Awards

  • Recommended by TR

Summary

Our Score

9/10

User Score

Pros

  • Staggeringly low price tag
  • Android 4.2
  • Great Screen

Cons

  • Camera could be improved
  • Just five homescreens
  • Memory not expandable

Review Price £239.00

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Key Features: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean; 4.7-inch WXGA IPS display; Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core CPU

Manufacturer: LG

Google Nexus 4 update

Whether it’s in anticipation of the Nexus 5, or a response to the much rumoured arrival of the iPhone 5C, the Nexus 4 is available to buy for £159. That’s an £80 price cut on the Nexus 8GB model dropping from £239. The price of the 16GB Nexus 4 has also dropped from £279 to £199. To put that into perspective, the quad-core powered Android smartphone is now around the same price as the Nokia Lumia 620.

The Windows Phone 8-running handset is one of the best cheap mobile phones to buy right now, but the Nexus 4 is a great Android alternative. Yes, we know it is only 8GB, but when you consider the great 4.7-inch WXGA IPS display, the fact it runs on Android 4.3 and that sleek, premium design, there’s even more reason to recommend this as one of the best Android phones to buy.


Google Nexus 4 Video Review

Want to see more of the Google Nexus 4? Sit back and watch our video.

MORE: Nexus 6 release date, rumours, features, specs and price

Google Nexus 4 Android 4.3 review

Announced alongside the Nexus 7 2, Android 4.3 is the latest flavour of Google’s Jelly Bean operating system and has been rolling out to Nexus smartphones and tablets.

We’ve already taken a look at Android 4.3 on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus so now we turn our attention to Android 4.3 on the Nexus 4.

The incremental update focuses on making performance improvements including triple buffering, reduced touch latency for gamepads, Bluetooth Smart support, CPU input boost, and a version of Project Butter that runs even smoother. There are some more noticeable upgrades with changes made to the camera app, keyboard and notifications.

There have been some stories about Nexus 4 handsets crashing during the installation process, but we can safely say that the Nexus 4 successfully updated to Android 4.3 with no stability issues whatsoever.

It still offers a slick, fluid experience when swiping through homescreens and a zippy web browsing performance. It still gets a little warm up top where the CPU is located but there’s no sign of the overheating that some Nexus 4 users have complained about.

One of the main areas that Android 4.3 has addressed is the camera app. The on-screen menu system has been redesigned with a new arch shaped look. The volume rocker now acts as a camera trigger and Photo Sphere improves image stitching and exposure levels.

The new menu system makes it much easier and quicker to adjust advanced settings when taking a photo. Photo Sphere is still not the finished article and images can still look a little disjointed in places but there is a notable improvement in the final results.

Some Nexus 4 users have noticed a drop in performance in the gaming department, specifically on less demanding games like Candy Crush. Running the Epic Citadel benchmark tests on the Android 4.3 Nexus 4, it scores a 49.2 average FPS. The Nexus 4 running on Android 4.2.2 in comparison scores a 53.3 average FPS. Clearly there is a difference in the numbers, in reality though giving Candy Crush a play, we didn’t notice any frame rate issues.

Android 4.3 introduces a smarter notifications system offering a greater variety of options to deal with calendar appointments or reminders when they pop up in the notifications bar. Everything appears to be working order here however we did notice that email notifications no longer appear. This has been something reported by some users, so it’s clear this is an issue to be addressed.

Among the other notable features worth pointing out, there’s now a Dialpad Autocomplete to speed up your day-to-day phone use. You can simply start typing a number and matching contacts will appear above. It’s a minor tweak but one that some will find beneficial.

On the whole, Android 4.3 on the Nexus 4 improves an already great Android phone. It tinkers with key features introduced in the first Android Jelly Bean version to great effect. We can confirm a clean bill of health a week from installing and it’s should do more good than bad based on our experiences with the latest Jelly Bean instalment.

Check out all the latest about the Nexus 5 release date, rumours, news, price and specs.


Introduction

The latest addition to Google’s own branded range of Nexus devices, the Google Nexus 4 is manufactured by LG but has the search giant at its core, from the full collection of pre-installed Google applications to the newly revised Android 4.2 Jelly Bean OS.

Although previous Nexus handsets have looked to push the boundaries of the smartphone sector, introducing a collection of new high-end specs previously unseen on portable devices, the Google Nexus 4 has taken a slightly different approach, incorporating a collection of premium specs found on market leading handsets within a body that pleasingly falls at a mid-range price point.

Featuring a quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 4.7-inch 1280 x 768p display, the Google Nexus 4 is on par with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Apple iPhone 5 in terms of on-paper specs yet lines up roughly half the price of either device. Available in 8GB and 16GB storage forms, the Google Nexus 4 price starts at a hugely impressive £239, whilst the higher capacity handset lines up at just £279, figures that see the handset as a more wallet-friendly option than the far inferior Sony Xperia P, Motorola Razr i and BlackBerry Bold 9790.




Google Nexus 4 Design

Far from the most desirable handset on the market, the Google Nexus 4 is still somewhat of a looker with relatively svelte design lines and few blemishes detracting from an overall appearance that appeals for the most part but which fails to provide the ‘wow’ factor.

Standard stock black smartphone fair, the Google Nexus 4 design is spruced up by a disco ball effect back that offers a little sparkle to the device. Whilst this feature will not appeal to all, perhaps proving too jazzy or feminine for some, the break from the lifeless black form of the rest of the device is a welcome one and a move which helps, marginally, set the handset apart from a number of its similarly uneventful mid-range counterparts.

Thanks to the handset’s flat black and slick finish, the Google Nexus 4 is someway from being the most comfortable device in the hand. At 4.7-inches in size, despite being just 9.1mm thick, the Google Nexus 4 can feel somewhat clunky with the lack of curves offering a slightly un-ergonomic fit. Despite this slightly awkward stance, however, thanks to rubberised edging, the latest Nexus handset never feels like running the risk of making a premature escape from the hand.



Although feeling safe if somewhat uncomfortable in the hand, the Google Nexus 4 is anything but secure when placed on all but the flattest of surfaces. A niggle that will be familiar to any former or current iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S handset owners, due to the rather plasticy feeling glass backing of the Google Nexus 4, the Android 4.2 device seems intent on making an unwanted sliding exit when placed down on anything other than a perfectly flat, hard surface such as a desktop.

Again in very Apple-esque fashion, and somewhat against the grain of the majority of Android powered handsets, the Google Nexus 4 does not feature a removable back plate, scrapping the option of microSD memory expansion and seeing the handset’s micro SIM inserted via a pop-out side-mounted SIM tray. Another seeming homage to Apple.

With well thought-out button placements ensuring that accidental presses of the physical volume controls or sleep-turn-power button - the only physical buttons found on the device - are avoided when holding the handset in either a landscape or portrait manner, the Google Nexus 4 sadly isn’t without its own hand hitches. When holding the handset in a landscape stance to play app-based games, the Google Nexus 4’s light sensor falls under the hand, causing the device to frequently, unnecessarily, and rather annoyingly, auto adjust the screen’s brightness.


Google Nexus 4 Screen

One of the handset’s many party piece selling points, the Google Nexus 4 screen is a large, expansive, vibrant offering that makes movie absorption on the move a joy and daily tasks an eye appeasing breeze.

At 4.7-inches in size, the 1280 x 768p WXGA IPS Google Nexus 4 screen is just 0.1-inches smaller than the market leading Samsung Galaxy S3, but no less visually impressive. With a pixel-per-inch density higher than that of its Android powered rival, the 320ppi offering of the new Nexus is topped only by the 326ppi image density of the iPhone 5’s Retina display.

With sharp, vibrant colours ensuring that the Google Nexus 4 is a device as comfortable and accomplished at multimedia playback as it is general use, the screen’s expansive viewing angles tick yet another box on the desired features list. Handling extreme viewing angles with aplomb, the Google Nexus 4 screen helps make the device one which can, if desired, be used to share video in a group situation with a couple on a long train journey more than capable of comfortable watching a movie on the device with little concern for performance depleting angle issues.

Partnering with the handset’s 1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor to produce one of the most responsive handset’s on the market, there were occasions when we were forced to take a second stab at registering a link selection whilst on the browser but this is a niggle that we are attributing to the browser more than the screen. That said, the Google Nexus 4 comfortably features one of the most visually impressive smartphones screens currently available at a mid-range price point.

More than just a visually impressive offering, the Google Nexus 4 screen is a reassurance to more clumsy users with the Corning Gorilla Glass 2 coating ensuring that the device is protected against the unavoidable collection of knocks, drops and bumps that accompany any handset’s lifespan. Whilst we didn’t subject the Google Nexus 4’s screen to too much rough treatment during our time with the device, placed in a pocket for a couple of days with a collection of coins and keys, the device showed no physical or image depleting sign of the continued and unwanted contact.

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