Nexus 4 - what more do you need?

Got my white Nexus 4 last week and I couldn't have picked a better phone.

The extra short management version: buy this. Period. Make it a corporate standard if you can; there is no longer need for way overpriced tech poor iPhones, bloated Samsung Android phones nor wanna-be-smartphones like Windows Phone. This offers everything for so low price that the rest are just a waste of your/company money.



The longer version...

Foreword

I have been Android user since version 2.2 (Froyo) and liked it so much that I have been using it ever since. Android 4.1 exceeded other OS when it was published and 4.2+ was just mindblowing.
Before Android I was a Meego user and before that a Symbian user. I have also tried Windows phone (this is not a smartphone OS yet) and iPhone (all the fun is forbidden/restricted) for a test period but didn't like what I saw.
I have owned/used tens of phones: Nokia (Symbian series 40/60/80/90, Meego, WP), Ericsson (?), Philips (?), HTC (Android), Samsung (Android) and toyed with tens of other phones like iPhone, HTC (WP), Samsung (Bada), etc.
If I wouldn't be a Android user I would most likely use Meego/Maemo/Sailfish, Firefox, Tiezen (coming?) or Ubuntu phone (whenever arriving) as I appreciate freedom (=legally rootable/full acces) and non-restrictive ecosystem just too much as there is no fun in a ecosystem that is straight from of Orwell 1984.

(Before flaming about iOS/WP one really should consider that Android ecosystem is the best option outside US; in Finland the Android apps rule due to higher Android penetration and lower developer fees (Apple App Store fee of $99/year vs Google Play has a one-time fee of $25); an application targeted for whopping ~6 million Finns is not going to generate a lot of money and it is those small localized apps that are the most useful... this is something that US tech blogs usually overlook).

Introduction

Nexus 4 is not a new kid in the block as it was published 10/2012 but the white version is a newcomer:-)
... And I have one with all the goodies (white Nexus 4, wireless charger, bumper and headphones)


So I will go through all the parts in details and write a summary.

The phone

Package follows the industry standard. Stylish indeed but kind of boring though. (Current HTC soap box package model is actually rather original)


The package includes (US charger, this is the US version fresh from California)

The phone itself is really high quality:
  • it is a real beauty - Corning Gorilla Glass 2 with smooth edges, piano black on front and white on the back
  • stunning 4.7" of True HD IPS Plus screen beauty. 768 x 1280 pixels with a razor sharp pixel density of 318. I can't see the pixels and therefore not missing Full HD that Samsung S4 & HTC One are offering
  • not too heavy (139g) considering the screen size
  • no plastic feeling
  • technically superb; fast wireless charging, NFC, etc
  • no LTE - my experience with LTE is that it is a waste of money as the availability is poor and when available the speeds are crappy anyways


Micro SIM slot and the opener

Comparison to Samsung Galaxy SII

Style points go to Nexus 4

Oops, there is a sticker still attached to the Nexus in this picture.

The wireless charger

When I saw the wireless charger, I knew that this is a must purchase.
The build quality is extremely good and the magnet attaches the phone 'automatically' to right place and angle.
The charging is fast and better than I thought.

The package

The package includes (US charger, this is the US import version). The dock has still plastic wrapping on.


There are few minor issues with the charger (no showstoppers):

  • it could weight a bit more; if you just grab the phone you usually get the charger too :-)
  • the rubber rings need to be semi-clean or the phone may start sliding; nothing that moist cloth wouldn't fix

The charger places the phone at a great optimal viewing angle that is excellent for viewing it on the desk; spotify usage (on lockscreen), seeing incoming caller data, Flipboard daydreams, etc

The headphones

Groovy looking ones. I like the fact that the cord is flat and doesn't get tangled as easily as my Sennheisers.
The build quality is very good; they are in fact made of machined aluminum, as you can feel the texture and the weight of the metal. These are not heavy headphones by the way.

They fit in my ears just fine thanks to the double rib of rubber that is on the in-ear bit.
In addition to the smallish rubber pieces that come on the headphones there are also two extra ear pieces. One conventional set and another smaller set.
The sound quality is unfortunately not as good as it could be as the mid-range and especially bass is shallow - I would skip buying these and invest on something better.



The bumper

This came as a freebie. It fits nicely but I think I won't be using it as it makes the phone a bit clunky.


Bumper in place




The conclusion

The phone is a keeper. The wireless charger is fun but not mandatory unless you are a gadget/accessory freak like me. It is better to skip the headphones if you like a really good sound; this is a pity as the design is very good.
The performance is incredible thanks to Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset (quad-core 1.5GHz processor).
It is really hard to find any showstoppers in this gadget.

Pros
  • the quality and the design of this gadget is superb; it looks very stylish as the front is just shiny black glass without any buttons
  • the tech specs are great (screen, processor, wireless charging, NFC plus the usual ones)
  • unbelievable price: starting from 299$ (operator free!). Free bumper is extra bonus
  • plain vanilla Android (4.2.2), updates guaranteed (no fragmented Android propaganda here) and no manufacturer bloat (pun intended Samsung)
  • you got to love the standard USB cable... I really hate the pricey iCable decable
  • stylish wireless charger & NFC - this has it all

Cons
  • Can't change battery - the one thing I especially like in Samsung phones
  • (missing memory card slot... the standard Android is not bloated and there is a lot of memory to use and the version with bigger memory is still cheap) 

Other things to notice
  • extra headphones: look & feel excellent... but the sound is just not in par with the price
  • Nexus 4 bluetooth (v4.0 with A2DP) works like charm with my Sony Ericsson MW600 bluetooth headset. You can use the headset controls (next, previous, pause/play, volume) with Spotify
  • Samsung users may notice that Nexus 4's 4,7" wastes some screen height to the navigation buttons which Samsung (& HTC) has built below the screen as touch buttons (this leads to Samsung SII 4.3" to having almost the same 'usable' screen height than Nexus 4's 4.7" screen - the better screen resolution saves the day though)
  • NFC works like charm: Sony Smart Tags (NT2) work as well as 9 out of 10 NFC tags I have tried so far. Reads HSL public transportation travel card just fine (with Matkakortin lukija ilmainen from Google Play... just one out of many to choose from). NFC is really handy technology - there are numerous usage scenarios for it
  • bumper - tried it but it makes this fine phone look bulky... haven't used it since the second day
  • Samsung S Charger Pad (EP-P100IEWE) works just fine with Nexus 4 as both follow Qi standard; bought one as it was the cheapest wireless charger I could find

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