First Impressions: LG Nexus 4 (E960)
| by Roydon Cerejo
Just like Apple’s annual ritual, Google has also begun refreshing their Nexus handsets on a yearly basis. The Nexus smartphone is a platform for Google to showcase what their latest OS can do at its absolute best. The purpose of this handset was a reference point for developers who could build and perfect apps around it and then tweak it to work on lower-end hardware. Due to that, Nexus devices have never had the best hardware specifications compared to other phones but just enough for it to handle the current OS to its fullest. However, after seeing the wild success of the Galaxy Nexus, which despite its poor camera and battery life sold by the dozen, Google has decided to create a much better package this time around and has turned to LG for the task.
The Nexus 4 looks remarkably similar to the Galaxy Nexus and perhaps that was a deliberate design choice made by Google rather than LG. Starting with the Nexus S, all the (two) handsets till date have shared the same iconic rounded edges and curved body design and it continues with the Nexus 4. The display on the new one isn’t curved but one look at it and there’s no mistaking it’s a Nexus. The front is dominated by a massive 4.7-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 720 which gives it an effective pixel count of 318ppi. The screen, however, tends to look much bigger and that’s because the Nexus 4 is wider while the Galaxy Nexus is a bit longer. The bezel on the sides has also been shaved down a bit more, giving the effect of an edge-to-edge display. The Nexus 4 also uses a vastly superior IPS display, which manages a lot more accurate colours with the same viewing angles and deep blacks of AMOLED. The difference is instantly noticeable when you place both phones side-by-side.
Fits in your palm perfectly
Similar dimensions to the GNex
The fake chrome bits kill the otherwise premium look of the handset
The second most notable change is the camera. We now have an 8MP BSI (Backside-Illuminated) sensor, which thanks to some clever arrangement, allows for more light to be captured than a standard 8MP sensor. BSI sensors are quite common now in high-end smartphones and we saw one of the first ones being implemented in Apple’s iPhone 4. The image quality speaks for itself and when compared to the Galaxy Nexus, it’s miles ahead. Check out our full camera shootout with the Galaxy Nexus right here.
No real competition here
One special camera feature in the Nexus 4 that’s not available in the Galaxy Nexus is HDR mode. We’re not sure why Google left this feature out for the Galaxy Nexus as it clearly seems to be a software feature rather than hardware. It could be due to a sensor limitation or the fact that Google wanted to keep something exclusive to the Nexus 4. In any case, it’s not a big deal as you have plenty of camera apps that can pull off HDR so there’s always a work around.
The Nexus 4 is a big upgrade from the Galaxy Nexus even though it may not seem like it from the outside. The switch to an IPS display was a very smart move by LG and it really makes all the difference in the world. Sunlight legibility is very good, although reflections can be a pain at times and the colour reproduction is bright, vivid and more importantly, accurate. The beefed up SoC will easily let you use this phone for the next two or even three years as there’s plenty of untapped potential which we hope the next version of Android will exploit. Finally, the camera is actually usable even if the lighting is not ideal; a flaw that still haunts the Galaxy Nexus. The BSI sensor captures a lot more detail and adjusts the white balance beautifully.
But, the phone for some reason just doesn’t have the same feel of the previous Nexus devices. It’s a bit hard to put into words but when you hold both the handsets in your hand, the Galaxy Nexus feels a lot more wholesome for some reason. This is just our opinion; however, we would suggest you do that yourself to get an inkling of what we’re on about. There’s no word on an official launch from LG yet but we hear a possibility of an early Jan launch. If LG decides to go ahead with it, then we can expect some very aggressive pricing. We predict the 16GB model to be priced well under Rs 30,000 and we know they can do it since their Optimus 4X HD dropped below 30K, just a few months after being launched. If you’re really eager to get one now, then there’s always the gray market where you can find it retailing for Rs 36,000. If you ask me, I would go for the Galaxy Nexus now and wait for the 2013 Nexus, which will hopefully launch along with Android 5.0.
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