Google Nexus 4 late impressions?
June 2, 2013 5:29 AM   Subscribe

Google Nexus 4 owners: how satisfied are you with your device? Any major issues? I'm especially interested in battery life and call quality.
posted by Foci for Analysis to Technology (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have one. The battery life is not quite up to par, and I get ~16 hours on standby; this has ended up with me buying a 12,000 mAh external battery pack to carry around all day so that I can actually keep the phone charged.

Call quality is actually quite good; no significant issues with dropped calls or noise. The other major issues for power users are the lack of functioning USB-2-Go and wonky bluetooth support for gaming conrollers, if you don't root it.
posted by raspberry jam and clothes iron at 5:36 AM on June 2, 2013

Love it. Easily the best phone I've ever had. Battery life is fine, in line with my blackberry and previous androids. Call quality is excellent on my carrier too. My wife and I both have one. I've never felt an issue without 4g and as far as storage goes I've got tons of music pics apps etc no problem. Do it!

PS. I answered from my 4g.
posted by chasles at 5:39 AM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: raspberry jam and clothes iron, 16 hrs standup sounds bad. Are you running any particulars apps or rom?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:48 AM on June 2, 2013

Battery life is a problem. An extended battery case is coming from zero lemon soon tho.
posted by k8t at 6:35 AM on June 2, 2013

I love mine. I got it in late December, and its holding up well. The gorilla glass screen is really amazing, and its still basically unscratched (no screen protector, but I do have a bumper case). Call quality is excellent. I run a fair amount of widgets and apps that need syncing, but mine can go ~ 48 hours on days when I use it lightly. I often have the mobile data turned off though, so that might be affecting my battery life. I don't really miss the 4 g, but I'm also almost always near wi-fi.

I really love the phone, and I recommend it highly.
posted by MFZ at 6:37 AM on June 2, 2013

I love mine. Battery has been perfectly fine and call quality and the speakerphone is excellent. Great phone.
posted by mmascolino at 7:48 AM on June 2, 2013

Best phone ever. My battery life is fine. I bought a 10K mAh external battery for a big vacation early this year, and have not used it since that vacation, when we were away from power for most of the day will hitting GPS heavily. For ordinary use, the battery gets me through the day without a problem. And, I fully expect to get KLP without an issue whenever that's coming out.
posted by chengjih at 7:58 AM on June 2, 2013

Love it, I run the latest CyanogenMod RC on it. Battery life is fine, after a long day of heavy use I plug it in at night around 1/3 charge left.

Do note that Gorilla Glass is still glass: after literal years of never seriously dropping a phone, I dropped it on a corner, on concrete the first week I had it and cracked the back. In a few places!

Also of note: I didn't think too hard about it, and bought an 8gb "cause I can throw my 32gb sdcard in it!" err.... no... I can't. I should have bought the 16gb.
posted by wrok at 8:27 AM on June 2, 2013

I had one of the early slippery ones and I put it down somewhere precarious and it fell and the screen shattered. I'm a klutz though and I'm told they've made the back less slippery now. Anyway since I got the screen replaced and got a rubber cover for it, it's been a great phone, no complaints at all.
posted by pete_22 at 8:41 AM on June 2, 2013

I like it. As a heavy iPhone user and fan I actually switched to using it as my primary phone. Wrote up some of my experiences here.
posted by wolfr at 8:47 AM on June 2, 2013

I love it, though for people coming from an iPhone, battery life can be an issue. If I do a lot of web browsing, gps navigation, or especially data downloads, it really saps the battery. However, nine out of ten days I unplug when I wake up, use however I like, and plug it in at night 12 or so hours later, and usually have 20-40% of battery life left. This weekend is a good example, I unplugged yesterday around 10am, used gps to direct me on several short trips and one hour long trip, checked yelp a bunch of times to choose a restaurant for dinner, then forgot to plug in last night. Today, around 10am, I had 12% battery life left.

My biggest complaint is that I don't think the camera is really on par with other smart phone cameras out there now. Of course, that's because the Nexus is a much cheaper phone.

Oh, and for god's sake, don't let the LTE thing be a deciding factor. I get 4G speeds of 10-15mb/s in areas that actually have LTE. An iPhone in that area with LTE will get about 15-25mb/s. There is no practical difference between those speeds for 99% of smart phone apps.
posted by skewed at 8:47 AM on June 2, 2013

I love it and the battery issue can be ameliorated with something like the Juice Defender Plus app. I also got an 8mAh battery backup pack but it's less stable than the N4 (used sensibly) itself.
My biggest gripe is the placement of the on/off button in relation to the vol+/- buttons AND they should have an analogue homescreen button like iDevices. In other words, scraping the barrel in terms of fault.

The damn thing is zippier than my pc. It never ever skips a beat: seamlessness personified. I don't care about space. 16GB is enough. To me it's just like a big thumbdrive using Astro File Manager anyway. Not sure about USA but in Aus, it's 1/2 the price of any equivalent smart phone. ONE HALF. It's no contest.
posted by peacay at 9:05 AM on June 2, 2013

I've had a Nexus 4 since near launch - I guess that's 6 months now. It's an early, slippery one, and at first I thought "oh, god, this won't last a week", but it still looks new. It's been sitting in the standard bumper case since those were released, which I find surprisingly comfortable. The phone seems naked without that bumper.

Battery life is not as good as my prior HTC, but it's still OK, and I've only run out of charge by the end of day once or twice. It's background HSPA data that drains the battery - mine can easily go a couple of days on standby as long as data's over wi-fi. If you have wi-fi in range most of the time, or don't have apps that do a lot of background sync, it isn't a problem.

As people said above, ultimately, the battery and camera are just OK. But there are five big plusses to the phone: the snappy speed, the wonderfully sharp screen, stock Android, a thin design and the very low cost (both in terms of the phone and, because it's unlocked, inexpensive pre-paid carrier costs) for a phone with those four things. If that's what you're looking for, it can't be beat.
posted by eschatfische at 9:07 AM on June 2, 2013

Oh ps. this very robust case (w/ stand) is a great protection against the glass back. I've dropped the bloody thing numerous times and it's still in pristine condition.
posted by peacay at 9:16 AM on June 2, 2013

battery life is horrid. i spent $5 on juice defender (battery saving app) to try to rein in even just wifi use (data always off) but ended up giving it away to my brother. Grab an iphone 4.
posted by tintexas at 9:16 AM on June 2, 2013

I've had mine for around three months. Tried to switch over from the iPhone 5, but battery life on it is too temperamental to rely on it as a primary device. I work in an office building, and with light usage, the phone is often in the red zone after eight hours (being unplugged right before I get there). The iPhone 5, on the other hand, will still be at least 70% afterwards.

The iPhone 5 regularly lasts six hours of usage - on screen time - in 24 hours of standby. I've never seen the Nexus 4 get past three hours of usage.

It's definitely not an apples-to-apples comparison - I've got Google Now and Field Trip running on the Nexus, and not on the iPhone - but I figured that if I disabled all the special Google things, then there wasn't a point to getting an Android phone.

Using navigation is practically impossible due to battery drain. I think battery life goes down by 1% every minute on the Nexus 4 when in full navigation mode.

The lack of LTE is a problem. In said office, iPhone 5 shows strong LTE signal and connection speeds are undiminished. On the Nexus 4, a weak 3G signal is shown, and connections regularly time out.

I am seriously considering selling the Nexus 4 and buying a used HTC One X+, because of LTE alone. The used cost of the latter is about the same as the Nexus 4 (plus I will get 32 GB of storage, not 16). I had an HTC One X for a while (alas, it was defective) and the screen is better on the HTC.
posted by meowzilla at 9:34 AM on June 2, 2013

I've had the Nexus 4 for several months and am really happy with it. I had a Nexus S previously that I liked as well but lost while skiing.

The Nexus 4 is my favourite phone I've ever had. My least favourite part of it is the battery life. Not usually an issue for me because it usually gets charged at night and I have a cheap USB charger and leave it plugged in while at work as well. However, if you know it'll be a while between charges or would just like to use the phone a lot in a day, you have to work somewhat strategically.
posted by sinical at 10:04 AM on June 2, 2013

No unusual apps that I know of...
posted by raspberry jam and clothes iron at 11:30 AM on June 2, 2013

I've had one since Christmas. It's a fantastic phone, with a few flaws as others have pointed out above, plus a few others:

1) I find that the bluetooth stack dies terminally every now and again & only a reboot will bring it back. I've no idea whether this is a hardware or software issue though.

2) there are known issues with the wifi that means that notifications completely fail to arrive on some wifi networks (depends on the wifi router). It's a problem with LG's drivers & Google knows about it but either have no leverage over LG to get it fixed, or else it's a hardware fault and fixing it is impossible. This hasn't been a problem for me, but if you search the net you'll find a stack of complaints about it.

Oh, and my ordering experience with Google was fairly craptacular. They still haven't really got this customer service thing down.

Still, it's the best pure Android experience going, unless you want to buy the pure Google Samsung Galaxy 4.
posted by pharm at 1:54 PM on June 2, 2013

I have one of the first-released Nexus 4 units. The gorilla glass screen is pretty good, unscratched so far, but I have a nice rubber case for my phone and I'm always really careful with it.

The camera could be better, but let's get real, cameras on mobile phones are always pretty crap.

The processor is generally fine, I've never had any lags.

The only two downsides are the non-expandable memory and the battery life. The battery life could use some work, my phone doesn't last me very long when I am watching something or browsing the internet on the screen. The phone heats up slightly through prolonged screen use as a result. I charge my phone about every 36 hours with minimal use (no GPS, small wifi, short calls), but if I'm in a city and using it heavily (wifi, GPS), I'll have to charge it when I get home.

It's one of the best phones for the price bracket, and would buy it again for that reason.
posted by the_wintry_mizzenmast at 2:06 PM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just like several people above, I dropped mine a couple days after I got it, thinking I'd buy a case later. The phone shattered and died. My user experience has been unremarkable, but I'm a very light user.
posted by Nomyte at 4:34 PM on June 2, 2013

I love mine. I'm happy with the battery life. I use it a lot and charge it every night and I've only ever once run out before the end of the day. I'm impressed by its robustness. I've dropped it twice on concrete and it's undamaged. It got wet twice too without any effect.

I've lately had some issues with wifi dropping out (in my house with a strong signal) that were only solved by making the phone forget the network and reconnect. I don't know if that's a phone issue or a problem with my router. Also I have trouble with Skype, but again, this might be a Skype issue.

Another issue is that sometimes if it loses wifi it doesn't seem to switch automatically to 3g but rather gets no data at all until switched in and out of airplane mode. I see on forums that I am not alone on this problem. But I love the phone so much otherwise that I don't care.

Finally, although I thought I wouldn't need much space, I am really glad I went for the 16gb version.
posted by lollusc at 7:52 PM on June 2, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences!

I've bought the Nexus 4 and having used it for just two days and coming from a Nokia C2 - I love the Nexus. The screen looks amazing, the phone itself feels solid, there are tons of features and tweaks to explore, and the Google integration works pretty great.

I was worried about camera and call quality but they are very good, especially compared to the Nokia C2. ;) So far I can't complain about the battery life but then again I'm barely using any apps and don't surf that much. I was thinking of rooting the Nexus but now that I see how feature packed it is by default and how powerful ordinary apps can be, I think I'll leave it as it is.

I don't have any major complains about the Nexus 4, especially considering how cheap it is compared to other similar smart phones. Some minor issues, however, are:
* the gui is somewhat inconsistent are stealthy so it's not always obvious how you're supposed to do things

* I'm not that comfortable with how tight the Google integration is

* apps (Tasker's LED stuff didn't work, Light Flow Lite didn't work at all) don't always work as advertised because of Android updates.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:28 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

It is (just about) possible to unpick the Google integration from an Android phone, but it does require hunting out other services to replace the Gooooooogle ones. Calendering is the trickiest unfortunately.

K9 mail is a very good replacement mail client based on the original Android one.
posted by pharm at 2:41 AM on June 7, 2013

I thought that I was not going to like the lack of an SD card, but I got the larger size and I save all my Spotify music locally and still have plenty of space for photos and apps. Battery is good, depending on how well the local cell tower is acting.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:43 PM on June 7, 2013

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