LG Nexus 4 hands-on and first impressions

October 30, 2012

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Google is bringing on the next generation of vanilla-flavored Android with the LG Nexus 4, a combination, it seems, of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the LG Optimus G. The massive processor and the operating system on this device are the real heroes, of course, starting with the 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdradon S4 Pro SoC with Adreno 320 graphics under the hood - Qualcomm's biggest and best yet. You'll be working with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean+ (the newest version, newer than 4.1 Jelly Bean that was released earlier this year), this including a lovely new collection of features shown just this week by Google.

The display up front is 4.7-inches with 1280 x 768 pixel resolution using non-PenTile IPS LCD technology, that being both rather bright and sharp to the max. That's 317.6 Pixels Per Inch, sharper than the Nexus 10, essentially the same as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus which sits at 316. The iPhone 5 sits at 326 PPI, just incase you want to know. The most highly dense display on a smartphone right this minute is the HTC J Butterfy with 440 PPI - massively insanely sharp!

[youtube AJ_Z2U61Bzo]

The LG Nexus 4 has a glass-covered back, round edges on the top and bottom, and is just 131g (0.31 pounds) light. It's 9.1mm (0.36 inches) thin and has a lovely 8 megapixel camera on the back with a 1.3 megapixel camera on the front. The Nexus 4 has 2GB of RAM and in this iteration we've got unlocked pentaband DC-HSPA+ (42Mbps) radio for connectivity with AT&T and T-Mobile. Under the hood there's a 2100mAh non-removable battery and there's no microSD card slot, so make sure you get the internal storage size you want right out of the box.

Stick around Android Community for our full review of the Google Nexus 4 from LG in the very near future - for now, let us know what you'd like to know about this smartphone. Anything we can answer or information we can ascertain will be sent unto you!

[device id="3766"]

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  • no video??

  • How is this an unboxing with no video?

  • Does the phone seem to be very durable? Do you think the glass back will be a problem with scratches when you put it down on tables, etc?

    • It is gorilla glass so it should be pretty scratch resistant…but probably not fully drop resistant.

    • Kristoff119

      I’ve not had a problem with gorilla glass before scratching, so imagine it’ll be okay.

    • Kookas

      I doubt that scratches will be visible on the back. It’s the smudges and fingerprints you have to look out for.

  • check out my demo of the 4.2 gesture keyboard with dl link! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WH3uJw-UNpc

  • Also I’d like to know if the camera does multiple shots in a row, like the One X or SIII?

  • Ivan

    The article says it weighs 131 pounds, while the spec sheet at the very end says 139

    • Ivan


    • Tim Hardeman

      That’s one heavy phone!

  • Bill

    I was wondering how the audio sounds through headphones? Is the quality comparable to the I Phone or an I Pod? I am thinking of getting this to replace my I phone 4 but am just wondering if it will make a good device to listen to music with.

    • David

      of course! the quality of sound through headphones depends mostly on the headphones. You’re getting the exact same sound file.

      • Not true. Depending on the internal insulation of the circuitry you can get various hisses and other electronic static through your headphone jack.

      • Kookas

        Like on the crappy TF700T.. but I can tell you that the Galaxy Nexus, the predecessor, had no electrical noise in the audio. I even used it to play some beats at a street party. It seemed to play just as well as the music others would play through their iPods. Music is fine when charging, too

      • I don’t think it’s really fair to compare it to the Galaxy Nexus since the ‘Nexus’ name is applied to slightly modified phones from two different product lines from two different manufacturers…

      • CB

        Yes. The Nexus 7 has a notoriously bad DAC that makes listening to music through any decent headphones annoying. Hopefully, this is better.

      • tom299

        Yo David, stop answering questions which you have no clue about.

      • tom299

        Yo David, stop answering questions which you have no clue about.

  • Phone_Junkie

    Off topic of an unboxing, but will it be available in white?

  • Eduardo

    Chris, Android 4.2 images tend to show us that the new camera app takes pictures in 16:9. Even the Nexus 4 webpage in google´s site has some 16:9 samples. Is that the reallty?

    • You’ve always been able to take 16:9 pictures…

      • Eduardo

        I mean not in the movie mode or panorama.

      • Come to think of it it might be a CM/AOKP feature.

  • exynos5450

    The battery is lithium-polymer, not lithium ion.

    • Speaking of the Li-Pol battery, I’m really curious about battery performance, especially since it isn’t removable. It says stand-by time is 390 hours. The GNex is 290 hours, so that’s a pretty good improvement. Curious about real load usage with screen-on time. It would be good to see comparisons to the GNex.

      Also, I’ve read that the charging requirements for Li-Pol are different from Li-Ion and that you have to use the right charger (or is that covered in the phone electronics?) Does that mean I can’t use all of the micro USB chargers I’ve collected over the years? Are there any advantages with the Li-Pol battery (other than more charge cycles)? Does it charge faster? So, basically anything that can be covered about the battery would be great. 🙂

    • Kookas

      Interesting.. more advanced than Li-Ion? Does it have a greater capacity per cm³? People keep promising a new battery tech ‘just around the corner’, but some of them were like six years ago and still haven’t seen the light of day.

      • exynos5450

        Tbh I’m not sure which is more advanced or has a greater capacity. And yes you are right there is a new battery tech on the horizon which will yield 10 hours per charge, but only needing 5 minutes to recharge from dead.It’s at least 2 years away.

  • Mike

    Is there any chance you guy’s will be able to do a drop test? The curved glass edge must be prone to cracking.

    • I was thinking the same thing. A drop test is in order immediately

    • Kookas

      The old Nexus phones had their entire front pane curved, and that actually survived the four-foot face down. IIRC, what broke was actually the display behind the glass (not that that’s a very good design, but it shows curved glass doesn’t have to be weak). I think Google have taken drops into account, since they’ve used Gorilla Glass on both the front and the back – drop resistance had to be on someone’s mind over there.

      • Mike

        Thanks for the replies. My question stems from friends with iPhones and cracked screens. Maybe I’m mistaken but I thought the iPhone 4/4S displays were made of Gorilla Glass.

        This is great to know though!

      • Kookas

        From what I’ve heard, it’s a spectrum with scratch resistance on one end and drop resistance on the other. The iPhone was damn near unscratchable, but as a consequence, it broke easily. The iPhone 5 is tough as hell, but now it scratches easily. The only solution is a self-healing oleophobic coating on top of drop resistant glass, which I really hope to see in phones soon. Perhaps not next year, but the year after. If I were a phone company though, I’d push to get it done now.

    • David

      It’s Corning Gorilla Glass 2, so it is very sturdy, scratch and crack resistant glass, plus the metal band around the edge wraps and merges with the glass so when you set it down you’re setting it on the metal.
      But yes it would be interesting to see how it does in a drop test 🙂

  • exynos5450

    I’m definitely gonna get straight talk on At&t for the unlocked version. Also, $349 unlocked with 16 GB is a pretty good deal considering the specs, and the hardware- software integration. Only downsides are no lte, and no means of expandable storage.Although, in my area there is 0 coverage of LTE, but strong HSPA+ coverage.

    • SamT769

      Im getting the unlocked 16gb and im on T-MO $30 100 Mins, Unlimited Text and Data. A phone like this would run for over $500 without a contract but its only 349!

      • exynos5450

        You know I really like the T mo prepaid plans, however there is almost no coverage of any 3g let alone hspa+, I got Edge only on my dads galaxy s3 on T-Mobile. If T-Mobile had better coverage in my area, I’d consider the 30 dollar plan off contract.

    • Reason no LTE is because AT&T would need a different radio for only 77 service areas. It would just cost too much for far too few potential customers.

      I agree on price, even with a 2 year contract, brand new phones run near $300, so this is a fantastic deal.

      Storage… Google has a very robust cloud service. While it may take a while with a large music collection, load all your music on the Google Music cloud and just keep your faves on the phone. I can’t see how anybody could ever need more than 16GB physically on the phone at all times.

      I’ll be getting the 16GB myself, and I have a grandfathered unlimited data plan on AT&T, so let Netflix and Hulu reign!

      • exynos5450

        I agree 100 percent. So excited for this phone!!

  • Chris Carter

    There’s a T-Mobile plan for 100 voice minutes and 5gb data for $30.

  • What’s the average speed of hspa+? I have LTE in my area and that’s whats keeping me from upgrading to this phone..

    • ddpacino

      It’s HSPA+ 42Mbps, only Tmobile supports that. Would be worth it to head into a store near you and give a phone a test run. Coming from a Verizon Gnex w/ LTE, I will be quite happy.

  • Ingo

    Does it overheat when using 3G with GPS? The G2x couldn’t do it for more than 5 minutes…

  • rafa

    No CDMA version, means no Verizon. Googl leave as

    • Jackhammerflex

      Uh yeah, even if it was on Verizon I still wouldn’t get it. 2100 MAH Non Removable Battery? 8gb Non Upgradable Storage? I have a feeling LG and GOOGLE would fuck this one up. Get the Note 2 or a Razr Hd and be done with it. The Razr is practically a Nexus at this point anyhow.

      • h4x

        Find me a RAZR or Note 2 that costs $299 without a contract and is unlocked and you got yourself a deal bro.

      • Lucas Rossetto

        WTF is the difference when the battery is sh!t, the storage is sh!t, etc.? You pay for what you get, with these specs this phone could be .99 cents if it doesn’t have any useful specs its worth NOTHING not $299 w/out a contract unlocked blah blah…

      • Kookas

        Obvious troll is bloody fackin’ obvious.

      • David

        Ugh you guys are showing your ignorance.
        Did you even read the specs??

      • David Hickes

        Explain to me in what world is a RAZR practically a Nexus. Other than the battery that phone is awful

      • Bill Mitchell

        You can buy a 16gb, you know… And if you really think a Razr HD is anywhere near this phone in stability or performance, you obviously haven’t had much experience in the Android community!

      • You have near unlimited storage on Google’s cloud, and with the screen type, battery life will be awesome on this phone. As for Verizon… with customer service as horrible as theirs, why would anybody care if it works on their network or not? Plenty of other carriers that are just as good or better.

  • Sb

    Can you give us a bunch of high res pictures or a video?

  • KJ_Moore

    Does anyone know if the Nexus 4 has an LED notification light like I have on the Galaxy Nexus?

    • David Hickes

      It does. Its exactly the same, at the center on the bottom.

      • KJ_Moore


      • ddpacino


      • KJ_Moore

        Thanks 🙂

      • Kookas

        Rainbow as all hell.

    • Kookas

      All the Nexus devices have an LED notifier, except the N7, because Android is so fragmented even the Nexus line is fragmented lololo

    • James Cooke

      doesn’t matter surely. just use the app ‘no led’. Oh wait, it does matter because this isn’t oled 🙂 i.e. the backlight will come on using battery even to display a small icon…

  • David Hickes

    I’m interested in the battery life. I feel like it could be great with a 2100maH battery and no lte

    • Kookas

      And no AMOLED screen. They’re actually significantly less efficient than LCD for white images, which is what you’re almost always faced with if you’re actually using the phone. Not to mention whites aren’t white, more of a very pale green or yellow.

  • Photo qualities and GPS efficiency (no glonass)

  • teddy campbell

    I know this phones come unlock but can i have them setup on any prepaid carriers

    • David

      one day after the original release date, there will be the 16 GB model for 199 with a two year plan from T-Mobile

      • David

        the contract is an additional cost though of course. It isn’t included in that 199

      • teddy campbell


  • Chris

    Does the Nexus 4 support Flash player? I didn`t find this information anywhere.
    Thanks in advance!

    • ddpacino

      No. Jellybean and going forward does officially not support flash. There are some workarounds post around the net, however.

      • Kookas

        Such as living in the UK. There was a story a while back about the BBC forcing Adobe to keep their Flash up on Google Play because the Beeb hadn’t prepped a non-flash version of any of their apps. I have no idea if that’s still the case, though; they’ve since introduced their own media player software for Android which works with iPlayer and the like.

    • David

      The web browser that comes with the phone (Chrome) is a very good mobile browser, I’ve been impressed with it on the Nexus 7, but no it doesn’t support flash. you can however get a version of Dolphin browser, or any other web browser that supports flash, and it will still work just fine on the phone.

  • j

    The biggest downside for me us the non removable battery. Typed the wrong thing into fast boot… then what do you do? It just sits in a 5hr bootloop

    • Kookas

      Hold the power button. The reset functionality is separate from the SoC, so even if you freeze or otherwise screw that up it will work.

  • “and there’s no microSD card slot, so make sure you get the internal storage size you want right out of the box.”

    Okay, so where do I pick up the 64GB model? Oh… wait. Never mind. I’ll pass.

    • Google’s cloud services are good enough now that if you actually need more than 16GB of data physically on the phone at all times, you need a tablet or laptop, not a phone.

      • Federico E. Gómez

        It depends. But I think, and for sure im not the only one, that 16GB isnt enough. 64 and 32 GB versions must be available…

      • Federico E. Gómez

        It depends. But I think, and for sure im not the only one, that 16GB isnt enough. 64 and 32 GB versions must be available…

  • info

    I read that there will be a 16 Gig version for T-Mobile for a significantly higher price than the $350 on the Google site (I think it was supposed to sell for $500 unlocked). Will we be able to just pop in T-Mobile sim card in and be ready to go as I suppose would be the case for the T-Mobile version?

  • Vichet

    I was getting bummed out since I just ordered the Samsung note 2 but then I read that the phone doesn’t support a memory card so now I’m happy 🙂

    Since I got a 64gb SDXC in my old phone that I can use for the note 2