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

Android 4.2 also adds native support for adding customizable widgets on your lock screen, which allows you to do things like scroll through messages or identify a song without having to unlock your phone. The feature sounds like a great idea, but unfortunately, I haven't been able to test it yet, as the function was not present on the prerelease software on my review device. Google says it'll be added via an over-the-air update on the day the phone launches; I'll revisit it in my blog once I've had the chance to use it.

Android 4.2 includes an improved system keyboard that takes a cue from the popular third-party program Swype. In addition to regular letter-by-letter typing with word prediction, the stock keyboard now allows you to type by moving your finger from one letter to the next without lifting up. I found the gesture-based typing to be very much on par with Swype's -- maybe even a bit better in terms of accuracy and ease of use. It also has some of its own original touches, such as dynamic word prediction that shows up as you're swiping letters.

Other new features of Google's latest OS include a multilayered security system that scans apps in real-time for any harmful code; a screensaver called Daydream that lets you set up slideshow-like content to be displayed while your phone is docked or charging; an improved Gmail app with automatic message formatting, pinch-to-zoom functionality and swipe-to-archive gestures; and new options for the Google Now intelligent assistant program, including the ability to have the system detect things like flight plans, package tracking and hotel reservations from your inbox and then automatically keep you apprised of their status.

At a Glance

Google Nexus 4

LGPrice: $299 (8GB), $349 (16GB)Pros: Pure Google Android 4.2 software; guaranteed fast and frequent future upgrades; superb display; outstanding performance; excellent camera; stunning design; available at relatively low unlocked priceCons: Limited internal storage; no option for external storage; battery not easily removable; not compatible with LTE networks; glass-centric design could lead to breakage

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