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A Month With the Nexus 4

The first thing I did when I landed at Atlanta was to look around for a phone shop. What exactly was I looking for? Of course the Nexus 4. New stocks were just being released by Google and LG in the last couple of days after the supply ran dry form the launch.

The first couple of shops I went to has yet to receive a stock. But in was lucky the third time. It was a T Mobile vendor and I paid about USD 599 for a contract-free unit. And it was the last one. The stock only game in the same morning. No hesitations. I then got a rolling monthly data package to go with the phone and I was set! And that was about a month ago.

I hesitated to write about it earlier since for some reason I wasn't very happy happy with the camera. I then sorted out the quirks, and still something was missing. Somehow it lacked the charm of the Galaxy Nexus. It wasn't a disappointment. It was more about managing expectation.

Let's start with the good points. The camera was better then the Galaxy Nexus, but I doubt it if it trumped the Note II or the S3. My 4S produced better capture. But maybe it was the software. Downloading Snapseed improved matters. But only marginally. The camera has a few neat trick up their sleeves though software-wise. There was the panorama and the ability to produce a 360 degrees capture.

The processor was blazing fast. The screen wheezed through like a breeze, thanks to Jelly Bean and Project Butter. Calendar app and Gmail felt native - indeed they were. There was no lag whatsoever. My Nova Launcher screen loaded up without any hiccups. Switching between apps did not cause any stutter. Everything felt fast for the first time on an Android platform.

The screen was vivid and the resolution was as high as the iPhone, making reading a pleasure. It also came with Google Now, a smart update system which predicted what you would want to see on the home screen. Neat!

But there were price to pay for all this. My main woe was the battery life. It only lasted around 4 hours with constant use. I browsed around the forum looking for a solution but they involved compromising the Android experience by switching off updates and certain features. Nexus 7 ran without any problem - I also carry a 3G Nexus 7 unit with me. The battery lasts all day. I was sure that a software and setting tweaks may solve this, but at the moment, I had to live it still. Mind you, I used to have similar problem with the iPhone, but it was now sorted out. Even my Galaxy Nexus lasted longer.

And the battery issue would be enough to put off certain people, and I could relate to that. But this being a stock vanilla Google phone, was still the phone to have if you were like me appreciate reliability and getting the latest in terms of software, rather than having gimmicks on the phone screen. It helps to have a fast phone as well.

For those who wanted the latest in Google experience, definitely grab this phone if you must. It you already own one of the latest top of the line Android phone, or even still own a working Galaxy Nexus, you might as well wait for future software updates to sort out the kinks on the current batch.

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