the lockscreen widgets. Do you guys even use an ACTUAL lockscreen (i.e. Pattern unlock)? The visually nice-looking slide lockscreen is nice to look at and interact with but isn't that great for security since it doesn't restrict access to your phone.

I use a pattern unlock and having the camera and full weather details available without having to unlock the phone is very convenient and now I find it invaluable. Doesn't feel tacked on at all.. at least when used with a pattern unlock.

I'm just hoping other services like Rhapsody or Pandora start to add lockscreen widgets. Right now it's slim-pickings...

Neralo says:

I love the lockscreen widgets. Im running CM10.1 on an international S3. I use PIN unlock. Mainly, i put stuff like my to-do list, my college timetable and the chronus widget, and these make the lockscreen widgets incredibly useful.

biggbrother2 says:

Yeah same here. My guess here is the the article author probably just uses the regular Slide unlock feature, without a security feature enabled. If that's the case then I can see the argument that the lockscreen widgets are kind of pointless.

But most responsible people put a password/pattern/PIN on their phone so the lockscreen widgets are made specifically for us. Before, I could not take advantage oc accessing the camera right from the lockscreen because I used a Pattern. Now, I can get into the camera right from the lock screen and still enjoy the security of a pattern!

As a matter of fact, I feel that using the Slide feature on the unlock screen is a waste of time since it doesn't really lock anything anway. Just set your phone to not have a lockscreen because what's the point? When you press the power button you'll be at your homescreen ready to open the Camera app of any other desired app.

Jake d82 says:

I have the 8g. Plenty of space for me. I have a tablet for media. I would make the argument that n4 is best phone for a while because of the price. Nothing else can even come close.

HTMLSpinnr says:

Mine has actually managed to get dust in the front camera. It doesn't seem to affect PQ much (how can it possibly get worse?), but it's noticeable when looking.

My back glass has a couple of scratches as well.

I have a bumper case, which seems to be a dust trap, but has protected some of the chrome elements - slightly. I find that cases loosen up over time and create their own wear marks on the phone.

Only major software flaws I've noted are the camera focus bug, and an occasional problem with Bluetooth media streaming (mostly with Amazon MP3) locking up the phone.

smooth3006 says:

the nexus 4 is as overrated as the iphone 5. if you want a phone get the note 2 or wait for the gs4 this summer.

IMissMyPsion says:

X

IMissMyPsion says:

16GB and 8.42 GB free. I've only taken a dozen or so photos yet, but no music, and few games. My satnav and gps walking apps take over 1. 6GB and one bird reference book takes 201 MB.
My Nexus 7 only has 3GB free from 16 and that now has a 32GB option (but still only 1GB RAM), so maybe that will come to the nexus 4.
I was very nervous about the lack of storage having come from an HD2 with an sd slot, and and a nearly full 16GB card. UK data plans whilst reasonable are also very variable in signal. I could not stream music while I walked from home into Durham City, or even around the centre. There are too many dead spots.
I do NOT like the update to 4.2.1 - I don't like the different boldness of the clock hours/minutes. The lock screen widgets are irritating - - I hate the lines that show either side of my sign in screen. To top it all I get more lags and the occasional hang, and which didn't happen before.
I recommend Lux auto brightness to conserve battery life.
Battery Diviner to monitor charging
Zagg full invisible shield covers front, and back and edges. I used it for 3 years on my HD2 which has NO scratches on it. I now it's on my Nexus 7 (screen only) and nexus 4 (full) .
SwiftKey keyboard gives me arrow keys as well.

I still miss a decent accurate stylus as on my hx4700 and my psions. You cannot use handwritten notes. Galaxy note for that if it had been cheaper, with better processor and android jellybean

darrend75 says:

Anyone know why Google won't issue replacements for phones lost in transit?
Ordered mine on the 4th Dec last year- should have shipped in 3-5days, before being shipped on the 17th, then subsequently lost by TNT. Google support started "investigating" on 21st Dec, but tell me they can only issue a refund,then I can place another order, after they confirmed the phone is lost or stolen. Over a month later, I still have neither phone nor refund!

return_0 says:

Two and a half months on? Back in stock. Yessssss.

bagmyrocket says:

Mine would 2 months old in a few days. Lovin every bit of it every second. Can't imagine how LG & Google have packed in so many goodies for 299$..The screen was looking at bit washed out initially coming from a S3. But anybody who would use the Nexus 4 would not look back at the cartoonish images on S3. The display looks true and I love looking at the same images again on my N4 coming over from S3. The device is holding up well for wear & tear which has been very little till now. But I have been careful with my devices usually. The front and back are scratchless since I have protection from Gadgetshieldz full screen and body protectors (they have made a good one for the N4 that I have on) although I have refrained myself from using a case. You don't want to be hiding this beauuutyyy in a case, would you?