We continue our Nexus 4 review with a look at the cameras, the software and how the battery life shapes up.
Google Nexus 4: Cameras
Buying a Nexus smartphone has always meant having a middle of the road camera, until now. The Nexus 4 is primarily equipped with an 8Mp rear facing camera which has an LED flash – now a typical setup for a premium smartphone.
Colours look much more natural than the Galaxy Nexus' camera and the extra resolution makes a big difference in terms of detail.
The camera app is speedy and is easy to use. New features include an HDR mode and Photo Sphere. The latter enables you to take 360 degree panoramic photos of whatever is around you. The regular panoramic feature remains.
A 1.3Mp front facing webcam provides a perfectly decent image for video calls with the usual graining on flat white objects like walls and ceilings.
Google Nexus 4: Software
An advantage of getting a Nexus smartphone is you're guaranteed to get the latest version of Android. Then when a new version is available you'll be among, if not the first to receive an upgrade.
The Nexus 4 comes with the latest version of Jelly Bean, 4.2. The interface is just as slick as the previous version noticeable improvements include apps opening a little faster. Since 4.1 Jelly Bean hasn't been around for long not a great deal has changed but there are a few notable additions to the operating system. See also: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean review.
Firstly, there's a quick settings section to the notifications bar. This gives you access to things like brightness, Bluetooth, aeroplane mode and more. Many vendors have included these settings here for a while in their interface overlays. A quicker way of getting to many of these settings is to use the 'power control' widget.
Talking of widgets, you can now place them on the lockscreen to give you quicker access to key information such as messages, emails and calendar. By default you can access the camera app by swiping left. While this is a nice idea, if you use a security PIN or lock pattern anyone who picks up your phone can see the widgets you've selected. If you don't bother with any security measures to get into your phone then you may as well just put these widgets on the homescreen.
There are more cards on offer in Google Now such as package tracking and movie information while a new Daydream mode can display content like photos when the Nexus 4 is docked or charging. Other small changes include a new clock interface and an extra column of apps in the app menu.
However, the best improvement to Android is the keyboard. There's really no major need to install a third party keyboard any longer. The standard Android keyboard now has gesture typing so you can key a word in by simply dragging one finger around the keyboard to the letters of the word with one touch.
Google Nexus 4: Battery life
The Galaxy Nexus was a disappointment on the battery front, struggling to last a full day with moderate use. The Nexus 4 has a larger 7.8Wh battery, the same capacity as the Galaxy S3. We comfortably got through a day using the Nexus 4 with plenty of battery life left over for the next day.
Of course any long periods of intensive use like gaming or video watching with drain the battery much quicker. Lighter users should get through a couple of days with the Nexus 4. Your experience will depend on your personal usage.
Google Nexus 4: Specs
- SCREEN: 4.7" diagonal,768 x 1280 pixel resolution (320 ppi),WXGA IPS,Corning(R) Gorilla(R) Glass 2,MEMORY:16 GB internal storage (actual formatted capacity will be less),2 GB RAM
- OS: Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon(TM) S4 Pro
- CAMERAS: 8 MP (main),1.3 MP (front)
- BATTERY: 2,100 mAh Lithium polymer,CONNECTIVITY: Micro USB,SlimPort HDMI,3.5mm headphone jack
- WIRELESS: Wireless charging,WiFi 802.11 b/g/n,NFC (Android Beam),Bluetooth
- SENSORS: Microphone,Accelerometer,Compass,Ambient light,Gyroscope,Barometer,GPS
- NETWORK: Unlocked GSM/UMTS/HSPA+,GSM/EDGE/GPRS (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz),3G (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz),HSPA+ 21
- SIZE: 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm
- WEIGHT: 139g
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