The Nexus 4: Why This Might Be Your Dream Phone


Here in the northeastern United States, hurricane Sandy is starting to mess up our hair – and our schedules. Google’s big Nexus-centric announcement, originally scheduled for today, had to be pushed back due to the storm, but that didn’t stop the big G from dropping the news of the new Nexus 4. For 2013, the Nexus 4 will be Google’s pre-emptive answer to flagships Windows Phone 8 devices, other Androids, and even the iPhone 5 and perhaps the one that comes after that. While we have yet to get our hands on the Nexus 4, the pieces have come together to create a device that will undoubtedly provide the best Android experience on a phone, by far, even if it doesn’t have LTE just yet (it’s still quite possible we’ll see carrier-branded LTE Nexus 4 models next year). Why? Here are four very good reasons.

That Screen…

The 1280×768 4.7″ panel on the Nexus 4 is the same as is found on the Optimus G. And wow, it’s good. In fact, we think it’s better the the One X’s display. The color saturation is life-like, the contrast is deep, the viewing angles are fantastic, and the touch-response is wonderful. If you owned a Galaxy Nexus, you might have enjoyed the deep contrast afforded by the AMOLED screen, but might have been frustrated by the pentile sub-pixel configuration (which would allow those with super-vision to see pixels). The Nexus 4 fixes all of that. If you have yet to go to your local AT&T or Sprint store to see the Optimus G, we recommend that you do so in order to witness the quality of Optimus G’s (and thus the Nexus 4’s) panel. Plus, with an extra 48 pixels on the horizontal, the Nexus 4 has a wider screen that the Galaxy Nexus, allowing you to see more content on the screen at once.

That CPU…

The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro is the fastest CPU we’ve ever tested on an Android. You act, it responds. It seems that Qualcomm took their time with the S4 Pro’s release as to make it a beast (unlike Nvidia which was first to the gate with their underwhelming Tegra 3). In fact, take a look at our comparison video, where the Optimus G handily beats the Tegra 3 on the One X and even the quad-core Exynos on the Galaxy S III. And our Optimus G tester was running Android 4.0.4. Add Jelly Bean 4.2 to the mix and you easily have the most responsive Android device ever.

That Hardware…

The Galaxy Nexus had a unique design that felt great up against your face when making a call. And while we can’t comment on how the Nexus 4 feels in-hand or up against your face, we’re pretty impressed by the hardware, albeit a bit nervous. The front of the buttlonless Nexus 4 looks menacing, with a single piece of glass that wraps around the edges of the phone (supposedly to make side-swipe gestures more natural), while the back is more approachable with a second piece of glass that glistens thanks to a reflective metallic pattern. It’s a work of art. And while LG and Google tried to inset the rear piece of glass to protect it from shattering, this is a phone that you’ll want to put a case on.

That Software…

Google fixed Android with Jelly Bean. They made it as smooth as Windows Phone and as smooth as iOS. They closed the gap. And then they added some really useful features like actionable notifications, Google Now, and improvments to the launcher. While Android 4.2 (still called Jelly Bean) isn’t as meaningful of an update, it brings much needed enhancements to Android. On the Nexus 4, these features will work particularly well thanks to the brawny CPU, great display, and (hopefully) solid camera. Features such as widgets on the lock screen (sorry guys at Widget Locker), keyboard gestures (sorry guys at Swype), new Google Now features, and a “why didn’t I think of this?” feature for taking panoramas called Photo Sphere.

What do you think? Could the Nexus 4 be your dream phone?

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About The Author
Brandon Miniman
Brandon is a graduate from the Villanova School of Business, located near Philadelphia, PA. He's been a technology writer since 2002, and, in 2005, became Editor-in-Chief of Pocketnow, a then Windows Mobile-focused website. He has since helped to transition Pocketnow into a top-tier smartphone and tablet publication. He's so obsessed with technology that he once entered a candle store and asked if they had a "new electronics" scent. They didn't.