Another Look at the Nexus 4: It’s About the Quality


We’re no strangers to the Nexus 4, Google’s latest flagship smartphone. Our own Brandon Miniman gave it the full review treatment last week. The phone itself is wonderful. It’s fast. It’s solid. It’s a Nexus. Unfortunately it lost a few points in the review.

Our score has been met with more than a little “push back” from our readers. Here are a few of the comments:

  • “Nothing there justifies a 7/10.”
  • “I agree with you to a certain extent, however 7 doesn’t cut it bro…”
  • “This phone is midrange so why compare it to high ends and give it 7/10? seriously.”
  • “7/10??? that’s is ridiculous!!”

What’s the story? Was Brandon too harsh? Luckily, we’ve got another Nexus 4 in the house, and another set of eyes to look at it. Let’s take a second look at where the Nexus 4 lost points in our full review, and see if the deductions were justified.

It’s about the quality

Our review detailed concerns with the Nexus 4’s build quality. In addition to having both a glass front and back, the phone just feels “weird” in hand. I’ve got to mirror those sentiments. The sides of the phone do feel somewhat “odd” in-hand. The bottom of the phone, after less than a week of use, has developed a squeak. I had more than one crash in the dialer, primarily on incoming calls, which required me to reboot before I could talk to whomever was trying to call.  The touch-screen isn’t as responsive as we’re used to. People are complaining of “dirty” sound from the ear-speaker. It doesn’t include USB On-The-Go support. It’s slippery.

One of my complaints with the Samsung Galaxy S III was it’s hyper-slip hyperglaze coating. It feels slimy, slippery, and gross. The Nexus 4 is worse.

The main areas the Nexus 4 lost points were in build quality and user experience. It rightfully lost those points. Should that keep you from buying the Nexus 4? Probably not, but it’s our job to tell you about the shortcomings of any device so you can make your own decisions.

On a happier note, the curved right and left edges of the screen make swiping feel much more fluid than other phones I’ve used. The Nexus 4 is also the fastest phone I’ve ever used — it’s amazingly fast.

The future

Some of the Nexus 4’s shortcomings will likely be addressed in upcoming patches and software updates. When that happens we’ll let you know. In the meantime, the phones we tested didn’t have those yet-to-be-released patches.

The Nexus 4 represents the first time LG has gotten into the Nexus game. If you recall, the first Nexus phone from Samsung (the Nexus S) had its share of challenges, too. Samsung greatly improved their product with the next generation, the Galaxy Nexus. I imagine LG will continue to improve and their next Nexus device will be even better. Until we see that, I’ve got to stick with Brandon’s score, which accurately reflects the shortcomings of the device in its current state.

Make sure you bookmark Pocketnow and keep an eye our for an upcoming “After the Buzz” video. By then we’ll have had even more time to experience the Nexus 4. Who knows, we might even be able to add a point if they were able to fix some of the user experience problems via OTA patches.

That having been said, even with those shortcomings I haven’t had any problem trading in my Galaxy Nexus for the Nexus 4, and I don’t think you will either.

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.