01
Nov
wm_IMG_0979
Last Updated: November 14th, 2012

Finally. Since Hurricane Sandy flooded out New York and canceled Google's press event, we've been trying everything we can think of to get a review unit. Late yesterday we got an email back from an awesome Googler (thanks!), and I immediately flew out the door to go rescue a Nexus 4 from New York. We got one! Mission accomplished!

I have a million things to work on now: a full review, a bunch of GTKAs, and teardowns of everything. First, though I figured I'd quickly show off the new Nexus:

wm_IMG_0969

For starters, the build quality and materials are amazing. As soon as you pick it up you know you're holding something that is built with more love and thought than a Galaxy Nexus or GSIII. The front and back are Gorilla Glass 2 and the sides are made from a rubberized plastic that actually feels great. The whole phone is really solid, and it's the first Android phone that seems like it's had real passion put into the design.

wm_IMG_0979wm_IMG_0983

The front is still a beautiful, minimalist black slab, devoid of any logos or carrier branding. I love it. The back features a giant Nexus logo at the top and a smaller manufacturer logo at the bottom. This is, easily, the most beautiful Android phone ever made. I'll take some proper pictures of it later.

wm_sparklewm_no sparkle

Anyone who is worried about the back of the phone being a sparkly disco ball can rest easy. In many lighting conditions, the back is black - just black. When the light catches it just right, there is a very tasteful, subdued shimmer effect that rolls across the dots. The dots on the back don't bindingly reflect light, either, they just kind of turn silver. Camera flash is pretty much the worst case scenario. Even in that picture on the left, the reflection is greatly exaggerated. In the right picture, the bottom right corner is about as bright as it ever looks in real life. In person it's very subtle, tasteful, and kind of hypnotizing.

wm_vsgnex

Compared to a Galaxy Nexus? Well the Gnex looks like it just walked out of a garbage heap when compared to the N4. The glass back and build quality outclasses the Galaxy Nexus so much it isn't even fair. If you care about that stuff, you're going to want to upgrade.

I'll save most of the software stuff for the review, but first, a heads up of what I'm dealing with: This isn't the final software. There are a few weird things I've run into that I'm pretty sure are placeholders, and lock screen widgets don't work. There is supposed to be an OTA out in time for release. I will however, show you a few screenshots of the new clock app:

wm_2012-11-01 00.58.58wm_2012-11-01 00.59.00wm_2012-11-01 00.59.05

Yes, we've finally got a timer and stopwatch. I really like the design of it, too.

Speaking of which, with the beautiful design, and lack of LTE, an SD card, and a removable battery, I'm starting to think this phone isn't for geeks, but for designers. I really like for my phones to be well made and beautiful, and this is right up my alley. Many of our commenters won't like it because of the spec sheet (it's insanely fast, by the way), but if you just want a premium feeling, stunning looking device that is still fast and functional, this is your dream phone. I feel like this is the first time Android has had a piece of hardware that matches the stock OS design philosophy. Some people won't care about that, but those that do will be absolutely in love.

The review will be out in a few days. If you have any burning questions, feel free to ask in the comments.

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • http://twitter.com/NandaLinnAung Nanda Linn Aung

    i am loving it.. i need one now

  • HSNTX

    How is the performance of the Chrome browser ? Is it as smooth as the Safari on iPhone 5 ?
    It, Chrome, feels sluggish on my GN and that frustrates me because the stock feels snappier than Chrome! on the same phone. I hope they optimize it more with Android.

  • Jroc869, Cool story bro

    Would be nice if they blew up this general design and had LG make the next 7" nexus

  • Bobby

    Really happy to see the build quality of the Nexus devices improve as well as Google continuing the trend of releasing powerful hardware at an affordable price compared to the competition.

    But, I'm a bit disappointed to see only an 8 gig and 16 gig offering. But, if the Nexus 7 is any sign then a 32 gig should come out in the future.

    I'll wait. I can be patient.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kerodean Dean Roberts

    I really want to see some samples photos from the camera

  • NOLA_Droid

    Glass back?????? I see an I suit coming.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deejayreact Nick Bivona

    No LTE.... NO Thank you.. Sad too because it's such a beast of a device..

  • http://twitter.com/K2theIzzo K.O.

    I'm so pissed this isn't coming VZW!!

  • tom

    i believe a pouch will be included in the nexus 4 box.. like the nexus one days

  • Ida

    How is the battery life on the device? I have the Galaxy S2 and its freaking terrible. It's been really difficult not to just make it an expensive paperweight and pay the $700 for the iphone 5

  • http://twitter.com/AbdulEllahib Abdul Ellahib

    Please tell us about the Battery, and about Android 4.2. Oh and when is the review going to be published?

  • Sven79

    My GSII recently committed suicide by diving into a glass while I was sleeping; so I'll make do with my kid's old Samsung Gravity T, or whatever its called until the Nexus 4 comes out. It'll be the longest two weeks of my life.

  • james

    I think this is a perfect phone for me. I do understand how some people cannot find this enough. But then again, I really only keep like 5 games, and about 100 songs on my phone. I don't see how and why people need to have 20gb of games on there phone when there only going to play about 10 of them reguarlly anyways, + emulators :)))

    Photos? not an issues, I don't take to many, and when I do they auto sync to my dropbox when I connect to a wifi connection. And then delete them off my phone ezpz.

    This phone is amazing sexy, and I really hope for more premium looking devices like this, I've had every Samsung phone and I'm just so sick of the flexy plastic i want change god damn it!

  • Luis Gonzalez

    I read an article an which stated that the Nexus 4 is capable of wireless charging on an inducting coil dock, which does not come in the box with the nexus 4. Is this true? If, so... :(

  • Amorel

    In pictures, the LED notification light looks like a tiny dots especially when compared to the GNex. Can you check on this. How is battery life?

  • master94

    LG Hardware+ Google/Stock Android software= Winning formula.

  • Daemos

    How is the battery life? That's the only thing I'm concerned about it because it doesn't have a removable battery.

  • Gaurang Divecha

    Just beautiful aint it? I was following Windows Phone 8 for almost 4 months. But one sight of the Nexus 4 and I've forgotten what Windows Phone is...just plain sexy!

  • donrhummy

    1. Can you run some of the same apps side by side with a galaxy nexus and tell us (or better yet shoot a video) of how they run?

    2. To compare with an iPhone: on iPhone start on the homescreen and as quickly as possible, swipe your finger back and forth and see how much lag there is in the icons following your finger. Then do the same in the app drawer on the Nexus 4. Is it comparable (in terms of how quickly your swipes register on the Nexus 4)?

    3. What's your thoughts on the lock screen pages? To me it seems to negate any
    "security" at all, since now without knowing the passcode you can see
    the person's emails, texts, etc.

    4. Can you post a speed test of the HSPA+?

    5. Can you test the Miracast? (You should be able to get a dongle for your TV for under $50)

  • Faust

    I have a few questions about this.

    1.) About the notification led, have you tried using any control app (such as lightflow) to view the total spectrum of colours that the notification led can produce? Would you say its better than the GSIII's ?

    2.) Have you had any issue with getting to the bootloader? As someone who owns a phone with a removable battery, how hard is it to adjust to this phone, especially for the sake of root or recovery?

    3.) Finally, a very silly question. The phone I am still using is a... T-mobile G2. I have moved on from needing a hw keyboard and I have done all I could to get as much use out of it to this time. Could you say that the N4 is a perfect upgrade for what I have now?

    I thank you in advance, and I hope to hear a full analysis on this phone to every degree possible.

  • Joe

    Hey Ron how does one open the phone to pop in one's SIM card? I heard there are a couple of small screws?

  • http://www.facebook.com/the.rodee Chad Rodee

    is there a speaker on the front of the the phone? Or is that little slot on the back their idea of a speaker? I am so tired of cupping my hand around my phone to hear it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/phazei Adam Segal

    Is there a rapid fire camera mode?

  • Maxwell McQuirter

    If you are able to comment on it yet, how is the battery life so far Ron?

  • Dan r. Maor

    I wasn't planning on leaving my Sensation so soon, but give me a 32 GB version and I'm in.

  • IntrnetHteMchne

    "The whole phone is really solid, and it's the first Android phone that seems like it's had real passion put into the design."
    The Nexus 4 looks amazing, no doubt about it, and I wish I could get one. But I have a slight issue with the above quote. My first smartphone and the one I'm using right now, the HTC One X, is incredibly well designed imo. I think there's passion in my HOX. Just putting that out there.

  • Andrew Brown

    Please review the low light capabilities of the camera!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jose.noguera.161 Jose Noguera

    What about sound quality through earphones?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Charitos/536042829 John Charitos

    clock is awesome! i found it on xda and using it on my galaxy nexus , and that grey/red theme looks so bad ass! would be awesome if keylime pie will be that color

  • ScumBurg

    Sometimes Rooting and Roming can lead to a black screen of death that requires a battery pull. How do you proceed with that when the battery cannot be removed?

    • Southrncomfortjm

      I think this phone has one of those pin hole reset buttons.

      • ScumBurg

        Well that would be sufficient. Can anyone confirm this?

  • Southrncomfortjm

    I am all about this phone. If I weren't on a Verizon family plan I'd sell whatever phone I had, switch to T-Mobile and enjoy this phone. I will indeed give up extra storage and LTE for a sleek phone with stock rootable Android.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thomas.norman1 Thomas Norman

    I love the phone...But the no LTE is thing is kinda bugging me. I was ready to drop my One X running CM10 for this thing, but we just got LTE in my city. Might hold off for a little while.

  • Harshal

    WIll LG be giving International Warranty on Nexus4??
    Dying to use in India

  • Kiwis

    I couldn't tell from the structure of that one sentence. Does it have a removable battery and SD slot, or not?

  • topgun966

    Couple things make me very nervous about it. First, the no removable battery. I work for an airline and travel quite a bit. I use 3 removable battery's with my GNex. Second, SD card. The SD card I understand Google's position, but battery? I wouldn't be surprised if Apple sues just because of that.

  • http://avgjoegeek.net/ avgjoegeek

    I'm pleasantly surprised that LG can put out a top notch product. My cynicism has been slapped in the face by this :) Can't wait to read the review!

    • rabrot

      LG has always been good at hardware. Software is their weak spot so teaming up with Google was a pod move.

  • chaco

    Would you please do a few tests that I feel are important? Can you install battery monitor widget and report the mah usage of the phone under full load. Normal load and when after sitting with screen off for 5 min. Also some read/write speed tests on the virtual SD card. Also from fully charge to 15% the screen on time under ur normal usage. Does it get warm like the nexus when watching videos? Lastly even tho u mentioned it. Indoors HSPA+ speed tests. Thanks

  • http://twitter.com/Telanis_ Telanis

    Shizz. Looks really nice but no SD card or removable battery pretty much rules it out for me.

  • Lennek

    The most important question to me is: which material is this chrome looking bezel made of? I am really frightened, that the frame looks as cheap as the chrome edging of my Galaxy S2. Can you say anything about that? At the playstore's pictures, it looks like as if the frame was totally black while on the hands-ons it definitly looks like a shiny chrome frame made of plastic. Thanks in advance and greets from Germany. :)

  • Johnny

    The more I look at it the more I want it

    that feel when S3 buyers remorse

    • setspeed

      I have an S3 and I'm torn between that and the Nexus. The S3 has so much going for it that I don't feel I'm missing out too much while I wait for a 32GB Nexus. And if they don't release one, well it looks like Samsung will probably get my money again when the S4 is released...

  • Bariman43

    Are you kidding me, the back is glass? Why? Did we learn nothing from the iPhone 4 and 4S? I would have settled for a high-quality plastic. Anything that doesn't shatter on impact with the floor.

    • Lennek

      Well, as far as i know Gorilla Glass only prevents you from scratches. If it falls, it will break. At least that's what happened to my Samsung Galaxy S2...

      • smithj33

        Correct. Typically the more scratch proof glass is, the more prone it is to breaking from a fall.

      • Bariman43

        Yeah, I found out Gorilla Glass isn't immune to damage. I won't be getting one of these. Glass back is the worst thing to happen to phone design since the iPhone 4. It's not classy, it's not cool, it's just another inconvenience to dropping the phone by accident.

  • flx

    i just have 2 questions:
    the speaker seams to be much more powerful than the one in the Gnex. Thats good. But how's the sound with the phone liing on its back?! I'm not the lay-my-phone-on-the-screen-guy (this would make the notification-led quite useless ;)).
    and the other question: what material quality are the volume-rocker and on/off-switch? chrome-painted plastic or metall like the frame around the phone?

    I really like the design of the phone and I'm thinking of getting rid of my Gnex for this one...

    • rabrot

      The buttons are high quality, I don't know the exact material though. The speaker, being at the same level as the back, gets muffled when the phone is resting on its back. I didn't test this though, I read this in reviews.

  • smithj33

    I don't need an SD clot, but I do need 32GB internally. By the time they update this to 32GB there will be better phones and I won't be looking at this one anymore. Google will sell a lot of these but they could have sold more with a 32GB option.

  • http://twitter.com/hipreetam93 Preetam Nath

    They need to introduce a 32 GB model. Price it at $399 everyone will pay for it in a jiffy!

  • http://isradroid.wordpress.com/ Shay Levi

    How's the battary life?

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

    I never thought I'd want a phone with such small storage and no slot or replaceable battery but jeez Man. Me gusta.

  • pierre

    battery life..how well or bad is its performance?

  • Michael Lee

    WANT. SO. BAD.

    First time I've actually obsessed over a phone like this. I'm officially a nerd.

  • http://twitter.com/Mexnoob Mexnoob

    How´s the battery life in th N4?

  • http://twitter.com/jvchuy Jesus Villanueva

    I have become confortable with less than stellar battery life of most Android Phone (curretly Gnex on Sprint) and even if I could get this phone on my carrier, I can't imagine not being able to change the battery. Also I still have almost a year on my contract, guess I'll have to wait for the next Nexus after N4.

  • Andrea Rossi

    The most jaw-dropping fact, for me, is that all the hands-on/reviews I've found on the internet keep comparing it to the GNexus as it was a piece of garbage...and we all know how good is the Galaxy Nexus.

    My god, how effing good is this phone??

  • aaronfg

    Can you be sure to post a screenshot of the About page so we can see what kernel, etc you are running? Seems every review site out there is running different builds.

  • Rahul

    When are you going to update with the FULL review. Eagerly waiting....though seems that you have answered all the questions in the comments!

  • Adam McGrath

    WIth the Galaxy Nexus, the FFC seemed to be off. If you were doing a video call, you had to turn the phone slightly to the left in order to get a good view of your face. Or even just taking pictures of yourself, the phone had to be turned. Can you tell if the same thing holds for the FFC of the N4?

  • Ray De Santis

    Hmmmm i was leaning toward getting the Galaxy Note 2, but now i dont know. A higher quality camera on either one of these phones or both would be great!

  • davidhorn

    Speaker speaker speaker speaker!! Please compare Nexus 4 speaker with Galaxy Nexus speaker (which is terrible!!) And please let us know exactly how good it is and it compare it to others like iphone 5 and GS3... thanks!

  • hector fernan

    What about battery life? Can you talk about that?

  • Ear Jell

    We've got an EarJell for the rear-facing speaker on this Nexus 4. Get one now on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/14uavLv