Don't buy the 8GB Nexus 4

When you click on the LG Nexus 4 in the Google Play devices store, you're taken to the 16GB version by default. There's a reason for that. The cheaper 8GB model is a loss leader, something to grab headlines, but not a product Google wants you to buy. And in our opinion, it's not something you should buy if you care about getting the most out of your next phone.

The Nexus 4 is a technological beast. With a quad-core Snapdragon S4 inside, 2GB of RAM, a 1280x768 IPS display and the latest version of Android, the fact that you can pick one up for under $300 is just a little mind-blowing. But Google had to skimp somewhere, and like the $200 Nexus 7, Nexus 4's internal storage was sacrificed in order to keep costs down.

Read on to find out why you should stump up the extra fifty bucks for the 16GB model.

Shipping a Nexus 4 with 8GB onboard allows Google to splash an attractive price tag on the front of the Play Store, in TV ads and blog posts -- but let's be clear, it's the more expensive 16GB model that it wants you to buy. There's no way Google is making any money on the 8GB Nexus 4. At best it's breaking even; more likely, it's making a small loss. So after the $299 figure has lured you onto the Nexus 4 device page, it's the 16GB model that's selected by default.

But it's not just Google that wins if you opt for the 16GB model, it's also you -- yes, you! If you've owned an 8GB Nexus 7, you know just how quickly that storage space gets eaten up by music, apps and games. Of your total 8GB, a couple of gigs are taken up by the OS. That leaves you with somewhere in the region of 6GB, and that's just not very much of anything. We're willing to bet you've got more than 6GB of music knocking around. If you want to take advantage of the 8MP Sony BSI camera on-board, those shots will set you back around 1.5MB a piece. And who knows how large those crazy photo sphere shots will end up being.

That's before you get to gaming -- high-performance games, of the kind you're going to want to try on that speedy Snapdragon CPU, regularly weigh in at several gigabytes a piece. There are arguments that say the Nexus 4 is a cloud-storage-centric device, but not everyone is fully invested in Google's content ecosystem, and in some countries services like Play Movies and Play Music are still unavailable.

For an extra $50 (£40 in the UK), you can more than double your storage, and with it give yourself a bit of breathing room. Sure, the 16GB Nexus 4 isn't the most spacious smartphone either. The new HTC One X+ ships with 64GB on-board, and of course there's a 64GB iPhone too. But it's enough that the average user won't have to worry about running out of space.

People hate to miss out on a bargain, but a Nexus 4-level smartphone, with 16GB of storage, for $350 (or £279 in the UK) is still insanely good value. There's no way you'd get that kind of technology for that price anywhere else -- Google is the only organization crazy enough to sell its flagship smartphone at or near cost. So take the company's advice on this one, and spend the extra few notes on a 16GB Nexus 4. You'll thank us when you don't run out of space.

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.