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Google Nexus 4 review

Thu Nov 29 2012, 15:44

Operating system
One of the main selling points of Google's Nexus smartphones is that they are the first handsets to arrive running the latest version of Android, and with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board, the Google Nexus 4 is no exception.

In terms of appearance, Android 4.2 is no different from Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, featuring a interface similar to that found on the Google Nexus 7 tablet. This is by no means a bad thing, as the streamlined interface makes the device slick and easy to use, much more so than Samsung and HTC devices, which both come coated with a custom skin.

Google Nexus 4 Android 4.2 interface

One of the most notable features of Google's vanilla Android 4.x Jelly Bean interface is its deep Google Play integration. Switch on the device and you're greeted with 'My Library', which showcases all of your Google Play purchases. Another screen is home to Google Play recommendations, where you can see what apps Google thinks you should download.

Google Now is another of Android 4.x Jelly Bean's standout features, accessible by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. This offers information that Google believes is relevant to the user, like a weather forecast or traffic information before you leave work, which throughout our hands-on testing proved accurate.

Speaking of accurate, because this is an Android smartphone, Google Maps comes preloaded on the device, a feature that could lure customers away from the Iphone thanks to Apple's shoddy Maps app.

It might be a small change, but one of our favourite features on Android 4.2 is the slightly tweaked notifications bar. Google has added an extra section that gives access to settings like WiFi, Bluetooth and screen brightness, making it easy to adjust the phone's settings.

Performance
The Google Nexus 4 is ridiculously speedy for a smartphone that's retailing for a mere £239.

Thanks to its streamlined interface and Android 4.2's Project Butter feature, the Nexus 4 is one of the smoothest phones we've tested. Scrolling through homescreens is swift, apps open almost instantaneously and videos played without any hiccups.

Google Nexus 4 comes with Chrome

We ran the Antutu benchmarking app on the Nexus 4 smartphone and it scored an impressive 11,890. This score means the handset is just as fast as the Samsung Galaxy S3, which scored 11,884, and speedier than the HTC One X with its score of 10,829. The only phone the Nexus 4 didn't quite match is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which still tops our benchmarking leaderboard with a score of 13,483.

Next: Camera, battery and storage

 

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