Instead of getting a review out as fast as possible, we decided to take this device for a test drive for an entire week before penning our feedback. This device is arguably one of Google's most beautiful devices (my favorite still being the Galaxy Nexus by Samsung) with a few exceptions to LG's symmetrical design and gorgeous curved side-edge glass representing the face of this device.
When I first pulled the device from Google's uniform Nexus packaging, I immediately understood some of the concerns that early testers had shared; there was just something different about the feel and heft than I was used to.
After using the Galaxy Nexus for going on a year now, this phone - the Nexus 4 - felt wider, but it really isn't; it is definitely the design of the phone. You have a larger width of screen (slightly) and shorter than the Galaxy Nexus screen (slightly). I would have to say this device, after a week of using it, I am comfortable using it, with Google's new 'Swype-like' keyboard, it is definitely easier to use than just using a conventional keyboard. You will still be using this device most of the time with two hands, unless you have Harlem Globetrotter hands.
Going from SAMOLED to True HD IPS is like going from rear wheel drive to front wheel drive, this can be entirely preferential in the eye of the beholder... that's us: the end user.
As you can see in the images above, the Galaxy Nexus has darker blacks and the Nexus 4 is slightly washed out in comparison. I have a favorite screen, it is neither of these; I prefer SLCD 3. If I were to pick one of the two I would pick the SAMOLED, it is just my preference. Don't let this be disheartening though, the True HD IPS display shows its capabilities with either browsing and/or gaming. One thing I am pretty sure we can agree on is the fact that it isn't pentile dot matrix.
This device is flat. That is the best description I can give you when I describe the form factor. It sits nice on tables and on my lap, but one thing I haven't had the intestinal fortitude to test the scratch factor due the the flat backing. With the flat backing and less curved sides, you will immediately feel the phone feeling wider than normal if you are coming from the Galaxy Nexus.
Battery life is key to everything these days. With technology and smartphones playing such an important role in the lives of millions, the number one complaint you will hear about phones is the longevity of life your device will offer you in a day. I ran the battery to zero when I first got the device and charged it for three hours to a full charge and started moderate use on Google+ and Twitter and plenty of gaming/browsing, at the end of the day of 9 hours of use, I had 61% after using it from 1 pm to 10 pm. After I woke up around 9 am the next morning, I was at 54% battery, which was astounding, I have seen worse with the Galaxy Nexus on 4.1.2 Jellybean. I have to say my battery has worked out wonderfully.
The camera is nothing to rejoice over. I have used several cameras on Android devices over the years and always, I choose HTC devices. I still like the Galaxy Nexus camera much more than the Nexus 4's camera. The colors seem more vibrant on the Samsung and HTC Devices. I would also like to add that the new camera update Google has provided in 4.2 is awesome, I like the pinch to zoom and the better face detection, but I can leave that for a later review on Android 4.2. Bottom line: it's a cell phone, not a DSLR.
A WEEK LATER...
I have to say, it has been a fun ride, but it is time to crunch some numbers. Hopefully this conclusion will help decide wether you are going to buy the device or if you will wait for the next big thing.
It took me a while, but I guess it's hard to go from one device to another after a year of use. The device feels right. I give it a 8 out of 10. It would have received a 10 if it had a more rounded backing.
Build Quality: 10
LG, when under the right mixture of pressure and need, with Google, designed a device that I can say is gorgeous and feels built right. Bra-vo LG, you did a great job. This device will hopefully get rid of the cheap phone image that correlates with LG's name.
The battery life was much better than most android devices I had seen. I spent as much time going places with it as possible, but as a disclaimer, this device was tested on AT&T's network. I give it an 8 because sometimes it felt like it was reporting the wrong battery amount.
Plain and simple, I wish there was a better camera, I have stated previously that I like the HTC cameras better. This camera feels like it lacks the quality I need; none of this matters to the lame Instagram filters. It takes a nice photo, but I am not too happy with the 8MP camera it comes with. It isn't always about the megapixels.
The True HD IPS display is a very nice display but in color and quality, it lacks the vibrancy the Super LCD 3 and SAMOLED offer. *For anyone who doesn't know, IPS displays are never as vibrant and do not offer the deep blacks other LED or SLCD3 can offer. In the comparison photo above you can see the Jelly Bean blue battery and clock look more like Honeycomb on the True HD IPS display on the Nexus 4. For that, I will give this a 9. For an IPS display I don't think it gets much better on a phone. It's a solid display.
Android 4.2 is stellar as ever with awesome improvements and a more social feel. With new features like lock screen widgets, improved camera, smoother transitions and better battery, I give the current software/OS on the Nexus 4 a 10 for the fact they have finally streamlined one mode and removed tablet mode. It gives Android a better feel transitioning form phone to tablet. Great job Google!
OVERALL SCORE: 52/60 = 86%
If you think I have missed anything or would like me to touch up on anything, please leave a comment and stay tuned for our giveaways for a Nexus 4 and a Nexus 10!