My one week experience with a Nexus 4

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by gwerhart0800, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Loveland, CO
    Thanks to AT&T decision to have Apple remove the 3G toggle, I can't upgrade to any iPhone newer than an iPhone 4. With 3G turned on, the phone cycles between Searching/3G/E and most of the time is unusable.

    So, I decided to give the Nexus 4 a spin since I have not had a new phone in more than 2 years. (I know, I am spoiled.) A co-worker purchased a Nexus 4 and confirmed the ability to turn off 3G. I ordered the phone when Google put them back up for sale a week or so ago. The phone arrived in 2 days ... not the 1-2 weeks that was quoted at the time of sale. My list of issues/complaints/nits is as follows:

    1. I have had the bluetooth decided that it could no longer be turned on. This was only fixed by rebooting the phone. (BAD)
    2. I have had many occasions when in a phone call that when I take the phone away from my ear, the screen stays blank. Sometimes it comes back on after pushing the power button, sometimes not. It makes it hard to hang up, hard to mute/unmute, and hard to enable the speaker phone. (BAD)
    3. Notifications are limited to sound only. When an e-mail or other item comes in, I have to turn the phone on via the power button, enter my passcode, then swipe down from the top to see the list of notification. This is a serious pain. (BAD)
    4. No lock screen widgets if you have a corporate exchange account with a security code requirement. One of the partial work-arounds for #3 is to enable lock screen widgets for e-mail, etc. That way, #3 changes to power button, then swipe to the widget screen to see the recent mail list. (ANNOYING)
    5. The home button moves the "page" to the 3rd page in. Why???? (ANNOYING)
    6. No favorites list for the phone. Instead, there is a frequently used list the is build from tracking what numbers you call a lot. My favorites list on the iPhone included some numbers that I did not call frequently (like my two sons in college), but that I would prefer to have ready access to when I want to call them. As a result, this morning I called a co-working using the contact list and after the call, the screen did it's stay blank thing, then suddenly popped back up on the contacts list and I accidentally call the next person on the list when my finger touched it. I hung up immediately, but that unwanted call ended up on my frequently called list. (ANNOYING!)
    7. Missing some basic built-in apps like "notes". I have substituted EverNote, but I really preferred the simple note app that IOS has for jotting down little bits of info (like furnace filter size) that I need occasionally. (NIT)
    8. Widgets are wonderfully useless. I have heard Android fan boys exclaim the virtues of widgets, but now that I have them, I find them to be not very useful. (NIT)
    9. Android File Transfer is annoying! It will pop up every stinking time you plug the phone in. I ended up removing it with the idea that I will install it when I need to transfer something and remove it the rest of the time. At this point, I will probably just use the Google Drive to handle the file transfer aspects. (NIT)
    10. The Nexus 4 is a serious "man phone" in terms of size. I know that some clammer for a larger screen, but it gets to be more problematic to do one handled operations as the size of the phone gets larger. I have big hands and I will say that I think the Nexus 4 is a bit too wide. (MINOR NIT)
    11. Screen auto-brightness is very slow. The iPhone auto-brightness control worked without me even thinking about it ... the Nexus 4 will jump levels in large increments that shows how slow it is to react and how it runs as a step function instead of trying to smooth it even a wee bit.

    Not everything is an issue/problem/nit ...

    1. The Google Play store web page allows you to order an application and have it downloaded in a minute or so. I find this integration a bit better than the integration with the iTunes App store.
    2. Access to s SIRI like capability. Since I was stuck with an iPhone 4 because of AT&T's lame decision to have Apple remove the 3G toggle, I have not had the privilege of using SIRI. Google has a reasonably good integration of speech search and command/control integrated into Jelly Bean and the Nexus 4.
    3. Good battery life with GPS apps running. I hike/trail run on trails near my house. The Nexus 4 gets better battery life than my 2 year old iPhone 4 did on the same trails. This could be because the iPhone battery is 2 years old, but it is noticeable.
  2. blackhand1001, Feb 6, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013

    blackhand1001 macrumors 68030


    Jan 6, 2009
    Sorry but a lot of the things you posted are false. there is a favorites list in contacts. The star at the top of the contact is how you add them to favorites. Once you add a favorite you will get a grid of pictures in the dialer/people app.

    A lot of the other stuff is false as well. If you hate the pin so much switch to a pattern unlock. Its the same situation with iOS regarding corporate emails only on there you are forced to use a pin and don't have alternatives.

    As far as the third page in, that makes the most sense. Its makes every page only two swipes away at most. The homepages are not a spot just to put all your apps like the iphone homescreens. Put your most used icons on the default screen with maybe a widget on the top and then maybe some other stuff on the screens. if you want more option for the homescreen install nova launcher or apex launcher. They are both the stock launcher with customizability, setting default homepage, and loads of other settings. There are plenty of simple note apps as well many with widgets. You can even add contacts to your homescreens. Look at the built in widgets.

    You need to approach it with an open mind. Its not iOS. Somethings are done differently. Try not fall into old habits from iOS.

    Favorites list in dialer

    I am using a galaxy nexus so the bluetooth whoahs and stuff may be nexus 4 specific and should be sorted in the next update hopefully. Every works fine on my galaxy nexus. I do think it was weird that google went a little wider on the nexus 4 than the galaxy nexus. Some of the minor nits you have are probably also related to LG's implementation of certain hardware features that may need more fine tuning in future software updates. I do think that android 4.2 was rushed to be ready for the new nexus devices and that they should have shipped them with 4.1.2.
  3. DeusInvictus7, Feb 6, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013

    DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Aug 13, 2008
    Kitchener, Ontario
    A Nexus phone (or any Android device, really) isn't made to be a out of box, start and go device, like Apple has made the iPhone. A lot of things, for better or worse, takes some getting used to/tinkering. The beauty of Android is that it at least has the ability to tinker, for those are willing/wanting to.

    I'll respond to your comments with my own experiences after owning the Nexus 4 for about a month.

    1. Haven't had any problems with bluetooth, on the stock ROM or the custom one that I'm using right now, ParanoidAndroid.

    2. Again, haven't had any problems with the proximity sensor recognizing movement. I've used the phone to call multiple 1-800 numbers for customer services, and going through the menus wasn't painful at all (on the phone itself, calling customer service is always painful)

    3. I think this is a 4.0+ "feature", maybe even later, 4.2+. The screen doesn't come on when a notification comes in, instead there's the LED notification light at the bottom of the phone face, and with a nifty app like LightFlow, you can customize all sorts of colors to be assigned to specific apps, or even certain contacts.

    4. You should be able to drag down from the notification bar even in the lock screen. To be honest I haven't used the stock lock screen in a very long time, so this wasn't too much of an issue since I have a different way of getting to my notifications from the lock screen.

    5. The "Home" page on most Android devices is the middle screen, so if you have 3 pages, then it's the second screen, if you have 5 like the Nexus does out of the box, it's the 3rd. Just something to get used to. You're probably just used to an iPhone that's all.

    6. I don't call very often, so even when I did have my iPhone I didn't set up a favorites list. With either phone, I instead used the voice recognition (Siri or Google Now) to do all my calling. Just say the name of the person, and good to go. If you don't want to say it out loud, you can just type the person's name into the search bar and same thing, without having to go into the phone app (similar to the Spotlight on the iPhone). EDIT: Like the other poster said, in the People app you can "star" certain people and they will show up in a grid like he posted in the phone app.

    7. This has more to do with the Nexus brand being more of a developer phone than anything else probably. And Google wants to make the money from you browsing their Play Store to find a notes app.

    8. Widgets are pretty subjective, and to be honest I only find a very small number of them actually useful, but that might be because I'm still used to an iPhone. I'm used to going into an app to do things when the basic information I really wanted was right on my home screen. Different thought processes I guess.

    9. I do wish AFT had a way to not open each time you plug in, like iTunes has, but I've learned to just forget about it. Just close the window when it pops up, no big deal.

    10. I have pretty smallish hands, but I have learned to handle the phone with one hand. It's true that it's a wide phone, but it really just depends on how you hold your phone.

    11. To really be honest, whenever I'm indoors, I turn off auto brightness and keep the phone at about 10% brightness. Anything higher is too bright for me. When I do have it on auto though, I don't get the sense of it being slow. Again, this could be due to the custom ROM I'm using, but I don't think it would have changed that much.
  4. tjl3 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 8, 2012
    iPhone 5 user, that got my Nexus 4 a few days ago for my work phone. Funny thing is that I have a friend who hasn't had his December order honored, but he just placed a new order and it has already shipped.

    Anyway, I think the Nexus 4 is great. The only complaints I had are:
    - contact pics are still low res;
    - lockscreen widgets are as useless as I imagined;
    - the playstore is an eye sore;
    - my power button will toggle the screen on and off sometimes when I try to put the phone to sleep;
    - Google Voice Search is slow on wi-fi on my Nexus 4 compared to Siri and Google Voice Search on my iPhone 5;
    - T-Mobile is horrible in my location, needless to say LTE on my iPhone 5 puts it to shame, and it doesn't even compete with AT&T 3G back when I was rocking an iPhone 4.

    Things I was more impressed with that I rarely see mentioned are:
    - the notification center is pretty nifty, the Pulse News notification will actually show like the 4x1 widget, not sure what other apps give unique notifications!
    - the volume buttons no longer wake the phone, would always hit this on the Galaxy Nexus;
    - battery life, responsiveness, and call quality are much than expected after reading some of the comments here.
  5. gwerhart0800 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Loveland, CO
    The favorites thing is anything but intuitive ... how was I suppose to "know" that the "star" at the top of the contact was a "marker" for "favorites. I appreciate knowing this, but it is not as user friendly as the iPhone method. I find the large amount of screen real estate consumed by the pictures to be a waste, I would prefer a listing so that I can get 10+ favorites on the screen at the same time without scrolling. It is especially annoying when I only have pictures on a few of my contacts, so most of the display is the default no picture icon with the name underneath. It also appears that there is no ability to change the order of the "favorites". They appear in alphabetic order only. I poked around and don't see any method of changing that. (Enlighten me if I have missed it.)

    With an Exchange account enabled and the corporate security requirements, I have never been able to get the notifications to display while the phone was locked JUST AS I can't use lock screen widgets. The corporate security requirement FORCES me to use the numeric PIN method of unlocking the phone AND requires the PIN to be 6 or more digits. I can't "chose" any other unlock method as long as I have the corporate exchange account active on the phone. This was identical to the iPhone with the exception that the notifications still showed on the lock screen. (And the added benefit that I could see them when the screen illuminated briefly.)

    Most of the things I said were NOT false, they are an accurate representation of my impressions of the phone after a week of use. The "BAD" things are just what I said, they are bad and cause serious issues with the usability of the phone. (And others have noticed/complained about them too.) I may not have known about things like the "star" on the contact for marking a person to be in the favorites, but my experience is genuine and represents my view of the phone after a week of use. I can be corrected, enlightened, educated, but I was not being "false" ... misinformed or undereducated, but not false. False would imply that I was seeking to deceive, which I am not.

    My comparison on the size is based on using an iPhone for a long time. I was very adept at one handed operation of the phone. Size does make a difference in the ability to manage certain tasks with one hand. I find this especially challenging while driving. Because of the required corporate security 6 digit PIN, the process of dialing the phone while driving for both the iPhone and the Nexus 4 requires turning on the phone, entering the 6 digit pin and hitting the required button, selecting the phone icon, selecting the contact or using the keypad to dial. (I have not yet tried to voice dial the phone, but I rarely used the voice dialing on the iPhone either.) It is possible that years of iPhone use will have to be broken and new muscle memory trained. I am already getting better at hitting the security "arrow" entry button ... the iPhone puts the erase where the Nexus has the "enter" and vis-versa. For the first several days, I was always erasing the last digit of the security pin because I was hitting the spot on the display that I had to hit to "enter" the PIN on the iPhone.

    I have been a smart phone user for a long, long time. I started with very early windows CE phones and switched to an iPhone for my company phone about 4 months after they first came out. I am open minded ... this list was just me venting my frustrations with the usability of the device. I will admit that I currently see the iPhone as the "gold standard" of ease of use. This may change in time, but currently, I think Android (Jelly Bean) and the Nexus 4 have more rough edges than my previous 2 year old iPhone 4.

    One other nit I forgot, having the power button nearly opposite of the volume controls has caused me to change the volume when I am trying to turn the phone off more than a few times. Yes, you could say that I was holding the phone wrong, but the natural method for me tends to have my index finger over the volume up/down area while my thumb is on the power button. The natural thing for me is to put pressure on opposite sides of the phone cause a volume button to be pressed as I push the power button. I am sure that I will be able to retrain that in time, but I do find it inconveniently located.
  6. roxxette macrumors 68000


    Aug 9, 2011
    Stop trying to use the phone (android) like a damm iphone (ios), and forget about old habits.

    Fresh start mate.
  7. walie macrumors 6502a

    Nov 15, 2010

    yep, definitely using it wrong
  8. Dr McKay macrumors 68040

    Dr McKay

    Aug 11, 2010
    Has your corporate settings disabled other stuff? I can access the notifications without unlocking the phone.
  9. IFRIT macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2012
    Have you added any contact pictures recently? If they are old contact pics you need to upload some fresh ones to have them appear at a decent resolution.
  10. viskon, Feb 7, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013

    viskon macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2012
    Not sure if this would help you, but if you are able to get lock screen widgets, you can get the Executive Assistant app from the Play Store. This will allow you to get all your Calendar, missed calls, Email, text messages, news feeds, Twitter and Facebook updates at one place on the lock screen. You can display as much or as little information as you want. You only have to log in of you want to take any action.

    Attached Files:

  11. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    that's a very clean looking app.
  12. gwerhart0800 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Loveland, CO
    Why is it so hard for you folks to believe that I can't access lock screen widgets or notifications with my corporate exchange account enabled:

    This is a significante difference from the implementation of the security policy on the iPhone. It would be nice to have parity with the current iPhone implementation.

    As to using it wrong ... the bluetooth failing (requiring a reboot) and the screen remaining off when I take the phone away from my face is not using it wrong ...

    The favorites list being a grid of large images (or place holders in my case) limiting my visible favorites to 4 full and 2 half entries that I can't order the way that I want is using it wrong????

    I get the feeling that you folks believe that Jelly Bean and the Nexus 4 is prefect and that I can't have any complaints about it.

    I will say there is one additional plus for Jelly Bean ... folders in the "Favorites" tray at the bottom.
  13. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Surprised coming from an iPhone you didnt realize that the star would mean favorites. Considering an iPhone puts a big star by the contacts number you've favorited.

    Plus I don't think a week is enough time. I was still learning basic functions on my iPhone for well over a week. Things like tapping the time scrolls to the top or swiping a text from the lock screen is supposed to take you to that text thread (doesn't work on my 4S for some reason) same with missed calls from the lock screen. I found out this stuff from this forum. Makes sense once you know like a star = favorites.

    And like mentioned. You are trying to make your Android phone work like an iPhone. Since its not an iPhone you'll likely never like it. If I were you I'd give it a good month or so or get an iPhone 4, or even change carriers and get an iPhone 5.
  14. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Just to clear up the '3G' toggle comment that it's apples fault. Well it's really not. It's 100% AT&T. The carrier decides through the 'carrier update file' which of certain toggles show and don't show.
  15. gwerhart0800 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Loveland, CO
    Yes, I know this painfully. I live in line-of-sight to the cell phone tower, but the 3G signal is the 1700/1800Mhz frequencies and the 2G is 800Mhz. The signal attenuates more quickly as the frequency goes up. (I am simplifying this, but there is a power law that governs signal attenuation.) So, I will be out-of-luck until AT&T drops the 2G network in our area and reuses the spectrum for LTE our whatever signaling they are up to by that point. According to their plans, it will happen between now and 2017. It could be 4 long years. In the mean time, AT&T has decided to remove the 2G/3G toggle from all their phones. So, phones like the Nexus 4 are rapidly becoming my only choice aside from old used phones.
  16. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    or jailbreak :)
  17. bearda macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2005
    Germantown, MD
    I picked up a Nexus 4 earlier this week to play around with and although there are some things I really like about it I don't see it supplanting my iPhone 4S for daily use. I previously had a Nexus 7 that I really liked, but I tend to think Android makes a better tablet OS than phone.

    I'll admit I've been using the iPhone enough that adapting to a new system seems arduous, but there are a bunch of little things that have made me avoid switching sims so far.
    - I really miss the silent switch on the side of my iPhone. I mute my phone while it's in my pocket a lot. It seems like I need to pull the Nexus out of my pocket, unlock it, then hold the button to do the same.
    - The phone is slippery. I can't imagine using the Nexus 4 without some sort of case. The combination of the surfaces and it being wide than my 4S have resulted in some near-drops this week. I've got the LG bumper on it right now which helps the situation a lot, but makes it even wider and feels a little loose (at least compared to the Apple bumper, which was pretty snug). I like the larger screen size, but width wise it's about at the limit for me (and maybe a little over).
    - Android still doesn't have a universal Bluetooth 4.0 stack from what I can tell. I use a couple Bluetooth LE devices (Fitbit, tracking tags) and nobody interfaces with Android at this point unless they write their own device-specific stack.

    There are a lot of things I really like about Android and the Nexus 4.
    - The notification LED is nice (going back to my Palm Pre days) and if the charging orb is anything like the old Palm Touchstone I'll be happy.
    - Android does seem to have much better support for Bluetooth serial connections so I can do data logging from the ECU in my track car.
    - Unlocked hotspot.
    - I can change the APN and MMS settings without jailbreaking or messing with the sim swapping trick.

    Still, right now my Nexus 4 is pretty much a secondary device I use as a mini tablet and for playing Ingress.
  18. Tinmania macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2011
    I too came from an iPhone (4S) to a Nexus 4. My initial opinion of it was vastly different than yours.

    1.) That sounds like perhaps a hardware issue, or issue with a specific bluetooth device. Never had an issue with bluetooth on my Nexus 4.

    2.) Never had that issue.

    3.) Sounds are not the only form of notification. The LED can be extremely useful for that. Unfortunately on the Nexus 4 the standard rate of blinking is in my opinion way two long: 10 seconds. Light Flow can change that, and offers a wealth of options. But I installed that the first day I got my N4 and was overwhelmed with the options. I eventually figured it out but you might want to hold off a bit on that app. I don't use it now on my Note 2 as I find most apps already let you configure the LED light color. The LED is great in that you don't even need to touch the phone to see what notifications you may have, and what kind.

    More importantly, apps can turn on the screen to notify you. My two texting apps, Handcent, and WhatsApp, can do that. Better yet, they can pop-up a window so you can reply from whatever other app you are in. Can't do that on an iPhone if you are not jailbroken--and even then only for texting (WhatsApp on iPhone can't do pop-up window to reply).

    4.) Later on you wrote that widgets are "wonderfully useless." Why do you care about them here? As for me, even with no password I found switching screens to get to the lock screen widgets was a pain. So I didn't bother with any--not that there were many from which to choose. (I do love the news ticker, weather, and quick-launch icons now that I have a Note 2 though.)

    5.) That is a feature not a drawback. If you had 5 home screens on the iPhone and went home you would have to swipe 4 times to get to the last page. You are never more than 2 swipes from home on the N4. =

    6.) This has been covered by others. But also note that on Android you don't need to use the stock phone app. That is a good thing about Android: you can change core apps. Search the Play store for "dialers" and check some out.

    7.) Tons of note apps in the play store. While I love Evernote I do not use it for quick notes (more to save web pages). I use Color Note for quick notes. But there are plenty others.

    8.) Widgets can be very useful. Power Toggles, Notification Toggle, etc., are all fantastic and way above anything an iPhone can do without jailbreaking (even with jailbreaking). I don't use many widgets but on my Note 2 I do have the weather which doesn't consume much CPU and I like having it. Like the music player widgets too.

    9.) It might be annoying but at least it lets me copy whatever I want to and from my phone. I'll trade that over the iOS walled garden approach (and, shudder, the iTunes method of transferring things to my iPhone).

    10.) While the Nexus 4 was a bit larger than my iPhone 4S, it is not that large in my opinion. In fact when I got a taste for the larger screen, I went all the way up to a Note 2--and am loving it.

    11.) The stock auto-brightness mode on my Nexus 4 was too dim for me, so I really didn't use it. I needed the screen at 25% (preferably >50%) in order for it to at least approximate the iPhone's vibrancy.


    Attached Files:

  19. jrswizzle, Feb 7, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013

    jrswizzle macrumors 603


    Aug 23, 2012
    McKinney, TX
    What weather widget is that?

    EDIT: It's the Samsung stock weather widget correct?
  20. Tinmania macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2011
    That is just called "Weather" on my Note 2. Not sure you can get it on Nexus 4 but on my N4 I used 3D Digital Weather Clock which is similar.

    But there is also AcuWeather app that is similar too (if you use its widget).

    There are countless weather widgets lol.

  21. jrswizzle macrumors 603


    Aug 23, 2012
    McKinney, TX
    Ya I know haha - this is what I've got going so far:

    EDIT: had to add a transparent backgroung to my weather widget.....sunday's forcast falls right on that bright white spot in the wallpaper lol

    Attached Files:

  22. AmtrakRider macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2011


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