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Google Nexus 4

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Carrier: T-Mobile, unlocked GSM
Manufacturer: Google / LG
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What's hot: Clean and pure Android, will get OS updates first. Fast!

What's not: Glass back makes us a little nervous. No microSD card slot and no LTE.


Reviewed Dec. 1, 2012 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

The Google Nexus 4 Android smartphone hardly needs and introduction. It's Google's latest and greatest contract-free, pure Google experience phone, and it's very reasonably priced at $299 for the 8 gig and $349 for the 16 gig. For that price you get a cutting edge Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad core CPU running at 1.5GHz, 2 gigs of RAM and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean (both OS 4.1 and 4.2 are called Jelly Bean, but you won't find 4.2 on anything other than a Google Nexus just yet). The Nexus 4 is made by LG and shares much of its internals with the excellent LG Optimus G.

Google Nexus 4

The Nexus 4 is a good looking phone with curves that make it more hand-friendly. It has the usual glass front and a glass back with a subtle pattern than you'll see when you waggle it back and forth in the light. The sides are a dense plastic that should absorb bumps, but as we've learned from the iPhone 4, it's a good idea to protect a phone that wears glass front and back.

Google Nexus 4

This is a GSM world phone and that means it works on T-Mobile and AT&T here in the US. It will not work on Sprint or Verizon. It's quad band GSM and pentaband 3G HSPA+ (our US carriers market this as 4G but it's really a very fast form of 3G). That means you'll get 3G on both AT&T and T-Mobile. It lacks LTE, which isn't a big deal globally since many countries don't yet have serious LTE deployments, but here in the US and Canada where LTE is mature it is a serious drawback. It's simply hard to go back to HSPA+ where data speeds are sometimes pretty good at 12Mbps but more often drop to 4 or 5 MBps down, vs. LTE's 25 Mbps. But that does make it a good phone for T-Mobile, since that carrier currently lacks a 4G LTE network. In fact, T-Mobile is offering the phone with contract ($199 for the 16 gig), but that contract price is only saving you $150 on the phone itself over the course of 2 years.

Google Nexus 4

The phone has an excellent 4.7" bonded Gorilla Glass 2 curved display running at 1280 x 768. This is an IPS display with natural colors and an impressive 320 ppi pixel density (just a few ppi behind the Nokia Lumia 920 and iPhone 5, but ahead of most other smartphones by a wider margin). Text looks painted on as it does with the HTC One X and iPhone 5: lovely!

Google Nexus 4

We expected the Nexus 4 to be the fastest Android smartphone yet since it runs on the S4 Pro processor (only the Optimus G and HTC Droid DNA run on that new quad core CPU) and it has a pure version of Android 4.2 with no overlays to slow it down. But on synthetic benchmarks, it was bested by the other two smartphones. It still feels very much like a fast phone, and we have a feeling that as Google refines OS 4.2 (which also feels a little less zippy on our Nexus 7 tablet compared to 4.1.1) it will really fly.

Google Nexus 4

The Nexus 4, Samsung Galaxy S III and Samsung Galaxy Note II.



Nexus 4 Video Review



If you're looking for a budget friendly Android smartphone with high end features, the Google Nexus 4 certainly is it. It's fast, has an excellent IPS display and is sold unlocked for use with any GSM carrier. The only drawback in the US? No LTE 4G. The Nexus 4's other problem is availability; it's been out of stock since introduction.


Price: $299 for 8 gig and $349 for 16 gig



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Display: 4.7" capacitive multi-touch IPS display (Corning Gorilla Glass 2). Resolution: 1280 x 768 (320ppi). Has an ambient light sensor, accelerometer and gyro.

Battery: 2100 mAh Lithium Ion rechargeable. Battery is not replaceable. Supports wireless charging.

Performance: 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad core processor with Adreno 320 graphics. 2 gigs RAM, 8 or 16 gigs storage.

Size: 5.27 x 2.70 x 0.36 inches. Weight: 4.9 ounces (139g).

Phone: GSM quad band world phone with pentaband 3G/4G HSPA+ (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100MHz). Compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile 3G/4G HSPA+ in the US. Sold unlocked for use with any GSM carrier. Uses a micro SIM.

GPS: Has GPS and digital compass.

Camera: 1.3MP front camera and rear 8MP camera that can shoot 1080p video.

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth and NFC.

Software: Android OS 4.2 Jelly Bean.

Expansion: Micro USB port, SlimPort HDMI.


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