I was in Sydney yesterday to take advantage of an invitation from LG Australia. I met with Brad Reed, Senior Marketing Manager – Mobile Communications, Content and Applications and Josh Corin, Local Product Manager – Mobile Communications. We spoke for some time about some upcoming products – the Nexus 4, Optimus G, and the L-Series (which is currently on-sale).

The interview included a chance to spend some quality time with the Nexus 4.

LG has spent a while off the beaten path – so to speak – with their phone offerings. Recently however, the company has made an effort to offer a more cohesive and appealing brand to consumers. This renewed effort started with the L-Series and looks set to continue with the Optimus G, expected in Australia in early 2013.

Nexus 4

In terms of feel, the Nexus 4 is a lovely piece of equipment that sits very comfortably in the hand – mainly thanks to the soft-touch plastic that surrounds the device. Whilst the Nexus 4 is a little heavier than the Galaxy Nexus (4 grams), it also feels like it has a better build quality.

Google were heavily involved in the design process of the phone, while the phone underneath is essentially the Optimus G. Some LG design decisions remain as a result of this – such as the location of the headphone jack at the top of the device. It turns out, Google also chose the crystal reflective pattern that adorns the back of the device. For those worried that the pattern you’ve seen is a bit over the top, you really have to try and position the device in the light correctly to actually see it.

The feel of better build quality is mostly due to the usage of Corning Gorilla Glass 2 on the front and back of the device. This is definitely a worry for some, however there are some very good videos out there displaying the strength of Gorilla Glass 2. LG seems pretty confident in the strength of the glass.

Speaking of components and build quality, LG told us that they have historically provided high quality components for other manufacturers which has won those vendors kudos from the industry while LG’s mobile products made do with lower quality part. That strategy has now changed – LG Mobile will now be presenting their best technology in their own mobile devices first – this will include their batteries and screens.

The display on the Nexus 4 is stunning – a 4.7″ 1280×768 True HD IPS Plus display, supported by Zerogap Touch Technology. I have been using the Galaxy Nexus pentile Super AMOLED display for a fair while now, and there is a welcome change to viewing a screen with actual white rather than a bluish-grey, as well as getting the true deep blacks that I’m already used to. Frankly, short of the Super LCD 2 screen in the HTC One X I’ve personally not seen a better screen, and even then a comparison between both the screens is going to be a very close call.

The Zerogap Touch Technology strips away some of the layers of lamination commonly used in screens, as well as incorporating the touch sensor directly into the glass – it gives you the effect of being directly in contact with the information on the screen, and immerses you within the screen. It’s very, very nice to use. This is also helped along by the use of the Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU and the Adreno 320 GPU.

LG is first to market with a device using the Snapdragon S4 Pro SOC, and I can tell you that it’s something truly stunning to use. The term ‘Greased Lightning’ comes to mind. Together with 2GB of RAM, the Nexus 4 – and also the Optimus G – are able to handle some serious work with zero lag. Applications jump open immediately, and videos play in full HD with no issues whatsoever.

Battery-wise, LG delivers some industry leading battery technology in both the Nexus 4 and the Optimus G. The 2100mAh battery offers a more densely packed battery, allowing them to go through more charging cycles than other batteries. LG says that the battery technology would offer around 800 cycles compared to 500 in batteries from other manufacturers. This will have to be tested when we get some time with review units.

In terms of network connectivity, while much has been made of the lack of LTE, the Nexus 4 has 42mpbs Dual Channel HSPA. On DC-HSPA enabled networks such as Telstra, you’ll see some truly impressive speeds. The lack of LTE is going to come down to a personal choice – much of Australia still has no access to LTE, and therefore this will not affect the decision process for many consumers. If you’re after LTE, then the Optimus G is due out next year with almost identical hardware.

The 8 MP camera in the Nexus 4 is a marked improvement over the Galaxy Nexus, although this isn’t hard to do. LG seems to have taken the ball and run with it, delivering a truly brilliant photo from the included camera sensor. I’m going to have to do a lot of comparison shots with the camera, but I personally have nothing detrimental to say about it at this stage.

Accessories

Previous Nexus devices have seen an absolute dearth of accessories at release. Screen protectors, docks, cases, and batteries have slowly dribbled out over the life of the device. Unfortunately this trend seems set to continue, with no information regarding accessories announced thus far. LG advised that the accessory side of thing is up to Google, LG is functioning purely as an OEM in this case, meaning they’ll build accessories according to what Google ask them to build. Sales of any accessories will be made through Google.

This includes the wireless charging orb that was shown off when The Verge did their initial video on the Nexus 4. The Nexus 4 uses QI inductive charging which is yet to be released here. Energizer Australia has no plans to release their Qi-Enabled 3 Position Inductive Charger, although LG did advise that the Lumia 920 charging mat will work, so there are options.

Dan Morill from Google also mentioned a bumper accessory in a Google+ post, which leads me to believe that there are accessories coming. How soon, how much, and exactly what accessories are questions we’ll have to wait for Google to answer.

Android 4.2

In terms of software, the final Android 4.2 build is still not complete but many of the features we’ve heard about are already in full effect:

Gesture Type keyboard – The new keyboard is very fast, functional and is brilliant in effect, I had deliberately avoided using the leaked APKs to try and experience it properly on the Nexus 4, and it definitely adds value to Android.

Quick settings – I found the Quick Settings a little awkward in terms of remembering to use the two-finger gesture to initiate them, but I believe this will become easier to use as you use it more often.

Photo Sphere – While Photo Sphere works as advertised, it looks as though it could take a fair while to stitch an image together, and movement within the shot whilst building your Photo Sphere could certainly be a little bit on the rough side. I believe this feature could be a winner, but it will need a lot more use to make that sort of determination.

Miracast – If you’ve played with AirPlay on Apple equipment, then you know what this is. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. Miracast is the dual-display technology that is being offered across the industry to offer an alternative to AirPlay. Effectively it uses a Wi-Fi connection to mirror your device display to a TV and it works brilliantly on the Nexus 4, however its downfall is its ‘newness’ – there is a lack of TV’s/Dongles/boxes to allow you to use it in your own home. LG had a dongle they were using to demo the function, however they wouldn’t let me steal it.

I didn’t get to see the DayDream function in use but I look forward to playing with it when it arrives.

Impressive

Overall, I left my meeting with LG Impressed – yes, with a capital I. They’ve shown some amazing forethought in the design process with both the Nexus 4 and the Optimus G (which we will hear more about in the coming months).

At $349 for 8GB or $399 for a 16GB Nexus 4, a purchase is to me a no-brainer. While the lack of LTE and microSD will be a turn off for some, at these prices I’ll certainly be ‘lining up’ to place my order for one next week on the 13th of November when orders go live in the Google Play Store.

Will you be buying the Nexus 4, or are you on the fence? Let us know in the comments!

  • Carey

    I would buy this if it had aptX support like the Galaxy SIII and Galaxy Note II do. I need my high-quality Bluetooth music streaming!! :-) I have a Nokia MD-310 that I stream music to, and without aptX it sounds bad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Anderton/504726871 David Anderton

    Oh and another question will, the wireless charging work with a case…

  • http://twitter.com/gregmcph Greg McPherson

    Need them Miracast Receivers…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Anderton/504726871 David Anderton

    Don’t care to much about LTE but the storage and batteries are big problems. My phone is my mp3 player and my current 16gb phone is always full and annoying having to shuffle stuff. Yeh the cloud is great but not always available or cheap. And LG expects 800 charge cycles. So I get just over 2 years before the phone needs repair cause I can’t change the battery…

    • Greg

      A post is up showing how to change the battery. Just need a torx screwdriver (small – can’t remember the size-number), and the rest are clips. No glue, clips allow you to reseat, just don’t lose the screws.

  • vonapets

    Coming from the g1, nexus one, nexus s and currently galaxy nexus, the nexus 4 will be a welcome addition to my Google family. Been in the game too long to quit. Does anyone remember 1.0? I’m currently rocking that on my g1 as a comparison and a reminder where android has come from.

  • Zac Barton

    Anyone know what kind of speeds could I expect on Optus?

    • vonapets

      0kbs download. I hardly ever get reception, when I do it has to be on H to work.

  • Iain Simmons

    I’m just waiting to place my order! Finished my Vodafone contract, getting the Nexus 4 and a cheap SIM-only plan from Vaya (approx $664 in total over 24 months with the phone, vs the $1400+ from the past 2 years on contract). Getting a proper Nexus phone, carrier unlocked from the start, because I was burned by HTC when they promised ICS for my Desire HD and couldn’t deliver. I rooted my phone too many times to count, and ending up with a bunch of glitches living on the edge with JB/CM10. Looking forward to some vanilla Android on a speedy phone that lasts a day instead of dying in hours on LTE. When Australia can finally make a switch to 4G networks completely, then I’ll worry about getting an LTE/4G phone then!

  • Dimitrios Rossios

    I’ve been a Nexus man right from the start and this device has me excited my h so like the HTC Nexus One…I will be definitely be ordering one on Nov 13

  • http://twitter.com/Montalbert Scott

    i will be getting this phone for sure! the minute i wake up on the 13th…. I am disappointed with the 16gb but thats it for me.

    I think Google have really prices this phone to sell well- i know of 3 other people in my small dept who will be getting this (and they are NOT techies)… 1 went as far to say that combining this with a $12 liveconnected sim it only costs her $680 total over 2yrs… tight.

  • Boultono

    Roll on the 13th.

  • GreviousMcG

    Hmmm, this or the Motorola Razr M?? God, I love these kind of dilemmas!

  • pHyR3

    don’t mind the lack of SD card with a 16GB version, and with a 2100mAH battery non-changeable battery is fine (i can always unscrew it if it dies) but the big one is that it’s made from glass…not sure how it will fare in my hands since I am quite clumsy.

  • beastjim

    Daniel in regards to the camera, I believe that LG ran straight to Sony for the sensor, just like a certain fruit named company does. probably helps explain it a little. Other the that, thanks for the write up, hope to see a great review from the whole team

  • angryfrog

    I’ll be getting a Nexus 4 in 2013, looking forward to switching from iPhone (though also a bit apprehensive).

    • pHyR3

      you’ll love it, Nexuses are usually amazing and this one seems to be better than all previous ones compared to what’s on the market as long as you can overlook noLTE and a bit less storage. Keep in mind LTE is 70mb and nexus is 42

      • angryfrog

        Don’t need LTE, don’t need more than 8GB (how does anyone fill more than 8GB? I guess I’m not a power user).

        I’m more concerned about using Android to play music as well as I do with the iPhone – I know that Google Music isn’t in Australia yet. And, of course, getting used to Android itself. But for innovations like Google Now and wireless charging, I’ll take a chance.

      • http://twitter.com/Montalbert Scott

        You can use Google music thru some proxy hackery but not store music.

      • NickT

        Or you can continue go use iTunes, and copy the music via airdoid. Don’t forget iTunes music is all DRM free now

      • http://motorcentral.com Ben

        I’ve had no issues storing music there. I run the Mac sync tool and everything.

      • Gregory Anderson

        Keep in mind that 8GB nearly always includes the Android OS. This usually means 5 or maybe even less usable space. That is not even 1 HD movie, so if you are filming you r own full HD videos, it doesn’t allow a lot of flexibility. I am happy with the 16GB on my Galaxy Nexus. Would like the option to more, but I can handle it. I couldn’t go down, however. Especially not for $50 :)

      • dejavu

        Also, any decent game from Gameloft or EA, will eat your memory.

        I’ve sacrificed waaayyy too much music just keep 2 games on my GNex :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/ayoub.hage.3 Ayoub Hage

    Wow!! and half the price of other smart phone

  • http://twitter.com/Mi7k Mick

    Looking forward to it and will be buying one to replace my ageing HTC.. Not interested in 4G as I want battery life. Vodafone just turned on their 3G+ (DC-HSDPA) Network in my area so speed should be good.

    • http://profiles.google.com/aryonoco Aryan Ameri

      Exactly. People don’t know/forget about DC-HSDPA. This phone is going to be awesome on Telstra and Vodafone, it’s really not that different from LTE (congestion on 3G notwithstanding)

  • http://espadav8.co.uk Andrew

    Did you get to see how long the battery lasted? In the Engadget test it only lasted about half as long as the Optimus G, which is odd since they’re nearly the same with the same battery :-/

    • http://ausdroid.net/ Daniel Tyson

      Only a brief hands on, nowhere near enough to determine battery life, but LG was pretty confident and I really look forward to testing it when I get my hands on one,

  • Ray

    I’ll be buying one on the 13th. 4G sucks in my area, and I’ve lived with the Galaxy Nexus for 6+ months without an issue and absolutely loved it so this can only be better.

    • http://ausdroid.net/ Daniel Tyson

      From my time with it yesterday I can say you won’t be disappointed

  • http://www.facebook.com/adam.doyle.731 Adam Doyle

    I’m thinking about ditching my One X for this phone as long as the battery is as good as they say.

    • http://ausdroid.net/ Daniel Tyson

      Hearing mixed results on battery tests, but LG seem very confident in their battery technology

      • http://www.facebook.com/adam.doyle.731 Adam Doyle

        as long as its better then the One X’s thats the phones real downside.

      • playerperspective

        Hopefully you have a custom ROM on there. I can easily get through a day’s worth with heavy use. Medium use will get me to 2 full days.

  • http://www.twitter.com/andrewpalozzo Andrew Palozzo

    I’m thinking I might get the Nexus 4 for now.. but if the Optimus 4G released here packs an unlocked bootloader.. I will seriously consider that. I love ASOP.. but I really want LTE.

    • Phil Sweeney

      Agreed. Unlocked optimus g would be amazing.

  • Anonymous

    Seems I won’t be a buyer – no LTE, no microSD card and no changeable battery. Looks like a SGS3 4G for me.

    • http://ausdroid.net/ Daniel Tyson

      It’s a shame, the phone is very nice and quick updates are enough to make me overlook those limitations

      • Anonymous

        Daniel, I am considering a Nexus 10 to replace my 3G Xoom. 1 device sans LTE and micro SD is enough.

      • Gregory Anderson

        I just bought an LTE prepaid wifi hotspot from Telstra. If I need speed, 180 bucks gets me 1 year to use 12 GB. Thumbs up, I already have 2GB a month!