Nexus 4 review
LG and Google combine to produce the best Nexus phone yet, and at a great price, too
Google’s Nexus 4 smartphone attracted worldwide attention when it was introduced in the middle of November – the device sold out within a staggering 15 minutes. We’ve never seen a smartphone sell out so quickly, but there are good reasons why so many were so keen to get their hands on Google’s latest handset.
The 8GB and 16GB versions are available SIM-free for only £239 and £279, which makes the Nexus 4 more affordable than every one of its flagship rivals, including the A-Listed Samsung Galaxy S III. The software is a big draw, too; as with other Google-branded handsets, the Nexus 4 is loaded with the very latest version of Android, and it will get future OS updates before other phones, too.
The version of Android included here is 4.2. It doesn’t have any radical additions over the 4.1 (Jelly Bean) release, instead concentrating on enhancing existing features and making the OS easier to use.
To start with, the lockscreen is much more versatile. You can swipe up to unlock the phone as normal, but also swipe right to go straight to the camera app, or swipe left to reveal six alternative (and customisable) lockscreens. Google provides clock, calendar, text-messaging and email widgets for these screens, and they’re interactive, too. Tap an email or a text message, for example, and you’re whisked directly to the app in question.
You can now act on Android’s notifications directly: single taps return missed calls, open the text-messaging and email apps, and accept Facebook friend requests. That isn’t the only new inclusion at the top of the screen. Swipe down with two fingers and a quick settings menu opens instead of the notification drawer. It’s a smart way of accessing commonly used options, and there’s also a link to the full settings menu.
Google Now still uses your location and Gmail account to present context-sensitive information in a series of “cards”, but Android 4.2 digs up much more, using email data to remind you about flights, restaurant reservations and local events or places of interest.
The keyboard is new, too, boasting Swype-style gesture typing. This works extremely efficiently, and we found it would often suggest the correct word before we’d finished swiping.
|Price ex VAT||£199|
|Price inc VAT||£199 (£239 inc VAT), 8GB; £232 (£279 inc VAT), 16GB; free, on a £26 per month, 24 months contract|
|Cheapest price on contract||Free|
|Contract monthly charge||£26.00|
|Contract period||24 months|
|Features & Design||5|
|Value for Money||6|
|Dimensions||134 x 68 x 9.1mm (WDH)|
|Camera megapixel rating||8.0mp|
|Resolution||768 x 1280|
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