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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Google Nexus 4

Parallel imports of the Google Nexus 4 have been selling here in shops and via online forums since late last year, but it is now finally available here through authorised resellers
The Straits Times - May 8, 2013
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Google Nexus 4

Parallel imports of the Google Nexus 4 have been selling here in shops and via online forums since late last year, but it is now finally available here through authorised resellers. Better late than never.

Google's Android smartphone is essentially the LG Optimus G, with a few differences. In design, the Nexus4 takes a curvier approach to the corners and its plastic sides offer a firmer grip than the Optimus G.

Neither device has microSD expandability, but the Optimus G is more generous with its 32GB of internal storage, twice as much as what you get with the Nexus 4.

The Nexus' standout features are mostly from the stock Android 4.2 Jelly Bean version. Widgets can be added to the lock screen, so I can check my calendar and incoming e-mail without unlocking the phone.

The Optimus G lets you use voice commands to take a photo. Not so with the Nexus 4.

But it compensates with imaging features such as Photo Sphere. You stand in one spot and turn 360degrees. Photo Sphere captures and stitches the images into a single photo. Press your thumb on the screen and the camera menu will appear as a scroll wheel, with instant access to high dynamic range (HDR) imaging, white balance and flash settings.

Unlike the Optimus G, which has a 13-megapixel camera, the Nexus 4 is equipped with an 8-megapixel shooter. In low light, visibility was nearly zero. Using the LED flash helps - but at the risk of an over-exposed photo.

Under normal daylight conditions, details in the pictures were distinct and sharp with minimal noise.

Wireless charging is one of my favourite features of the Nexus 4, as it does away with the need to plug in a micro-USB cable whenever I want to charge the device.

The Nexus 4's wireless charger is not sold here. But as the Nexus uses the Qi wireless charging standard, it also works with the Nokia wireless charging stand. It takes longer to charge the phone wirelessly, but I prefer convenience over speed.

The Nexus 4 lagged behind the Optimus G in the Quadrant benchmark, but both were evenly matched on Geekbench 2. Its user interface and menu transitions were silky smooth. Apps loaded in under five seconds - at times, even faster than on the Optimus G.

The same 2,100mAh battery powers both devices. The Nexus 4 clocked slightly less than five hours on Digital Life's intensive battery test. The Optimus G lasted an hour longer.

In routine use, the Nexus 4 is less power hungry when connected to a Wi-Fi network. On the mobile network, my constant use of WhatsApp and the stream of notifications from Facebook, Twitter and incoming e-mail killed the battery in 12 hours.

The 16GB version is priced at $668. Imported units sold for between $550 and $600. LG confirms that warranties for imported units of the Nexus 4 will not be accepted.

So if you need the assurance, units from retailers such as Best Denki and Arrow Communications will cover that. The full list of authorised retailers can be found at lg.com/sg.

If you are hoping for a subsidised price with a two-year telco contract, tough luck. The Nexus 4 is not available through telcos.

On the bright side, this means you do not need to sign a new contract and can keep your 12GB data bundle intact.

The phone does not have 4G connectivity, so it does not make sense to sign up for a two-year plan with a 3G connection.

  • This smartphone is definitely for Android purists who want to be the first to get the latest firmware updates. But they will have to overlook the price mark-up and the lack of 4G connectivity.

teinhee@sph.com.sg

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