Many manufacturers are moving away from removable batteries and storage, which allows smartphones to be thinner and faster. The closed-cased Google Nexus 4, manufactured by LG, follows this trend by packing loads of computing power into a relatively small space. To supplement its limited storage space, Google offers cloud storage, but the Nexus 4's lack of 4G LTE speeds make moving files to the cloud a tedious chore.
The Google Nexus 4 is one of the most uniquely designed smartphones available. The entire device is cased in scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass with a rubber edge separating the front and back. While other phones use Kevlar, aluminum or plastic, this glass smartphone feels like you're holding a gadget from "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" or "Quantum Leap." Unfortunately, this mostly-glass design will be prone to fingerprints and smudges, so you'll find yourself cleaning your phone constantly. A fantastic 4.7-inch touchscreen supplements the unique design, displaying beautiful HD pictures in up to 720p resolution.
The Google Nexus 4's standard 8MP camera offers decent images, but what sets it apart from other cameras is its Photo Sphere app, which allows you to take 360-degree panoramic pictures. Although it's a gimmick, it allows the phone to replicate locations to share with others. Beyond the Photo Sphere, the rear-facing camera takes crisp outdoor pictures and grainy indoor images. The front-facing web cam can take 1.3MP images, which is great for video calls, but bad for sharing with others. The phone can shoot video in up to 1080p HD resolution, great for showing off on your HDTV, and a wide range of apps makes the phone great for watching 720p HD videos or playing video games.
As a phone, the Google Nexus 4 offers crystal-clear sound quality on both ends of a line. However, when you're using the conference mode, the speakers are dull and weak, and the microphone makes you sound like you have a bucket over your head. As long as you're using a Bluetooth headset or holding the phone to your ear, you'll love making calls with the Nexus 4.
The Nexus 4's embedded battery offers several hours of battery life. At moderate usage, you can expect to get 12 hours out of the phone before needing a charger, and with light usage, the phone can easily handle a full day. The smartphone comes in two models, one offering 8GB of internal storage and the other offering 16GB. Neither phone allows you to plug in external memory cards, but Google does offer cloud storage if you plan to download a lot of files.
This offering of cloud storage seems like a perk, but the smartphone's lack of 4G LTE speeds turn online storage into a chore. Google sells the phone as an unlocked device or with a plan through T-Mobile. T-Mobile users will be fine with the Nexus 4's data speeds, as it was built to handle the network's unique data service. However, if you buy the unlocked phone to use with a different carrier, the 3G speeds will make using the internet a pain. Once files or apps are downloaded, the quad-core, 1.5MHz processor and 2GB RAM make this phone incredibly fast and smooth. It's too bad this excellent smartphone is handicapped by its network options.
The Google Nexus 4 is a beautiful phone, housed in a mostly-glass case. The phone offers great quality with only a few hiccups, including a moderate camera and poor speaker. Once you overlook the slight issues, the Nexus 4 becomes a top-performer, thanks to its powerful processing power, and as long as you use T-Mobile's services, you'll never be handicapped by the smartphone's lack of 4G LTE speed.
With its quad-core, 1.5MHz processor and 2GB RAM, this smartphone is one of the fastest and smoothest devices available.
The phone focuses on cloud storage, but there are no 4G data speeds to support it.
T-Mobile users will love this LG-manufactured smartphone with its impressive processing power, but the phone does not offer enough to make it strong on any other network.