January 10, 2013

One Month With The Nexus 4

It has been about one month since I received my Nexus 4. Given that the only way to get your hands on one is to live vicariously through others, consider this my contribution to soothe others’ misery.

The Nexus 4 is my favorite phone to date. Android 4.2 comes very close to iOS in terms of a fluid UI. The native Google apps combine with a strengthening Android ecosystem for a powerful experience. Given that I live in Chrome, Gmail and Google Drive the Android integration is superb.

Of course as with any device there are both pros and cons. Here are some observations:

Performance: Almost no complaints in this area. Apps open and multitask extremely fast with minimal lag. My only issue is that when returning to the home screen widgets will skip on the screen; they briefly disappear for a half-second. This is one of those polish issue that Google should continue to strengthen.

Camera: Anyone with photography knowledge will appearance the additional tools Google has built into the camera. Along with Photo Sphere, there are great adjustment capabilities, like tweaking the white balance.

Network: The LTE issue hasn’t been that bad, given that I have still been getting pretty strong download speeds. I still see anywhere from eight to ten Mbps on AT&T’s HSPA+ network. While this should meet the needs of most handset users, those who want to need the absolute fastest should definitely consider another device, like the Galaxy S3 or the DROID RAZR MAXX HD (yes, that is the proper way to capitalize the product name).

Handling: To be honest, the phone is a little large. One-handed operation is fine most of the time, but there are those moments when I worry about dropping the thing. Even though my case has a minimalist design, it definitely tips the scale on bulk.

Yet the screen is gorgeous. It is the first phone I actually felt like I could spend time reading books on; the iPhone is just too narrow. Web pages and apps draw you in. I will take the occasional moment where I have difficulty handling the phone in exchange for the amazing screen.

Intangibles: This is the one area where iOS still triumphs. Most of my wish list for Android improvements are features I miss from the iPhone, such as iMessage or customized text tones. And for all of the criticism of the iPhone 5’s screen size as being too small, it definitely feels great in the hand.

Which is how choosing a phone should come down to: it’s the device you are going to use all day and may be the center of your connected life. Get one you will really appreciate, just as I do my Nexus 4.

Image Credit: Google Play

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Email