Monday, March 25, 2013

LG Nexus-4 Review

I managed to get my hands on a LG Nexus-4 a few days ago and decided to write my review this week on my experience and my thoughts on it.

For the last few years, I've been skipping at least one generation in terms of phones instead of getting each new upgrade that the phone manufacturer comes out with (which I was doing with the Handspring/Palm line of products... Handspring VisorPhone, Treo 600, Treo 650, & Treo 680). My Android phone of choice a few years ago was the Samsung Nexus-S. There was nothing really wrong with my Samsung Nexus-S but it was starting to show its age (1 cm scratch on screen, battery not lasting for an entire day based on my limited usage, and it being somewhat sluggish) and when the opportunity came for me to get the LG Nexus-4 at a good price, I went for it.

I like the Nexus line because it is pure Google Android without any bloatware from either the carrier or the phone manufacturer. I didn't get the HTC Nexus-One, purchased the Samsung Nexus-S, skipped the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and purchased the LG Nexus-4. The Nexus line also comes factory unlocked regardless of which carrier you purchase it from which is another thing that I like about it.

There are a lot of reviews that compare the LG Nexus-4 with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Since I never actually handled a Samsung Galaxy Nexus but did read about it, I won't be comparing the LG Nexus-4 with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

What I like about the LG Nexus-4 is that it is fast. I probably find it fast because I skipped a generation in terms of the Nexus line so the speed improvement and the responsiveness of the operating system is definitely the first thing that I noticed when I started using my LG Nexus-4. In fact, if possible, I find it a bit too responsive/fast. The Nexus-S had a single core processor whereas the Nexus-4 has a quad core processor.

The screen resolution is very good (1280 x 768 compared with 800 x 480) and I find that the camera takes very good pictures (8 megapixel compared to the 5 megapixel resolution of my old Samsung Nexus-S). I didn't really use the front facing camera on my Samsung Nexus-S but the LG Nexus-4's front facing camera is also better.

Something that was introduced in the Nexus line with the Galaxy Nexus is the ability to unlock the phone using the front facing camera (Face Unlock). This is something that I find amazing and use to unlock my phone. As a back-up in case the camera doesn't recognize the face of the owner, it can be set to unlock either via PIN or via pattern unlock. Just in case someone tries to use a picture of the owner in order to unlock the phone (or unlocking the phone while the owner is asleep), the phone also has a setting requiring the owner to blink before it will unlock. I find the face recognition to be very good. I set the phone to unlock only when I blink and I find that the blinking is a hit-or-miss in that the phone will sometimes not detect whether I've blinked or not and will not unlock.

Something that I like about the LG Nexus-4 is that it is pentaband 3G (850, 900, 1700, 1900, & 2100) and quadband GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, & 1900). In Canada, this means that unlike the Samsung Nexus-S where a Videotron/WindMobile Nexus-S would not work on the 3G network on Rogers/Fido (but would work on the 2G network to make/receive calls as well as data) and would not work at all on the Bell/Telus network, the LG Nexus-4 will work on whichever Canadian carrier (Rogers, Fido, Chat-r, Bell, Telus, VirginMobile, Koodo, Videotron, PetroCanada) regardless of which carrier you originally purchased it from. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus was also pentaband 3G so in Canada, it would work in the above SIM operated Canadian wireless provider's network regardless of which carrier the phone was purchased from (especially since as mentioned above all Nexus phones are sold factory unlocked). What I'm not really crazy about is that it doesn't use the mini-SIM card (like the older phones and like my Samsung Nexus-S) but uses the micro-SIM card. The other thing that I find lacking in the phone is that it doesn't support LTE when most of the new phones coming out support LTE.

Something else that I like about the LG Nexus-4 is that it has Gorilla Glass whereas my Samsung Nexus-S didn't which is why it probably has a 1 cm scratch on the glass.

The LG Nexus-4 doesn't have a user removable battery unlike the Samsung Nexus-S which is somewhat of a drawback. However, I've been using my iPhone 3GS and didn't have any problems with wanting to change the battery or swap the battery. In my opinion, having a user replaceable battery would still be good and it is somewhat of a drawback that the LG Nexus-4 doesn't have this.

One somewhat annoying thing for me (but it probably wouldn't bother most people unless they switch SIM cards a lot) is that the SIM ejector hole requires a very thin ejector tool (included). The edge/end of a paper clip won't fit into the SIM ejector hole and neither will the iPhone SIM card ejector tool (at least with the tool included in my iPhone 3GS and the tool from an iPhone 4). The Nexus-4 does include the special/thin SIM card ejector tool but for someone who switches SIMs a lot, it is an annoyance that I can't easily eject the SIM card with a paper clip like I can for my iPhone 3GS.

If you have any comments/questions regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below. Please note that the comments are moderated and an comment containing a URL link (whether embedded or not) will automatically be flagged as spam and will not be posted.

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