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Why I Got a Nexus / Abandoned Nokia (Again)

It really shouldn't be a surprise that I bought a Nexus 4. Oh sure, if you are a frequent reader of my blog, you might be a bit stunned to learn that I now tote a Nexus-brand device, and for good reason. It wasn't too long ago- 3 months, to be exact- that I made remarks dismissing Android's future and praising Nokia's latest and greatest flagship. As far as most people are concerned, I'm a Nokia fan. (Still am.) My experiences with the Dell Venue Pro convinced me that Nokia's move to Windows Phone could actually be a good thing, and I really enjoyed the entire time I spent with my Lumia 710. Nobody would have doubted that I'd wind up purchasing anything other than a Nokia-branded Windows Phone device when I finally got around to upgrading. So what happened?

Put as simply as possible: pricing, timing, broken promises, and timing. If you want to know exactly what I mean, grab a cold beverage and pull up a chair for me to explain myself. In case you haven't read it already, I recommend you first check out my House of Nokia rant before continuing further.

650€ for a factory-unlocked unlocked Lumia 920. An unlocked Nexus 4, on the other hand, sells for 300€. (Prices in Euros because that's what I remember.) Given that the Android-powered handset bests the hardware on Nokia's flagship in the areas of CPU, RAM, display, physical dimensions, and a few other little details, it's a lot easier to justify that one gets more for their money with the Nexus.

Then there's the whole issue of software. The fact is: Android has a lot more of it. And not all of it is just clones of each other; there are things like Google and Square Wallet, Nike+, and some very serious games that will never come to Windows Phone. (Unless Microsoft can convince them to.)

So why did I buy the Nexus? Because it was the most bang for the buck, plain and simple.

Nokia has a pretty bad track record of announcing products that don't actual land in consumers' hands until months later. While this works for some industries (Sony's PS4 announcement, for example), the smartphone market moves much faster. Despite the Lumia 920's announcement being greeted by much fanfare out of the blogging and press communities, Nokia dragged its feet. In that time, many competitors announced and even launched their products (I'm looking at you, HTC 8X). By the time the Lumia 920 was available for sale, would-be early-adopters for Windows 8 had already bought other devices and others cautiously shopped elsewhere following shameful marketing practices.

It took quite a long time until I was able to get my hands on a Lumia 920 to try, and by that point I'd already decided that the Nexus 4 was going to be my next device.

Broken Promises
Seriously, Nokia. Stop using your customers as beta testers. The internet is littered with examples of Nokia essentially releasing unfinished or otherwise half-baked products into the wild. Problems ranging from hardware issues to software bugs and incompatibilities plague Nokia's history.

I myself went through three N82 devices, all because the same speaker would burn out after a while. While I appreciate them sending a brand-new N82 each time, I'd much rather have a phone that works rather than one which must constantly be replaced. My E75 and N86 both had problems with their optics. Both the N85 that I tested and the N85 I owned had the glue holding on their keys come undone... Lumia 710 would rattle on vibrate and the 920 tester I was sent had a myriad of software issues.

The unlocked Nexus devices (aka excluding those from AT&T) come with great build quality and the guarantee of software updates for some time to come. When Google eventually stops building updates for Nexus devices, the open-source community continues. All one has to say in order to get a long-time Nokia fan to cringe is to say, "Symbian software updates." Nothing else needs to be said of Nokia's terrible handling of updates.


I'm quite happy with how I spent my money.

So I bought the Nexus. Overall, it's lighter and smaller than the Lumia 920 (the device I not to long ago drooled over). Despite that, it features a larger display. Those virtual on-screen soft-buttons disappear during times that they rob precious screen real estate (such as watching a movie), and if that weren't enough, this new Nexus features an LCD (which isn't as prone to burn-in as the AMOLED panel of the last Nexus) so my worries about their impact don't apply to this phone.

With specs to drool over and software that's buttery smooth, there's a lot to like here. Two of my peers, one a die-hard Nokia fan and the other a bit apprehensive about the world of smartphones, quickly bought Nexus 4 devices for themselves at my recommendation. Price was a bit factor as well, I'm sure.

As of this writing, there is not a single (working) Nokia in our household. I'm conflicted to say it, but... it's a good feeling.