It’s only a matter of time till the LG Nexus 4 becomes the go-to device for anyone looking for a high-end droid without having to break the bank. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus arrived in our grey markets early this year for a similar price at which LG’s Nexus 4 is retailing right now. Within a span of five months, the price was down by 35 percent which stands to reason that given a few more months, the Nexus 4's price should easily drop well under the 30K mark. If LG finally does decide to launch it officially, then we could have it for that very same price along with warranty. This then begs the question – will the Nexus 4 be the best bang-for-buck droid in the market? Is there even any need to look elsewhere when Google’s very own flagship is retailing for such a low price?
We take a look at the specifications one by one and see how much better or worse it is when pitted against some of the top dogs in the market. We’ll also compare it to some of the upcoming handsets in the market which will inevitably be its competition very soon.
OS – Always the latest flavour from Google
One of the biggest perks of owning a Nexus device is the first-class treatment you get in terms of OS updates. Majority of high-end Android handsets in the market don’t come with the latest version and are always tainted by some ‘enhancement’ from their end. By the time those updates make it those handsets, Google would have already issued newer updates, or worst, a brand new version altogether—and then you’re left playing the waiting game. The Nexus 4, like the Galaxy Nexus and even the Nexus S, will always be up to date with the newest version of Android, so you’ll always be ahead of the curb.
Always up to date
Cellular network – Quad-band GSM and 3G support
The Nexus 4 does not have LTE support, which could be a big downer for some. 2013 is the year when 4G will finally hit India in a big way, and companies like Airtel and Reliance have already started laying the groundwork for this new high-speed network. The Lumia 920 is said to support nine 4G bands in India, which leaves the Nexus 4 looking a bit dated. Other than this, the Nexus 4 is on par with most other high-end smartphones with quad-band GSM and 3G support, so you can use this practically anywhere in the world. It’s still not as complete as the iPhone 5, which has support for CDMA as well, but good enough.
Display – 4.7-inch HD IPS with Corning Gorilla Glass 2
A 4.7-inch, the display is borderline comfortable as anything beyond it becomes a task to manage. Galaxy Note users (both I and II) will tell you that it’s not so bad, but that’s only because they’ve had to get accustomed to the size and not because it is comfortable. The most comfortable size, however, continues to be between 4 to 4.3-inches for most. The HD resolution on the Nexus 4 leaves you with a pixel count of 318ppi, which is very good for viewing text, images, video and pretty much anything. The handset also has a glass back, just like the iPhone 4/4S. The IPS display also makes for very good viewing angles and accurate colour reproduction as compared to AMOLEDs and is right up there with the iPhone 5, which features a 326ppi IPS display.
Form factor and weight – Comfortably light at 139g
The Nexus 4 is one of the lightest smartphones in the market only to be bested by the iPhone 5 and the S III. I for one find it a little bit too light for comfort and still prefer the slight heft of the Galaxy Nexus over this. This the very same reason the iPhone 5 didn’t ‘feel’ as premium compared to the 4 and 4S.
Fits snugly in your hand
Wi-Fi – Dual-band, 802.11 ‘n’
The Nexus 4 supports the highest 802.11 spec commonly found in smartphone and you even get dual-band Wi-Fi. This means you have the option of connecting to the much faster 5GHz band, provided you have a compatible router.
SoC– Qualcomm APQ8064 quad-core
The Nexus 4 is one of the only devices to sport this brand new chipset from Qualcomm. This belongs to its S4 Pro series of chipsets and the “APQ” refers to the lack of any baseband in the SoC itself as compared to its “MSM” prefixed SoCs. Handsets that will feature this new SoC include the upcoming BlackBerry Aristo, Sony Yuga, HTC Butterfly and the Asus Padfone 2. As for how it fares against the current crop of high-end smartphones, well, this screen grab from AnTuTu speaks volumes. Another neat feature of the SoC is the ability of the CPU to scale to 1.7GHz from the stock 1.5GHz when only a single core is used.
One of the most powerful handsets currently in the market
The only real competition right now is Nvidia’s upcoming 28nm chips codenamed ‘Wayne’ and ‘Grey’. Both will feature four Coretex-A15 CPU cores (plus one companion core) and a next-gen GeForce GPU. Grey will also have integrated basebands for 3G and LTE. Both these chipsets should make their way into handsets that will most likely be unveiled during the MWC 2013.