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Review: Google Nexus 4

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The N4's display is fantastic. It measures 4.7 inches across the diagonal and packs an impressive 1280 x 768 pixels. You can't see the individual pixels, even when you hold the phone up close to your eyes. The display is an LCD panel with LG's in-plane switching technology. It's simply one of the best displays I've seen on an LG device. It is crisp, sharp, bright, colorful, and it's perfectly usable outside.


The N4 is sold directly by Google unlocked and without a carrier contract. It is also sold by T-Mobile with a contract. The unlocked version is a GSM-based device and will run on AT&T and T-Mobile's 3G/4G networks. It does not support LTE at all and is limited to HSPA+ at 42Mbps. I was able to test the Nexus 4 on both T-Mobile and AT&T's HSPA+ networks and didn't have any trouble with it. The device always maintained a solid connection to both networks. Data speeds, however, were an issue. Using a handful of different speeds tests, the N4 never exceeded 6 Mbps, even in areas with known 42 Mbps coverage. Other devices tested in the same area attained dramatically higher speeds on both AT&T and T-Mobile's HSPA+ networks. When it came time to making phone calls, though, the N4 always connected them on the first attempt and never dropped any calls.


The N4 is a good voice phone. The earpiece is plenty loud and the quality was good on both AT&T and T-Mobile's networks. I didn't noticed any difference in the sound quality. Both networks provided clear, noise-free conversations that were easy to hear. The speakerphone could be a little bit louder, but still get's the job done. The quality is good, too. The ringers and alerts always managed to get my attention, but the vibrate alert is weak.

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In a word, crummy. Battery life is the N4's Achilles Heel. In several weeks' use, it never lasted more than 12 hours, even when used sparingly. Several times, it died after just 8 hours. This device has a 2100 mAh battery on board. It should be able to get through an entire day, but it doesn't. Battery life is markedly worse than either the AT&T or Sprint Optimus G. You really have to pay attention to the battery on the N4 and always have a charger handy. The battery life is depressingly bad. And since the battery isn't removable, forget about carrying a spare to get you through the day.

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