First Impressions Of The Nexus 4 On T-Mobile

Sometime during the course of the summer, I wrote an editorial where I pledged I would never buy another Android device that didn’t carry the “Nexus” name. In that editorial I laid out my case and stated that, thanks in no part to the incredibly unreliable timetable for Android updates, I felt most comfortable investing in a future Nexus device, even if I was only doing so once a year. To me, the idea of being first with updates is more important than having the latest hardware. One could still argue the Galaxy Nexus, which appears long in the tooth when compared to the newest Nexus, Galaxy S III or HTC One X, is not only a viable smartphone but remains one of the best options available. Perhaps iPhone ownership has spoiled me as I’m used to getting all my updates on all my (iOS) devices at once, but the moment I wrapped my hands around the Nexus 4, I knew that editorial still held true.

A lot has been said about LG and and its place in the Android market as many question why Google partnered with someone other than Samsung for the Nexus? Samsung, which as all you know controls the lion’s share of the Android world, seems like it would have been the likely partner yet again for a Nexus device. It’s true that Samsung did get the nod for a 10” tablet with the Nexus 10, yet the success of the Galaxy Nexus had me hoping that Samsung would continue the Nexus name.

All my thoughts changed the moment I wrapped my hand around Nexus 4 which and its just “right” feeling in my hands. I’ve stated in a lot in previous reviews that I’m not a fan of the continued physical growth of smartphones and I think we’re getting to a breaking point with the Galaxy Note II. Yet, for some reason, the Nexus 4 not only feels better in my hand than the Galaxy S III, it also feels a lot better than the Galaxy Nexus.

The good news is the curvature of the phone, which sports a 4.7” display feels far smaller than the Galaxy S III. The Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor has breezed through every task I’ve thrown at the Nexus 4 so far with plenty of room to spare. Project Butter is definitely in high gear with this device as I’ve yet to find a place where I can get the phone to lag. The touchscreen has been very responsive and the presence of stock Android is so incredibly refreshing, I want to jump for joy. There have been some complaints about the back heating up when pressing the phone with multiple apps, but I’ve yet to experience anything beyond what I would consider normal.

When it comes the Nexus 4 and software, it’s hard to use a Jelly Bean device these days and then try and go backwards to any Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone I have laying around. The presence of Project Butter, Google Now and the little tweaks Google has made in Android 4.2 make for a striking and much more pleasant all- around experience. If you can put aside your feelings about LG (I’m looking at you G2x owners), you’ll likely find plenty to like about the Nexus 4.

Still, I’m definitely interested in keeping track of battery life as it does seem among the biggest concerns I’ve seen from those on the fence with the Nexus 4. Will I need to charge more than once a day? Can I allow for the possibility that the lack of LTE (more specifically T-Mobile’s lack of an LTE network) is a gift in this case as it pertains to battery life?

I’ll try my best to answer these questions and more as I continue forward with my full review sometime after the holiday weekend. For now, I’d like to open the comments for any questions you might have. I’ll do my best to pop in and answer them with the full review and anything I can quickly look through as I see your questions come in.

For some closing thoughts I’ll say there’s a lot to love with the Nexus 4 including the promise of being first with Android updates.  That promise along with an inexpensive no-contract option will hopefully make a compelling argument that wins me over time and time again.

Early Likes:

  • Form factor feels great
  • Project Butter is buttery smooth (pun absolutely intended)
  • Beautiful display
  • Stock Android is refreshing
  • Unlocked means any and all GSM networks are at my disposal

Early Dislikes:

  • First impressions of the camera are so-so, not wildly impressed
  • Glass black has me worried about physical damage
  • Lack of LTE isn’t an issue on T-Mobile, right now, but future-proof would be nice
  • There’s no December on some parts of the calendar *known issue, Google has promised a fix

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  • Divine Tumenta

    one of the best smartphones out there…as T-Mobile gets better with their signals I hope we have more of this..


  • Jack Hu

    Not the best phone, but best phone for the price.

  • Kal-El

    I’m happy that the Note 2 is future proofed for LTE but I have to say I did a speed test yesterday at my local watering hole and holy crap I have never gotten HSPA+ speeds like what I was getting. I got 25mbps down consistently. Previously the best I ever got was 22mbps and that was more of a fluke. I average around 10mbps.

    All I’m saying is that when it comes to the Nexus 4, it does suck that it is not future-proofed but since T-Mobile’s HSPA+ is so incredibly amazing it’s not the end of the world.

    On another note (pun intended), I highly recommend the Note 2

  • Noel

    Just saw a video where the N4 was enabled to use LTE in some Canadian carriers…it seemed easy to get it working on LTE…awesome. Seems this thing is future proofed for the upcoming Tmo LTE..maybe even Att. So David Go deep LTE diving for more info on this find and let us all know what is cooking from this amazing Qualcomm chip…which from what i read a while back is capable of a lot more.

  • ratnok

    The Nexus has LTE on band 4. You can’t use LTE on ATT, but you can on Canadian carriers, and band 4 is what T-Mobile will be using for LTE. That means that for T-Mobile users, it DOES have LTE. Also, the “December” issue has nothing to do with the calendar or any other apps accept when manually adding a birthday to the PEOPLE app. If you use Facebook or Google+ for birthdays, it is meaningless. The N$ has already been drop tested:

  • jbhotnessmon

    PEOPLE DON’T BE FOOLED ITS AN LG PHONE… they are going to screw you over one way or another take this from a g2x owner the support from lg is going to be nil. Don’t buy from lg ever

    • tomnewtn

      Funny, my G2X works great. TMO sent it to me after they updated it to GB over a year ago.

  • Paulie22B

    I’m reading this on my G2X, LG should send me one free of charge for all the wasted time I’ve spent having to reset this lemon. T-MOBILE is just as at fault to for ignoring this problem. Fuck LG and T-Mobile, Merry Christmas everyone!

  • MIke

    you get all that with the Note 2 just more of it , LG sucks and i will never buy another one of their crappy phones after the gsx. And the updates arguement is weak who keeps a phone longer than a year anymore