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Google Nexus 4: Nearly flawless (wired.com)
108 points by srathi on Nov 2, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 137 comments

Yes, I want this phone but it's huge. Please google, someone - make a decent phone that's not the size of a giant's thumb. I guess they've done their focus groups and their whatevers and decided that people want more screensize but please for the love of god make a small awesome Android phone for a girl's hands and purse and european small-sized car with a tiny dashboard (because I use mine for GPS every-single-day) and I don't even care if you shove pinterest and facebook on the frontscreen (I'll root it and make it go away, I promise).

I'm in the same camp. I caved and got a 4.3" Sony phone -- the smallest one I could find that still did 720p --, because it was fairly affordable. Sure, I like the increased space on the screen, but it feels very clumsy compared to my previous 3.7" device. And I've had it long enough now that it's not getting much better through experience. My focus on a high screen resolution may have been misguided.

Totally agree. I bought a Galaxy S3 recently and my only major regret is that the thing is freakin' huge. I don't understand at all why this is desirable. Even in the rare instance where I want to watch a video on my phone, the slightly large screen doesn't really noticeably improve the experience.

The killer use case for large screens: make sure you're using Google Chrome as your browser. Then select "request desktop site".

Sure, that's nice enough but I doubt it's a make or break for many people. Having a phone that fits comfortably in my pocket is a much bigger deal.

Anyway, I think it would be a lot more interesting to use that bigger form factor to give a phone amazing battery life or to make it super rugged.

How about someone invents a flip-out screen already? Then I can have a slim touch-phone and 1080p screen for those rare times I want to use a browser when I'm away from my laptop.

We could use robotic pixels, to flip around when you need them on the edges (it would also mean you could embed a camera in the middle of a screen for better eye-communication)

my top two uses for my smartphone are as an ebook reader and to browse the web. large screens are superb for both of those.

Well, if you don't care as much about portability, I think an iPad is far superior at both of those tasks than any smartphone I've encountered.

An iPad doesn't fit in your jeans pocket.

my galaxy nexus is perfectly portable.

Totally agree with you! All of the high spec Android phones pretty much require two hands to use. There are some Android phones that I can hold in one hand but the specs on them make it unbearable to use. My hope is that the release a google Nexus 3. 10/10 would buy.

I am of the opposite opinion, I have had the Note one for almost a year and idk if i can downgrade in size! If it was not for that and a little the lack of expandable storage, i would be all over this phone. Looks truly amazing.

The Galaxy S3 Mini looks pretty nice to me: http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/samsung-galaxy-s3-mini/4...

Amusingly the GS3 Mini has exactly the same screen specs as the original Galaxy S did. I'm wondering if they still had a warehouse full of these they needed to ship...

If this can run my GPS app NDrive nicely (you can't use Google Navigation when you're in the middle of the Brazilian jungle or wherever) I think you've found the current winner.

Though CNet review sounded gloomy, as if it were "here's what would have been a really nice phone in 2008" but if that's what I have to give up for a small phone that can run a few important apps I'm happy.

Looks like it's already available but maybe it's just not worth the price for what you get and I should get a bigger purse, and get really good at holding a phone with one hand while pointing with the other. http://www.mobilekiwi.co.nz/android/item/1694-samsung-galaxy...

He quotes from another source: ""Apple has proven quite conclusively that tens of millions of people are happy to have a device they can wrap their hands around. It doesn't mean they don't want powerful processors or high megapixel cameras."

The S3 mini is more S1/S2 than S3 though. May as well get one of those.

The perfect phone for me would probably have a 480x800 screen using the regular S3's 306ppi glass.

I have to wonder with all the tablet sizes whether we're in a period where the manufacturers have no stinking idea what people want.

Or people are different enough that there's a market for pretty much any size.

That's where I think we're headed. Just looking at Apple's product line alone for simplicity, take a look at how much the new iMac looks like an iPad on a stand:


From the iPod Nano to iPhone 4S to iPhone 5 to iPad Mini to iPad to 11" Air to 13" Air to 21" iMac to 27" iMac, doesn't it seem like we're headed to a world where a computer is a thin display panel of arbitrary size with some electronics hidden behind it? And it won't make sense to think of them all as fundamentally different products any more than we think of, say, small pads of paper and large pads of paper as fundamentally different products.

I was freaked out the first time I saw that iMac photo, but as it turns out the angle at which it was taken is...highly optimized.

The difference between the Apple product line and the (Android) phone marketplace is that Apple hasn't stopped making the iPod Nano, likewise the paper industry didn't stop making small pads of paper when Trapper Keepers became more popular.

I wouldn't have such a hard time believing that if there were more small phones.

From the article, "Android has a new champion. The Nexus 4 ... is the best overall Android handset currently available, and it’s one of the best phones to be released this year."

And, "It’s as close to perfect as I’ve seen any Android smartphone get. But the Nexus 4 falls just short of perfection due to one major omission: It’s not compatible with any LTE networks. The Nexus 4 will run on just about any other cellular network outside of LTE (GSM, UMTS, Edge, GPRS, 3G and HSPA+)"

It doesn't work on Verizon or Sprint. So at least in the US, half of the cellular networks actually don't work with the Nexus 4. And it can't use AT&T's ever expanding LTE network. But according to the author, it is the new Android champion? The 42 Mbps HSPA+ only works on T-Mobile. The best you get is half that for AT&T with this phone. So mediocre speeds on AT&T. Nothing on Verizon or Sprint but decent on T-Mobile. Sounds like a niche to me. Only "buy it now" if you are planning on going with T-Mobile. For any other carrier, nearly any other current smartphone is better.

Can you imagine the reaction if Apple introduced a new iPhone at the end of 2012 that only worked on AT&T and T-Mobile without LTE? I'm pretty sure Wired wouldn't call it "nearly flawless".

Honestly, the choice of HSPA+ over LTE is a no-brainer. The former is plenty fast and has better coverage domestically and all over the world; the latter is a smidgeon faster in limited cases and a battery hog.

LTE offers some interesting capacity benefits for providers, but is being seriously over-marketed, as your post proves.

The iPhone 5 gets better battery life than the iPhone 4S when using LTE vs HSPA. My iPad 3 with AT&T LTE gets 27 Mbps down and 14 Mbps up on my most recent speed test. I doubt you will get anywhere near those speeds on HSPA+.

The Nexus 4 is a weird mix of premium components with last years radios.

> Sounds like a niche to me.

The Nexus devices have been very popular outside of the USA, also in part because they have defaulted to being unlocked.

In my case lack of LTE is not a big concern, I am more concerned with lack of SD slot for example, or battery not being user serviceable.

LTE or not LTE, everywhere I need to I have a Wi-Fi readily available and Nexus 4 supports phone function over the wi-fi as well, so lack of it is not really important

I am also looking at possibly getting Galaxy S3, it is priced at $50 on black friday but I will have to sign another 2 year contract with Sprint and endure another bout of Sprint useless bloatware being installed by night, endless attempts to charge me for something very basic like voice mail transcribtion, etc.

Europe, Asia, Africa & South America doesn't sound like a niche to me.

I agree that it's a niche market. I remember not getting an iPhone forever ago because I didn't want to switch to AT&T. Because I am on T-Mobile, this phone looks amazing.

> It doesn't work on Verizon or Sprint.

Do you have a source for this?

The article lists a bunch of GSM standards, but not CDMA or LTE, which it would need to work on Verizon or Sprint.

To be allowed on us networks they'd need Cdma and LTE. Nexus will have LTE again when that is no longer true.

Some people will be unhappy because it doesn't have LTE, or a removable battery or a micro-SD expansion slot. However, there are probably other phones which do have the right mix of features and form factor. That's the nice thing about Android, consumers have a lot of choice.

True, but I find the lack of Micro-SD Card Slot to be particularly galling, especially as it's becoming an increasingly popular trend with Android handset manufacturers looking to add a hefty markup between otherwise identical models. Just ends up hurting us consumers who want to carry their music collections around with them :(

Not having an SD Card should help shore up some security issues from attackers being able to pop and replace your card to get and put items on your phone.

The current bootloaders are not secure when unlocked and rooted -- there is no password protection -- so with a removable SD Card anyone can boot into your bootloader and put code on your phone, even if you have USB Debugging deactivated. Removing the SD Card is one step towards solving this.

The next step to hardening the phone would be to provide a security check to access the bootloader. One of the reasons given as to why this hasn't happened is because the keyboard interface isn't loaded in the bootloader so you can't enter a password. However, you can navigate up and down via volume keys so you could have sequence-based passwords like Konami codes in video games.

At first, I thought the exclusion of LTE was a major downfall of the phone. After I read about HSPA+ (I'd never heard of it prior to the LG Nexus 4 announcement), I didn't really consider it to be that big of a deal. (Note that I'm a Sprint customer and have no clue what LTE speed is like).

Being that inexpensive, and off-contract, is a major bonus in my mind. I have until 2014 until my Sprint contract is up. If I was able to end my contract with Sprint right now, I would. My ETF is around $175 IIRC.

I don't like that there isn't a removable battery though. That's my largest issue with the phone.

LTE speed is great, but HSPA+ is pretty damn good too. The big kicker against HSPA+ is that it's not as pervasive as LTE (or perhaps T-Mobile just isn't as pervasive as Verizon), so while I've gotten really fast speed (+- 60Mbps) on HSPA+, it's usually much more pedestrian.

That said, I'm seldom downloading large files to my phone, and even 1 or 2 Mbps burst is usually fine for the way I use my phone.

As long as your choice is Android :).

The smartphone market in general has a lot of choice and robust competition. And the last year has taught me to worry less and just get on with it. I just bought the Nexus 7 to complement my 4S and iPad. I might just get the Nexus 4 once I get my hands on it. And the Nokia 920 looks appealing. But only one of these can be my daily driver, which is something the product reviews neglect, unfortunately.

It has DC-HSDPA which is more widely supported and fast: 42 Mbit/s max, although latencies wouldn't be on LTE levels.

Yep, non removable battery seals the deal for me. It's the primary reason I didn't get an IPhone.

$299 for an unlocked smartphone on NO contract, on lead device hardware, with the newest Android OS (and which will receive updates as soon as they're ready), and solid reviews?


And it's not just that you'll get updates--you'll also be able to grab the source directly from the Android site, make any tweaks you like, and build your very own image for your phone. You should be able to run bleeding-edge Android as it goes into the repo if you feel like living dangerously. It beats the usual "Well, we might get a Cyanogenmod ROM... maybe" for other phones.

Are there any guides on how to do this?

source.android.com has build instructions for the stock distribution; you just need to figure out what the device name for your phone is (Nexus S == "crespo", IIRC) and specify that as the target to "lunch". You'll get a zip file you can then flash to the phone.

I'll give that a try when my Nexus 4 arrives. Thanks

Does anybody else find it strange that in a glowing review of this phone, the reviewer included nothing about actually, you know, making phone calls?

No. As our phones become more and more capable, phone functionality becomes less and less relevant.

I use my phone as a phone about once a week (I just checked by call log - I try to avoid giving people my number). If I'm making an outgoing call, it'll be via Skype, unless I'm away from home. Even for coordinating meeting up when out and about, I'll use Glympse rather than call.

I always find it strange when reviews do spend time talking about making phone calls. I got a call on my iPhone 5 yesterday, and was surprised at the UI during incoming calls, then I realized it was literally the first call I had received since I got the phone on release day. That's 6 weeks. And it was a spam call from my university asking for donations.

No, not anymore.

The notion now that you bring it up sounds odd but, I wouldn't have thought about it otherwise.

This phone uses the same radio for making phone calls as any other GSM phone.

Well sure, but remember the iPhone signal strength riots of 2010? If you can't make a call at location A with new phone A when your old phone B could, it's definitely a negative mark against new phone A, and worth mentioning in a review.

Really? What we learned from antennagate - hardware design has a huge impact on reception and call quality.

It would be like testing a car and never driving it.

eh, not really, there can be a big difference in reception between different cellphones.

People who are hung up on this and that missing feature, I understand why, but that's missing the point imo. There has never been a phone this good, this high profile, sold directly to consumers from day one, for this price.

This is simply the biggest shot so far in a strategic war Google is waging against US cell carriers and in the mobile device space against Apple.

What bothers me is why T-Mobile isn't marketing this more. That price point is HUGE. I'm wondering if Samsung and the Galaxy S3 have a deal with T-Mobile to continue to heavily market their phone.

I'm having a terrible first world problem: I want to use both Nexus 4 and iPhone 5. It's literally making me insane. I currently own iPhone 5 but each time I read Nexus reviews, I want to get Nexus 4. I can't use both as I have just one phone number. Perhaps I'll get Nexus 4 and just switch the sim card around. That's terrible. ARGH.

The Nexus 4 is too big, doesn't have LTE and the headphone jack is on the top (it seems like a minor nuisance, but being able to slide your phone into you pocket while listening to music is actually much easier with the headphone connected to the bottom of the device). Go with the iPhone 5.

Why is it easier to slide the phone into your pocket upside down than it is right side up? I've had phones with both styles, and I didn't notice a difference once I adjusted to the change.

I actually prefer the headphone jack on the top, because it's easier to use that way when the phone is plugged in.

As for size, once you get used to a larger screen everything else seems too small.

When I flip my phone around the top becomes the bottom!? I thought this was universal?

Switch your sim card over to Nexus 4. If you buy Nexus 4 unlocked, it can probably do out-of-the-box WiFi tethering (My Nexus One could but not sure if 4.2 stock android still has that feature preserved). To use your iPhone 5, connect it to your Nexus 4's WiFi hotspot.

Google Voice can forward one number to multiple phones.

I already have an iPhone, but am considering getting one of these with an extra number on a T-Mobile prepaid plan.

If that's literally making you insane, I'd say you have worse problems..

BTW, Many carriers offer 2 sim's with the same number.

BTW, Many carriers offer 2 sim's with the same number.

Name a single carrier that does that. In the US, not a single carrier does that. That's not how it works.

Oh, OK.. I just assumed that was common since the biggest carrier here in Norway does.

Costs ~5$ pr month though..

Gemini is the service for you to use two phones. You get an additional SIM card and can use both phones with the same subscription and the same number. Both phones ring simultaneously on incoming calls. Number will appear with any SIM card you use. You decide whether incoming SMS to be sent to both cards.

Not sure there is enough there to get me to upgrade my Nexus S but then again mobile phones have reached a plateau of maturity for the moment and I can't see any "must have" features around the corner.

I'm not sure about "must have" - while I have a personal list of necessary features (that leaves me happy on my Blackberry) I'm of the opinion that the only real "must have features" are the ones that the Nokia 3310 had a long time ago.

However there's a few potentially big features. LTE is one - it's not massively interesting right now but I think if/when network coverage improves it could be. NFC is another - right now it's software that needs to catch up, but after that more phones need to have NFC in them. And I'm sure there will be others that pop up in the near future.

But is it an excellent opportunity for people with older phones to buy a nice new one. Only downside is the gigantic screen.

Yeah, I'm in the market for a new Android phone right now and phones seem to be going through a late-50s auto industry "new larger size!" phase.

And the pitiful internal storage coupled with the lack of expandable storage. It's still much more convenient for me to sync music to a card than to wrangle with the various cloud services.

Wifi + sftp client have helped me manage my ebooks on my phone, copying them from my Linux box. You ought to be able to do something similar, just get on your home wifi network and pull over your music.

It's not something I particularly care about. I'm not even using all of the 8GB on my current phone.

Some (like me) consider that an upside.

The problem is that there is no alternative. All high-end phones are gigantic. Same for all Nexus phones.

The Droid RAZR i/M disagrees with you.

Locked bootloader, so it's not an option. Also, only Nexus series phones are really worth it these days.

The "Developer Edition" is unlocked, and I agree on the second point. Unfortunately, you're at the whim of Google and the consumer market, which apparently demands large phones.

I think if I was still using a Galaxy Nexus, I wouldn't feel a pressing need to upgrade but I'm not so sure about the Nexus S.

What version of Android do you have running on your device and if it is the latest (Jelly Bean), how is the performance ?

Currently running Android 4.2 - my UK network supplier is pretty good about piping updates to the phone.

The early 4.1 kept eating the battery but 4.2 is OK as long as I switch of wifi when out and about.

Are you sure you're not on 4.1.2? The Galaxy Nexus, never mind the Nexus S, doesn't have 4.2 yet.

Indeed, 4.2 hasn't yet been released.

And I don't think UK carriers have any meaningful control about when Android OTA updates are pushed out?

Which network is that? I'm stuck on 2.2 on my (cheap) year-old phone.


The Nexus S is quite sluggish with Jelly Bean.

This is going to be my next phone. Period. There's no LTE here in Europe yet, so who cares about that, and 16 GB is more storage space than I'll need in the next 1.5 to 2 years.

It's also good time to upgrade now, as my current Nexus S is getting noticeably older, but not so old as to be annoying.

The engadget review (http://www.engadget.com/2012/11/02/nexus-4-review/) complains of very bad battery life. TheVerge (http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/2/3589280/google-nexus-4-rev...) indicates it is ok. I wonder which is actually true?

It's worse than this: the state of battery life reporting is abominable. TheVerge says "Battery life was also top notch", with anecdots of 10h lifetime, while Engadget (and Anandtech[1]) say it's at the bottom of the barrel.

At least I'm pretty sure Anandtech controls for screen brightness in nits ["50%" doesn't cut it, just think about how easy that is to game]. Can't anyone do it right?

[1] http://www.anandtech.com/show/6425/google-nexus-4-and-nexus-...

Isn't anyone else bothered that it only has 16GB space? I use around 13GB for music (Spotify) and 2GB for photos.

I don't see why they couldn't make a 32GB version.

Not particularly. I use Google Music streaming and only keep about 10 albums on the device itself. That, combined with a couple hundred photos, a bunch of apps, and a handful of ebooks puts me at about 3 gigs used on my Galaxy Nexus. I could probably purchase the 8 gig version and never fill it up.

Well I had having to decide in advance what I want to listen to.

And I hate interruptions in my music just because I happened to go into a house without wifi.

If it's only $300 unlocked, it should cost less than $200 with a two-year contract. The iPhone 5 is $699 (16GB) and is still $200 with a two-year contract. Can LG/Google not get this same subsidy for their phones?

Maybe it's part of Google's master plan to get people off 2 year contracts on to prepaid accounts.

Is that their master plan? My contract is up right now, so a signal like that could affect my near-term decisions...

Anything that takes control away from carriers would help Google.

Possible this is what gave way so Google would have complete software control. Remember that carriers get paid on preloads; and it's clear Google doesn't have the same sway Apple does.

The nice thing about T-mobile is that they will actually give you a monthly discount if you don't take a subsidy. So you can just pass on the weak subsidy, and save ~$10/mo with the no contract plan.

They probably don't want to anyway. The point of making it this cheap is because they want to fully bypass the carriers.

I don't care about LTE, but if the article's claim that the headphone jack is on the top edge is true, then I may have to forgo this phone. I just can't change my habit of putting my phone in my pocket upside-down.

For what it's worth, Apple just flipped the location of the jack and I adapted quickly after n years of habit - I'm sure you could too!

I didn't even notice the headphone jack on my Galaxy Nexus was in a different position (on the bottom) than it was on my previous phone (on the top) until someone pointed it out months after I switched phones. I make plenty of use of headphones but the jack position is apparently not something I consciously think about while plugging them in.

There seems to have been a couple posters with this complaint. I cannot for the life of me fathom why this is a deal-breaker. Can someone care to explain, or am I just missing some sarcasm?

Headphone jack on the bottom: Hold phone normally, rotate forearm and place in pocket. Everything's fine.

Headphone jack on top: Hold phone normally, rotate forearm and place in pocket. Break expensive earbud jack or worse, the female connector on the phone. Alternatively, have your muscles relearn how to place phone in pocket by first gripping the top half of the device between two fingers (greatly increasing the chance of dropping your expensive toy), allowing gravity to rotate the phone between your pincer grip, and placing in pocket.

Just tried it out, and I still prefer the headphone jack at the top.

Your scenario makes sense if you're trying to put it in a cargo pocket at the level of your knees, but rotating your forearm to put the phone in requires a very awkward shoulder shrug to get the phone high enough. That's for a pants pocket. It's even harder with a jacket pocket, which is my standard scenario.

To put a headphone-on-top phone into your pocket, lower your hand until the bottom of the phone is in your pocket. Then release your thumb or your pincer grip to push the phone into your pocket if it's a tight pocket. Otherwise just drop it in.

I'm not sure how human anatomy allows your scenario to happen. As I hold my phone in its normal grip, and lower my arm to the level of my jeans pocket, my wrist simply cannot bend enough to orient the phone correctly when the headphone is plugged into the top. I have to rotate my grip as I originally described.

I'm still on the original grandfathered unlimited iPhone data plan from AT&T. I've upgraded the phone a couple of times (3G -> 4 -> 4S) with no issues but looking into an Android device next.

Does anyone have any experience with switching to a non iPhone? Any issues from AT&T and do they let you keep the legacy plan?

All you have to do is swap out the sim card, keep in mind the Nexus uses a micro-sim, which I think the iPhone uses anyways.

I'm more concerned about the data plan. Pretty sure that the sim card should (that's the whole point of them right?). Just worried that AT&T would remove the unlimited data (i.e. consider it iPhone legacy only).

Isn't the second major flaw no microsd slot? Or am I confusing phones?

That's a really nasty trend for android phones.

It's on purpose. http://www.androidcentral.com/why-nexus-devices-have-no-sd-c...

I would rather have an sdcard slot, but I understand google's concern, and it's not a must-have feature to me.

Maybe eventually they'll design some sort of clever unified storage system, but I don't imagine that google-branded devices will see microsd slots return as long as the storage is fragmented.

This and the cloud explanation: they just aren't reasonable.

The real reason why this is happening is because OEM's need something to differentiate within their own line so that they can practice optimal price discrimination. Given that the buyer has already decided what they want, the OEM wants to be able to charge them as much as they'll pay.

The RAZR HD differentiates with the battery (MAXX), which is why they can afford to have a card slot. The Nexus 7 w/ 3G can't possibly cost an extra $100 to manufacture, but if you have $100 burning a hole in your pocket, they'll be glad to sell you an upgrade just because.

The Nexus 4 (and various Apple models) do this with memory.

It is.

Galaxy nexus, nexus 7 and nexus 4... I would have bought them all if they had a microSD.

Josh Topolsky cracked the glass near the camera on his review unit:


I have a Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, and live in the Bay Area, so I currently enjoy having decent LTE connectivity. I'm torn about whether I want to get the Nexus 4.

I'd really like to see some side-by-side comparisons of performance on things like web browsing, audio streaming, downloading/installing stuff from the Play store, etc. Does the increased speed of the device make up for the decreased speed of the network?

Also: is it worth considering getting the Nexus 4, and switching to another cell provider that would provide the best speeds for the antennas that the Nexus 4 has?

From my experience with having T-Mobile for my personal phone, and Verizon for my work phone, and living on the peninsula, I get far better data connection speeds from my Nexus S (which doesn't even support the full 42mbps HSPA+) than I get from my Galaxy Nexus on LTE. Getting a signal indoors can be flakey for each phone in various locations, but overall they seem to be pretty comparable on coverage.

I still prefer T-Mobile in end though, especially since I'm only paying $50/mo for unlimited everything...

"Nearly flawless" - more like DOA considering it doesn't work with LTE, or have any of the other usual non-apple advantages (expandable storage and swappable batteries)

LTE is the one big innovation that is giving smartphones a whole new arena for new apps, high speed data is the cornerstone of mobile.

DOA? LTE is way overpriced and not available in most areas. I don't see how LTE is even a 'big' innovation for apps. YouTube HD works perfectly on HSPA+, I'm not sure what else you need...

What do you mean by "LTE is way overpriced"? Do any carriers charge more for the faster network, or are you just referring to the fact that you can utilize your data quota much faster?

Mainly that T-Mobile HSPA+ @ 42 mbps is faster, cheaper, and more widely available than LTE on Verizon

When we buy a phone, we expect it to work for atleast 2 years. Not having LTE for next two years is not a good deal for a user when a competing product from the market leader already has it.

And Wired says "Buy it now". I though wired is a Science & Tech magazine.

So can I buy it now? I don't see any place I can pre-order one.

It looks like it will be available for purchase on November 13. You can sign up to be notified when it is for sale here: https://play.google.com/store/devices/details?id=nexus_4_8gb...

a few weeks back i bought an used One X on XDA. I then crossed my fingers and contributed to a bounty for rooting the At&t model (the only HTC model that couldn't be unlocked, even by HTC)

I'm glad I did. About a fortnight back, someone cracked the One X wide open, and and I have stock Jellybean. And I find out today that the One X holds its own against the latest and greatest nexus. It's camera and display is still unbeaten.

Huzzah to the hacker who made it happen.

It doesn't mention anything about it's lack of 4G support. It's a great phone, agreed, but absence of 4G is a spoil spot.

Did you read the article? It discusses the lack of 4G/LTE support for two full paragraph at the beginning...

"It’s as close to perfect as I’ve seen any Android smartphone get. But the Nexus 4 falls just short of perfection due to one major omission: It’s not compatible with any LTE networks... The lack of LTE connectivity will spoil the Nexus 4 for some. But if you don’t mind living without LTE — and you likely currently are, given AT&T and Sprint’s small LTE footprint, and the fact T-Mobile has yet to begin building its LTE network — then the Nexus 4 is a good buy."

Second paragraph into the article:

"It’s as close to perfect as I’ve seen any Android smartphone get. But the Nexus 4 falls just short of perfection due to one major omission: It’s not compatible with any LTE networks."


"But the Nexus 4 falls just short of perfection due to one major omission: It’s not compatible with any LTE networks."

I live in a big city and get even 3G (TMo) so rarely that it doesn't change my decision one way or the other.

Not at all sure that 4G/LTE is fit for purpose yet (UK anyway) - but maybe within the lifetime of the phone (2 years?)

It has 4G, just not LTE.

HSDPA+ is not 4G.

This is a nitpick really, but I'm just the messenger here:

  According to the International Telecommunications Union
  (ITU) networks using "beyond 3G technologies" with a path
  to LTE-Advanced can be classified as 4G technology.
Therefore, HSDPA+, especially the dual-cell variants, are officially "4G" -- just not LTE.

Considering the peak speed of the dual-cell variant is 42Mbps, that seems a reasonable claim. Real world speeds can hit 22Mbps+ which is ~4x as fast as many older 3G technologies.

The real downside to not having LTE is that upload speeds are better than older 3G technologies, but nowhere near as good, and the latency is also not as low.

But with the right carrier, it's more than workable, and if you're using an older phone (like I am) it will be much faster.

Anandtech and various other sites have started posting reviews:


Thanks! That ITU note will definitely blunt my complaints about 4G-as-4G, knowing that the term is mostly a marketing thing.

My mistake! It is probably 3.5G.

Yeah, that's what articles say but I don't know enough of the science behind it, but eh, whatever. As I mention elsewhere I don't get high-speed anything where I live so I don't actually have to care. ;)

Not sure it's even your mistake. AT&T and probably others have been pushing the idea that HSDPA+ is "4G" for a while. My iPhone 4S, which doesn't do LTE, shows a little "4G" indicator.

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