Nexus 4

Initial Impression

In a word: awesome. The Nexus 4 is far and a way the best Android device I've handled. The Samsung Note devices are cool because of the Wacom technology but in all other respects the Nexus 4 is better.

Hardware

The Nexus 4 is thin, just a shade thicker than an iPhone 5. In fact in all dimensions is a bit bigger than the iPhone. In thickness that's not a compliment but in length and depth it means more screen and for me an easier device to hang onto.

Save for a small part of the bezel border and the writing on the back, it's all black. It looks really good. The Gorilla Glass 2 on front and back show all that black off to good effect.

Screen

The screen is 4.7" and very high-resolution: 1280x768 at 320 ppi (pixels-per inch). It looks fantastic. I like the screen on my HTC Sensation but this one is even better.

Wireless

The Nexus 4 is a GSM device so it works with T-Mobile and ATT (and most of the civilized world). It's not 4G. It's fast, just not iPhone-5-on-LTE fast.

It also has built-in wifi (as if it wouldn't). And since it's stock Android tethering works out of the box.

Processor and RAM

It has a 4-core Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 Pro CPU and 2 GB of RAM. My HTC Sensation has a dual core proc and 768 MB of RAM. The Nexus 4 feels snappier. I'm sure part of that is due to less bloat and more RAM.

Storage

I bought the 16 GB model. I'm not quite ready to rely 100% on the "cloud" for my data. I'd like enough room to store a decent amount of music, photos and books. I could probably make it with 8 GB but 16 added $50 to the price. Well worth it.

Notably, though, the Nexus is not expandable. There's no mini-SD card slot. Here are two explanations (first and second) for Google's preference for internal storage only. (And it's not to sell more Google Drive subscriptions.) They sound plausible. I can certainly relate to the issue of dismount the SD card whenever it's needed. Using a modern, Linux-based file system also makes sense.

Buttons

The device has 3: power, volume up and volume down. That's it. Android 4.x has completely eschewed hardware buttons. All other navigation and input to the device is via the touchscreen.

Ports

There are three ports: micro USB, earphone and two contact pins on the bottom.

The micro USB slot is also a SlimPort connector. SlimPort is a display port for connecting devices to standard monitors, projectors and TVs. It appears to be based on DisplayPort. This could be useful for on-the-road presentations similar to the way Apple users plug iPhones and iPads into projectors. You might even be able to watch movies with it on the TV.1

Camera

There are two cameras: an 8MP camera on the back and 1.3MP camera on the front.

In my preliminary testing the photos are very good. I haven't tried the panorama feature yet. I'm looking forward to trying it.

The 8MP camera is capable of capturing HD video at 1080p. Again, I haven't tried it yet.

NFC and Wireless Charging

The Nexus 4 also has NFC (near-field communication), Google's technology for short-distance data transfers and part of the Google Wallet.

The wireless charging sounds intriguing. I don't have any inductive-charging devices. I may have to acquire a charger and try it out.

Verdict

Very good! I like it so far. I'll post further reflections as I get to know it.

Footnotes


  1. Yeah, why not use your computer. Perhaps in a pinch or for in the car with the kids.