The Google Nexus 4 smartphone is the fourth Google-branded Android smartphone to be released since 2010, and delivers the same clean Android OS experience.
Although the Nexus 4 is an LG creation, you won't see any LG menu screens or widgets. Fans of Android smartphones from Samsung, HTC, Sony or even LG may be more attracted to the different look and feel that each company brings to their mobile phone design, but many users will appreciate the simple yet effective layout of the Nexus 4.
Size and display
The Nexus 4 is significantly larger than the Apple iPhone 5S – it's more similar in size to the Samsung Galaxy S4 – but still sits comfortably in an average-sized hand. There are no physical buttons on the face of the phone, with the power on/off button and headphone jack located at the top, a volume rocker switch on the side and a micro USB port at the base.
We found the 4.7-inch Gorilla Glass 2 multi-touch display with 1280 x 768 pixel resolution to be bright and clear. Some may find the glass back disconcerting and although it passed our 24-point drop test onto a lino floor, you may want to invest in a bumper case anyway, just for peace of mind.
This smartphone possesses more than enough processing power, using a Snapdragon quad-core chip (for those who like to know that sort of thing) to carry out various tasks like browsing online, streaming video or multitasking. One of the new features on the latest Android OS – shown off to good effect on the Nexus 4 – is the wireless display, which lets you mirror content shown on your phone on any display device that supports Wi-Fi direct. Other connectivity features include NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 and dual band Wi-Fi 802.11n. The Nexus 4 is also the first Google smartphone to support wireless charging.
The 8MP main camera can be used to great effect when capturing "sphere" images or panoramic shots, where you can simply shoot all around a scene with the phone, compiling a 360-degree image. The 1.3MP front camera delivers HD-quality video conferencing capabilities.
Apps and widgets
The app and widget window contains all your programs and can be organised into personal folders, with a lot of room for customisation. Google Street View works smoothly on the Nexus 4 and integrates well with the latest Google Maps navigation app.
The Google Now app reflects our constantly connected lifestyle, delivering answers and search results based on browsing history, user actions and calendar info – which you may find either extremely helpful, or a little creepy.
The 16GB version of the Nexus 4 is the one to go for, as programs, images and video take up significant space and with no ability to add physical capacity through the use of removable memory, you need as much on-board storage as you can get. Although you can always store data in the cloud if you need to.
Update: The Nexus 4 has now been pulled from the Google store as the company pushes its latest and greatest Nexus 5 smartphone. However, the 16GB version of the Nexus 4 is still available, and a quick search on – you guessed it – Google should point you to sites with the 16GB version available for under $300.
While this may be the best-value smartphone available on any platform, some users may see the lack of 4G support or removable memory to be an issue, but for the price it's still a good option for all but the power user.