March 19, 2013

Some Nexus 4 Issues Appear

I have written an excessive number of posts about the Nexus 4 in this space. Expect it to continue, because unlike the one-time review that most gadget blogs provide, using the Nexus 4 as my primary phone over the past two months has offered more perspective and balance than a review based on 48 hours of tinkering.

While overall I still enjoy and use the Nexus 4 as my primary device (I also do regularly use an iPhone to remain knowledgeable of both platforms) some minor annoyances have become to bubble to the surface.

Call quality: Bottom line is the call quality is not very good. I always will hold out the possibility it is just my device, but the speaker sound is pretty terrible. More than one person has told me they have trouble hearing me when we are having a phone conversation. It is bad enough to be annoying but not terrible enough to indicate any kind of issue with the device. Fortunately I try and avoid phone conversations whenever possible, so the issue is somewhat minimialized.

Battery life: I was at first skeptical of those online who said to give the battery on the Nexus 4 time in order to allow for calibration. They were right. Before long I have noticed my battery life improve, though it is still not as good as what I have long experienced using an iPhone.

This would be more understandable if the device ran LTE. Since it doesn’t it often forced the user to spend more time managing the battery with various tweaks than one may wish. It is helpful that this capability exists through multiple apps and widgets in the Play store, but it often times is a pain.

App quality: As I have mentioned before, the quality and breadth of applications on Google’s platform continues to catch up to iOS. But it’s not yet there and sometimes it shows painfully. For example, Facebook is still a buggy mess. Dropbox has feature parity with Android, the the visual appeal of the iOS version is striking.

Ultimately the very best apps are still on iOS. My two favorite, TweetBot and Mailbox, are exclusive to Apple’s platform. The former is by far the best mobile Twitter client, while the latter is one of the few applications to live up to its hype when it comes to rethinking email.

In some way these issues show how far Android has come. It used to be no contest when comparing the two operating systems. Now it’s not as much about Android vs. iOS, it’s more about how developers and users manage the two coexisting. The also-rans of Windows Phone and BlackBerry will at best be able to reach a decent market share of distant third place.

As we near Google I/O, look for some of these concerns to get attention with the company looking to further the popularity of its mobile operating system.

Image Credit: Google

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