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

In terms of buttons, that's it: The Nexus 4, as you'd expect, utilizes virtual on-screen buttons for the main Android functions (back, home and app-switching), matching the design standards introduced with Android 4.0 last year. Given the fact that this is the way current versions of the Android operating system are designed to be used, this setup creates a far more fluid and user-friendly approach than the dated button-reliant configurations some manufacturers continue to employ.

The Nexus 4 has a standard micro-USB port on its bottom, which doubles as an HDMI out-port. LG and Google have opted to go with a relatively new protocol known as SlimPort instead of the more typical MHL interface for the video-out functionality. The upside of that setup is that SlimPort adapters are able to charge the device while it's connected to a TV, monitor or projector; they're also able to connect via both HDMI and VGA. The downside is that you'll need a special SlimPort adapter in order to make any such connections.

The Nexus 4 supports wireless charging via the Qi charging standard. Google has shown off a futuristic-looking "charging orb" upon which you can simply set the phone to charge it; that accessory was not available for me to review, and it's not yet clear when it'll be available for purchase or how much it'll cost. The phone does also support standard micro-USB-based charging, though, and comes with a normal micro-USB-to-USB cable and wall adapter.

Connectivity and calling

The Nexus 4 is a GSM phone, which means that in the U.S. it'll work on either AT&T's or T-Mobile's network (which are also the networks utilized by most prepaid carriers). That brings us to one sticking point with the phone: While it does support 4G-level data speeds, its network compatibility means it supports only HSPA+ connections -- not the faster LTE connections that have become commonplace with many smartphones in the States.

That said, I found the Nexus 4's data speeds to be perfectly satisfactory while using the device on T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. I routinely clocked in near the 18Mbps mark when I checked my speeds using Ookla's Speedtest.net application. The phone is capable of speeds as fast as 42Mbps, depending on your area and connection.


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