Nexus 4 on Orb

The Nexus line is Google’s in house series of phones and tablets showing off the unaltered version of Android. The Nexus 4 is the most recent phone in the series.  Google selects a different manufacturer to work with for each Nexus phone, having worked with HTC, Samsung and Asus.  The Nexus 4 phone is made by LG and is among the most powerful Android phones now available.  The phone is physically a fairly typical rectangular smartphone design with glass on both sides and rubberized ring around the main edge. Nexus-4

Technical Specification

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro
Operating System: Vanilla Android 4.2.2
Network: Unlocked GSM/UMTS/HSPA+ GSM/EDGE/GPRS (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)3G (850, 900, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz) HSPA+ 4 This is almost every 3g network worldwide.
Memory: 8 or 16gb Storage and 2gb Ram with no micro SD card slot
Display: 4.7″ screen at 1280 x 768. 320ppi
Camera: 8MP main and 1.3MP Front
Connectivity:micro USB 2.0 3.5mm headphone
Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz) capable
Bluetooth: Yes
NFC (Near Field Communication): Yes  with Android Beam
Battery:Fixed 2,100 mAh Lithium polymer
Dimensions: 133.9 x 68.7 x 9.1 mm Weight: 139g

The Nexus 4 is a 4.7″ screened rectangular smart phone with a glass front and back.  It has a rubberized band around its perimeter.  It has a fixed battery and the only access to the inside of the device is a very small sim tray that requires a tool to remove.  There are three buttons on the Nexus 4, two volume buttons on the left hand side of the screen and a power button on the right. It has two ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top of the device and a micro-usb port on its base. In use it has three virtual keys (back, home and task manager) on the base of its screen

In addition to its ports the Nexus 4 supports wireless charging using an accessory ‘orb’.  It also supports the Qi charging standard used by the very few other phones and devices (mainly Nokia) that support wireless charging.


CNet UK Says

It packs in a ferocious quad-core processor, a whopping 2GB of RAM, a glorious 4.7-inch display and the latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software, which boasts some really cool new features. With a starting price of only £239, it’s just half the price of its technical rivals.

It is difficult to extricate the Nexus 4 from its operating system and hardware as part of the Nexus line’s appeal is that they are the most up to date versions of Android available.

PC Mag says of Jelly Bean 4.2:

Visually impaired users have access to a new gesture mode that works in tandem with speech, and there’s improved Braille support…Jelly Bean 4.2 cements Android’s status as a star platform…Jelly Bean 4.2.2 is a solid OS that will likely make your next Android phone purchase even better than it would have been otherwise…




Visual Accessibility * Audio Accessibility * Physical Accessibility * Cognitive Accessibility


Visual Accessibility

The Nexus’s screen like most modern smartphones is extremely clear.  Its PPI or Pixels Per Inch of 320 means that from a viewing distance of 25cm the human eye should not be able to distinguish each individual pixel.  Compared to the competition the iPhone 5 has a PPI of 326 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 of 306 PPI.  The screen has excellent viewing angles – how much you can tilt it off dead on without suffering issues and vibrant coloration. Obviously any visual issues such as flashing lights and motion sicknesses can be caused by games or apps on the phone but the screen of the phone itself is among the best available.

Audio accessibility

The Nexus 4 has reasonable single speaker that won’t win any awards but is of reasonable quality.  The microphones are of good quality, but are again not excellent quality. On the software side Android and in particular 4.2.2 is bursting with audio options.  This includes everything from voice powered search, note taking, app launching and use to a high quality text to speech engine to dictation engine built into the standard keyboard that is surprising in its accuracy. In addition as Android in general is so easy to mod there is probably a solution for almost every audio issue available.

Physical Accessibility

Physically the Nexus 4 is quite accessible. The size of the device will make it more difficult to use for those with smaller hands but the buttons are of a reasonable size and positioning and are easy to press.  The device feels solid and well made and not overly heavy in the hand.  The only issue is that because the device has glass on most sides its far more slippy when put down than you would expect.  If you have a case on the device this is not an issue, but it adds to the bulk.

Cognitive Accessibility

There are no particular cognitive issues with the Nexus 4 that do not exist with other smartphones. It should be noted that it is generally agreed that iOS (Apple’s iPhones) are easier to access and simpler at the expense of being less customizable.

Product Information

Manufacturer: Google / LG Price: £239 / £279 with £10 Postage Retailer: Google Play Store Included In The Box

  • Nexus 4
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Wall ‘wart’ charger
  • A Sim ejection tool

Nexus 4 on Orb



The Nexus 4 is the best budget Android phone available at the moment.  There are other phones which have slightly higher specifications or features the Nexus 4 does not have but they are often around twice the cost. The only possible issue with the Nexus 4 is that there have been some availability problems though the Play Store and that there is no LTE version, but the supply problems seem to have been resolved and LTE in the UK only covers a tiny proportion of the country.  As with the other Nexus devices it always has the most up to date and clean version of Android and will be first in line for any security or usability updates from Google.

The Nexus 4 was released in December 2012. The review is based on the 16gb version.

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