Nexus 4 Review by an iPhone Fanboy

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by strausd, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. strausd, Nov 28, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012

    macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Let me first say that I have been, for the most part, what many people would consider an "Apple fanboy" for the past few years. I use a Mac Pro for video and 3D purposes, rMBP for mobile stuff, iPad, iPhone, and all that. This is my first review on a product, and will be a partial review of Android and iOS as a whole as well.

    So far, I have loved my Nexus 4. Of course, during this review I will mainly be comparing it to my 4S. From many people I have been talking to who want to stray away from iOS, they want to do so from either a 4 or a 4S. This review will be based on the main things I use my phone for and will of course vary for different people. Proceed with caution.

    Basic browsing:
    My iPhone 4S was great for browsing. Safari browser worked fine and was easy to use. My biggest complaint was always the screen size. And in this aspect, the Nexus 4 without a doubt beats the iPhone. And yes, screen size, 4.7", easily beats the iPhone 5's 4" screen.

    From someone who did a lot of internet browsing on a daily basis, the Nexus 4 was best. Although, using it one handed can be tough. I am 6'3 and have fairly large hands. But one handed use with the Nexus 4 is not as comfortable as my iPhone. But I think the larger screen is worth a day or two of getting used to. After that, you get used to having to adjust holding your phone if you want to touch the top corner.

    Battery life:
    I, like many others, use my phone throughout the day to do various tasks. Because of that, battery life is extremely important. This part is pretty simple. My 4S gets significantly better battery life. Maybe its because it has a smaller screen, not as many cores to power, or whatever. But it is noticeable. It feels like I am getting the same battery life on my Nexus 4 that I used to get on my 4S before Apple released the update to fix battery life.

    The battery life really should be better for Google's "flagship" phone. For (my) heavy usage, it sometimes won't last a full day.

    People do a lot of typing on their phones. Yes, people can go out and find a third party keyboard. But I think having a great stock keyboard is just as important. And in this sense, the Nexus 4 wins. Having predictions show up at the top of the keyboard is cool, but I don't really use that. What I do use is Google's Swype wanabe. It is absolutely great for one handed use. Takes some getting used to, but worth it.

    This section should be important to everyone. We rely on our phones, and knowing that everything will work well when we need it to is important. On the Nexus 4, apps crash on a daily basis and complete lags occur often. And the software buttons freeze at least once a day. My iPhone definitely wins in this section.

    App selection:
    This is a hot topic, especially coming from iPhone users. The fact of the matter is they are pretty close. Quantity wise, Android is right up there, so it is easy to find the same apps or equivalent apps for the most part. That may sound all fine and dandy, but quality is just as important. Apps on Android don't feel as fluid. For some, you may not be able to find an equivalent. And there have been multiple reports that ~2/3 of all mobile developers prefer to work on iOS. In this category, my iPhone wins.

    However, from a personal standpoint, I have not had any major problems in this category besides one. I use a delivery app on iOS for all my packages. The only "equivalent" I have found for Android is Parcels, but every delivery for Amazon I put in brings an error. Totally pointless. So really, it depends on the apps you use. But as a whole, iOS has the upper hand.

    And I don't even think I need to compare maps ;)

    I don't use my camera that much, but image quality overall seems to be better on my iPhone. Images from the Nexus 4 in low light looks too noisy. The ISO just gets bumped up too high to compensate for lack of light. My guess is it is because of the backlit sensor on the 4S that makes images look better.

    Camera controls on the Nexus 4 are definitely better. I like how easy it is to change settings, and its easy to change settings.

    One thing I hate about the camera on the Nexus 4 is that you can't tap to focus during video, at least I haven't found a way. Recording on an iPhone allows you to tap to focus whenever you want. However, on the Nexus 4, it saves out a frame as an individual image. But that is pointless in my mind as it is constantly taking a bunch of pictures. I think it would be better to just be able to pause the video in the gallery app and be able to save out a frame as an image rather than hinder functionality while recording video.

    Build quality:
    For the most part they are pretty similar. Although, the rim around the Nexus 4 feels like cheap plastic but the rim around the 4S is nice aluminum. Also, when using the power button on the Nexus 4, I hear that bad plasticy sound. Definitely not something I would expect from what so many others consider a premium product.

    However, one thing I love about the build quality of the Nexus 4 is the curved glass. Apple is known for adding small details that make using the device more pleasurable. This is something that I am surprised Apple has not done because it is great. Using my 4S now just feels weird without the curved glass.

    I always hear people say how notifications on Android are better. And after using the Nexus 4 for a while, I partially agree. I love being able to swipe down to see current notification. And I love swiping down with 2 finger for controls. I also love using Power Toggles to get even more quick controls.

    But there is one thing about notifications that I love about iOS. When I get a new Facebook notification or something else and unlock the screen once I see that notification pop up, it takes me right to the app. I love that.

    With the Nexus 4, it seems like that if something is in the notification bar, there also has to be an icon at the top left. This, I don't like so much. For power toggles, it requires something up top, but I don't want anything up there. Sure, I can change it to be transparent, but then if there is something else that needs to go up there, it will cause a gap. And yes, thats a small thing I know, but personally I don't like it. Also, for some widgets that I just want to show, for example, the current date or battery percentage up in the corner, there has to be something in the notification bar as well. For some apps, I just want functionality in the notifications bar. For others, I just want information at the top. But its either both or neither.

    Google Now & Siri:
    I guess I was one of the few that actually used Siri. It was great. Although, I really only did 2 things with Siri and it was only ever in 1 place. I would either send a text to someone or set a reminder. And more than likely if I was using Siri, I would be in my car. So, being in my car I need to be able to keep my eyes on the road. The thing is, Google Now requires at least some input on the touch screen. This means, I have to take my eyes off the road. Google Now is not a true Siri competitor as it is not totally hands free, lets get that straight now.

    To start Google now, I have to first swipe up from the capacitive home button. Next, I have to tap on a tiny mic icon. On my iPhone, I just held down a physical button, so I never had to look anywhere. To send a text message, Siri would confirm the message for me and ask if I want to send it. I could say "yes", "yeah", "sure", any so many things. The main thing is that I didn't have to take my eyes off the road. With Google Now, you cannot use your voice to confirm the message. You have to physically tap. And in this sense, it is not hands free.

    The other thing I do is set reminders. I am a forgetful person and reminders is an awesome app. I would just say "Remind me to check my bank statement when I get home" or "Remind me to feed my dog in an hour" or even something like "remind me to mail my letter tomorrow at noon" and it would work every time. Whenever I try and have Google Now remind me of something, it has only ever done time. So "when I get home" hasn't worked. And if I say "tomorrow at noon", I will get an error saying that alarms can't go by dates. Google should really include a reminders app or something similar because it is very functional.

    App integration:
    When it comes to app integration, Android easily wins. Its that simple. I love being able to go into my email client and click add an attachment, and then I can search my whole dropbox to find a certain file. And I love being able to send multiple attachments in one email. Something my iPhone could never do. This is an easy win for Android, no question about it.

    Another easy win for Android. The reason I think this is important is that there are things every laptop can do with easy that a smartphone, which in many cases because a laptop replacement when on the move, should be able to do. Some examples: default browser, default mail client, arrange app icons in any way, and so much more. If you want to keep everything at stock, which I have done for many things, you still get more functionality in many aspects compared to iOS.

    Because of the customizability of the OS, it is easy to keep Android from feeling boring or stale, something that isn't really possible on iOS. It is easy to try out a new launcher and just change the entire look and feel of your whole phone.

    Third party accessories:
    This one is a little tricky. Case selection and stuff like that will be way better for iPhones.

    For other accessories, things are being split in the iOS ecosystem with the 30-pin dock dying and Lightning on the rise.

    But a universal port like Micro USB is pretty great.

    Vibrate Switch:
    This is one thing I really miss from my iPhone. I love a physical switch to make sure things are silent. Going to class or going to church, I could just reach in my pocket and feel what side the switch was on.

    Cloud services:
    Both Google and Apple have very interesting cloud services available.

    Google Drive vs Documents in the cloud: They both have their strengths and weaknesses. For Google Drive, it is great being able to upload and download any file type, can't do that with documents in the cloud. But, what I can do with documents in the cloud or even data in the cloud is pick up my iPad, play some Infinity Blade 2, and then pick up right where I left off on my iPhone. It is completely transparent to the user and works great.

    iTunes Match vs Google Play: iTunes match gives you 25,000 songs for $25 a year. Not too bad. But the way it works isn't all that great. I only have 6,000 songs in my library. 20% of them weren't matched. But TuneUp found them all perfectly fine. So it that sense, its just alright. For Google Play, you get 20,000 songs uploaded for free. That's pretty good, but it won't upgrade the quality of your music. Whether or not that is worth it is up to you.

    One thing I really miss about iCloud is how notes and reminders sync perfectly between my iPhone and iPad. Sure, you can get Astrid on Android, and then Evernote as well. But I like having essential apps from the start.

    I think this one doesn't even need explaining.

    This one may not be important to everyone, but is still something that should be brought up. When buying a Nexus 4, there is no option for an extended warranty. You get 1 year limited warranty and that's it. If there is a manufacturer defect, you will have to send it in.

    Obviously with the iPhone and any Apple product, for the first year you get a free warranty. If there is a manufacturer defect, take your device into any Apple store. They will either fix it or give you a new one, simple as that. And you also have the option to get AppleCare or AppleCare+ to extend your warranty to two years. With AppleCare+, you get 2 years and it will cover user damage and lost/stolen devices. All you have to do is pay $50 for the device, then you get a brand new one of the same model. And you can do this 2 times for the duration of AppleCare+.

    Other things:
    I love the LED notification light. Widgets are very functional. Lockscreen widgets look cool, but developers really need to start taking advantage of them.

    Phone itself feels lighter and thinner than my 4S.

    Not a big fan of onscreen buttons.

    I love the way Android uses gestures for deleting apps from your recent list. Just a quick swipe and its gone. I hate the long press for iOS. However, a lot of times to delete a conversation or something long that on Android, you have to do a long press whereas iOS is a swipe. Both should be more consistent IMO.

    The way Android shows battery usage is far superior to iOS. I love being able to see that information.

    Google wallet is awesome. Used NFC to buy some ice cream at Braums and I had no idea they would support it! I don't agree with the typical "Oh NFC just isn't ready yet" argument that iOS fanboys say to make themselves feel better about how the iPhone 5 doesn't have it. It is also GREAT for quickly sending a friend a link to a website. No more tap and hold, drag to select URL, copy, switch to messaging app, tap and hold, paste, send. It is just a quick tap to phone, tap to beam. Done.

    I always hated how with iOS, the stores were broken up. You have an app that takes you to the iTunes store, another for apps, another for books, another for news stand, blah blah blah. I enjoy how Google put it all in one.

    Smartphones are great for finding out information thanks to quick access to the internet and search engines. Unfortunately, iOS adds needless steps in order to take advantage of the crazy amount of information at our finger tips. With Android, just unlock and search right at the top. Love that (Although I am actually a Bing user because I get points and free Amazon gift cards, wish I could change it).

    On the Nexus 4 in Chrome, it does not do a good job at remembering my location on the screen when rotating to landscape from portrait. Minor annoyance, but my iPhone did a much better job at this.

    I am sure I missed points. So if there is something you want me to talk about more, let me know. I am not trying to bash either platform, although too often posts like this just lead to that. I am just trying to spark some discussion. And if anybody has any suggestions for me to fix some annoyances I have talked about with either platform, I am very interested so please let me know. Especially for Android as I am still sort of a noob with Android and I want to continue to make my phone even better.

    As a whole, I prefer using my Nexus 4. The bigger screen and better keyboard are great. Most of the other things where my iPhone was better were small things to me, and right now not worth me switching back to my iPhone.

    Edits in italic.
  2. macrumors 68000

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
  3. macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    It's amazing the on screen buttons freeze. Must be a bug because my Galaxy Nexus' on screen buttons never ever froze. And it's something I kept a careful eye on because I was worried when Google transitioned to on screen buttons precisely about that, that it would freeze or be slow to respond. It's been nothing but perfect.

    Definitely sounds like a bug. This is not common of Android. Is this a wide spread issue with 4.2 on the Nexus 4? This is the first time I'm reading anything like this.
  4. 3bs
    macrumors 603


    May 20, 2011
    Dublin, Ireland
    I had the same issue with my on screen buttons but it's stopped ever since I've flashed a custom ROM.
  5. macrumors 604


    Jan 8, 2012
    Seems like a very fair review especially from a self proclaimed fanboy.

    I've never ever had an issue with on screen buttons from all versions of honeycomb, ICS and JB. But that's only from tablets.
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2012
    Someone mentioned this app in another thread: GMD GestureControl

    You can use it to hide the on-screen buttons using gesture, along with some other neat stuff. I haven't used it but you might want to give it a try.
  7. macrumors 68040


    Great review. What network are you using the phones on and what type of data speeds are you getting on each?
  8. thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    I feel my fanboy loyalty starting to shift... :rolleyes:

    Saw that, might try it out after I have some more time with stock Android. Plus I have read that when using it some apps lag slightly.

    AT&T using the same SIM from my 4S. Got 6 Mb/s the other day and I'm in Dallas. Would like to have LTE though. Glad this was unlocked so I can upgrade next year through AT&T. Might go for a GN3 or GS4 when they come out ;)
  9. macrumors 65816


    Oct 3, 2007
    Good review. I agree with most. Although, I have never had one freeze or crash since I have been using my nexus for over a week. Not even close. I had plenty on my iPhone 4. I wonder if you are using a particular app that is causing this. Like I said good review though!
  10. macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    Likewise, I've had apps crash on my iPad 3. I genuinely cannot recall a time when an app crashed on my Galaxy Nexus. Being completely honest.

    Maybe it stands out when it happens on my iPad 3 because it's supposed to never ever have problems. I can also remember once or twice my iPHone 4S lock screen freezing when trying to unlock it.
  11. thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Power Toggles and Skype are the main ones that crash.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2012
    You might want to try Notification Toggles instead.
  13. thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Thanks I may try that out. Most of the time whenever I reboot the device, I get a popup saying that Power Toggles crashed, and then within 10 seconds it starts back up again by itself.
  14. macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    It sounds like they need to be updated. Power Toggles is one of my most favorite apps on my GN. Never gives me problems.

    They better update it :eek:



    Perhaps you want to amend your Reliability section in your review. :)

    Definitely sounds like apps needing to be updated to 4.2, and not an issue with Android directly.
  15. thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Haha maybe if that wasn't the only app that was considered when writing the reliability section.

    And yes, it does sound like apps need to be optimized for 4.2. Hopefully devs will get on that sooner rather than later.
  16. macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011
    Just curious, what else was crashing? And crashing on a daily basis?
  17. thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Skype is the other main one. And other things that contributed to iOS winning in the reliability category was the navigation buttons freezing multiple times and complete OS lags that occur for about 5-10 seconds each.

    Like someone already said, that has happened to them. But apparently it went away with a custom ROM.
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Apr 25, 2006
    FWIW, Based on my experience the only apps that crash are the ones that still need to be updated for 4.2. Everything is super smooth for me and battery lasts all day and then some. If I'm on WiFi, it will last at least a day and a half. I love the Nexus 4 so far. Only quirk that I found is that the Bluetooth connection connects and disconnects during calls. I hear that this is a semi common problem that gets corrected with 4.2.1 or a further build.
  19. macrumors 604


    Mar 29, 2011

    For sure I'd be bothered by this. I'm not hearing a lot about it, and I would think that's something that the folks over at XDA would be indignant over, especially since it's never been a problem before.

    I would think people here would have spoken up more too. I mean, freezing for 5-10 seconds when pressing Back or Home button is a really big deal.

    I've read more about the opposite... that the App Switcher launches the switcher extremely quickly, or how accessing Google Now by swiping up from the Home button is so much faster now. That's been my experience too on the GN.

    Wonder what's happening here... 5-10 seconds lag is severe. Rogue app? Have you tried rebooting? Hm.
  20. thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Ya I have tried rebooting. It happened once yesterday and twice the day before. Hasn't happened once yet. Maybe it just needs a little breaking in ;)

    Also I added a few more things to the original post towards the end.
  21. macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2012
    Good review mate, only question i have is what do you consider "dont last whole day" (battery wise) ? Il have my nexus on my hands these weekend but anyway :)
  22. macrumors 601


    Jan 11, 2012
    Pacific Coast, USA
    I was hyper vigilant waiting for the Nexus 4 to be released & it paid off. The moment they appeared on Play, I ordered three. My wife, my brother & myself were very eager. Especially since we've enjoyed our Galaxy Nexus phones so much. The order processed fast, the confirmation came through, and a few days later three N4's arrived.

    I feel very fortunate, as all of these have been flawless. Like anything else new & exciting we've put a whole lot of time on them. Especially mine since my workflow dictates I be on the web, co. intranet & highly mobile at the same time.

    At first announcement I was far less than thrilled to learn they'd be from LG, but being completely dependent on a smartphone, specifically the Nexus type, I was willing to move way out of my comfort zone & risk it. Having a bit of inside highly reliable info, I learned that Google did indeed make certain demands of LG, then followed them up via Google engineer involvement.

    Personally I see the on screen navigation buttons as a feature that I've enjoyed on several other Samsung, HTC, & MotoDroids from the past. They can't fail like the mechanical buttons on my iPhones have. And it's not dirt or abuse, just failure (iP4 only).

    While it's far too soon to judge, so far it's looking good. If you've read my other posts you know I'm a big multiplatform enthusiast, loyal to Apple, Google, Microsoft, yet very outspoken. I'm not married to any brand. I just use them, and quite heavily at that.

    Being just a bit biased towards Apple, I'd sure like them to offer two iPhone models. Small screen & Large screen, and bring the quality back up to where it used to be. Just do something major to excite those of us who've stuck with them for decades.

    That's my two cents :)
  23. thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Thanks man :)

    For me, it is getting up at 8, going to class, coming back home and working modeling and rigging for the most part. The main times I am using my phone is all the downtime in between that and whenever I need a break when rigging. And then I normally plug my phone back in around 12-1AM.

    Today was a little bit different as I didn't have a class til 1. Ill attach some images to be more specific for you:

    But really, what it boils down to for me is that on an average day, I notice myself having to cater my usage to the battery at the end of the day for maybe the last hour or two before I go to bed. With my iPhone I never had to do that.
  24. macrumors 65816


    Nov 16, 2012
    Tell me about it ! I cant wait to get mine and hope i feel the same way like you and the others :) good to know people that are not "married" to a brand and reject anything other companys have to offer even if that means less options.
  25. thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    Glad you enjoy it :)

    In regards to on screen buttons, its personal preference really. If they never lagged for me, then I wouldn't have anything bad to say about them besides maybe taking up what could be screen real estate. And considering I moved to Android mainly for a larger screen, that really is my only other complaint about them.

    I do agree that it is nice not having to worry about a physical button being broken, especially feeling the plasticy power button. But IMO, 100% capacitive buttons that don't take up screen space would be just as effective.

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