Review: Google Nexus 4
The Nexus 4 runs stock Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, the latest version from Google. We've reviewed the entire platform in depth here.
To quickly sum up what we said in the full review, Android 4.2 is an excellent update. It adds lock screen widgets, which let you peek at your SMS or Gmail inbox without unlocking the phone. It also adds new notification shade controls that let you access the wireless controls more directly.
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There are plenty of home screen panels for user customization, the main menu app menu can be arranged at will, and the ability to apps in folders on the home screens lets you organize the device how you like.
Performance of the Nexus 4's software is incredibly fast. The phone has a quad-core Snapdragon Pro processor on board, and this engine gets the N4 revved up.
The phone application has been revised a bit, but not significantly. Pressing the phone button on the home screen brings you to the dialpad. You can swipe sideways to access the call log, and your favorite contacts. The call log provides some information about calls (time, duration) in addition to shortcuts for redialing or sending a text message to that number.
Contacts are automatically synced with your Google accounts and whatever other contact databases you might wish. Contact cards, or direct dial or direct message shortcuts can be placed on the home screens, which give you instant access to your besties. You can also add contacts to your Favorites list — which is visible in the phone application and includes a homescreen widget.
The N4 comes with the same stock Android communications apps that are on every other Android devices. That means Gmail, email, SMS, Google Talk, Google+, and Google+ messenger. There are no third-party communication tools on the phone when you pull it out of the box, Google is all you get. If you want more, the Google Play Store has plenty to wade through.
The stock tools work well.
One big change that will impact your messaging on the N4 is the new traceable keyboard. It works just like Swype or SwiftKey, but is Google's version thereof. I found it to work well.