Hands-On: Google Nexus 4
Google's Nexus 4 goes on sale November 13 and Phone Scoop was able to take a brief look at the next-gen Nexus device. It's svelte, it's slim, and it runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
The Nexus 4 is a variant of the LG Optimus G. The hardware design has been tweaked a bit from the Optimus G (both Sprint and AT&T) and it takes on a shape similar to the Galaxy Nexus, which was of course made by Samsung in 2011.
The N4 feels thinner and lighter than either version of the Optimus G did. I can't quite tell you why, but it does. It has the same glass front and back surfaces, but with rounded corners and more gentle curves. The Optimus G variants sold by AT&T and Sprint have more sharp, angular designs. I really like the way Google had LG cut the in the back corners a bit so it fits snugly in the palm.
The front is all black display, with the capacitive controls built into the bottom portion of the screen as per expected with any Android 4.0+ device. The volume toggle is on the left and has a really nice feel to it. I like the way the travel and feedback works. The microUSB port is on the bottom and the headphone jack is on top. The lone button on the right side of the N4 belongs to the screen lock function I found it easy to find and use and the travel and feedback was satisfactory.
The display is the same impressive 4.7-inch 1280 x 768 display found on the Optimus G models. Needless to say, it is one of the better displays I've seen in recent months on a smartphone. It is an in-plane switching LCD screen and simply looks gorgeous.
The device runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which for all intents and purposes looks identical to and behaves identical to Android 4.1. It has the same overall feel, fonts, icons, and such. The N4 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro. This is significant because it runs four cores at 1.5GHz each. It absolutely flies. It is an extremely fast phone that really react to everything you tell it to do.
If the rest of the features fall in line with the performance of the Optimus G, which Phone Scoop rated highly, most people will likely be pleased with the N4. Sure, it doesn't have LTE, but it works on the fastest HSPA+ networks offered by T-Mobile USA and AT&T and abroad as well.
The Nexus 4 can be purchased directly from the Google Play Store beginning November 13 for $299 (8GB) or $349 (16GB). It is sold unlocked and contract free. Alternately, the 16GB version can be purchased with a two-year contact from T-Mobile for $199.99 starting November 14.
Big props to AndroidCentral.com for letting us fiddle with their Nexus 4.
4.1 only included mostly speed improvements (aka project butter) and the initial releases of some features like Google Now, and enhanced notifications.