Nexus 4 review

Reviews 16 May, 2013

Updated: The Nexus 4 boasts a gorgeous 4.7in IPS display and quad-core processor - all for the unbelievable SIM-free price of £239.

4
Price: 
£239
SIM-free
Verdict: 
Like the Nexus 10, the Nexus 4 is another class leader. Google have combined a refreshed version of their operating system with a well designed, powerful phone that’s more cost-effective than anything else on the market. The Nexus 4 goes head-to-head with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5, and while it might lose out in some areas such as slimness and storage options, its £239 price more than makes up for its few shortcomings. A third and final winner in Google’s 2012 Nexus trinity.

The Nexus 4 is the latest flagship handset from Google, made in conjunction with LG, but it’s not just another run of the mill high-end handset.

Google is selling the device at cost price and the strategy is working well. Retailing at just £239 SIM-free, the Nexus 4 is the cheapest high-end quad-core phone you’ll find, and it’s no surprise the device is currently sold out on the Google Play Store.

Performance

With a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro chip inside, the Nexus 4 is a benchmark beater. On the Geekbench app the processor registered a clock speed of 1.51GHz, and the device was measured to have 1.83GB of usable RAM. The Nexus 4 scored a total of 1846 in the processor and memory test, considerably higher than the flagship Samsung Galaxy S3, which scored 1387.

This high score translates to good real-world performance too. It handles the UI perfectly and makes for a reliable, smooth experience whether you’re making a call, viewing an HD movie or panning across 3D renders.

However, after running these benchmarks we did notice that the glass on the back of the phone got uncomfortably hot. We've seen reports that this glass has cracked after the device has been placed on a cold surface whilst still hot. Power users should bear in mind, but a cover will probably solve this issue.

The screen packs a crisp 1280 x 768 resolution

Design

A standout feature is the screen. Even six months ago it was unimaginable to get a 720p display onto a phone of this price, but LG and Google have pulled it off. The 4.7in screen comes with a pixel density of 320ppi.

Although the maximum brightness of 454cd/m2 is not as bright as competitors such as the iPhone 5 (582cd/m2), the Nexus 4 delivers a crisp picture. In addition to being sharp, the IPS display is responsiveness, has great viewing angles and is perfect for browsing web pages and text reading. The 4.7in size also makes it easy to type on, so it's well suited for emailing or note taking on the move.

On top of being a true geek phone with a bleeding edge version of Android, it looks great too. The simple black body has clean styling and glass front and back. For the reason mentioned above we're not sure it was a good move to create a glass back though.

A buttonless fascia and demure matte plastic along the top and sides set the scene for the subtle checkerboard pattern on the reverse to finish things off nicely. If it was any more reflective and sparkle spangled, it would have been too much. As it stands though, the phone is eye catching in the right light and for the right reasons.

The glass back is an intriguing addition, but it may cause problems

Specifications: 

OS: Android 4.2

Size: 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm

Weight: 139g

Screen: 4.7in 1280 x 768 pixel resolution (320 ppi)

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (1.5GHz quad-core)

Storage: 8GB or 16GB (no removable storage)

Main camera: 8-megapixels

Connectivity: Wireless charging, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, NFC (Android Beam), Bluetooth

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