I made myself a little present this holiday season, i. e. a Nexus 4. After playing with it for about a week (yepp, I cheated, but don’t tell my kids), a first résumé.
But before I deep dive into my view of the Nexus 4, some comments on The Verge’s review of this device:
Oh well. The iPhone does have LTE — for a ridiculously small subset of bands/carriers. That is, as of this writing, only T-Mobile in big cities in Germany, but T-Mobile even puts LTE to the rural areas and does a mix-and-match buildout on all their frequencies — somehing the iPhone as of now can’t cope with. And, even worse: while the iPhone only covers a third of T-Mobile’s frequencies in Germany, it covers next to none of the LTE buildouts other providers in Europe invested in. So, saying »the iPhone supports LTE« might be true for some markets worldwide, e. g. the US; in Europe, today’s iPhone does not support any major market’s LTE buildout. Penta band devices, like the Nokia Lumia 920 or the Nexus 4, do not suffer from this fault.
A little over a year ago, I bristled at the fact that the iPhone 4S didn’t have LTE, but I also admitted that the phone was a still a “force to be reckoned with.” The same can be said for the Nexus 4, with a caveat. The mobile industry has changed a lot in the last 12 months. LTE is the norm, not a nice-to-have, and its performance has shown the cracks in the aging GSM networks of the US. No flagship device is released without it. Not even the iPhone.
For a phone and an OS built for the cloud, I think it’s unacceptable to not offer a version that takes advantage of our fastest mobile networks.
That said, and reminding the dear readers that LTE, as of now, is data only, i. e. without a 2G or 3G network, there won’t be SMS or voice calls at all, let’s drop the LTE bullshit (yes, I mean this; I use a Nokia Lumia 920 as my business phone, and I’m strongly thinking that the buildout of LTE was only one thing: rushed. With no provision for voice calls, LTE in a phone (in contrast to a tablet) makes no sense at all right now).
First thing I really noticed about my Nexus 4 was … how incredibly slippery it was. Put it on any surface — if that’s not 100% even, over time your Nexus 4 will slide away, and, with some bad luck, crash it’s shiny glas front or bottom. I got 2 scratches onto the Gorillaglas-display already from the Nexus 4 sliding down on what seemed to be an even surface and hitting stuff on the way down.
On the software side, I’m not impressed, having used the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 before (i. e. was able to glimpse at the new photo features of Android 4.2); without the multi-user addons, Android 4.2 feels not too different than Android 4.anything.
Battery life, for me, for now seems to be more than sufficient, I was recently able to sustain 8.5+ hours on battery (23% remaining) while using the Nexus 4 in a kind-of-normal way, i. e. having it update stuff and me using the Nexus 4 for reading and writing social media things.
The camera, though, is no match to my Lumia 920; somewhat sad, as even the aged Nokia N95’s camera drew circles around most of my Android imaging devices of late.
Responsiveness of the UI is great; and even web sites render beautifully fast on Nexus 4’s Chrome — compared to last year’s high end device HTC Sensation, it feels like the Sensation in on a quarter core compared to the Nexus 4. Simply awesome. Flash is lacking, though, and some site’s autodetection does not work well at times — e. g. mediathek.ard.de insisted on me installing a (not available) current Flash plugin. On the Nexus 7 I was somehow redirected to m.daserste.de where they serve non-Flash content …
All in all, I still like my (rooted) Nexus 4 — but I’m axious to drop it because of it’s design. It seems to tend to fall onto the Gorillaglas display — which is much less unbreakable and rather easily scratchable as one would think — or it’s glassy back, which cracks even more easily than the front.
Oh, yes, one big minus: there’s not HDMI out, no even via MHL (i. e. USB). Sure, I could stream content to some Miracast-Devices — which aren’t as of yet available in Europe. Oh, I just read an article that the Nexus 4 dropped MHL (thanks, I already own such a cable) in favor to Slimport — which seems to be the same idea but a different standard, hence my MHL cable didn’t light my TV. Okay, spending another 30 bucks (plus an HDMI switch) — will tell you the outcome in the future …