Recently I have had my hands on one of the first UK’s Google LG Nexus 4 smartphones (thanks Ed!). The phone is popular to the point that you actually cannot buy it directly from Google anymore; the Google Play store just says SOLD OUT for both 8GB and 16GB versions with no waiting list or anything you could add yourself to. But don’t you worry… just read on.

So… what’s so special about this just another Android phone? Well, the price! Google store has been selling it for respectively 239GBP (8GB storage) and 279GBP (16GB storage). This is very cheap for top-of-the range smartphone as those are normally 500-600GBP (sim/contract-free) when released; twice as much. The phone can be bought still from other sources, for example from O2 store for 399GBP (16GB) which is still a good price. Not good enough? Well, here comes our friend Amazon UK, head on there and you can bag yourself the 16GB version for just below 270GBP including UK delivery. That is actually even cheaper the Google store has been offering it for!

The Google Nexus 4 (LG made) is apparently sold unlocked in UK (works with every network), even if you would go for a contract one.

In brief, the specification is as follows:

  • 1.5GHz quad-core processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 Pro processor)
  • 2GB of RAM (current standard is 1GB)
  • large 4.7-inch display
  • 2100mAh battery (non-replaceable)
  • 8 Megapixel camera
  • latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software
  • wireless charging feature
  • NFC (Near Field Communication for wireless payments and data transfer)
  • no microSD card port, so the storage cannot be expanded
  • other usual stuff like GPS, barometer, gyroscope, accelerometer, compass etc…

Very interesting fact is that the phone has a “secret” 4G LTE chipset in it. The 4G is NOT an official feature of the phone. Unfortunately even software hack would not be enough to get it going, some hardware mod would be required here.

The phone I was playing with was from the Google store. It came with applied both front and rear protection screen foils which is nice. You just need a bumper really and that’s it.

There was no wireless charger with it even the phone supports those, you cannot buy an official Google approved one just yet, too. You can do buy a compatible one (Qi) though, no problem.

The phone felt really really fast (the processor power is even slightly better then Samsung Galaxy S3). The screen animation is smooth (much better than Galaxy S2 but still not as good as any newer iPhone). The camera is good too, I compared couple of photos to my Galaxy S2 and could see much more details on Nexus’ ones. Bear in mind that if you are after great quality camera phone then you need to look elsewhere, i.e. Nokia PureView phones like this one.

What else? The handset looks good, I would not say great, but good. It is all black, feels sturdy and not heavy; has a nice back, too. I do prefer Samsung Galaxy S3 look though.

The battery is good but not great. Should keep you ok for a full day even on a heavy use.

The software is the newest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean one which is a really good OS. The clock app, for instance, is beautiful. The notification drawer has seen improvement, too, compared to Android ICS 4.0. You can now access your settings quickly through a two-finger gesture. It takes some getting used to at first, but being able to toggle the phone’s Wi-Fi on and off without digging through menus is worth the slight learning curve. There is a very useful permanent thin Google search bar at the top of the screen which is seen on every home screen. You get a 360 degree photo sphere panorama camera mode, too.

So all in all, this is a very good phone. Compared to for example Samsung Galaxy S3, it’s actually better in few ways (i.e. 2 x RAM memory, faster USB transfer speed) but somewhat worse in others (i.e. cannot expand storage or replace battery), but of course Nexus 4 comes over 100GBP cheaper. You can see detailed specs comparison here (thanks to great versusio.com), in fact you can use the website to quickly compare this smartphone with almost any other.

If you own a mid-market phone now and you are after a high-end one without spending a lot, that’s the phone just for you!

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