Preview: Google Nexus 4

Preview: Google Nexus 4

Google's latest flagship Android phone is the LG-manufactured Nexus 4

Google's latest flagship Android phone is the LG-manufactured Nexus 4.

The Google Nexus 4 is constructed from matte black plastic and is based on the design of LG's Optimus G smartphone. A distinctive highlight appears to be an etched panel of glass on the back that sparkles. It immediately helps the Nexus 4 immediately stand out among a sea of black slabs.

The Nexus 4 is powered by a quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor that Google says is the fastest on the market. It has 2GB RAM and comes with 8GB or 16GB of internal memory. Unfortunately, the Nexus 4 lacks a microSD card slot so the on-board memory isn't expandable.

The Nexus 4 has a 4.7-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280×768 display. This gives it an impressive pixel density rating of 320ppi, only just behind the Apple iPhone 5 (326ppi) and ahead of both the HTC One X (312ppi) and the Samsung Galaxy S III (306ppi). Google says the screen is coated in Corning's latest Gorilla Glass 2.

The Nexus 4 supports wireless charging out of the box, based on the Qi wireless charging standard. Google will sell a wireless charger called the Wireless Charging Orb as an optional accessory, but there's no word on Australian availability or pricing for this accessory just yet.

The Google Nexus 4 has a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls and a rear-facing 8-megapixel camera for photos and video capture. The highlight appears to be a 360 degree panorama mode that Google is calling photo sphere, allowing users to capture a scene in multiple directions including above and below. This feature is a software one and will be available on any Android device running 4.2.

Google has added a number of new features to its latest Android 4.2 software. Highlights include a new gesture typing feature on the keyboard that replicates Swype, the ability to add widgets to the lockscreen, expandable notifications that can be actioned, and a new quick settings menu that can be accessed by swiping down the notifications panel with two fingers instead of one. There's also been some enhancements to the Google Now personal assistant, which now uses your Gmail account as a data source for new cards.

The Google Nexus 4 will be sold in Australia as an unlocked handset and is GSM/HSPA+ compatible. It will therefore support every telco in Australia (Telstra, Optus, Vodafone) but does not work on the new 1800MHz 4G networks operated in Australia by Telstra and Optus.

The Google Nexus 4 will sell online through Google's Play Store from Tuesday 13 November, when orders will open. The 8GB model will sell for $349 and the 16GB model will retail for $399.

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