Tag Archives: Google

My Time With The Nexus 4

I was part of the group of people who ordered the phone on the first day that it came out.  Google to their surprise was astonished at the amount of interest with the phone.  For an unlocked quad core 720p phone it was a great deal.  Nothing at the time matched it.  The only thing that it didn’t have over the other competitor phones was removable battery and a expandable storage.  We can talk about the way Google handled that launch, but I won’t.  Many people have already voiced their opinions and mine are similar to theirs.  Now let’s just talk about the phone.

DESIGN

The design of the phone is very nice.  Though it is very similar to the Galaxy Nexus, LG did try to make the phone their own.  They added a glass panel at the back.  While it does look good, handling it is a different story.  Glass is very slippery.  With the phone being thin and light, it’s easy to accidentally drop the phone.  Many people have also said that placing the phone on an unleveled surface could result in the phone sliding off.  That’s why most have opted for a case or skin with more grip or some sort of bumper to combat the problem.

Another place where LG/Google did right was the screen.  The screen is crisp and clear, but one minute detail that phone manufacturers should starting doing is curved edged screens.  We  use touch screen phones so we always swipe up down or left right.  What many do notice is that when we swipe left to right or vice versa, our fingers go off the screen.  Having a curved edge screen gives the user a more comfortable swipe.  It’s just so smooth.  You just don’t feel any stops or edges.  Also, some people might say the screen is washed out.  It’s really not.  The screen is showing more of the natural colors.  Most people that say it are those that came from an OLED screen which is always cranked up in saturation.  Over time you’ll not even notice and care to like to even more.

All the usual aesthetics that are a norm for a phone these days are there.  Faux chrome bezel, tapered edges, and branding at the back.  Thank the E-gods that there was no labels on the front.  Unbranded phones just look better no matter what.  One area that LG/Google should have done better was the speaker phone layout.  Laying the phone flat just lowers the volume range of the phone significantly.  Just raising the phone 2-4mm from the surface makes a huge difference.   If they wanted to keep the back flat, they could have either put the speaker on the sides (top or bottom) or just make a tunnel indentation on the back so that the sound can travel out.  But I’m sure they’ll improve this next time.

HARDWARE

The specs are pretty high tech for the time.  Quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chip. 720p IPS screen (1280×768).  And one thing that is catching on is NFC and wireless charging.  Thanks to Nokia and Google this year we’ll see more phones with these features.

Wireless charging on the Nexus 4 is using the standard Qi implementation.  While great on paper, different chargers may act differently even if they have the Qi certification.  Take for instance using the Nokia Lumia wireless charging base.  In the beginning people were saying that the Nexus phone was not charging.  Later on they have found out that the phone had to be over the charger around 1/2 centimeter to a centimeter for it work.  While using a LG wireless charger worked with no problem.  None the less, when all the kinks are worked out.  Oh yeah, don’t bother using it with a wireless charger that doesn’t have Qi certification (HP/Palm Touchstone), it will not work and may even damage your phone.  Wireless charging is here to stay.  Not only is wireless charging convenient, but it is also takes less wear on the usb port.

Sound quality on the phone is great.  Some have said that they get noise (crackle and pops) on the  headset speaker, but I was lucky to not have this issue. Sound on both the Headset and speaker phone is loud and clear with the speaker phone set to have it’s equalization with a high tremble.

It’s cellular modem is quite interesting.  It has been officially said that the Nexus 4 is only an HSPA+ phone.  The thing is the chipset actually has both a HSPA+ and LTE.  The only problem is that the LTE part only works on the one band.  That band has been tested in Canada and actually works.  The good thing for those that are in the United States and uses T-Mobile is that when they activate LTE this year, the Nexus 4 will be compatible.  I’m sure it’ll just be an update away.  Anyways for now T-Mobile’s 4G is comparable to LTE that is provided by other Telecoms.  Reception for me is great. Always either in 3G or 4G in my area and never having any drop outs with calls or data.

The camera on the phone is much better than the previous Nexus.  It comes with a 8mp back camera and a 1.3mp front.  Video is your standard fair and photos taken with low light isn’t very good.  With good lighting the camera shoots very well and could be comparable to other higher end phones.  Due note, even though some phone might take pictures with richer colors, this phone’s screen and photos are set so what you see is what you get.  Colors are truer to real life.

THE OS AND OVERALL EXPERIENCE

With the Nexus 4 having Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean.  It’s got to be the best Android yet.  Having Google Now is great.  Photosphere and Panorama have been improved.  The overall snappiness of the phone is great.  There didn’t seem to be any lag to the phone.  The only lag I got was based on how well a program was designed and if the program was fetching data from the internet.  Doing web surfing is great using Chrome.  And if you have an itch for Flash, you can side load it and install Firefox to get the full Flash experience.  Videos are no problem for this phone.  Smooth as butter.

I’ve never had any issues with battery life with the phone.  For me it would last a good “work day” and if you work around computers all day, battery life would be a moot point.  Or get a car charger to get while you’re driving to combat it.  Though battery life for Android has been it’s negatives, the newer versions are getting better at it.

Some are worried by the low storage of the phone.  The phone comes in either 8gigs or 16gig.  I have the 8gig version and after the OS is installed, the phone had 5.67gigs left.  It didn’t bother me at all.  I don’t dump all my media in my phone.  Plus there are cloud storage available like Google Drive or Sky Drive that will work for most people.  If you need more storage then either get a wifi drive or just get a completely different phone with expandable storage.

All in all, I’m very happy with the phone.  Not looking at just the hardware, but the support that you’ll be getting will be great.  Since this is a Google device, it’ll be one of the first phones to be updated to Google’s latest Android.  You’ll get LTE when it’s available so the phone doesn’t become obelete in a couple of years.  Most of all the price is just ridiculous.  For a phone with these specs, user experience, and support no one can touch these.  People thought that when Chinese companies sell their phone over here that it would be competitive it.  From what I see it isn’t the case.  They’re pricing their phones here just like any other unsubsidized phone.  The Nexus 4 is the phone to get if you looking for that balance of price, performance and support.  Now Google, when is that Orb wireless charging coming out.  Accessories are supposed to be release close to product launch not 6 months to forever…

 

Samsung Event Next Week

While we got an Apple event yesterday, next week we get a Samsung event.  It’ll look to be more exciting then Apple’s event.  If you watch the teaser below, you’ll notice that Samsung is debuting a new Android phone.  From the looks of it could very well be the Nexus Prime.  And hopefully with Ice Cream Sandwich to boot.  The specs should blow the iPhone 4s out of the water.  This is Samsung we’re talking about.  Will we see a quad-core chip?  A new more  cohiesive UI?  We won’t find out until next week to see what Samsung and Google have to one up the big fruit.

Google’s New Layout: Google Copied Bing?

Has anyone noticed the new layout Google has been using in the past few weeks?  It seems as though they are currently testing out a new layout.  For me the new layout doesn’t come up in all searches, only once in a while.  I thought my mind was boggling when I saw the old boring Google home page at work compared to the bright Google home page at my home computer.  As you can see from the pictures below, the home page has a brighter Google logo, beveled text input box, and bigger buttons.  The source all looks like html web standards CSS with the usual compressed JavaScript.  Did the old site’s home page use tables?  This new one seems all CSS.

The actual search results page now has a left menu bar.  Since Microsoft’s Bing uses this left menu bar, all I can think of is “Google Copied Bing!”  When you click on “Images”, the left menu bar should stay, but instead it disappears and we go back to the old layout.  Google must know about the importance of UI consistency!  The expanding “More/Less” button is pretty nifty and uses a CSS effect which may or may not have been done using JQuery.  All in all, it looks pretty good.  I especially like how clean the paging links are.

Google New LayoutGoogle New Layout