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Thread: Stock Nexus 4 on Wind Review

  1. #1
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    Stock Nexus 4 on Wind Review

    Around the time I got my Nexus 4, the apartment above us flooded, so I've been in hotels a lot, and my desktop was put in storage. I also dropped my PlayBook, cracking the screen, so for the past 2 months, the Nexus 4 has been the only electronic device I've been using. I figure that's a pretty solid test for it, and now that I've got my desktop and apartment back, I'm actually willing to type out the review (the Nexus 4 on screen keyboard definitely isn't good enough for me to be willing to do it from the phone).

    I had some initial rough patches, but I was eventually able to get them worked out, so I'll be reviewing based on that end result. Since I didn't have a PC, the Nexus 4 was un-rooted and running stock Jelly Bean the whole time.

    Signal strength is about as low as I'd be willing to go on Wind. While I wasn't using them side by side, I don't think the Nexus 4 was quite as good as my Lumia 710 in this department. It definitely wasn't as good as my girlfriend's Dell Venue Pro (which was also just a little better than my Lumia 710). At the same time, since I spent almost all my time in areas where Wind has good coverage (Downtown Vancouver), I didn't notice any unacceptable signal loss.

    Signal recovery was originally really bad, but once I got that solved, it usually gets the signal back within a few seconds - not quite instant like the BlackBerry Curve, but definitely better than the Lumia 710, and about as good as the Dell Venue Pro.

    The battery reliably lasted me through an 8-hour work day on which I would occasionally check my phone, but on days where I had nothing to do, forgetting to bring my charger was a big error. Even when I'm not using it, I can't get it to last more than 10 hours on a charge. I suspect people who are reporting days of standby time have a 2G network to fall back on that's also stronger than Wind's (or a custom kernel). Like the signal strength, just barely good enough to work, but I'm definitely looking forward to what a custom kernel and ROM will bring.

    Sound quality was fine, whenever Wind provided a good signal. There were cases of garbled voice, one way sound, echoes and the like that have been around since Wind launched, but hanging up and calling again would solve that. I didn't notice any problems that I would attribute to the Nexus 4 rather than Wind, at the same time it didn't seem like a step up from the Lumia 710 or the Curve 9300. Another mark of just OK.

    The phone dialer in JB is definitely better than on Windows Phone. I really appreciated having a list of all the times a given number called me or I dialed that number, instead of only the most recent one. The default behaviour was also preferable to Windows Phone, and the soft buttons were placed in such a way that accidentally hanging up or muting was much less likely (on the Dell Venue Pro, it would always hang up, on the Lumia 710 it would always mute).

    Moving from the Nexus 4 as a phone to the Nexus 4 as a PDA/Mini-Computer/Gaming device.

    While I've come around from my position that 3.2"-3.7" is the ideal screen size for one handed use, and smaller is better, the Nexus 4 at 4.7" is definitely too big for my hands. One handed usage just isn't going to happen unless your hands are at least on the larger side of medium sized. If you have small hands, expect two handed usage to be the norm. On two handed usage it was very nice however, being big enough for it to be comfortable, without being so big as to be awkward (the PlayBook just pushed that boundary, being very difficult to reach the centre with). I think there is an ideal size a bit smaller that's still usable two handed while also working one handed (probably around the BB Z10 size), but that's always going to depend on hand size.

    The stock Android UI is also a problem here, with the menu bar at the top really highlighting screen size as a problem. If I didn't have to reach up there, it would only be reaching across that's a problem. The stock keyboard was originally very difficult to reach Q with, but when I switched to SlideIT with the Colemak layout that problem disappeared as the Q is a bit indented on that layout instead of further right than the A. This is a strong point of Android. I went through at least 20 different input methods before I settled on one that worked well (including some really strange ones - I can adapt to different input methods quite easily, I can switch between QWERTY, Colemak and Dvorak without much hassle, and also taught myself to type on an AlphaGrip, in the end though, a relatively normal keyboard ended up working the best for me, but I definitely applaud Android for making this so easy, and it's going to make it hard for me to switch to a BB10 device).

    Gaming is good enough, I went through a game buying spree, when something interesting was on sale I'd buy it. I've settled with what I have and haven't felt the need to buy anything more. At the same time, gaming is where Android fragmentation is really obvious. It's nuts to have a Nexus device and have some big titles just not run (Hot Shots Golf 3 for instance). It's not something I'd want to use as a primary gaming device, but it's definitely more than adequate for killing time when you've got nothing else to do.

    Web browsing is sometimes a pain, there was really no single browser that handled every site well, but I ended up settling on Dolphin Beta for most things. I would have liked FireFox but it had some incredibly bizarre scrolling behaviour that killed it for me. Puffin Browser was a lifesaver though. While not the best browser most of the time, it had a mouse emulator, which allowed me to use almost every website that was only designed for a mouse and keyboard. The one that even Puffin couldn't handle required me to click and drag to reveal a captcha, and the mouse emulation only extended to mouseover.

    App selection was pretty awesome, everything from the mainstream apps you'd expect to use to an app that shows all the bus locations by GPS and gives expected arrival times at a bus stop based on where the buses are, just for Vancouver. This is where having 700,000 apps actually makes a difference. Anyone not in Vancouver wouldn't care about that app, but they would care about a different app specific to their locale that wouldn't be of any use to me.

    Overall, stock the Nexus 4 is acceptable, but there were some functions I had to forego with a non-rooted device, and I'm sure that would improve things. There are also some custom ROMs I've been scouting out that look much more appealing. While as a whole the Nexus 4 is acceptable stock, $420 after tax and shipping is a bit steep for just acceptable across the board. While there aren't any great devices at a cheaper price point, there are some other acceptable ones, and for just acceptable, I'd like to pay a bit less. That said I bought the Nexus 4 with the expectation that I would be putting a custom ROM on it, so I'm not really disappointed yet, but anyone who's planning on running the Nexus 4 stock and unrooted might want to consider another, cheaper, phone to buy. Not sure exactly which one I'd recommend, but definitely check some other reviews.

    If you have any more questions about the Nexus 4 that I didn't cover yet, feel free to ask. Otherwise, I'll be back in a few months with a review of the Nexus 4 with custom kernel, custom ROM and root.
    The word 'Pentaband' means '5 Bands', from the Greek word 'pente' meaning '5'. For a phone to be pentaband it has to support 5 bands. If the phone has AWS support, it doesn't automatically mean that it is pentaband.

    Don't send me PMs for questions that can be asked publicly.

  2. #2
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    My hand is larger than most men I know and the Nexus 4 is still way to large to handle with one hand. Never really had this issue with my Galaxy Nexus. :/

    And if you're into custom ROMs, try ParanoidAndroid. It let's you change the size of the NavBar and Status Bar. You can even completely get rid of both. I highly recommend it to Nexus owners.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using HowardForums

  3. #3
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    Very thorough review. Despite not wanting to go to WIND nor purchase the Nexus 4, I enjoyed reading your insight since you're coming from BB and WP. Android is definitely a huge improvement over those 2 operating systems.

    Now that I'm using an iPhone, though, I don't miss Android all the much. Maybe in a few years once I'm tired of the same old interface with iOS I'll go back to Android.

    Just wondering how'd you solve the signal recovery issue?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECBomb View Post
    Very thorough review. Despite not wanting to go to WIND nor purchase the Nexus 4, I enjoyed reading your insight since you're coming from BB and WP. Android is definitely a huge improvement over those 2 operating systems.

    Now that I'm using an iPhone, though, I don't miss Android all the much. Maybe in a few years once I'm tired of the same old interface with iOS I'll go back to Android.

    Just wondering how'd you solve the signal recovery issue?
    Obvious troll is obvious...

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    Nice review. My gf is also using a Nexus 4 although on Mobilicity. Signal strength on that is quite good but agree that the signal recovery is quite slow. I don't know if that's due to being on AWS (as the problem seems to exist with some other AWS Android phones like the SGS2X).

    As far as the battery life goes, have you tried using a task killer? I know there's a lot of people who don't like that idea, but my gf reports that it seems to improve battery life quite a bit.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECBomb View Post

    Just wondering how'd you solve the signal recovery issue?
    Toggled roaming off and on in SIM control and then again in software, and then restarted half a dozen times, with the recovery time getting a bit better each time.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using HowardForums

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dx3 View Post
    Nice review. My gf is also using a Nexus 4 although on Mobilicity. Signal strength on that is quite good but agree that the signal recovery is quite slow. I don't know if that's due to being on AWS (as the problem seems to exist with some other AWS Android phones like the SGS2X).

    As far as the battery life goes, have you tried using a task killer? I know there's a lot of people who don't like that idea, but my gf reports that it seems to improve battery life quite a bit.
    Task killer is nothing but a placebo effect. Android is build with the moto of "unused RAM is wasted RAM". Let it work by itself. Try to do/undo bluetooth, GPS, brightness (the ultimate battery hogger), wifi as required.

    Line 1: Wind50 for $45/M
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    Quote Originally Posted by TigerMSTR View Post
    My hand is larger than most men I know and the Nexus 4 is still way to large to handle with one hand. Never really had this issue with my Galaxy Nexus. :/

    And if you're into custom ROMs, try ParanoidAndroid. It let's you change the size of the NavBar and Status Bar. You can even completely get rid of both. I highly recommend it to Nexus owners.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using HowardForums
    PA(min statusBar/NavBar) alongside LMT launcher with pie control. RealState heaven!!!

  9. #9
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    Hmm, I found the N4 too small screen wise. I used to have a Galaxy Note, that was a bit of a reach with 1 hand. 1 hand with the N4 is trivial, but I find the screen real estate too small. Once you go Note, you can't go back

    As for battery, I use mine throughout the day at work, and have 70% left when I get back home at 5 PM. So I could do 2-3 days easily, and I listen to music (Play Music streaming) for the 1 hour each way to/from work. I would check for some wakelock issues with your N4.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cricketfan View Post
    Task killer is nothing but a placebo effect. Android is build with the moto of "unused RAM is wasted RAM". Let it work by itself. Try to do/undo bluetooth, GPS, brightness (the ultimate battery hogger), wifi as required.
    I'd disagree with that. When everything works as it should, then that's the case, but if an app hangs, it uses RAM in the background. Killing everything probably isn't that useful beyond the fact that if anything did hang you'll catch it with a closing of all apps. If you know which app is hanging, swiping it off also does the trick though.

    Some apps are also really bad for battery usage. Line was the worst culprit for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cricketfan View Post
    PA(min statusBar/NavBar) alongside LMT launcher with pie control. RealState heaven!!!
    Plus it's a great way to keep snoopers out! Lost track of how many times people have looked at me confused, wondering how to navigate the phone!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dx3 View Post
    Nice review. My gf is also using a Nexus 4 although on Mobilicity. Signal strength on that is quite good but agree that the signal recovery is quite slow. I don't know if that's due to being on AWS (as the problem seems to exist with some other AWS Android phones like the SGS2X).

    As far as the battery life goes, have you tried using a task killer? I know there's a lot of people who don't like that idea, but my gf reports that it seems to improve battery life quite a bit.
    Task killers are completely useless.

    But battery management on Android is horrible. Last week I had Google Maps use just under 50% of my battery, without me launching it. This isn't abnormal. I've seen this on all the Androids I've owned (Nexus 4, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, Nexus One, Galaxy S3, One S, Desire C, Desire Z) and with many different applications. Google Maps is usually the perpetrator, but I've also had issues with Facebook (haven't even singed into it on my phone), Chrome, The Verge, Kik, NextTTC, Play Music, Media Server etc...

    This is a really irritating issue since Google seems to have zero intention of fixing it. I hope there isn't something inherent about the Android platform that makes it have such poor battery performance. I'm not expecting iPhone level battery life (the iPhone has a tiny battery and longer longevity than most mainstream Android phones), but I wish Google would attempt to address the issue.

  13. #13
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    too much technology for me.

    ill stick with blackberry for the rest of my life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TigerMSTR View Post
    Task killers are completely useless.

    But battery management on Android is horrible. Last week I had Google Maps use just under 50% of my battery, without me launching it. This isn't abnormal. I've seen this on all the Androids I've owned (Nexus 4, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, Nexus One, Galaxy S3, One S, Desire C, Desire Z) and with many different applications. Google Maps is usually the perpetrator, but I've also had issues with Facebook (haven't even singed into it on my phone), Chrome, The Verge, Kik, NextTTC, Play Music, Media Server etc...

    This is a really irritating issue since Google seems to have zero intention of fixing it. I hope there isn't something inherent about the Android platform that makes it have such poor battery performance. I'm not expecting iPhone level battery life (the iPhone has a tiny battery and longer longevity than most mainstream Android phones), but I wish Google would attempt to address the issue.
    That's why Nexus 4 should have had a removable battery like the Galaxy Nexus. You can buy a cheap 2 or 3 dollar battery on Ebay and carry it with you. No big deal. Google should not have had LG build their phone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lindsy View Post
    That's why Nexus 4 should have had a removable battery like the Galaxy Nexus. You can buy a cheap 2 or 3 dollar battery on Ebay and carry it with you. No big deal. Google should not have had LG build their phone.
    I've had no issue with battery life on the phone. Never had it die with relatively high usage. If it had a removable battery, I'm sure I would never buy one.

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