Performance & battery life
With a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro and 2GB of RAM on-board, the Nexus 4 ought to deliver decent performance. We ran a selection of benchmarks and compared them to some iPhone 5 and (European, quad-core) Samsung Galaxy S III numbers recently generated by ZDNet Germany.
Geekbench 2 is a system benchmark based on four tests — Integer, Floating Point, Memory and Stream. The overall score shows the Nexus 4 at the head of the pack, with the component tests identifying particularly good floating-point performance (a score of 3603, versus 2911 for the Galaxy S III and 2095 for the iPhone 5):
We used Passmark's Performance Test Mobile to examine 3D graphics performance. This shows the iPhone 5 well ahead of the Nexus 4 and the Galaxy S III:
We tested mobile broadband speed on T-Mobile UK's network, which is theoretically equipped to deliver DC-HSPA+ download speeds of up to 42Mbps. No-one should expect anything like that in practice, of course: in our tests during the middle part of the day in central London, we got an average download speed of 2.1Mbps, an average upload speed of 73.4Kbps and an average ping time of 108ms.
A mixed bag, to be sure, but in everyday use (most of which is on a Wi-Fi connection), we had no serious complaints about the Nexus 4's performance — although it's worth pointing out that we don't do a lot of 3D gaming.
The Nexus 4 is powered by a non-removable (under normal circumstances) 3.8V 2,100mAh Lithium polymer battery, which means you can't carry a spare battery and drop it in on long mains-free journeys. You'll have to rely on a separate portable battery charger in these situations (these are always handy to carry anyway). Google makes no battery life claims on its specs page, and we haven't completed any formal rundown tests. However, the data we've gathered so far (see graph below) suggests you'll typically get around 6 hours' everyday usage with 3G, Wi-Fi and GPS on most of the time and screen brightness set to auto. That should get you through most of a working day, although heavy usage will leave you looking nervously at the battery gauge towards the end of it.
As far as audio performance is concerned, we had no problem with call quality, or speech recognition using Voice Search. Our only complaint is with music playback volume using a headset, which we found to be on the low side for noisy enviroments such as commuter trains.
The Google/LG Nexus 4 is currently the most sought-after smartphone on the planet, selling out within hours — even minutes — as stocks become available, and trading briskly on eBay. It's nicely designed and well specified, but by no means perfect: some will find the lack of LTE support a deal-breaker, and we'd prefer longer battery life and more volume on music playback. However, it's free of mobile operator interference, will get timely OS updates and, above all, sells at an unbeatable price — at least on Google's Play store.
Unless you're a die-hard fan of an alternative mobile platform, or an implacable opponent of Google and all its works, the Nexus 4 looks like a great smartphone deal. We'd give it an Editors' Choice award if you could actually buy it from Google right now.
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||68.7x9.1x13.39 mm|
|OS & software|
|Software included||Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)|
|Processor & memory|
|Clock speed||1.5 GHz|
|Processor model||Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro|
|Display technology||TFT touch-screen (active matrix)|
|Display size||4.7 in|
|Native resolution||1280x768 pixels|
|Ports||Micro-USB 2.0 (SlimPort-compatible), audio-out|
|2G||GSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900|
|Wi-Fi||802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n|
|Short range||Bluetooth 3.0+HS|
|GPS receiver||GPS + GLONASS|
|2nd camera resolution||1.3 megapixels|
|Main camera resolution||8 megapixels|
|Battery capacity||2100 mAh|
|Number of batteries||1|