Price: 8GB for $349; 16GB for $399 | From: Google
The Nexus 4 might just be the best-value smartphone ever made. Packing in some unbelievable hardware for its $350 price tag this 4.7-inch speed demon is Google’s officially-endorsed Nexus family of phones this time around made in partnership with LG (the previous two Nexus phones were manufactured by Samsung).
As with its predecessors the big draw is that OS updates come directly from Google meaning you get the latest and greatest faster and avoid the months-long delays that come with carrier-provided Android phones. And packing the latest Android 4.2 the Nexus 4 delivers a supremely fast and slick user experience along with a few new handy bells and whistles like lock screen widgets (so you can quickly check emails or fire up the camera without unlocking your phone) and quicker access to certain features and settings thanks to notification area widgets.
What’s most impressive however is what’s under the bonnet. This is a blazingly fast handset that outpaces even the Samsung Galaxy S III for both CPU and GPU performance. In fact the latter (a quad-code Adreno 320) is up to twice as fast as that in the S III managing to double the frame rate in GLBenchmark 2.5.1’s HD test (31fps versus 15fps).
That said sacrifices have been made to get that price down and the primary one is the screen. While it’s nice and high res at 1280 x 768 pixels – meaning text rendering and fine details are quite crisp – the Galaxy S III clearly wins when it comes to contrast and colour. The Nexus 4 looks washed out and flat by comparison. In truth that’s not something you’ll likely notice in day-to-day use and we reckon it’s a fair trade-off for the price. Slightly more disappointing is the lack of 4G – reportedly a casualty of not getting carrier network certification – and the radio inside is HSPA+ only.
As with all Nexus devices the other big caveat is that there’s no microSD slot meaning you’re stuck with the onboard storage. We’d be opting for the 16GB version then.
Pros : Outstanding CPU and GPU low price.
Cons : No 4G screen only average quality.
Rating : 9 out of 10. Editor’s choice!