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Quick Thoughts On The Nexus 4
Before I get into the details on the phone, I'd like to start by saying I've enjoyed the last few launches of these phones (Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S3, Nexus 4, etc) in large part because of how excited everyone here gets. Whether it's positive or negative, there's always a place to discuss it here, so a big thanks goes out to Phil/Jerry/Cory/Alex and everyone else who maintains and runs this site. With that said, let's talk Nexus 4.
You can tell by the videos and pictures of this phone that it's beautiful, but you don't quite appreciate it fully until you've gotten to hold one. It's familiar in the sense of its similiarities to the Galaxy Nexus, but refined to a level usually reserved for iPhones or HTC devices. The chrome accent that frames the phone, the front glass panel that meets it with smooth edges, the beautiful Nexus logo surrounded by this crystal reflective pattern that is so much more appealing in person...this phone oozes sophistication yet remains simple at the same time. I had my doubts about how LG would handle a phone like this, but they were put to bed with the Optimus G and confirmed the second I picked this device up.
I don't get caught up on specs too much anymore, but the Nexus 4 delivers in ways few smartphones can these days. Benchmarks are nice, but I prefer testing it myself to see how the device runs in real-world usage. You'll be hard pressed to find anything you can throw at this phone that will make it stutter. The screen transitions are as smooth as ever and apps load lightning fast. The camera is much improved over the Galaxy Nexus, but like every other review out there, it's not quite at the level of a Galaxy S3 or One X even though the camera app itself is much better than before. The screen is gorgeous. It's bright, it's crisp, and it easily rivals the One X/Note 2/iPhone 5. Battery life is still something of a concern, but in my testing so far (today is my third charge cycle), it's about as good as the Galaxy S3 sans-LTE. I will say that I'm a little disappointed that it isn't better than it is so far, but it's manageable. I can get roughly 17-20 hours out of it depending on whether I'm using HSPA+ or WifI primarily. I thought the combination of the li-polymer battery at 2100 mah/the S4 Pro/the HD IPS+ display would really make a big difference over a phone like the S3, but I'm not seeing that. I want to say it may have something to do with the software so far, but I'm not sure. Those 3 things combined over AMOLED/Exynos 4412/li-ion 2100 mah should produce favorable results, but not at this point. 17-20 hours of use is definitely not something to be mad about, but I had a little higher expectations for this phone and I believe Google did, too.
I've already gone over this in another post, but I'll reiterate; it's not ideal that this phone lacks LTE or removable storage. I wish it did like everyone else, but there are ways to compensate. We live in a world where wifi is pretty common either at our places of work or our homes, so I'm not that worried about not having LTE. LG partnered with Box to offer free 50GB of storage, Google Drive offers 5 GB, and Google Play Music (where available) offers 20,000 songs. That's quite a bit of cloud storage to go with your 13 GB usable internal storage. Devices are all about compromise these days. The Galaxy S3 has LTE and removable storage, but also runs Touchwiz and is relegated to carrier approval for updates. It has a removable battery, but isn't unlocked and sold off contract for $299-349.
Last year when the Galaxy Nexus came out, there was this feeling that it wasn't a "Nexus". Carrier branded on Verizon, CDMA radio, etc. It was a huge disappointment for a lot of people. I was here during that time on the forums and along with the screen being Pentile, it was one of the most discussed topics. If any phone ever embodied "Nexus", it's the Nexus 4. It's an unlocked, penta-band device that skips out on being carrier branded to receive timely updates and offer much lower prices. It's such an impressive phone that it's shortcomings just don't seem that important once you start using it. Kudos to LG and Google for making an incredible phone that will be relevant for some time to come.