LG Nexus 4

It's Nexus season again. That means a new phone, a new version of Android, and a bunch of folks arguing the merits (or lack thereof) of the new device. Everyone always wants the latest and greatest to actually be the latest and greatest, but the fact is that the Nexus 4 isn't for everyone. And that's OK.

Android is not "one-size-fits-all." There will be a slew of phones released for the holiday season, and plenty more following in 2013. (To say nothing of all the excellent phones already released this year.) Different sizes, different shapes, and definitely a different set of features. There's a very good chance one of these upcoming or current phones will suit you far better than the Nexus 4 ever could. That's what we're going to look at here. Discuss a few of the pros and cons of the Nexus 4, and hopefully help in your informed decision.

Who doesn't need a Nexus 4?

We'll start with the basics. You need a phone that works where you live and play. If your smartphone won't hold a signal on the way to work, or on a Saturday afternoon at the park, it's not very smart -- nor is paying a monthly fee to use it. This means that if you have to use Sprint or Verizon (or another carrier that uses the same technology) to get that level of service, the Nexus 4 is not for you. The good news is that the RAZR M or the Galaxy S3 is still there, ready to find a home in your pocket. There are also new phones coming (we're pretty sure of that) that should satisfy your thirst for top specs if the best of the last generation doesn't do it for you.

Next, let's talk storage. You won't see an SD card in a Nexus phone ever again. You don't have to like it, but you can't change it. That leaves just internal storage for the Nexus 4, which comes in either 8GB or 16GB flavors. These phones were designed for folks who use "the cloud." Google is an Internet services company, which builds products to promote the usage of its Internet services. Some of us can live in this cloud, some can't. This is just how it is. It's not some sort of contest where gold is won or manhood is measured. If you can live in the cloud, the Nexus 4 is a good choice for you. If you can't, there were plenty of other phones released this year that should help you out. They're coming. The train doesn't stop just because Google released another phone.

Now, on to the hackers. If you like to hack away at things, you probably think this is the best phone for you. I disagree. The Nexus 4 should be wide open and easily unlocked, with lots of third-party development -- third-party development all based on the stock software that comes with the phone. Custom ROMs don't really add a lot to Nexus phones that you can't easily replicate right from Google Play. Besides, where will you store all those Nandroid backups? If you want a phone to hack in different versions of Android with a different look and feel, get a Galaxy Note 2 or Galaxy S3. You'll have your SD card, stock(ish) version of  Android, and the satisfaction that you did it yourself. 

Who needs a Nexus 4?

There are plenty of reasons why you don't want or need a Nexus 4. But what are the reasons for getting one? Thankfully, there are some really compelling reasons to dust off the credit card and pick one up. 

First: The software. Google loves to invent something, get it almost working, then unleash it to the willing. The Nexus 4 (and likely the Galaxy Nexus and others that are upgraded to 4.2) will get the first chance at this. Things like Google Now, or Google Chrome are always going to be built to work with the latest Google phone, which means the current Nexus. Fooling with new stuff, even (especially?) if it's not fully baked is fun. If you like to have this kind of fun, then the Nexus 4 is for you.

Updates. I'm still waiting for that tiny patch for my Galaxy S II's browser. More important, millions of people are in the same situation. Not having it shows me that Samsung seemingly can't support the phones it has already sold, and that leaves me very sour to them as a hardware vendor. Google doesn't do that, thankfully, they continue to support their devices after they’re sold. They can patch their closed source apps if needed and push an update through Google Play. If a bug is found in the Android code base, they can patch it and push out a system update in short order. We still want a few things fixed in Android, but they have been pretty quick with the security updates. This doesn't happen very often, but for critical security fixes, there's nothing in the Android world quite like a Nexus.

Finally, there's the value aspect. You can buy a Nexus 4 for as little as $299, and use it on a $30 monthly pre-paid plan. Forget what you think you know about pre-paid service, it's come a long way and now rivals what the big four have to offer in many ways. You've seen the price breakdowns and how much money you can save, so I'll spare you that bit, but it's realistic. I use Straight Talk with my HTC One X. For $45 monthly, I use hundreds of minutes in calls, send thousands of texts, and use between 4 and 6GB of data. To me, it's every bit as good as the AT&T network it uses, at half the price. If things change, and it turns out not to deliver the service I need, I just walk away and try someone else. Using it with the Nexus 4 will be exactly the same, just $400 cheaper up front.

Consider your needs, then weigh out all the pros and cons of actually buying the Nexus 4. There is no need to rush out a spend money just because you can. If you decide you need a new phone, think about what you need from it, and make an informed decision. You'll be glad you did later, I promise.

 

Reader comments

Who needs a Nexus 4 (and why)?

174 Comments

If you like shiny new things, this will fit you nicely, the back looks shiny with the glittery effects when light is shine on.

Do you think the phone will be bad because it is LG? I am scared of that too.. But I really want it...

In what way would it be bad? The only downsides of this phone are things everyone already knows (Low memory, no LTE version, non-removable battery, no sd card slot). Phil and others have stated that the build quality is good and it has a good feel to it, and you don't have to worry about software bugs because it's pure google. Just because it's an LG doesn't mean it's a POS.

+1 to that. LG is a great company and the phone they make overseas are excellent and on par with the build quality of other cell phone manufacturers. Furthermore Google would not let LG make a POS phone for them, Google has it's own standards and they will be met leading to a great piece of hardware.

SONY just released the q3 sales numbers. Turns out SONY is number three in mobile phone sales in the world now behind apple and samsung with 8.8 million sold

Amen to that, I'll often be chillin with friends, and many times they've gotten frustrated with their I phone or Galaxy S3 or 4, and I'm over here laid back with my LG l9 like, chill out man lol

I have never been a fan of LG design. I have never owned one of their devices so I can't say as far as product quality and functionality. The Nexus 4 looks pretty good but will have to see it up close to make an overall decision. The specs look good but I will wait to see what people say about real world functionality. I just bought last years Nexus and I like it.

I freed myself from Samsung and its great!!! Right now I'm using the N4 (dd) and the HTC One X. Both are good but I'm waiting for the Sony Z since I went with Tmobile (yeah I know spotty LTE) so I can see the difference for myself and not just read a review. Good luck on your freedom!

yes. As of the day it was released the GNex was underpowered. In terms of processor speed. IMHO of course.

Damn straight. From what I recall, people were fairly disappointed in Samsung being the chosen OEM for the Nexus S, with the Nexus S also being slightly underpowered as well compared to other devices at that time. Though, I wish that HTC would have manufactured the new Nexus phone, I'm really glad that Samsung has been uncrowned in that respect (Though the Nexus 10 looks quite nice). First Nexus device since the N1 that doesn't feel like a cheap lump of plastic. Hooray. I can't wait to have the device in hand to back up my anticipated praise for LG.

I like shiny new things too. Hopefully you kept your Galaxy Nexus in great condition, like I did. I'll be selling mine on Ebay. Looking at the current GN trend on Ebay, I should be able to sell it, along with a few extras thrown in for close to $300. So for only around $50 out of pocket, I'll have a shiny new Nexus 4. Put that on top of a $50 PrePaid plan, and I'll have HSPA+42 speeds that are on par with LTE. Heaven is just 2 weeks away!

I'll be getting one for HSPA+42 plus the speedier processor and more ram and keeping my Galaxy Nexus as I have two smartphones one for work and one for personal. Personal is Straight Talk T-mobile so I'll be able to upgrade to HSPA+42 :)

I'm definitely upgrading from the GNex. Can't help myself. It's almost been a year since I bought this one from Negri. A year is a long time for a gadget whore. :)

I feel like I'm abandoning it right when it finally came into its own with project butter, but I can't help it!

Depends, would you like a better camera? Do you mind carrying a heavier phone? Is outdoor visibility of your display sometimes a problem on your Galaxy Nexus? If yes to the above, maybe you should upgrade.

Depends, would you like a better camera? Do you mind carrying a heavier phone? Is outdoor visibility of your display sometimes a problem on your Galaxy Nexus? If yes to the above, maybe you should upgrade.

I wasn't sure if I needed to upgrade from my galaxy nexus, but I'm glad I did.
The screen,camera,reception and processor are dramatic improvements over the Galaxy Nexus.
Android 4.2 is so much more fluid on the Nexus 4 and that extra GB of ram really seems to help.
Plus personally, I love that I have my flat black slab back, I didn't like the galaxy nexus's curved screen.
Also when all was said and done I paid less than $100 to upgrade after I sold my galaxy nexus on ebay.

I've just upgraded from the GNex to the Nex4 and the two things I've noticed is the colours on the LCD screen don't "pop" as much, though it's not in away way a bad screen!, and the battery life isn't quite there (though that could be because I can't put it down!!)

On the up side, it's much faster to use, GPS gets a lock in less than 10 seconds and one of the guys I work with who was looking to go back to an iPhone has just ordered a Nex4 instead after seeing mine!! :)

if you're ready to upgrade it's worth the money...

the answer is yes you should definitely upgrade for Galaxy Nexus. I just did. And I am very happy that I did the phone is very fast works great and fixes all the problems of the Galaxy Nexus had. I hope that helps you even though its a year later lol

I dont need a nexus. I like micro sd and removable storage. What I need (and am getting) is a note 2. Big screen + quad core 1.6ghz processor 2 gig of memory gorgeous display s-pen and of course.. LTE!

It's all relative. I used the HTC One X and found I couldn't use it one handed. If I HAVE to use two hands anyways, I'd prefer all the benefits of the Galaxy Note over anything else.

This is the route I'm thinking of going. If so, I will give my Gnex to my son, add a line to my Sprint account and get the Note 2.

They are, check the "Devices" section of Google Play. It's being sold for C$359 for the 16 GB version.

I don't know where you live in Canada but I'd be willing to deliver it. I'm pretty close, Michigan man. That is if you want to meet towards the border. I'd like nothing better than for this to make extremely high sales.

I think the remark on this device being a Cloud Device, is true in most cases. I'm not a cloud user regardless and my current lifestyle and resources does not allow to bring all my music to the cloud, and I'm on Sprint. I think this would have been a great device on Sprint and Metro PCS considering these are the last holdouts for truely unlimited data. It works for T-Mobile because they are still pumping unlimited HSPA data and this is a sound decision, but I think Google maybe cutting themselves in the jugular(with Sprint and VZ consumers) due to the fact they are many Sprint and Verizon users willing to go the route of a nexus device again. I for one wanted too myself, but with such low memory and no sdcard its forced my hand to abandon all nexus smartphones for now. I wont go the route of a Galaxy Nexus because that device lacked an SDcard and had subpar battery life, tho it had a 32GB config. so im still up in decision mode for a Galaxy Nexus. It still was not enough. I have apps that use up a large amount of space going upwards of 6 or 7GB with a whole music libray worth 16GB. I would have wanted more space for future proofing on a Nexus phone. I think the device is beautifully constructed, powerfully spec'd, and just an overall great device with incredible battery life. If i were google I would have gone the route of Sprint, T-Mobile, MetroPCS due to Unlimited data. AT&T? yea i would have let em have it since it's GSM. Hopefully Google hears our cries and releases A device in the future for those of us who like a lil expanded memory.

Something with an SD slot. Something that will actually benefit being hacked and modded. This phone is truly for App developers (and consumers).

It's a very good phone for hacking, but this is already the Nexus device. Usually when you hack an Android phone you want it to have the latest software but the Nexus usually always have the latest and the purest software already.

One problem with the laissez-faire approach - the Nexus is the ONLY phone which is guaranteed to get updates without interruption or premature end of life from the carriers.
Because of this, we depend on this phone to be GREAT not good. It lacks the industry standard for storage and network (LTE) and that is a failure.

+1. The 'hey it's not for everyone' just sounds like an excuse for what Google has chosen to do.

There are plenty of articles out there explaining why Google did not go LTE. Go read them.
As for expandable storage, we all kew this was how it was gonna be. *shrug* I've still got a ton of space on my GNex, I don't see what the fuss is about. If it doesn't work for you, get another phone.

Yes, thanks, I've read them and it's not enough. As much as everyone can be happy that they're going to get a Nexus, I can still voice my disappointment in Google's shortsighted thoughts on how this phone should be.

"...on how this phone should be." Until you actually design a phone, or are somewhat involved in the technical or legal aspects of the process, you are only on the outside looking in. Spare yourself the disappointment; Google isn't a carrier and won't create a Nexus in name only.

As for storage, you can use a combination of USB-OTG and the various cloud services (Dropbox, Drive, Box, etc) alongside the onboard storage.

A consumer is irrelevant. Many consumers are important. And most consumers don't agree with you. Most of us don't really care about the lack of SD card, or removable battery. Most consumers don't know what LTE is. We would simply prefer to have a more cohesive total package. I would implore you to simply vote with your wallet. If you do not like the Nexus 4, simply do not buy it. I am currently running 4.1.2 on my I-777, and am quite pleased with it. Perhaps you could do the same? It has almost everything you are looking for.

Doesn't every manufacturer make that choice when designing their phone? The S III with the gestures and extensive NFC functionality through S Beam, the One X/EVO LTE with the extensive camera functionality, the Droid RAZR Maxx with the all-inclusive extended battery, the Rugby Pro with the waterproof design, the Droid 4 with the included physical keyboard, or the new Nexus 4 with prompt updates, unlocked nature, wireless charging, and the pure Android OS that comes stock with the phone? Every phone are the market fits one person better than another, especially with Android. The nature of its development was this ability to make your own device, and cater it to whomever you please.

This is terribly cliche, but don't hate the player, hate the game.

If you don't like it, maybe you ought to look at a different one. But just because this doesn't fit you doesn't mean it doesn't fit others. I and my two best friends all have the Galaxy Nexus on three different carriers, and by that two of us have experienced LTE's speeds which is the only real "loss" here, and I gotta tell you I've seen the same speeds out of some HSPA+ 42 phones on T-Mobile and have since been unimpressed with Verizon; LTE is nice but it kills batteries by the origin of its design, and I can finally be free of contracts and pay less than half what I am now to have this phone, comparable 4G speeds, and if I'm unhappy with a service i can just as easily pick up and go to another one rather than wait another 23 months because I wasn't impressed. That's just how this fits me, on top of having the newest version of Android, nothing makes me happier than to have the release of the new Android OS in a matter of days than worrying about it taking the better half of a year, if at all.

Highlight: family tree of phones, crazy uncle we all love or hate, Android, updates, sick design, wireless charging, no contracts, freedom, independence, liberty!

The Nexus 4MERICA- FUCK YEAH.

I'm buying one to test out the service on cheaper carriers here. We have decent coverage but until the Nexus 4 your only options were old phones that don't allow you to get the full smartphone experience or buy one off contract for $600 to $800.

I realize the Galaxy Nexus was available off contract for a decent price but I already own one through Verizon and couldn't make myself own a second one.

This actually gives me a reason to try other, WAAAAY cheaper, carriers to plan if I want to leave Verizon or not.

I love the Verizon LTE, but reading my monthly bill makes my eyes water.

In an odd, round-about way, Google has done me a service. If this was coming to Verizon, I'd have just gone ahead and bought it through them on contract and never try other carriers.

I'm stuck on contract w/ AT&T. So, if I'm on AT&T, I might as well have LTE. I wish this phone had it, but then again, I have yet to see an unlocked phone w/ LTE that works on any carrier, so I'm not sure if this is even possible. Maybe they can make a phone w/ pentaband HSPA+ and AT&T's LTE bands in the future?

They probably will when LTE is more available than it is right now. There are still a lot of rural areas that do not have it yet.

The sad truth about a LTE Nexus is "never", and here's why. It's all about control. Google wants the phone's software to remain untouched, and they want to update the software when THEY want to. Verizon, Sprint and AT&T add bloatware to all of their devices, and they also want to control the updates. Because of all the added bloatware, these updates take months to reach the consumer. This goes completely against what Google is trying to do. It turns into a big mess. The carriers are in a great position of power here, and neither side is willing to bend, but Google doesn't really have any leverage. The carriers don't care if they have a Nexus or not, they're not "big sellers" anyway. So, I sadly see all "near future" Nexii being GSM only.

Verizon is my only choice being an over the road trucker. Its all about the rural areas far from the interstate. And I do a lot of cloud but data isn't cheap anymore and streaming can be costly. I've gotta have space. 32 gig or more.

+9000 I travel alot for the Coast Guard. If I didn't need to travel so much, I would easily buy a Nexus 4, jump ship to T-Mobile, and save $50 a month.

Living in the cloud is great if you have unlimited data, if not your kinda hurting with the limited storage on this

Sigh, I switched from Apple because they couldn't give me what I wanted. I've come to realize that there's no such thing as the ultimate Android phone either, as they all have their own compromises.

1. pure android
2. internal storage with external support
3. fastest internet speeds
4. best hardware available
5. excellent battery life
6. support for all carriers
7. removable battery
etc
etc
etc

You are never gonna get them all. But the Razr Maxx HD or the Nexus 4 or SGS3 or HTX One X+ come pretty close.

If you can't choose from Apple or any of the tons of Android phones available, you may be asking for too much. No phone is going to be the "Jesus Phone" that everyone wants. If nothing is "perfect" then develop your own phone, and OS... and good luck with that.

The Nexus 7 is more of a media consumption device than the phone. While it might not suit all use cases, in my use I am more likely to "Pin" a movie or two to the Nexus 7 before a trip than I am with my phone. This will require more storage than say some music on your phone.

On my phone, I use Google Music daily and have pinned a lot of music and I also have some videos as well as about 300 pictures. I just checked and my phone is using just over 4GB of storage and I have had this phone (Galaxy Nexus) since it came out last year.

I'm not making excuses, but that's how I perceive it from their end too.

Also, it may just be a way to cut down costs ever so slightly on the phone to sell them for $300 / $350.

At the same time, it would have been lovely to have a 32GB option for a bit more of a price, but I'm guessing that adds to production cost of the entire line of phones and would make the low price point less feasible on their end.

Arguably, a tablet is more of a media device than a phone. You're more likely to watch (and keep) movies on a tablet than on a phone.

That's my guess at least.

I think they brought the 32gb out more for the masses that don't use the cloud. Google wants more Android and tablets out their and if bringing a 32gb tablet is what is needed to do that then lets bring it out. People still want more physical storage. When the cloud becomes more of the norm you will see lots of Manufacturers Like Samsung pushing it with 50gbs from dropbox included with there phones

I probably don't need one. I WANT one. Touchwiz, Sense, or whatever are only cool for the first five minutes. I know I can root them and slap whatever custom rom on them, but the point is I shouldn't HAVE to. I love stock Android and I'm one of those people who like to play with Google's latest.

I've always been a fan of the nexus line I've had them all I that's where I plan on staying my gnex (gsm) is still running like a champ no problems with it my friend had one on Verizon and boy did he have plenty of issue that I never had being that this nexus seems to be at the top of the hardware game I'm definitely going to buy it as far as ppl complaining about the lack of LTE you must be on sprint or Verizon Cruz I get between 8-15mb down and 5 up on my gnex with T-Mobile and it only has a hspa+21 chip in it so I know the hspa+42 chip in the n4 will be great

sorry jerry i disagree.

i DO NOT NEED a phone with no removable battery, small storage and no lte tech. i made a smart move buying my galaxy s 3.

Lack of LTE absolutely blows my mind... I know they have their reasons, but it is absolutely inexcusable to remove that option.

It is ironic to think that for the past few years I have been able to make fun of friends who had iphones because of how much faster my data connection was with LTE and my android device...

Now, somehow, the iPhone has LTE, and Google has removed LTE from their latest Nexus flagship.

I am boycotting this device.

LTE doesn't have a standard. All the carrier's with LTE are controlling asses. Can't blame Google at all for this decision.

I wouldn't say that Google removed LTE, it's more like they left it out. Adding it to the phone required changing the basic config, look at what happened with the Verizon GNex. Most of the people who complain are the Verizon customers, somehow the LTE drains the battery. My GSM GNex gets great battery life. I'm not going to criticize Google for taking the proven path. The GSM version may not be for everyone, but for those who do want it, it performs exactly as expected.

If there's a way to get it to work with flash streaming video i'd buy it. Flash works in the stock browser?

Yes but you can still sideload it. Or if your rooted just install the APK. I and ton's of other folks are running Flash on out Galaxy Nexus and other devices running Jelly Bean with no problems.

We're currently on VZ. Gonna pick up an 8GN N4 and test it out on straight talk for a month. My job has me traveling the country for 3 days a week and this will be a good opportunity to compare my service with VZ. Thanks to Jerry and the A.C. crew for presenting some valuable info.

Randy

Straight talk (in my experience) works excellently well... I have used it for burner phones when i was doing drug deals... Great coverage( through att), and excellent pricing.

Wow, excellent, excellent article! Spot on on nearly everything.

Only problem is that I fall into the "doesn't need a Nexus 4" category, but I really, really want the Google software support and there is no other phone that gets that :(

You might also mention the sealed battery, that is a pretty big deal to a lot of people.

Wonderful write up Jerry. What I dont understand is Why Rene at imore cant be as unbiased in his articles like the good folks at Android central. Keep up the Good work!

I want it because it is a top flagship phone that can hang with the big boys and will save me money doing so. Also, its a Nexus.

Don't care about the Nexus 4 not having LTE, I'm a big T-Mobile fan getting over 10mb down during the day, after 6pm my speeds jump to over 15mb. I'll take that with great battery life over any LTE service. What I am pissed off about is the lack of int storage, no sd card is fine but give us some freaken storage. after the OS there will be shit left. It is embarrassing to say the least, Apple also pushes their cloud service but also give choices for int storage as should the Nexus phone. They are only killing their own phone sales and reputation as a customer based company. Everyone is asking for int storage and complaining of lack of, what is their fuc---- problem. Spin it any way you want Google fucked up. I would love to buy this Nexus device and probably will but I will buy the Note 2 before any phone today. As far as Samsung not updating their phones, that is just complete bull shit, another spin job, it is all Carrier bull shit not Samsung. Love the way writers spin their stories to fit their topic. Updating software is a CARRIER problem and don't listen to anyone who tells you different. Samsung has updates for every one of their latest devices on their website, I have the SGS3 and running a Jelly Bean Leak without root and it is solid, very solid. Getting that off my chest I will say it again, Google blew it, great specs without any storage to fit anything in it. Try downloading a few of today's modern games, you will have no room on your phone for anything else. Big let down, Google says they want to give their customers what they want, well we have been begging for storage since the 2nd Nexus, they still haven't listened, maybe that is why the phone doesn't sell for shit. SPIN, SPIN, SPIN. The Note 2 is the best phone of 2012-2013.

I would love to get the Nexus 4, but I refuse to live with my head in the clouds.

Hurricane Sandy only reaffirmed me of my distaste for Google ditching removable storage forcing us into the cloud when I wasn't able to access any of my music, photos or documents these past 2 days...

"Updates. I'm still waiting for that tiny patch for my Galaxy S II's browser. More important, millions of people are in the same situation. Not having it shows me that Samsung seemingly can't support the phones it has already sold, and that leaves me very sour to them as a hardware vendor. Google doesn't do that, thankfully, they continue to support their devices after they’re sold."

I've been harping on this since the original Galaxy S. Hardware makers (Samsung in particular) just cannot keep up with updates and are more focused on releasing new phones than improving already existing phones. It makes financial sense for them because existing phones means that they already have your money so there is very little incentive to update. (especially in a timely matter) Most of their customers don't even know about new Android versions, so why bother?

Everyone wants to blame the carriers but it's not just them. Yeah, carriers are evil. We know that. But, a lot of these OEM's aren't putting as much resources into updating their devices. (for reasons stated earlier) Even companies who a have good history with updates (Asus) can't push out updates as fast as Google can.

With every iteration, Android seems to get better and better. It's good now, but still not perfect. These new versions are released so often that it makes more sense to go with Nexus phones than putting your faith into an OEM.

To me one thing I'm intrigued about is not being tied to a contract. I can get a new nexus or whatever, whenever and not be tied to a fee to break my contract.

Same. I hope we get carrier specific Nexus 4's with 32 GB memory (please don't fuck this up again Verizon!!!!)

You are only telling half truths. Any patch for any Carrier phone must go thru the Carrier, there is your problem. The Google Nexus put out by Verizon and Sprint had and still has these same issues, why, They are Carrier phones. The Google phone that is not put out by the Carrier is the ONLY Android phone that doesn't have this problem. The Carrier might decide that small patch is not needed and it will not happen. I don't know what patch Jerry is referring to, I do not have that device. I do know this much, out of all of today's Android devices the Samsung is the most developer friendly device, no locked down boot loaders, easy to root and run custom roms, plenty of choices such as int & ext storage. Codes are released very fast. The specs on these phones are 2nd to none. I would buy Samsung before any other made phone today. There is no bigger fan of Google than I, just wish they would listen to their loyal customers and give us what we want. It is not asking a hell of allot either. Just My Opinion.

If you truly are a Google fan then you would have understood the point of this article was to let everyone know that with Android you have options. You don't like what Google did with the Nexus? Then by all means go out and buy the Note 2, or the new RAZR. Its your decision.

It's not the only phone. Other Unlocked developer phones have a much shorter waiting period because they do not cater to a carrier's wishes.

It's not the only phone. Other Unlocked developer phones have a much shorter waiting period because they do not cater to a carrier's wishes.

16 gb is plenty for me with about 400 pics on my Galaxy Nexus, 2 gigs of music, a few games and apps and maybe a movie or 2. I usually have around 2-4 gigs free still. I almost never take the battery out of my Nexus also since it lasts me all day. I am definitely getting this phone mainly for the S4 quadcore chip, 8 mp camera, 2100 mah battery and better screen(my Gnex suffers the banding/purple tint). I'm also going to try and get off my att contract and onto a prepaid plan. This is going to be an amazing upgrade for me and its a NEXUS!

I've learned to live within 16gb, after getting the gsm galaxy nexus, but as someone who's previous phone was a 16gb Galaxy S2 w/ a 32 GB sdcard I had to pare down the stuff the hold on my phone.

For someone who installs a lot of custom roms, has a few nandroid and titanium backups a 100gig plus music collection (of which I put a subset of my favorites on my phone) regularly has 75 - 150 apps installed and some videos, no to mention pictures. getting used to living within 16gb can be a definate adjustment.

I'd probably be more comfortable if they'd offer a 32gb verison, but I live with 16gb because I detest waiting for updates, locked bootloaders and phones locked to one carrier on carrier phones.

Great post Jerry, Thanks.

I am new to the mobile phone scene and I don't much use the tracfone s390g I have. The Nexus 4 being unlocked (if I understand what that means correctly) and priced at $338 including taxes and shipping for me sounds like it could work for me. So I have been researching it which has given me some questions.

First being unlocked does that mean I could use the Nexus 4 as a wifi phone using one of the wifi phone apps on Google play or would I need a carrier?

Do you think the Nexus 4 would work to make handwritten notes using my finger or a capacitive stylus?

Do you think the screen will be good enough to read tet notes and memos on using one of the android apps like TED or Write?

Off topic but has anyone had any experience with returning devices bought from Google Play?

Thanks evryone especially Jerry in advance.

Great article! I am definitely going to pick up a 16GB Nexus 4 and give it a try on a prepaid plan. I am loving the pure Google experience of my Nexus 7, I'm sick of being a slave to my contract, and I'm tired of having to root my phone in order to rid myself of carrier and OEM garbage (plus I need an unrooted phone in order to be able to install Good so I can ditch my work BlackBerry).

To the list of who should get the Nexus 4, I would add anyone who travels out of the US and wants to actually use their mobile device for what it is intended. It is probably the best value available for an unlocked device. The fact that it is Google's flagship and gets all of the updates first is just gravy.

sadly still stuck with Verizon under contract but the wife and I are totally switching to T-Mobile so we can stay Nexus! After owning the Galaxy Nexus I just can't imagine ever going non Nexus again.

So I am thinking of getting the Nexus 4. I currently have Verizon with 2 lines, both are unlimited, I have a Droid Razr and an S3. My bill is $242 a month. I use 1000-1400 minutes a month and 7-10gb of data between the 2 lines(one is my wifes). We spend wayyy to much a month on having these 2 phones. I dont want to cancel vzw right away as i dont live in the best place for reception so i was going to test it. My question is, If i go with straight talk and buy the at&t sim with the $45 plan, will i get a phone number with that? I'm asking because i dont have a phone number to port over... Hope this isnt too confusing....

Yes, you'll get a phone number. (Kinda hard to get first-time buyers without providing a #, no?)

What I plan to do is hang on to my Trudge GS2 and test Straight Talk for a month, using Google Voice to forward that number to whatever # ST supplies. When I'm ready to cut loose from Trudge, I'll port my number over.

I have GV set up to ring my home and cell #s to save my g/f from trying to find me. She used to call home and if I'd ran errands after work, she'd have to make a 2nd call to my cell; now she just dials the GV # and I get the call. Spiffy!

I understand that everyone wants/needs something different. What I don't understand is all the negativity regarding the Nexus 4. No SD card slot was a given. If it had 32GB internal storage someone would say they wanted 64GB. I considered getting a Note 2 but it's only currently offered with only 16GB on T-Mobile so there's no benefit of more storage compared to Nexus 4. For those that say it has a MicroSD slot, you can't put apps on it. Pictures, videos, music, etc. can easily be put on a flash drive and used with the Nexus 4, and I'm fine with that.

No LTE? HSPA+ 42Mbps is fine with me. T-Mobile won't even have any rolling out until next summer at the very least, so again, no issue there (and AT&T HSPA+ isn't bad if you're on them either). If you're not on T-Mobile and want LTE badly, then great, get something else. You won't find another quad-core phone currently released that's any faster/better than Nexus 4 (exynos 4412 A9 in Note 2 is a bit slower than the custom S4 which is designed with some architecture from A15, though in everyday use it's comparable) for $349 all-in unlocked. $349 is key here, as the Note 2 is $369 on contract at T-Mobile ($299 on contract through Wal-mart) and $649 all-in unlocked. That's a substantial difference, and Nexus 4 thankfully has no TouchWiz.

So buy it or not. Makes no difference to me. All I'm saying is stop all the incessant complaining about things that you knew weren't going to happen anyway (like no SD slot). Google would have to compromise and make different versions if they included LTE and they decided against it. With the Verizon mess last year, I don't blame them. This is based on LG's flagship phone and has fantastic specs for the price and comes with the best software support/updates with no interference from carriers or manufacturers. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's a damn good phone and the best overall value for dollar in my book.

Once LTE becomes the "standard" vs CDMA 3g on Verizon, will there be Nexus devices that run on their LTE network?

I don't think that the problem is that HSPA is still the standard vs LTE, but the fact that each carrier (at least in the US, it is in Canada) uses a proprietary form of LTE, it isn't standardized. Also, I doubt that you'll see another Nexus on Verizon as long as they keep using CDMA, Google really is pushing GSM only.

Yo guys, anyone knows if LG's reputation in hardware is good? I heard that they had a bad reputation so I was wondering if this phone is gonna be as good as it looks on paper! If it is I am definitely buying one!

In the past LG's Asian phones had excellent hardware, but the phones they would export to the US sucked. That's why they have such a mixed reputation. Now it seems they are making a push to bring quality high end phones to the US and Europe. All the reviews are saying that the Nexus 4 and the Optimus G both have excellent build quality.

Man, LG couldn't do well in smartphone fight because of their software weakness, not because they are bad. From the H/W view point, as an experienced H/W engineer in South Korea, I can confidentially tell you that LG is better than Samsung (and as far as I known, most Korean electronics engineers think so except Samsung guys, ofcourse. And in this Nexus device, Google is just borrowing the best from its partner LG. Therefore, the outcome, as you can see, this Nexus device stands in a much better stage compare to the ones done by Samsung. The Nexus 4 will definitely shine.

Jerry, I disagree. Nexus devices are always the best choice for devs, hackers, and ROM flashers. The plethora of custom ROM choices, the fact it has on screen buttons (you listening Samsung?), the fact they get updated right away from Google, with source code made available by Google so we can update our custom ROMs with the proper libs and drivers, etc. I could go on and on. Nexus devices are and always will be the best choice for us geeks and hackers. You won't convince me otherwise.

yes! i am one of those people who needs one. I am sick of my broken ass galaxy sII and overpriced sprint service. cant wait to start paying $30 a month instead of $80. t-mobile ftw. Lack of LTE does not bother me whatsoever since t-mobile is not using that technology and everything ive seen online says that i will have good speeds with HSPA+ in my location.

This is a good article, but I don't see any reason for consumers to stop complaining about the lack of microsd. If we don't complain then Google won't know they're headed in the wrong direction.

I would never buy a Nexus phone due to the obvious hardware limitations, but as a Verizon customer I'm extremely happy to see Google supporting Tmobile. Now if they could just get Moto to grow a pair and stop letting Verizon drag them through the mud...

Of course. Motorola's product cycle ends next year. So next year we will probably see the first Google made Android Phone (I hope). I also hope they make a Xperia Tipo like Nexus phone for Asian countries.

I need this phone cause I love messing with custom ROMs. The nexus devices will always have a lot of developer support because they are a nexus device. I also want this device because it's GSM, and GSM phones in general tend to have much more developers working on them because they are used pretty much world wide. But alas, I'm stuck with my E4GT on Sprint because I'm poor, had to move back in with my parents and had to leave T-Mo and get on my parents phone plan to save money. I'll never go with AT&T if I have a choice, so my only GSM option really is T-Mo.

I've always bought phone from the provider. So what is the steps for getting phone elsewhere (google play, or ebay or amazon) and activating on account? would bringing a phone found cheaper to my account at verizon take my unlimited away (unlimited lte is only reason i'm staying with them anyway, their damn expensive and i've not found a way to get rid of my 2nd line without getting boned).

I am so tired of the crap-ware they stuff on phones, the uninstallable music player app has updated on average 3 times a week sense i got the thing, sucking up precious data, and now with lyrics being added, its downloading those as it finds matches with music found on the device, @#%$ racket i tell ya.

i've googled the question and never really gotten a straight answer. any advice would be greatly appreciated.

You just go online to the Google Play store (or any online store) and order it, then after you receive it, either go online to your carriers website (if they allow online activations) or go into your local carriers store and let them activate the phone on your account. Buying another phone that's compatible with Verizon's CDMA network wouldn't change your plan.

However if you're staying for the unlimited LTE then obviously the Nexus 4 is probably not for you, since it doesn't support LTE. You could always buy a used Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Verizon CDMA one with LTE, of course) and activate it on your account and still have your unlimited LTE.

I am all for the Nexus 4. it would have been nice to see it with LTE but realistically this is not a huge deal breaker as availability is small and it does truly drain battery. My biggest shock here is that Google realized the need to update the NEXUS 7 line to 32 GB but not their phone that runs the same OS and would ideally be able to be used for the same purpose sans the larger screen? I find it hard to jump on the N4 band wagon as I feel in a matter of months a 32 GB version will be out and I will have again put my eggs in 1 basket to soon. I know this is a risk early adopters take so maybe I am just realizing that early adoption is not my thing.

Honestly and I'm not tryning to be rude or start a war here but it seams like many people really just want to be upset about LTE cause you cant check it off a list. I'm not talking about the storage or battery situation because those are 100% need/preference based. but this LTE outrage is kinda ridiculous to a degree. Given the price point of the phone, the reasons google choose to leave it out and the alternative (HSPA+)the only way I can see this being a bad device choice (if your ok with the storage options and non removable battery which many are) is if you DO NOT get HSPA or HSPA+ coverage where you live and frequent. I'm not saying people don't have a right to be disappointed about the lack of LTE but I think some are just so blinded by their rage they're not willing to think this through. I have a Sprint Evo 4G LTE. I live in the Los Angeles (North Hollywood) and few LTE towers have come online here and there. I've gotten speeds between about 12-28 down and 7-12 up. Honestly it's really good and pretty consistent. However 3G which is what I'm mainly on for now is still atrocious and I get 0 signal in my house. I have to use an AirRave. My girlfriend has the HTC OneS for tmobile. It's a 4G device using the same HSPA and HSPA+ bands the Nexus 4 will run on. Given all the outrage about the lack of LTE on the Nexus 4and the fact that if it does come to sprint it'll be eons from now, won't be pure and won't get updated as quickly, I took her phone for a spin in speedtesting. Now I KNOW this won't be the case for everyone BUT if you get decent T-Mobile coverage where you live, work/frequent do a little research it may be well worth it. On my girlfriends phone I averaged speedtest of 13-21 Down and 6-11 up. The best speeds came at full bars but I had 3 or more bars a lot of the time. I thought it was a fluke so I drove around with her phone miles and miles from our house testing and I never got less than 9 down. People that is PLENTY fast and comparible to LTE speeds. Not to mention she DOES get service inside of our home. If Tmobile has deployed 4G in your area you may vey well not miss having LTE at all. Plus it's better on battery life. Sorry for the long post but all this dead on arrival talk is so premature to me. They WILL release a 32gig version and it will be 50 bucks more the Nexus 7 just taught us that. So think about it for a minute. You can get an Unlimited 4G no contract plan with T-Mobile. 400 dollar at the max top of the line spec'd out phone with pure android, 400 being price for a 32gig which I admit I pretty much have to have at least 32gig without an SD slot but I'm more than faithful it'll come. And have the latest google experience with no carrier interference whatsoever? That sound far from dead on arrival. The 8gig is a joke I get it it has it's place but it's a joke some of "US" and the general public are ok with 16gigs. But really if you use your smartphone as a SMARTPHONE we all know 32 is kind of the minimum to feel comfortable. That being said if and when they release a 32gig if the situation above fit's you. Or you have a similar result with AT&T's HSPA(+) network (Which I haven't tried at all) would the Nexus 4 work for you then? Really think about it. If you can get 12 or above DL speeds more often than not on HSPA(+) can you live without LTE? My answer is yes.

Glad that you're getting those speeds on HSPA+. I'm getting 4mbps on AT&T with full bars. As for T-Mo, I need to be able to get a signal when I drive outside of city limits, so they're not an option.

Nexus 4 = cheap competition to the iphone

They both have:
-Non removable battery
-No SDHC expansion

Where the Nexus 4 exceeds the iphone:
-Entry level price

This iteration of products is reminiscent the period of early IBM clones. Today the cheaper competition copies the WORST characteristics of the more expensive competition.

I can have a high quality name brand 16GB SDHC class 10 device delivered to my home for about 15 dollars. Google generously offers a 16GB device for 50 dollars more than the 8GB device. Google is annoying.

I think what it boils down to here is that: If you're on any network that fully supports the device you should get it. Otherwise, stick with the Galaxy Nexus that you likely already have.

Wow, you are able to use 4-6 GB a month on Straight Talk? I thought that they were very strict with the amount of data that could be used. Everything I've seen people seem weary about using too much data on it with their vague terms of service and just get cut off. Much better deal if it can be used like yours.

This is precisely the thing that leaped out at me while reading the piece last night at dinner and was going to mention today. I can't believe that over 125 comments rehashing the played-out nerd rage over the lack of removable battery/SD card/LTE makes this "TEH FAILZ!!1!!eleven!!1!" went by before someone noticed the truly interesting tidbit.

The ONLY knock I've seen consistently about Straight Talk is that no one knows just how much data "unlimited data" consists of. The consensus has been that using over 100MB/day or 2GB/month would get you cut off and IIRC there's language forbidding streaming video and music (i.e. Netflix, Pandora) which wouldn't affect me much, but again raises the question of whether you can get by with their restrictions. Jerry getting 4-6GB per month would alleviate 95% of the concerns people have, but is he in a lower-usage market? What's he doing right that everyone else who's complaining isn't?

I'm sorry but I have to disagree with some of this post. DO NOT GET A SAMSUNG PHONE to hack it or if you want anything other than touchwiz. I'm not sure how well stock android runs but Cyanogen Mod and others don't run well at all and forget about project butter running. Samsung hardware is locked down, the nexus 4 uses a Snapdragon which are not. Tegra/Nvidia hardware is equally closed.

If you want to hack or mod your software, you need a Snapdragon and the best one available is the nexus 4. Yeah, 16GB max is a bummer but other than that this phone is the best damn thing on the market for that price and even at higher prices. You can easily trade in an S3 ot HTC one x for one of these and that's exactly what I will be doing.

"DO NOT GET A SAMSUNG PHONE to hack it or if you want anything other than touchwiz."

Huh? I have been modding my Samsung devices since the Moment came out. Never had any issues modding them and actually they were always easier then some of the other OEM. IMHO Samsung is the easiest to mod and my GS3 is the best phone I have ever had...

I have a CDMA GS3 and it is very easy. I wasn't comparing Nexus, I was comparing OEM (HTC,LG,MOTO,ETC). In my experience, Samsung has always been the easiest to mod. I am not a fan of CM or AOKP, I actually like TW and use it's feature everyday. I have been able to dirty flash multiple ROMs on my S3 with no issues. Cant say the same for other OEM. Like I said, IMO, Samsung is much easier...

Because a phone lacks all the check boxes you want does not make it "intentionally gimped." I swear, the spoiled, entitled, nerd rage over the N4 is appalling as the crybabies view Google's decisions as a personal insult against them. Get over yourselves, kids!

The HOX doesn't have an SD slot or removable battery - is it "intentionally gimped"? To listen to the whimpering about this or that item not being included is like bitching that Kentucky Fried Chicken is intentionally gimping your wings-eating experience because they have their employees fully clothed as opposed to wearing orange hot pants. Dudes, if you want hot pants, got to freaking Hooters and STFU! Otherwise eat what KFC's cooking in silence.

Can i buy this cellphone unlocked from a T-Mobile retail store for $350 or only at the Google Play store?

According to the research I just finished if you want to buy things with your phone you have to have a Google Wallet. It seems like if you want to buy an app from the Google Play store then you may not need a Google Wallet. I don't have aGoogle Wallet (I don't want my cards information in the cloud) and I have bought apps through Google Play via my tablet.

Speaking as a Verizon customer only, I started my experience with my ironclad Moto Droid. Man, that was a phone. I had great signal, a new form factor for me, and my first experience of Android.
Fast forward to the end of my contract and the roll out of GNex on Verizon, the rollout was HORRIBLE! Everyone seems to forget the ridiculous back peddling Verizon did with the release date and issues of their LTE network and the phone. Nearly two months late, I get the phone in my hands. Moments later it's rooted and I'm set. That is until I realized the battery life sucked and my OG Droid had better signal, even on just 3G. Throughout the last year moved from rom to rom until I settled on AOKP. (Great rom I might add)! The battery life still blows and my signal still falls WELL below the bar for a high end device. These aren't Google's fault, but that of the carrier.
Everyone is talking about the lack of LTE. I for one, don't care about 4G if it means my phone can make it through the day without being tethered to a power cord. For most of my day I have WiFi and the LTE speeds are far cry from what I get from my cable company.
First and foremost, a phone must be able to provide basic duties and do them extremely well. Being that a Nexus should be atop this list, it would stand to reason Google would look at a simpler path as the best path to take. A Nexus should stand out and make us say, WOW, that's awesome. It's seen as a leader of the pack, rightfully so I might add. Overall, the whole purpose of a Nexus is to make our days easier. Whether that means providing a better interface or a better way at gathering data. Either way, It's about appealing to the MASSES!
I for one applaud Google in their efforts. The fact is, its hard to work with wireless carriers. Google and the carriers are running their businesses in their best interests. Google sees a Nexus as an their idea of an open source platform. That platform brings revenue in via direct purchasing from the Play store. The carriers, every one of them, look at a new phone as a new way to make revenue. The carriers aren't interested in an open platform. They want your money any way they can get it. Google acknowledges this with N4 and it's low production costs. Google has provided us with a product that isn't for everyone. Those of us that make the choice to call N4 as their phone will be undoubtedly happy with that decision. Because it's not about getting everything, it's about getting everything you can.

The original Galaxy Nexus on Verizon had a lot of signal issues, those were Samsung's fault and inexperience with LTE radios. Battery life suffers on the Verizon Nexus suffered as it was a first generation LTE device and the LTE radios are huge battery drains. I had the same issue with battery drain on my HTC Thunderbolt, but none of the signal issue, my htc thunderbolt got awesome reception. LTE radios are slowly improving, I've head the GS3 gets decent battery life and the Razr Maxx HD would be the best choice for a LTE Verizon phone with a long battery life.

The lack of LTE at this point is more about agreements over carrier control of devices, a nexus device really must be updated directly by google to be a nexus, and cost of the device.

But I agree with you final message the N4 is a good phone that will work with T-mobile or AT&T the lack of LTE may be a deal breaker for some, but it's not google's intent with the nexus line to release a phone to please everyone.

For Verizon users check out motorola razr hd maxx, Motorola is getting smart and getting much closer to stock Android, which should speed up updates and give a better user experience.

Ironically, I just received my replacement Gnex. Too bad it didn't come with better radios.

You are correct about it being Samsung's fault. I still love the signal quality of a Moto any-day-of-the-week!

Cheers!

Great post, Jerry. There aren't nearly enough reasoned shopper-centric articles in the storm of fanboy and shiny-lust reporting. Good reading today from you and Alex. >:)

Does anyone use T-Mobile in DC? Dropped data and or dropped calls? Recommend it? Thinking trying the N4 and would need a new carrier. Thanks.

@jerry: nice and great post. In this times that the customer don't know exactly anymore which device will be best fits what he wants to do with it, it's very good to be good informed and check out every pros and cons.

I live in Belgium, Europe. In my country it is prohibited to sale phones (or something else) in combination of a contract. So, customers have always the freedom to choose their own carrier and switch freely from provider X to provider Y, contracts don't may be longer than 6 months.

So in my country it's a little bit easier to make a decision: if the customer haves no problem using the cloud or the inner memory is only 8 or 16GB, and loves fast updates to the latest Android OS => buy a Nexus 4, otherwise if at least 1 of previous cases is not important than another smartphone may be a better decision.

For my personal case, I'll buy a Nexus 4: cheap compared to other devices with the same hardware, love using the cloud & I don't need 16GB or more storage memory on my device, I want to have always the latest Android OS. Because every smartphone in my country is an unlocked smartphone, I choose the carrier and plan that fits the best to my personal needs and can switch every day freely to another one.

I will keep my Galaxy Nexus for simply because I am happy with it, plus I don't think the extra cpu horsepower will give me tangible benefits (at least for now). I will also get the Lumia 920 on holidays (yeah I know, heresy) and probably a Surface Pro.

Okay this review is written so retarted it does not have very conclusive points except for software upgrades and even those is really like do you really need those.

No mention of hardware or aything? This phone is just a spec upgrade of a galaxy s 3 or htc one x... Plus the cloud storage is nice but you can still use that on other phones with an External SD card.

Plus we read earlier that 4.2 upgrade is not really worth it yet since it's a minor upgrade from 4.1. Latest roms might not come out offically for other phones right away but there are a lot of custom roms out there that somehow are always a lot better than manufacturer provided OS'es...

Nexus 4 is a nice phone but still nothing exciting really. Review: Invalid Reviewer: Fire that dude..

When this option comes to the UK (SIM free at a reasonable cost) I may not even consider it. Here I get a starvation 0.5Gb of data and NEED a decent camera with lots of local storage and a good Wifi signal. The Google approach simply will not work for me. I chose a GS2 last time and probably would again. Perhaps a Note 2, when the price drops, or wait another 12 months and see.

The only Nexus I'm even considering for 2013 is a Nexus7 32Gb-3G on a pay as you go data deal. Even that is a marginal option.

"Now, on to the hackers. If you like to hack away at things, you probably think this is the best phone for you. I disagree. The Nexus 4 should be wide open and easily unlocked, with lots of third-party development -- third-party development all based on the stock software that comes with the phone. Custom ROMs don't really add a lot to Nexus phones that you can't easily replicate right from Google Play. Besides, where will you store all those Nandroid backups? If you want a phone to hack in different versions of Android with a different look and feel, get a Galaxy Note 2 or Galaxy S3. You'll have your SD card, stock(ish) version of Android, and the satisfaction that you did it yourself."

I disagree with this section.
Firstly Custom ROM's add massive amounts of changes to Nexus phones or any Android for that matter.
Store Nandroid backups..?? they are storage safely on the internal sdcard between ROM upgrades or testing. they never needed an external sd for the Galaxy Nexus.. it's simply not necessary.
Galaxy S3 or Note2, again disagree. Nothing is easier to hack and modify than a Nexus device.. just ask yourself which phones the custom ROM's and extra mod's are going to be first designed for.. the answer is always Nexus as the source code is first always available for Nexus.

So for anybody who is looking for a phone to mod or customize with custom ROM's etc etc don't touch anything but Nexus. You might be able to get away with a higher end very popular international version Android like the international S3 but the experience will never be as good as a Nexus.

Give me stellar battery life reviews and this weird thermal throttling issue Anandtech found going away, and this is my next phone.