From a Nexus 4 to a Moto G4

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I recently switched mobile phones, getting rid of my old Nexus 4 and buying a brand new Moto G4. The reasons for the switch more or less obey what I’ve been saying about mobile phones in a few other posts in the past.

Basically and repeating myself, I’m disappointed with mobile. I really thought with the arrival of the Nexus 4 not too long ago (November 2012 according to Wikipedia) some things would start to be different about smartphones. They wouldn’t be disposable products like most other mobile phones were and hardware would be supported and patched for many years to come as long as it made sense. And I missed that prediction by a long shot. Android updates are a mess and we don’t get long term support in any device I know of, if there’s any. Google, ever changing its policy, seems to have settled for 2 years of system updates after the device is introduced and a third year of security updates. For me, system updates are irrelevant (and in my opinion are a frequent source of bugs and instability), but knowing you could have security updates for the next, say, 5 years (sort of like in enterprise Linux distributions) would be a big advance and nobody does that.

So when I was tired of having problems with my Nexus 4 and security support for it had in theory expired, I looked for alternatives. I must say I was a bit disappointed with the range of Moto devices this year, the first one after Lenovo took over. The increased pricing scheme and reduced availability of the Moto G4 Play version (which will not be available in Spain at least until September 1st), and the long delay in launching a new version of the Moto E, which is still not available, forced me to spend more money than expected. I actually bought it from Amazon.co.uk not long after the Brexit vote when the pound sterling lost value and, despite shipping, I still managed to save about 20 euros.

Anyway, this time I’m psychologically prepared to dump it after two years if needed and I still plan to go even cheaper as time passes. Certainly, the 200-euros Moto G4 is definitely much better than the 300-euros Nexus 4, and in two or three years I’m sure a 150 or 100-euros phone will cut it.

By refusing to waste time doing a factory reset in my Nexus 4, these were the problems I was having. I know a factory reset may have fixed some but not all of them.

  • Inability to recover mobile data connectivity after being on WiFi for a long time. Fixed by going into airplane mode and back.

  • Phone ringtone and notifications ringtone resetting to weird and faulty values from time to time. I almost always noticed this when the phone rang with a weird tone.

  • There’s a bug that reboots the phone when connecting to some WiFi routers. This happened to me with a specific router.

  • Flashlight mode or airplane mode activating by themselves from time to time.

  • The phone rebooting itself or powering off without apparent reason from time to time. This impacted me more than any other problem when I had to use the phone as an alarm clock. It powered off overnight and I overslept in two occasions.

What I love about my new Moto G4, apart from getting rid of the previous problems obviously:

  • Improved battery life.

  • The ability to see pending notifications and bringing up the unlock screen by tilting the phone. This guarantees minimal use of physical buttons.

  • 4G support as most modern phones have. It’s not about download speeds really, but latency is much lower on 4G and I notice this specially when browsing the web and tapping a link to open a new page.

  • It’s still a vanilla Android experience.

  • Much stronger vibration that can be felt and heard easily without disturbing anyone. The Nexus 4 was incredibly weak in this aspect.

  • The camera and flashlight gestures.

  • The phone in general being more powerful, which again can be noticed when using a web browser.

  • The improved screen resolution is nice too but it’s not a deal breaker.

I’ll put my old Nexus 4 phone up on eBay soon with a starting price of 50 euros, but contact me privately if you’re interested and that price plus shipping works for you. I don’t expect anyone bidding much higher. Battery life is not great but with light use I was still getting more than a day when fully charged.

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