The Google Nexus 4 is Google's very own smartphone, though this time is has been built by LG. Google have used a different manufacturer every time through HTC, Samsung and Asus and now LG are the preferred choice of manufacturer for version 4.
This is not necessarily a bad thing though as it means that we get big name expertise and competition to make the phone as good as it can be, and the result is that the Nexus 4 is as good as any premium smartphone on the market
No longer available. Read our review of the NEW Nexus 5
In fact we will go further than that. It is one of the best and probably THE best given that it is around half the price or less of many other premium smartphones. Add to that you get a 'pure' Google Android smartphone without the unwanted bloatware often added by the major manufacturers and, sometimes, the networks too so you will experience the Android experience exactly as Google intended it to be. And because it is a pure Google device you get the latest version of the Android operating system, 4.3 'Jelly Bean'
Brilliant 4.7 inch screen
For an amazing price you get an impressive WXGA IPS 1280x 768 clear and bright HD multi-touch display which in fact at 320 pixels per inch is virtually on a par with the iPhone 5 - except that it is considerably larger at 4.7 inches displaying almost 16,800,000 colours - so you will be left in no doubt that this is as good a display as it gets. However it is worth bearing in mind that the three standard Android buttons, home, Back and Menu, are onscreen rather than the physical buttons found, for example, on the Samsung Galaxy S3 so it is really down to personal choice.
The screen itself lies beneath a toughened Corning Gorilla Glass 2 panel which covers the whole of the front of this elegant smartphone. The black glass screen casing is enhanced by the chrome trim surround while the unique subtle dot matrix pattern on the scratch resistant rear glass panel glistens in the light and completes the alluring bodywork of the Nexus 4, whose gently curved slightly bevelled lines, 9.1mm thickness and rubberised edge trim means that you will find it as good to hold as it is to look at. It is a little heavier than average at 139g but that helps give it a secure, solid feel.
Underneath lies a powerful 1.5GHz quad core processor, easily the most powerful at this price point, and this coupled with a generous 2gb of RAM ensures that the Google Nexus 4 zooms through anything you throw at it very smoothly with ease. We also noted that it fires up and shuts down very quickly, no doubt helped by the lack of bloatware.
You might have heard that the cameras found on Nexus models are not quite up to scratch and indeed this used to be the case. However we are happy to report that the 8 megapixel camera, pretty much standard resolution now on the majority of smartphones, is a vast improvement on previous Nexus' models which as with most phone-based cameras shows it's strongest suit in natural outdoor light.
How good is it? We do not have a policy of showing photographs on our reviews because it is completely pointless - those photos will only look as good as the monitor you are viewing them on and will vary according to the screen settings - but if we tell you that it is in fact better than the iPhone 5 then you will get some idea of just how highly we rate it. The LED, necessary for low light shots of course, is also stronger than most we have come across.
Features are excellent too with all sorts of scene and setting modes (take note Apple!). You also get autofocus, face and smile detection, HDR, burst mode and geotagging as well as panoramic mode and there are endless photo enhancement apps on Google Market (now renamed Google Play), many of which are free.
It almost goes without saying then that 1080p HD video recording and playback at 30 frames per second is also an extremely pleasurable experience, but we've said it. The front facing videocalling camera offers a respectable 1.3 megapixels.
Connectivity includes USB, NFC, GSM and UMTS (3G), Wi-Fi, HDMI, DLNA, stereo Bluetooth 4.0 and aGPS. M3 hearing aid compatibility is also included.
So what's the catch? Well if there is one we couldn't find it, except for perhaps the lack of a memory card slot. You could argue that battery life is average rather than outstanding but you should get through the day with relative ease and we can not think of another Android smartphone that fares very much better. At this price point though we do not believe the LG Google Nexus 4 can be bettered.
Available in 8gb and 16gb versions