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Gadget review: LG Nexus 4

Samsung’s Galaxy, Sony’s Xperia and LG’s Optimus range might hog all the headlines but when it comes to Android handsets, the Nexus brand is supposed to lay down the benchmarks for Android. Made in collaboration with Google, the Nexus range of devices represent Android in its purest form, many feel the way in which Google actually wants it. Unfortunately, most Nexus devices have never made their way to the Indian market — only the Nexus S and Nexus 7 got this far. And now they have been joined by the LG Nexus 4. The Nexus 4 was first released in November last year. The period since has seen a number of very high-profile Android devices hit the market. Can the Nexus 4 hold its own against such an array of powerful devices?

Well, it sure can. It is not the thinnest at 9.1mm not the lightest at almost 140 gms, but the 4.7-inch display sporting Nexus 4 is one of the most hand-friendly large screen device we have held. There are no sharp edges and the front and back are made of smooth glass — the back even has a sparkly element which glitters in the light. The design is supremely minimalistic — there is not a single key on the front of the phone (the home, back and recent app icons are available on the display itself when it is unlocked), and the sides are spartan too, with the volume rocker on the left and the power/display on/off at the right. On the left also is the micro-SIM tray. The top is bare, barring a 3.5mm jack, while the bottom houses a micro USB charging port. With its display off, the Nexus 4 looks like a smooth ebony slab — all understated class.

It performs really well, too. It is powered by a quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, has 2 GB RAM, 16 GB onboard storage and all the connectivity bells and whistles you would like (3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, et al). And it works at the rate of knots. It certainly is the fastest Android phone we have used for a while, whether we were browsing the Internet or playing high definition games like N.O.V.A. 3. There were no lags and thanks to the absence of any ‘manufacturer skins’ the interface was smooth as silk. And of course, it ran the latest version of Android (4.2.2) and will also get future updates - no need to depend on the manufacturer (the Xperia Z and HTC One still run on Android 4.1) — as well as the latest apps from Google. The 8.0-megapixel camera takes some very good photographs — including the 360-degree Google Photo Sphere shots — and videos, although the audio quality of the device was a bit sub-par. 

No, it is not perfect. Some will bemoan the absence of a full HD display (even though there is very little actual HD content out there), 4G (again, hardly available in India) and expandable memory (the iPhone never had it either). Speaking for ourselves, we would have liked better call quality and battery life — if you start using every feature on board, the battery will struggle to get through a day of hefty use. But all those are offset by the buttery smooth performance of the Nexus 4. Top that off with a price tag of R 25,990, the Nexus 4 emerges as an excellent option. Pretty much THE Android smartphone to have, in our opinion.

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