Flashback: the Nexus 4 cost less than half what the Pixel 5 costs, but it had a flagship chipset


The Nexus line might have had a rocky begin, but it surely elicits love from followers in a means that the Pixels by no means fairly managed. The difficulty with the Pixels is that they’re premium telephones with premium costs whereas the Nexus line invented the “flagship killer” in all however identify.

That took place with the Nexus 4, which launched at a worth of $300/€300/£280 (for the 8GB mannequin, $350/€350 for 16GB). A yr after launch you can have it for as little as $200, however even the launch worth is lower than half of what Google is asking for the brand new Pixel 5 unveiled earlier this week. It’s lower than what the Pixel 4a prices too.



Google's Nexus 4 (made by LG)
Google's Nexus 4 (made by LG)

Google’s Nexus 4 (made by LG)

Let’s see how they stack up, taking into account that the Nexus is from 2012. Essentially the most noticeable distinction is the chipset – the Snapdragon S4 Professional was the highest chip of its day whereas the Snapdragon 765G isn’t even the highest chip of the 7-series.

And be aware that the Nexus Four got here with 2GB of RAM. To place that in perspective, the Samsung Galaxy S III, launched six months earlier, solely had 1GB. To be honest, the Samsung had extra storage out of the field and a strategy to increase it. Restricted storage was one of many potential deal-breakers for individuals contemplating the Nexus.


LG Optimus G (left) - Nexus 4 (middle) - Samsung Galaxy Nexus (right)
LG Optimus G (left) - Nexus 4 (middle) - Samsung Galaxy Nexus (right)

LG Optimus G (left) – Nexus 4 (center) – Samsung Galaxy Nexus (proper)

Transferring on, the 4.7” IPS LCD of the Nexus had 720p decision, fairly normal for the day. The 15:9 facet ratio was not fairly as widespread – this was earlier than smartphone shows began turning into lengthy and slender.

The show was laminated to the protecting Gorilla Glass 2 layer, a know-how LG known as “Zerogap Contact” (it additionally featured an in-cell capacitive digitizer). All this was borrowed from the LG Optimus G, which served as the premise of this telephone and likewise gave beginning to LG’s G-series.

The Nexus Four was powered by a small 2,100 mAh battery – energy autonomy wasn’t its sturdy go well with, however this telephone was the primary Android to have Qi wi-fi charging inbuilt (the Nokia Lumia 920, which got here out across the identical time, additionally had Qi). After all, the Palm Pre, a pioneer in some ways, was charging wirelessly three years earlier (utilizing a distinct know-how).

Flashback: the Nexus 4 cost less than half what the Pixel 5 costs, but it had a flagship chipset

The Pixel line dropped the wi-fi charging for the primary two generations and even right now just one mannequin (the 5) has it. Whereas the Nexus was on the forefront of charging know-how, the Pixels will not be even competing (e.g. they lack quick wi-fi charging and wired charging goes solely as much as 18W).

One factor that the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G have is next-gen connectivity – sub-6 GHz 5G and in some areas even mmWave. The Nexus Four was a 3G system, lacking out on the fledgling 4G networks again within the day (technically, it supported LTE Band 4, however that wasn’t of a lot use).

The Nexus Four digicam was fairly normal for the time, an eight MP Sony BSI sensor took photographs and recorded 1080p movies (it wasn’t significantly good at both, although). Whereas the telephone launched with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, the replace to 4.Four KitKat added the HDR+ mode – Google’s first steps in computational images.

Talking of updates, the telephone obtained Android 5.1 Lollipop shortly earlier than help for it was discontinued in Might 2015, nearly three years after it launched. Not dangerous for $300, is it?


The pattern of dots shifted as light hit the back at different angles
The pattern of dots shifted as light hit the back at different angles

The sample of dots shifted as gentle hit the again at completely different angles

The again of the system had an attention-grabbing holographic impact – a grid of dots winked out and in of existence as you moved the telephone. This was achieved with a sample etched into the glass, which mirrored gentle coming from completely different angles. As of late etching patterns into glass has turn into fairly widespread, makers lately use it to offer telephones a little bit of character by drawing numerous geometric shapes, from S-curves to chevrons.


Nexus 4 in Black and in White
Nexus 4 in Black and in White

Nexus Four in Black and in White

Whereas it was initially obtainable solely in Black, Google freshened issues up a bit in 2013 with the discharge of a White model.

The Nexus Four was gorgeous. It wasn’t one of the best telephone ever, actually it had its fair proportion of flaws. Nevertheless, shopping for flagship efficiency for $300 was even trickier again then than it’s right now. It didn’t turn into a best-seller, however this telephone was in the back of individuals’s minds – “Why ought to I pay $X after I can have the Nexus Four for $300?” Why certainly.

PS. Here is a curious anecdote concerning the Nexus Four launch. Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on New York Metropolis, so Google cancelled the disclosing. On the final second the corporate reconsidered and introduced the Nexus Four with out an occasion.

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