GADGET WATCH: Google Nexus 4

One of the benefits of Android being an open platform is that we’ve seen so many smartphones hit the market. Not all of them have been great, but at least consumers have a choice – and the Nexus 4 provides yet another one in the wide Android line-up.

But can the Nexus 4 provide a decent alternative to the popular – and profitable – Galaxy SIII?

Hardware and features

The Nexus 4 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor at 1.5Ghz, and features a 4.7-inch screen at a 768×1280 resolution.

The device itself measures 133mm long, 68mm wide and 9.1 mm thick. Inside the device comes with 2GB of RAM – more than usual – while the camera comes in at eight megapixels and is capable of recording at 1080HD at 30fps.

The phone boasts battery hour of 15 hours talk time, and 16 days of stand-by time, although that’s likely to fall when counting internet usage.

What’s the consensus?

Over at The Verge, the publication notes the design of the LG Nexus 4 is “very much an iteration of the Galaxy Nexus”, so much so the two couldn’t be distinguished when stood next to each other.

That includes the glass casing, although the publication notes that this makes the device vulnerable to cracks and scratches.

All in all, it said the phone was “handsome, if relatively inspired”.

“The Nexus 4 has some similarities to the iPhone 5 in the sense that its design is an iteration of the model which precedes it, however Apple’s handset comes off as considerably more polished and refined.”

Engadget was more accepting of the design, praising the unibody back cover and calling it “one of the most exquisite devices you can buy”.

It also had very good things to say about the screen, noting that the panel “is one of the best you can get right now”.

“We also noticed that the Nexus shows off the darkest reds and magentas, as well as the lightest greens and yellows.”

CNET was slightly more critical, saying that although the device was built well it became extremely hot after even short amounts of use. In fact, it said the device “was like holding a cup of coffee without a handle”.

Performance-wise, CNET said everything runs smoothly thanks to the 2GB of RAM, noting multi-tasking was especially impressive as was third-party app performance.

However, it didn’t necessarily beat all the competitors in benchmark tests. “This shouldn’t worry a prospective buyer, though,” it said.

“The reliability of these benchmarks is so hard to gauge, and there is nothing else in the performance of the phone to suggest a deficiency.”

Finally, TechRadar said that overall, the device is a good buy, with a beautiful design and a “stunning” display. The fact it runs smoothly on the latest version of Android is also a plus, making up for the lack of 4G connectivity.

“Had it not been crippled by silly things like a paltry memory allowance and not-quite-there camera, we’d have recommended it immediately and given it a five star rating. Alas, it’s fallen just short of that.”

Who’s it for?

The Nexus 4 is a solid phone. It runs smoothly, takes great pictures, has a beautiful design, and best of all, has good battery life. If you can get over the lack of 4G, then this is a solid buy for the Android fan.

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