Google Nexus 4 Review (Hacker Edition)

I chose the Nexus 4 over another smartphone for quite a few reasons. I chose it over an iPhone 5 because of how open it is to developers, and I chose it over an HTC One S for the attention it will get from the developer community. The on screen buttons are also pretty cool.

Unlocking the bootloader is really easy with a Nexus device. With the Android SDK installed on your computer, the bootloader of this phone can be unlocked with a simple Fastboot command:

fastboot oem unlock

And unlike many other Android devices, when a Nexus device is unlocked, all partitions are fully unlocked, meaning there is no need to use Fastboot to flash boot images to the phone with new ROMs.

The Nexus 4 is a developer’s phone. This means that, with the exception of Google Apps, all the software preinstalled on this phone is open source. Because of that, this phone will get plenty of attention from the developer community for years, and custom ROMs like CyanogenMod will become stable daily drivers almost immediately.

CyanogenMod was the first of the most well known custom ROMs to come to the Nexus 4, which means it has had the most time to mature and become stable. It gives you root access, as well as allowing you to make customisations to stock Android. It also comes with little goodies, such as Trebuchet Launcher and the Chronus clock widget.

AOKP development started after Google released Android 4.0 and the Galaxy Nexus in 2011. Like CyanogenMod, AOKP allows you to make changes to stock Android. It has more customisation features than CyanogenMod, which is why many people really like it. However, it doesn’t come with Trebuchet Launcher or the Chronus clock widget.

ParanoidAndroid is great for those who want something different on their phone. Basically, ParanoidAndroid allows you to use your phone like a tablet by moving the notifications to the bottom of the screen and scaling the graphics down. It allows you to specify which apps you want to run in tablet mode and which apps you want to use normally. Anyone with an unlocked Nexus 4 should give it a try, although I wouldn’t recommend it for someone with fat fingers.

In coming months, you can expect many other ROMs to come to the Nexus 4. I am currently waiting to see a version of MIUI for the Nexus 4, as I really like the look and feel. I also hope to see PAC-Man ROM, which basically combines the best features of the ROMs I mentioned above.

Wednesday 30th January 2013 - Leave a comment

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