Friday, 8 February 2013

Nexus 4

Disclaimer

It's a bit late maybe but those who missed the first order window have received their devices just recently, and the supplies are just catching up with the demand. After ordering it on 6th of December mine arrived a week ago, and since then I made the move from the iPhone 4. First of all I have to emphasise: this is not a review of the Nexus 4. This is a subjective personal opinion and a little bit of comparison to my 2.5 year-old iPhone 4. <sarcasm>You might ask why I would compare it to an almost three years old phone, but honestly: it feels fair :) Also three months, that's the age of Nexus 4, is a very long time in technology especially when a CES takes place during those months: today's best Android phones have 20% bigger screens (6"), 2.1x more pixels (Full HD), and the next Nexus is already rumored to arrive soon. Comparing two outdated products is a fair comparison :) </sarcasm> And yes, I love the quality of my iPhone so I might be biased at some points.

Hardware

This is one of the best built Android phones I've ever seen. Quality still lags behind the iPhone 4, but it is comparable to the iPhone 5, which I think is a step-back. It is acceptable. The loudspeaker and vibration is useless just like the camera in low-light conditions. The screen is ok, but far from good. I love the status LED: no more need to switch the phone on just to check if there is anything waiting for me. And also I got used to the size: the iPhone feels too small now, but the ideal size is still somewhere between the two.

OS

It is capable, but has some after-thoughts and annoying details. The menu "button" is squeezed in the corner next to the 3 main buttons, the search bar is removable but the freed up space still can't be reused by icons and widgets, when all alarms are switched off the alarm settings disappears from the menu... Other features, however, are easy to fall in love with. The possibilities and flexibility is liberating after the iPhone's you-get-what-we-give-you closeness: the task-switching, the two-fingers down for quick-settings and the widgets on the desktop are all very useful features.

Software

It is still a secondary platform. 8 out of 10 applications are more polished and have better UX on iOS than on Android. Some really hurts, like the fact that Google's email client is worse than the Apples's built-in one, or that there is no Google Reader client as good as the ones on iPhone. Many of my i-applications have no replacement on Android. But for example Evernote is far better than the iOS version.

Blade Runner

The skin-job's generation in movie Blade Runner is called Nexus 6 :)

Verdict

Some very nice features in the OS, good build quality but painful compromise with the camera, the loudspeaker and the screen, applications need some more time to catch up. Good phone for the price.

My next phone?

It is a good time (and price) for Apple or MS fans to try the Android platform until Apple or Nokia or MS comes out with a real 2013 phone. Possible forecast by the end of this year:
  1. Apple releases a really new iPhone with some refreshing changes in iOS 7. Probably an instant buy.
  2. Nokia or MS releases a good Windows phone and the Windows phone platform climbs up to the third place (beating Blackberry and Bada :) ) and Microsoft doesn't burn the entire platform again... too many preconditions, this year is again not the year of Windows phone for me.
  3. Neither of the above happens. Then I hope that at least one of the dozens of Android phone makers is capable to build a quality phone and I can switch to that.