General Nexus 4 Review by an iPhone Fanboy

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by strausd, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. strausd

    strausd Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    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.


    pdimarco, IOWA, Crashdamage and 3 others like this.
  2. JunBringer

    JunBringer Well-Known Member

    A couple FYIs:

    Google Music does make everything you upload into 320kbps

    While Google Now is less hands free than Siri you don't have to hit the microphone button, you can just say "Google" and then it will be ready for whatever you need it to do.

    Notifications are meant to be out of your way until you want to go into the app, thus why they're just an icon up top instead of an intrusive pop up over whatever you're doing. I guess it's a matter of opinion what you'd prefer though. You can get quite a few SMS replacement apps that will do pop ups instead if you prefer.

    This was a good read btw, thanks dude! I came from an iPhone 3GS from it's launch day to getting the Evo 4G on launch day a year later so I was in the same boat. There are some things that once you get used to aren't a factor, such as telling Google Now to do things in a way that it will work, since it's not the same as Siri. Good luck with your Nexus dude!
  3. strausd

    strausd Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    How do I find out what songs are uploaded and which ones are matched? I heard somewhere this isn't available in the US yet.

    Indeed I can, but saying "Google" is very inconsistent for me. Plus that doesn't help when it comes to texting hands free. But in terms of voice search, much quicker than Siri.

    Ya I've noticed how notifications work, but I like to eliminate clutter whenever possible.
  4. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants
    VIP Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    Network Admin
    If you're talking a out Google now did you enable personalized voice search in the settings.? It helps quite a bit after a few days
  5. JunBringer

    JunBringer Well-Known Member

    Google doesn't match anything from what I understand. It's actually your file that you're streaming/downloading etc.

    If you don't want something in the notification bar you can swipe it away or change the settings for whatever app so that it doesn't notify you in that way.
  6. strausd

    strausd Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    No I haven't. Will that eliminate the extra step needed to start talking? Because once I am talking, everything seems to be fine. It is just the needless step that I want to get rid of.

    That's what I though, but I wasn't sure. I have still been hearing varying reports on this.
    But in which case, why does Google Music make everything I upload into 320 Kbps? If I uploaded a 256 Kbps song, that is pointless.

    That's not actually true in the cases I mentioned above. I have read from multiple sources that Android actually will not allow something to be in the top corner without having something in the notification bar or vice versa. It is all or nothing. If I want a battery percentage, I have to have something in the notification bar. If I try and swipe it away, it won't go. And what's worst is that for a battery percentage, all I want is the percentage at the top. But because they HAVE to put something in the notification bar, it will (depending on the app you get) show the battery percentage in the notification bar too. So you get the same information in two places on the same screen. Kind of pointless for me.

    And you also cannot have something just in the notification bar all by itself without having something in the top corner as well. For example, I use Power Toggles. You HAVE to have something up in the corner, which I have no need for. Why have an extra icon up there when it serves no function? Anyways, they have an option to change it to transparent. They give the user that option for a reason, because they know there is no way around this problem in Android and that some people just don't want any needless icons up there. Except when you use a transparent icon, the OS still sees it as an icon. So you then get a gap between other icons up at the top.

    Hopefully I explained that a little better this time.
  7. spriteboost

    spriteboost Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2010
    tho with cm7 u can change to percentage instead of the battery bar i'm sure with cm10 also but then u'd have to root your phone but that also has its own benefits idk how much from normal stock rom but a lil there's also aokp which i've read good reviews about good thing about this phone easy to root and idk if source codes out so should be easier to program idk tho for sure i just follow steps don't personally program lolz
  8. RaLeX

    RaLeX Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2012
    I too was an avid iPhoner as it was my first true smartphone. I started with 3, went to 4, then tried phones like the AT&T, then International Note and eventually my current phone, the S3. I was even able to use an iphone 4S and a i5 for a few days a piece.

    I'm currently trying to sell my S3 to buy the Nexus. If my S3 wasn't on Verizon I might be okay keeping it, (i had the AT&T version prior) and it was much better.

    I wanted to elaborate on some of your points...
    For me, browsing is absolutely a win for Android/Nexus. Google Chrome works as a similar advantage to the iCloud services you mentioned for the iPhone. You can be browsing on your laptop, pick up your phone and bring up that page(s) right on your phone. And being able to set apps/programs as defaults is a huge benefit. Not too mention the option of setting desktop mode for those watered-down mobile sites.

    I post a lot of the articles I read to facebook or send via email, so the sharing aspect during browsing on a Nexus/Android is also a huge plus in my book.

    Also, I know this is a 4S comparison, but I used the 5 and it's not as convenient to use one-handed as the prior models. (that dreaded upper opposite corner) Since it seems that ALL flagship/top-spec smartphones are moving larger, it's pretty standard now to not have that one-handed use. Although, as you mentioned, the Nexus' curved glass seems to be the first to incorporate a design that aids in one-handed use.

    This is a big one. And up until recently was a huge bug-a-boo for Android phones and a major argument for using an iPhone. i.e. "it just works". However, I'm surprised to hear about the issues you're having with the Nexus, most of the reviews that I've read have been praising the Nexus for its lack of lock-ups, lags and crashes. I can say that on my S3 I rarely get those issues anymore. I had one app (Pulse) that used to crash all the time and a recent update fixed that. As far as the phone goes, I can't remember the last time I did a battery pull or a hard reset. I'm hoping that your issues aren't indicative of the majority of Nexus' because that is a huge bummer. Maybe try a reset?

    Camera and non-Siri, are two things I'm a little turned off by... The iPhone takes GREAT photos. The S3 takes photos ALMOST as well and the consensus seems to be that the Nexus is a step back from the S3. The only saving grace is that most photos are Instagram-filtered anyways, lol. As far as Siri, it's so easy to use, so conversational, and so much more consistent than any of the Android voice offerings I've come across. The newest version of Siri actually makes a case for using voice-control easily on a regular basis.

    I'm a huge proponent of Android notifications over iOS. The ability to keep certain/specific notifications still there by swiping away ones you don't need and/or not losing all your notifications by entering one of the apps is great, IMO. But everybody has their preferences and notifications is a great example of that.

    I too find myself missing the vibrate switch, although a widget is a solid replacement, albeit a little more effort to switch.
    If I had to choose between a notification light and a vibrate switch I'd easily take the notification light. This is one thing I would sorely miss if I went back to the iPhone. I love having my screen stay dark when i get notifications and alert me via small LED light. For anyone who has ever had your phone out of your pocket, sitting on a table, a simple glance will show you if you need to attend to your phone, whereas with an iPhone you have to go and hit a button.

    On-Screen Buttons
    I've never used these. I've always had button(s). If anything, I feel it may make one-handed use easier, but it may also be limiting in other aspects.

    Good write up! Love the discussion.
    enigmadroid likes this.
  9. RaLeX

    RaLeX Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2012
    It depends on the app/program. I use "Go Weather" and it gives me the temp in my upper left hand corner, but also throws the weather in the notification pull down shade (iOS-style). There are other apps I've used, such as GSam Battery Moniter that originally had an item in the status bar and notification shade but I was able to hide these under the app's settings.

    I hear what you're saying though. Sometimes you just want the date/weather/battery/notification up on that status bar and not in the shade. I can't remember how iOS worked besides having the weather only in the shade and not on the status bar.
  10. viper689

    viper689 Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2012
    Irvine, CA
    Very nice unbiased comparison. Glad you decided to take a chance with Android. I'm sure you won't be disappointed :)
  11. desarenezitic

    desarenezitic Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2012
    Nice review, as others have said it's unbiased. Just want to clear something up on the music side, there is no way that uploading an mp3 (or any other lossy format) to whichever service that then converts it to 320kbps can be considered an upgrade or somehow better quality, it will actually make it worse and take up more space as a bigger file. If Google Music does this I won't be touching it, if it just takes my file 'as is' with no conversion then fine.
  12. JunBringer

    JunBringer Well-Known Member

    Yeah I'm still somewhat confused about how that works myself as well.
  13. acp

    acp Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2009
    Finally got mine, this phone is gorgeous. I'm selling my iPhone 5 for a profit, originally I thought I was doing this just for money, but now it feels like I'm doing it for an upgrade. Small things I like over Android such as not having to hit enter for password lock and email interface in iOS, but those are ridiculously minor. Wow this phone is amazing so far, I'm looking forward to getting back into Android.
  14. JunBringer

    JunBringer Well-Known Member

    Welcome back dude!
  15. imaconeheadXD

    imaconeheadXD Active Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Just to get the Google Music thing straight as I looked this all up when I started using it... It is available in the US and you must upload all the songs to Google through their music manager, which is an application you download to your pc. For my 6,000 songs with pretty slow Internet it took around a week uploading at full bandwidth, so that definitely is an annoyance but only the initial upload does that, afterward it will automatically upload each song/album so you don't even notice. You listen to the song at the same quality that you upload it with because it actually just reads that file on Google servers, it is NOT automatically set to 320kbps. Anything that you buy from the Play Store for Google Music will be 320kbps though. Oh and if you have super hq audio files (lossless formats) then they get converted to 320kbps. Hope that info helps :p
  16. Darkencypher

    Darkencypher Well-Known Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    For package tracking use slice. Amazing app.
  17. ajbuck68

    ajbuck68 Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2011
    Wow. This was just the review I need. I'm all android, don't get me wrong, but this may have just changed my thinking about upgrading from my HTC One S. I definitely needed an unbiased review. Not another android lover that skips over all the small things they're used to and not another iphone fanboy that criticizes everything and says it's all inferior to the iPhone.

    Thank you
  18. geckojohn

    geckojohn Member

    Feb 7, 2010
    Great review... but I would like to point out that this is not Google's flagship phone. It is priced as a budget phone.
  19. Banished Angel

    Banished Angel Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2012
    IN, USA
    It's Google's flagship priced as a budget phone. That's the killer point.

    If this isn't Google's flagship what do propose is? Last years Galaxy Nexus? It's inferior in almost every way. Not that it's a bad design that's just how technology advances. Could Google have made a better phone if they priced it higher? Of course, but it wouldn't be selling like the N4 is. It's sold out worldwide. It's a big middle finger to carriers who lock phones down and require contracts. A true Google phone, with high end hardware, unlocked, and at a budget price.

    This phone is ridiculously fast and puts my old Evo 3D, which was top of the line last year, to shame.
    s.m.knipe likes this.
  20. alfick3

    alfick3 Well-Known Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    DFW, TX
    Very good review. I like that, even though you are an "Apple fan boy", you can post an impartial review. This gives food for thought.
  21. batmandroid

    batmandroid Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2011
    nexus 4 is not meant to be the best most powerful most feature intensive phone on the market. in that sense it is not a flagship phone.

    it is however, a fast, phone with the latest stock android os.

    in that sense it is the google flagship phone.

    so, you're both right.

    the google flagship phone, is a budget phone, so it is affordable without a contract, and google managed to do that while still offering high performance and quality in many areas. but it will not be the best phone money can buy for android os. or, not the best spec-wise in total. not the best camera, not the fastest internet, not the biggest storage.

    but good performance at low cost. that's the google flagship.
  22. strausd

    strausd Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2012
    Were you in limbo for a while? I was for about 4 days past when most people started getting them.

    Thanks for the advice, I'll check that out!

    Happy to help :)

    I feel my loyalty changing deep in my DNA ;)

    Edits added in the review, they are in italic.
  23. Thats

    Thats That guy is This
    VIP Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Air Force
    Fargo, ND
  24. Darkencypher

    Darkencypher Well-Known Member

    Aug 20, 2011
  25. Darkencypher

    Darkencypher Well-Known Member

    Aug 20, 2011

    When you start Google now just say " Google" then you can say what you want. Saying Google activated it automatically.

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