I recently decided to purchase the LG Nexus 4 (if you're wondering, I picked up the 16GB version), and I have a bit of mixed results with the new Android and how the overall hardware worked with the software.
As I always like to start off positive, there are a ton of good key points on the Nexus 4 that drove me to absolutely love the phone.
The overall design of the phone is amazing, especially for an Android phone. There are no creaking pieces of plastic, it's 100% solid, with two really tough pieces of glass on both the front and the back (they can probably thank Apple for that design). The back has a very interesting finish to it, with the "sparking dots" that is not too obtrusive, but makes it a very distinctive phone when held in your hand. Although it still wonders me why Google & LG didn't decide just to put the Nexus logo on the back instead of "Nexus" spelled out...
No one is going to use a phone if it does not feel right to the hand. Thankfully, the Nexus 4 feels incredible to the touch; fingers flow easily across the across, but yet with glass being on both the front and the back, you still have a very firm grip with the "rubberized" sides of the device. This is something I wish the iPhone had a bit more of... as the N4 is much easier to hold in contrast to lets say, the iPhone 4(s)/5.
I have to admit, the new version of Android, coined "Jelly Bean", is sick. The design aesthetics are on par with the modern, minimal trends, it is indeed quite speedy (we'll get to performance here shortly), and the integration with all the Google services are tightly integrated. Google Now is 100x better than Apple's Siri in so many ways.
The new keyboard swipe (based on Swype) is really cool. When trying to type super long words, it works a miracle when holding with one hand. Although the German integration is rather poor right now, but I'm sure that'll improve over the next few months or so...
Google Now is the almighty boss compared to Siri. It's really cool... it can scan your email and tell you all sorts of cool details automagically! Might be creepy for some, but I found it really convenient that "it just knows".
I won't bore you with this one... it's no doubt Android is more tailored to developers as you can just do much more than any other phone OS.
Like nearly anything in this world, nothing is perfect, and the Nexus 4 is for sure not (neither is the iPhone in my mind). But, here is what I think:
Things are super-duper smooth for the most part, but there are times when it just suddenly gets slow. It almost seems that some applications are relying on legacy Android technology, making it just slow. It's fast for the majority, but something are just not there yet. But a VERY good improvement from prior versions.
This one really set me off on wanting to switch back to the iPhone. While trying to do the most simplistic task on the phone, messaging a friend via GTalk (using the built-in GTalk app), the messages I was sending was sometimes being displayed above my friend's messages, even though my messages were supposed to go below his. Weird, right? Well it gets even weirder... while chatting to him, they keyboard sometimes vanished and re-appeared within a split second. This made typing long sentences quite difficult, which I tend to do more often in chatting than anything.
I was really disappointed with Google's built in Gmail application. After Google acquiring Sparrow, you'd think they would have went the extra mile to make it really baller. The labels are hard to get to, the settings are just a mess and tailored to every account (it's a pain when you have as many email accounts as I do). I hate to say it, but they should of taken a hint from Apple on their mail app. Come on Google, give me a unified mailbox, perty prease?!?
I was not amazingly impressed with the result of the photos I was taking from the back camera (not even going to worry about the front). Even though the pictures were high quality, they were still grainier than what I was used to, pictures from the iPhone 4S. And the HDR mode on the Nexus 4 is just super slow as well... they could have optimized that feature a bit better. The photosphere feature is very cool, but more of a gimmick just like Siri is when she doesn't work! :D
Okay, it's not that bad
I loved using the Nexus 4. It works well, and it's FAR better than any other Android phone I have used (it's super fast with its quad core!), but Google still needs to improve their software. With a quad core being in the Nexus 4, you'd think it wouldn't be slow, but if the software is not tailored to it, that's the biggest key of slowness right there (this is why Apple's devices are always so fast, as they build the hardware to fit the software). If it were me, I'd eliminate Java and go all C++, but that's never gonna happen! :P
Either way, there's a huge potential in the Nexus 4. The hardware is great, the software just needs to be up-to-speed with the N4's super fast hardware.