Why the Nexus 4 is selling like mad

January 29, 2013
25

The Nexus 4 has been slowly coming back to an available status. Here in the US we saw inventory arrive with T-Mobile earlier in the month and that was followed with Best Buy last evening and Google Play earlier today. There is still some question as to whether the inventory issues are because LG is not making enough or because Google is selling them in mass quantities. That said, given the reaction and excitement about the handset being available -- it is clear that the Nexus 4 is a device that people want.

While opinions will vary, we see quite a few perks with the Nexus 4. These include a nice display, a good looking exterior, fair contract-free pricing and perhaps key for some, the speedy Android updates. Along with the contract-free pricing comes another perk -- the ability to choose your carrier. Here in the US you can take your Nexus 4 to AT&T or T-Mobile as well as StraightTalk. And yes, we realize that StraightTalk uses those same networks, however they do offer some compelling plans including an unlimited option for $45 per month and an unlimited with international option for $60 per month. Lets put the talk of carrier and plans aside though, because truly, that is just one reason why the Nexus 4 is an interesting device.

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In the case of the display, just looking at the numbers and we know that it is 4.7-inches with a resolution of 1280 x 768 and the protection of Corning Gorilla Glass 2. The display also extends to the side edges and is curved in a way that has is sloping slightly down. This seems to make it a bit nicer in the hand and good for those times when a side-to-side gesture is needed. The exterior of the phone seems to be the one point that people either love or hate. Speaking personally, the sparkle design is rather nice looking. Certainly not nice enough to convince me to buy a Nexus 4 on that point alone, but a perk that plays in nicely with the other strengths. As you can see in the images included in this post, that sparkle extends over to the sides as well.

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Touching on the price. You cannot really beat $299 (8GB) or $349 (16GB). In fact, these prices as so attractive that we would argue the $199 on a two-year agreement price point seems high. After all, take the Galaxy S III for comparison, the 16GB sells for $199 on a two-year agreement and would cost several hundred more off-contract. It almost seems T-Mobile should be offering the Nexus 4 for $99, or lower for those willing to make a two-year commitment. Of course, if you are going to make a two-year commitment to an Android device -- the Nexus 4 is about a good an option as any considering it is more likely to get updates.

Which brings us to the next point -- those speedy updates. In the case of the Nexus 4 (and other Nexus devices), you will get those updates first. And fast. The one drawback to that is sometimes there may be a bug, but again, Google seems quick to fix even those issues. To sum this up, with the Nexus 4 you get a solid display, low purchase price, the ability to choose a carrier and regular updates. Sure, you can sometimes choose a carrier with other phones. Bringing back the Galaxy S III example, that handset is available with a wide variety, but it also comes with a contract which means switching between carriers would be an issue. Not that we suspect many go this route, but you could get a Nexus 4 and jump between carriers on a monthly basis.

All the good does however come some drawbacks. For one, the phone is on the fragile side and some care is required. There is also the lack of 4G LTE, which for some is a turn off. As for me, I would argue that at this point in time, it can easily be lived without. Sure, the faster speeds are nice, however when bouncing between areas where you have, and do not have LTE, that can mean a hit on battery life. Plus, for regular use such as web surfing, email, messaging and social networking -- 3G speeds are generally more than enough. Heck, even when it comes to streaming music, 3G speeds are generally more than acceptable. The only catch with not having 4G LTE, one could argue that a two-year agreement on a 3G phone would not be the smartest move at this point. But then again, that is one of the main perks of the Nexus 4 -- the ability to buy it for a relatively low contract-free price.

We have shared a few of the reasons why we think the Nexus 4 is such an attractive option, but we would like to hear from you. Go ahead, fire off in the comments and let us know why you think the Nexus 4 is a good smartphone. Or if you feel otherwise, feel free to share those comments as well.

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  • Josh Brown

    To the point about LTE, I regularly get between 15 and 20 Mbps on T-Mobile with mine. HSPA+ 42 definitely gives LTE a run for its money and without any additional battery cost. HSPA+ is also more widely available than LTE and when compared to Verizon’s network handles congestion better (meaning you get top speeds more often even during busy hours).

    • Chris Carter

      I swear I’m downloading at the speed of thought on both AT&Ts HSPA and T-Mobiles HSPA+. Both a way faster than my home WiFi

      • Magnus100

        You desperately need to update your home wifi. You’re probably using dial up

      • Chris Carter

        WiFi .083 Mbps down, .035 up. On T-Mobile 18.74 down, 2.31 up.

      • Anonymous Coward

        .083Mbps? What kind on internet do you have?

      • http://twitter.com/_faezah Faezah

        i have that 0.823Mbps on the worst telco provider in my country thus the reason i jumped ship to another telco! but 0.083 for home wifi, whew~

    • murdagang_Chris302

      Wrong but kinda close lte which is a different type of network and lte advance&lte advance rev 12 etc all can achieve 100 up and 100 down on lte,1-2gbps on lte advance networks it all how you deployed them and channels and fat pipes etc

      • Josh Brown

        And there’s also HSPA+ 84 and HSPA+ 168 that haven’t been deployed. Adding in 4×4 MIMO and Octa-cell HSPA is specced (in Release 11) to top out at around 678 Mbps . Both LTE and HSPA have room to grow. Right now most networks are limited by backhaul anyway (that’s the line going from the tower to the hub). I think T-Mo has some room here, but I know AT&T is overcongested with theirs (hence the issue of having 4 bars and no service) and Verizon isn’t much better off where I’m at (LTE speeds in the 5-10 Mbps area despite full coverage).

        I don’t see what you’re saying is “wrong” in my comment. The fact is that HSPA+ gives speeds comparable to LTE and has some other advantages. As far as raw speed capability LTE is a bit faster, but it’s also behind the curve in rollout and saturation. LTE also requires a separate radio where HSPA+ does not. HSPA+ has a faster upgrade path.

        My overall point, though, was that lack of LTE on the Nexus 4 is really not a problem. HSPA+ on a good network delivers speeds that are fairly close on the downlink (which is what most people care about). The extra battery drain of LTE is not needed. CDMA carriers only really needed it because CDMA techs hadn’t progressed like the GSM standards had.

  • balla4lyf23

    you actually can get lte in some areas, i live in ontario, canada and i get lte whereever i go

  • Droidzilla

    I don’t get the LTE bit. You act like this is a 3G phone, but HSPA+42 is at parity with LTE. In fact, the biggest differences in day to day usage between HSPA+ and LTE come from signal strength and network congestion. Weak LTE trumps strong 3G, but strong HSPA+ stomps on weak LTE. And strong LTE is about the same as strong HSPA+42.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000292218403 Amulya Bhattarai

    Just ordered the phone in 16GB today with a bumper, cant WAIT!

    • http://twitter.com/MacKevinNYC Kevin

      How is your TMobile service?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000292218403 Amulya Bhattarai

        Its good, Ive never tried LTE, so I cant compare but in Seattle I get speeds of around 10-12 mbps download which is pretty good

  • Nexygal

    Can’t Skype yet, so no internet calling. Google has to fix this, PLEASE.

    • CAC1031

      I can Skype fine on mine.

  • http://picasaweb.google.com/JTHolroyd/TileStoneWork JessSayin

    Here’s a tip for your next Hands-On video: Turn the screen brightness UP before doing the review so your viewers can actually see the screen.

  • splodgeroonie

    Thank Google for driving the inflated prices of these devices down!

  • Jithin

    Pls help.. I m trying to order one but this is the content showing up by google “Sorry! Devices on Google Play is not available in your country yet.
    We’re working to bring devices to more countries as quickly as possible.
    Please check back again soon.
    I do not reside in the states or Canada but could have it shipped.
    Is there a way I could buy one?
    Thank you

    • Kusje

      Use a proxy.

      • jzy

        then? after that? are they accepting a shipment?

      • Kusje

        Use a shipping forwarder like Borderlinx (need a citibank card), Comgateway or Hopshopgo (need paypal).
        For this purchase, I’d suggest the last two as they are in a US tax free state. You’d still have to pay local import taxes though.

  • kostas

    I cannot see any mention to its quadcore processor which might be the strongest avaiable at the moment. Moreover, you should be able to distinguish between 3G and HSPA+.

  • Darren Prest

    Pure Android baby

  • kbankatt

    I bought the Nexus 4 to replace a stolen GSIII on AT&T contract that I renewed only 3 months ago. Initially, activating the phone on AT&T caused me to lose my grandfathered unlimited data; but a phone call and a few hours later and my unlimited data was restored. However, AT&T does not recognize this phone and the phone pictured for my account is generic. What gives?

    • http://www.facebook.com/fahadmalik9 Fahad Malik

      that’s a good thing man! — if att ever does decide to kick you off your unlimited data plan, then your phone doesn’t show up as a smartphone — meaning you can call in and ask them for the dumbphone internet plan — which is UNLIMITED 3g, for only i think $15 or $20 a month! i’ve done the same on my mother’s plan by having her use a Samsung Galaxy Vibrant — since it’s a T-Mobile unlocked phone and runs on ATT 3g frequencies and doesn’t show up — she has unlimited 3g with our family plan for only $10 a month!!! and they still havn’t said anything….granted she is an older female so her usage isn’t heavy at all…but I did the same thing for a little while and i’m a very heavy user — i never got a complaint!