Nexus 4 Review

Nexus 4

The Nexus range of Android handsets has gone from what was originally designed to be a device mainly for developers to becoming one of the must have phones for Android fans.

Nexus 4

One reason in particular that Nexus devices are proving to be popular is that they deliver a pure Android experience, free from any manufacturer UI customisations. There's nothing wrong with customisation, after all that is a central aspect of Android, and UI's such as HTC's Sense, Samsung's TouchWiz and MotoBlur can offer a level of colour and simplicity to the Android OS.

But as Android versions have been released, the OS has developed into a more polished product and the need for UI's has become ever less necessary. Another aspect that customers are quickly realising is having a native Android phone pretty much guarantees updates to the latest version of Android as and when they become available.

Until now the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has been the flag bearer for the Nexus range, but now we have the next device, the Nexus 4. As is the custom, Google have tied up with an Android partner manufacturer to create the Nexus 4, and this time round LG were given the responsibility of bringing the new Nexus to market.

The Nexus 4 has a glass panel on front and back, with a rubberised bevel around the edges offering extra grip. The main screen is 4.7 inch True HD IPS Plus display, with a resolution of 768 x 1280 supporting up to 16 million colours.

Nexus 4

The Nexus 4 weighs in at 139g, an average weight for most modern smartphones, and measures in at 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1mm.

The Nexus 4 runs on the very latest version of Android, Android 4.2, which still goes by the codename Jelly Bean. As you can gain from the version number, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is an incremental upgrade, so the improvements are minor, but welcome nonetheless. One such new feature is the panoramic mode, which makes it possible to take 360 degree photos. Once pictures have been taken, you can upload them to the Google+ social network, where friends and followers can view them properly.

The camera is an 8.0 Megapixel camera, with support for Touch Focus, geo-tagging and face detection, as well as the Photo Sphere feature. The camera can record 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second, and there is a front facing 1.3 Megapixel camera.

Nexus 4

Pretty much every feature you can find in a modern smartphone has been included in the Nexus 4. Powered by a quad core 1.5 GHz processor, the phone supports DC-HSDPA up to 42 Mbps, plus HSUPA and WiFi with WiFi Hotspot support.

The device includes NFC, supporting quick and easy data transfers, fast accessory connectivity and contactless mobile payments. Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP is included, and TV Out is available via the Micro USB port using MHL Link.

One glaring omission on the phone is the lack of support for 4G connectivity. Although 4G would have been a welcome addition, given that coverage in the UK is still restricted to just a few cities, it shouldn't be a deal breaker.

A full media player is included on the device, supporting all the major video and audio formats. There is no native FM radio, so you will have to download an app from the Google Play Store if radio listening is your thing.

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Along with the release of the Nexus 4, Google have expanded the content available to UK-based users in the Google Play Store. One welcome feature is the availability of Google Music. This allows you to upload up to 20,000 songs online, which can be accessed via your mobile device or on your PC.

The Nexus 4 is an appealing device, and has a lot going for it. A strong range of features, superb display, and the latest version of Android OS with the promise of quick updates when the next version of Android is released.

LG have not had the best run with handsets in recent months. The Nexus 4 may just be what they need to reinvigorate the brand with consumers.