Google Nexus 4 deep-dive review: Android at its best

An in-depth examination of Google's new Android 4.2 flagship smartphone.

By , Computerworld |  Consumerization of IT, android phones, Google

For all the software's positives, I have noticed a few glitches during my time with Android 4.2 on the Nexus 4. The Gmail app, for example, currently sends all new messages from your main Gmail address by default, even if you have another address set as your default. Google tells me this is a known bug that engineers hope to have resolved by the time the software ships.

A couple of nonsystem applications have given me problems, too, including Google's own Google Voice application, which closes with an error anytime I try to type a person's name into the recipient field of a new text message. Given the fact that this is prerelease software for which nonsystem apps are not yet optimized, I'm hopeful these issues will also be ironed out by the time the OS is in users' hands.

Last but not least, we can't talk about a Nexus phone without talking about upgrades. While most Android-based devices are dependent upon their manufacturers and carriers for OS upgrades -- a process that often results in extended delays and extensive frustration -- unlocked Nexus devices receive upgrades directly from Google. There's no third-party meddling or interference, which means you're guaranteed to get upgrades almost instantly, usually within a week or two of their release.

The value of that assurance cannot be overstated.

Bottom line

Google's Nexus 4 offers the best overall user experience you'll find on Android -- and arguably any mobile platform -- today. Its unadulterated Google Android 4.2 software combined with a spectacular display, outstanding performance, excellent camera and inspired design make for a compelling package that shows just how good Android can be.

The Nexus 4 does, however, demand some compromises. The phone has a low amount of internal storage with no option to add an SD card. Its glass encasing, while visually appealing, raises the risk of damage to the device. The phone's battery isn't easily removable, and its unlocked GSM/HSPA+ configuration means it won't work with LTE-based networks.

If you can live with those limitations, the Nexus 4 can give you an unmatched Android experience at a tremendous value -- and without the carrier lock-in most similarly priced smartphones require.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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