back to article Review: Google Nexus 4

There are two numbers you need to keep in mind as you read this review. Firstly, 239, the remarkably small number of beer tokens Google wants in return for an unlocked, Sim-free 8GB example of the latest Nexus phone. And 2, which is the number of months it has taken me to actually get hold of one for a long-term test. The second …

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Meh

Twas the bettery life, or lack of.

I also ordered one thinking for the price I'd be able to live with the purported poor battery life. Thankfully though, the order backlog gave me a chance to consider further the slowly increasing poor reviews of the battery life of the phone. I cancelled and bought a Note 2. Even though it's cost me more money, it's saved me a shedload of hassle with poor battery life which was the achilles with my creaking DHD

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Re: Twas the bettery life, or lack of.

Eh, I have a Desire HD and the battery life is decent.

Maybe that's just because I'm running a custom ROM?

I can get about ~4 days if it's on standby and I don't really use it at all.

~2 days is trivial with my normal use - checking email all the time automatically, a little web browsing each day, a few emails sent.

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Re: Twas the bettery life, or lack of.

Asking a big screen backed with a quad core CPU in a compact phone body to last more than a day when used for CPU/GPU intensive tasks is inevitably not going to happen based on current battery and screen tech.

Admitedlly I'm not the heaviest user, but in a typical day I probably send about 20 or 30 texts, maybe 10 minutes of phone calls, a few hours connected to bluetooth, an hour or so of web/app use - but using it like that I can comfortably get two "working" days out of it before it calls time, off charge at about 8am, pretty much at the point of switching itself off at around 8/9pm the day afterwards.

If I chuck a bit of gaming into the mix and use it more intensively for other tasks I can still easily make it through one day without it needing charging. I honestly can't see a problem with it.

I do accept I'm very, very lucky to have one though, the whole ordering process has been a complete debacle. Have Google *really* not got the capability to take pre-orders?

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Facepalm

Re: Twas the bettery life, or lack of.

One could always compare it with the Windows Phone 8 User Experience.

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Re: Twas the bettery life, or lack of.

Not exactly a fair comparison there though. They were messing about with their phones and flashing firmware, so it's not exactly the "Windows Phone 8 User Experience" you are attempting to mislead people into believing it is. But then what else can be expected from someone as obviously anti-MS as yourself.

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Re: Twas the bettery life, or lack of.

@Piro Probably is your custom Rom, lucky if mine lasts 2 days on standby (Always been that way so isnt battery, running no apps makes no difference, etc...).

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Supports the QI Standard

"Incidentally, the Nexus 4 supports inductive wireless charging and eventually you will be able to buy a charger-cum-stand which looks a lot like the old Palm TouchStone charger."

You can buy QI standard wireless chargers now - eg. the Maxell Air Voltage, the LG WCP-700, etc

It's not a question of waiting for the Google branded accessory (which may be some time...)

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Re: Supports the QI Standard

The branded charger is magnetised and angled - a significant step up in appearance and function over the Maxell and LG mats. To my mind the Google one is a surrogate desk stand....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Supports the QI Standard

Nokia has an angled desktop stand. With the advantage that it is well designed too.

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Happy

Re: Supports the QI Standard

The Nokia charge mats don't supply enough current and result in charging switching off and on, off and on.

The Maxell works well on my Nexus4 and the battery life is great. 30% remaining most evenings.

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FAIL

One of the worst run Tech projects ever,

Google's supply chain team need sacking or a good flogging.

I have a Nexus on order. It's like it's 1981 again and the terms "allow 28 days for delivery" are back but only worse.

I'm also trying to buy a Samsung Google Chromebook. Nope cant get them for RRP either. All gone.

It's an odd way to try to gain market share.

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Re: One of the worst run Tech projects ever,

I'm sure you'll be delighted to hear that said Chromebook is a superb device ;) especially with CloudHQ and Cloud 9 for easy backup and development if you want to avoid Windows bloat for a while.

Seriously though if you are in the UK it may be worth trying a physical store. I did a 40 mile round trip to get one from Coventry PC World where they have a Chromebook dedicated area (I know, I know, PC World ... but given the online availability sometimes needs must, and they can confirm availability and reserve it).

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Unhappy

Re: One of the worst run Tech projects ever,

Indeed I have tried PC Worlds for miles around to no avail. Just out of stock everywhere. I'm not paying £350 to a online Ebay scalper for the privilege either.

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Re: One of the worst run Tech projects ever,

Maybe they'll sell a kit version which is impossible to assemble?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: One of the worst run Tech projects ever,

Samsung should be worried by this - it's a lot cheaper than their handsets and they have no USP - i.e. anyone can make the next best (whether that is pure specs or price and performance) handset.

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Re: One of the worst run Tech projects ever,

They don't want to sell it to you. They want to offer it to you, but you won't be able to buy it. It's not about taking market share. It's about setting a standard and driving the price down. This is so obvious, why does everybody pretend they don't see this?

Also, what's with the battery life??? Is everybody taking this to an expedition to whatever white area on the map you're exploring, and there's no socket? I drive from my home to my office in my car, or to clients, using my car. I can charge it at my home, in my car, at my office... When is it going to run out of juice?

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Meh

Re: One of the worst run Tech projects ever,

Maybe their supply chain has Beta slapped on it just like the other products?

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Wot, no score?

Strange review this one - acomes across that the review has made up his mind that he wasn't going to like it, then filtered the review through that decision. Also, why no score?

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Re: Wot, no score?

Because the El Reg scoring system is unable to cope with anything other than 85%. ?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Wot, no score?

Simple. We are no longer scoring products. Actually, we haven't done so since November 2012, but only on this and one other occasion has anyone noticed.

I decided scores, while handy for people who don't read reviews, are generally of little value. Scores are dynamic. Give a product a rating at one time, and mere weeks later it might warrant a different rating following the release of other products and/or updates for the reviewed one.

Look again at a reviewed product - as we might in a Ten... round-up - and it won't necessarily score the same second time around. That confuses some readers, if the comments are anything to go by.

So, no scores. If you feel strongly that you'd like them back, I'm open to persuasive advocacy. But for now, since one reviewer's 65 per cent can be another's 95 per cent, and both will change after a month or two, we will not be scoring reviewed products in standalone reviews.

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Re: Wot, no score?

Thanks for the explanation, Tony. :-)

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Alert

Re: Wot, no score?

@ bigphil9009

"Strange review this one - comes across that the review has made up his mind that he wasn't going to like it, then filtered the review through that decision."

au contraire, but I can hardly overlook poor battery life, a potentially fragile and slippery design (I've dropped my review handset several times already and had it slip off sofa armrests etc), the absence of a camera button and very limited storage options. Apart from those failings it's a cracking little device but it does have failings.

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Re: Wot, no score?

"In the end I gave up, cancelled my order and bought a Motorola Razr i"

I'd be grumpy too.

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Managed to get one for my daughter for Christmas. She loves it, but it does need charging every day, it is slippery (got a case as well for it). But for the price there is nothing to touch it. There again the rumours that LG have stopped making them for something new, may make this review redundant... There hasn't been any stock on the play store since early December and no sign of any coming.

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No mention of call quality

All the other online reviews that I've read say it's great as a computer and crap as a phone with most comparing call quality to a dalek. No mention of using this as a phone!

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Re: No mention of call quality

See top of page 2 for a brief mention of call quality.

To the first poster, after shelling out for a Note 2 I was a bit disappointed to hear of the Nexus 4 coming out for such a lower price point. However, after enjoying the Note 2 battery, I couldn't go back! Being able to use it inconsiderately all day and not have to worry about battery life saves so much hassle!

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FAIL

Re: No mention of call quality

To quote: "call quality - thanks to active noise cancellation - and cellular reception gave no cause for complaint"

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Alert

Re: No mention of call quality

I found the call quality to be absolutely fine and every bit as clear/loud/composed as the Motorola Razr i that I use on a daily basis. And I should say that I found the call quality of the Razr very impressive from day one. It's one of the reasons I bought it after spending time with a review handset I had in for the Best Smartphones for Xmas feature.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No mention of call quality

I have had the nexus 4 for a week on the 3 network. As a long time nokia user... I was surprised how poor the call quality is... also as a first time android user.. I was shocked how bad the stock contacts application is ! though it does have its plus sides :-)

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Re: No mention of call quality nor of messaging system abilities, among other things

As noted, the article well discusses voice call quality and it is nice to hear that this phone is excellent in that regard.

However, I am beginning to think that it is a conspiracy to not review and discuss the useability of an Android phone in terms day-to-day living needs, Many Android phone reviews seem to be exclusively hardware discussions to get hardware geeks all frothy at the mouth in anticipation and build up an early product demand. Android's power, email, SMS and notification systems have been well behind established business-level competitors (which is why Google has been adding features to them for the past number of release updates), but that truth has never been openly discussed in major phone reviews. It is as if the reviewers did not use the phone systems completely or, conversely, chose to ignore/hide those issues to only focus on the positives.

I upgraded from WinMo 6.1, my friend upgraded from BlackBerry6. We are both quite disappointed that Android has useability issues for both of us, under different conditions; he is *massively* disappointed with Android's email and SMS system communication ability which he needs for his business communications (lack of ability to SMS from a calendar appointment, poor push email outside the Gmail system, etc.), while I am disappointed with power profile handling (read: lack of same, no power saving auto-off for WiFi upon display timeout), email / SMS UI systems (inconvenient email account / SMS thread switching) and notifications (multiple inbox notifications and do not turn off in a synchronized fashion once read).

Utterly disappointing, and I got NO WARNING of these failures from the reviewers or the blogsphere. It was all roses from everyone, "Android is awesome!". Rose colored glasses indeed!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No mention of call quality nor of messaging system abilities, among other things

I'm not sure what phone you have but each manufacturer can change Android as much as they want which might add or remove some features.

However the Nexus 4 (which has completely standard Android):

You can SMS directly from a calendar appointment, click the guest and then click the text message icon

Push e-mail seems to work fine for me, I get my e-mails from exchange almost instantly, hotmail I set to 15 minutes but it works pretty well if on instant.

You can opt to automatically turn off WiFi during sleep (you decide when it goes to sleep) by choosing advanced in the WiFi settings

Also I can choose exactly which e-mail accounts have a notification which turn off when read and I can convert from one e-mail account to another just by clicking the header. I can also set up a shortcut to each individual account directly on the home screen

I can change to any SMS thread just by clicking the header and choosing a new one.

So it could be the brand of phone you have that doesn't do what you wish rather than Android. All of what you mentioned the Nexus 4 allows and does with stock android - and luckily due to the way Android works you can download any other app which can completely replace the built in one straight from Google play to do what you need (unlike on other phones where you may be able to download an app but the built in one remains the default).

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Re: No mention of call quality nor of messaging system abilities, among other things

@Snake

I found exactly the same thing - still not found a decent email client - Z9 does not touch the old WinMobile stock one despite looking plain and a little clunky. Also time management and contacts are shocking, The way I see it is as smart phones get more powerful and new toys, they also become dumber. 20 months in to my first Android phone the main reason I'm going for another is that as a heavy PDA user there's no real rival, especially with the direction MS have taken. In reality these are not smart phones, but rather app phones.

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Re: No mention of call quality nor of messaging system abilities, among other things

Irritating flaw in Android as seen on Xperia P:

Incoming SMS messages are marked with the time my phone received them, not the time they were sent. Grr.

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I was starting to think I might have been too quick to buy the S3..

But then I got to the bit where you said there's no expandable storage. The 8gb would be unusable for me after I install my apps, games, a bit of music and record a couple short videos. The 16GB would just about get me by but I'd always be deleting my video recordings.

I bought a 64GB microSD for my Galaxy S3, so I now have a total of 80GB (minus whatever the OS takes up). I don't have a lot of big apps but HD video recordings do take up quite a lot of space.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I was starting to think I might have been too quick to buy the S3..

Indeed, 8GB storage? is it 2007 again?

Makes me chuckle given all the Fandroid postings about the iPhone not having Flash (player). This barely has any flash (memory) and Android no longer supports flash.

No 4G? I thought Android phones were supposed to be cutting edge, not cutting hedge.

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And there is NO USB OTG on the Nexus 4

It just won't work as host, and never will. Not something that can be fixed with firmware or supplying external power.

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1966864&page=34

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Re: I was starting to think I might have been too quick to buy the S3..

People who criticise the iphone for no expandable memory *do* criticise the Nexus series for the same.

The difference is, with Android you have choice, so there's loads of phones just as good, with expandable storage. Plus I think people are willing to excuse a phone that's so low cost, despite it otherwise having high end specs. Meanwhile an Apple phone is the most expensive phone on the market, yet you have all these compromises!

Similarly there are plenty of Android phones with 4G if you want that.

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Re: I was starting to think I might have been too quick to buy the S3..

Did you even read the whole review properly?

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Stop

Re: I was starting to think I might have been too quick to buy the S3..

"Indeed, 8GB storage? is it 2007 again?"

Crap expands to fill the space you give it.

How the hell are you guys moaning about 8GB? Is it the *effort* of having to delete films instead of letting them sit there for weeks?

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Re: I was starting to think I might have been too quick to buy the S3..

mmm after you take into account the OS, you've got say 5, 5.5 gb left. Add your apps and games and you're down to 3gb. Add a small selection of music and you're down to 2gb. A HD recording from your camera will eat up a gig in 20 or 30 minutes. So umm yes there's good reason to complain about 8GB on a modern top of the line phone (which this is).

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Re: I was starting to think I might have been too quick to buy the S3..

Yes, with Android you have the choice of either getting timely OS updates or a SD card slot. You can't have both though, sorry.

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Re: I was starting to think I might have been too quick to buy the S3..

If you get a TouchWiz phone, you'll get timely TouchWiz updates when they are released. No, it's not the same schedule as vanilla Android, but that makes about as much sense as complaining that IOS updates aren't on the same schedule.

True, you can't get a vanilla Android phone with SD slot. I never said you have perfect choice of every possibility. But there's still a lot more choice than with Apple.

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Re: I was starting to think I might have been too quick to buy the S3..

Large amounts of onboard storage is the past, not the other way round.

How exactly do you suggest Google sell A Nexus device with LTE when each carrier's implementation is different? I don't think you understand the reason for its exclusion.

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Marketting gimmick?

Although I hope I am wrong, I am starting to think that the Play store Nexus 4's were no more than a marketing gimmick. They got everyone talking about how amazing the phone is for that price. However, it could be that the it is heavily subsidised by Google for this, and stock limitations are intentional (so Google don't have to subsidise so many). In the mean time, to get one you have to pay at least £100 more in normal stores, put it into the price bracket of several similar (or better) phones.

I really hope I'm wrong, because I want one. I have some moneys put aside earmarked for this phone when it becomes available again. I'm not going to hold my breath, though...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Marketting gimmick?

As far as LG management is concerned the Nexus 4 is just a marketing thing, they put little resources on the project and HQ didn't really pay much attention to it until the launch panic.

I managed to get mine and I am very happy with it, the battery life is manageable, the storage isn't an issue for me because I am used to my Nexus One, and I needed unlocked because I am a frequent traveller.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Marketting gimmick?

Hah hah, of course it is! This has been clear from day one. Google will be taking a bath on each unit they ship (as they will be subsidising LG), so they will want to ship as few as possible whilst have people talk about the device as much as possible.

Meanwhile all the freetards are banging on about how wonderful it that they can buy a phone for so little money and just how amazingly god dang benevolent Google are. They never realise that they are unlikely ever to be able to get their hands on one of the wonder phones.

Once again Google have got their customers bent over a table and are pumping away with a big grin on their face.......

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Anonymous Coward

Battery life...

...is the problem with all of these damned things.

They make them capable enough to do the stuff we want them to do, then not big enough batteries for us to do it.

Why don't they offer thicker models for us sorts that actually want to use the damned things, just just carry around an expensive token of our geekness.

PS don't bother replying with how you've removed all the running processes and underclocked your phone down to a speed less than a ZX81 and now it will run for 6 months without a recharge - I mean actually use stuff like wireless, GPS, apps, games and dare I even suggest it.... voice calls.

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Pie

Re: Battery life...

The problem being that as soon as someone makes a thicker phone everyone shouts Oh noes this phone is too thick....

Perhaps with bigger screens will come more battery space, but 4G etc will soon eat up what is left over...

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