The LG-manufactured Google Nexus 4, the latest in a line of smartphones offering a ‘clean’ Android OS experience, is a great phone with a glaring flaw. According to many reviewers, the phone’s top-shelf spec sheet and superb performance is hampered by the fact that it doesn’t have 4G LTE connectivity—a move Google has defended by saying that this was done to ensure full compatibility with all networks around the globe. Recently, however, some very adventurous people were able to tweak some settings within the phone to enable LTE.
The Hardware is There—Or is it?
What many reviews and articles were not able to point out was that there is actually hardware within the Nexus 4 to allow for LTE support. At least, Anandtech pointed out that fact in its review of the device, and it was also the first to provide comprehensive information about the LTE tweak. Then again, since there’s really no indication from Google that the phone supports anything on top of WCDMA and GSM, this is backstopped by the lack of certain components—cellular hardware and the corresponding power amplifiers—needed to support bands other than AWS Band 4, on the frequencies 1700MHz and 2100MHz. This means Canadian Nexus 4 owners subscribed to carriers Rogers and Telus are in for a treat.
So yes, the hardware is there, but it is useful only for a limited group of people. The LTE can be activated by setting the band preference in the Phone Info settings that can be accessed by dialing *#*#4636#*#* on a Google Nexus 4 (though these settings are also accessible on most other Android phones via the same set of digits). One can also use an app that lets you access these settings easily without using the dialer. It’s a really easy tweak, so we imagine people won’t hesitate to try it out.
What This Means
If you’ve recently purchased a Nexus 4, or are planning to get one, and your location’s and carrier’s LTE runs on Band 4 AWS, then you’re in luck. The latest and greatest Nexus handset just got better. While LTE isn’t the end-all and be-all of smartphones, it is a feature that many consider important, if not essential. Those who can enjoy LTE on this device will no doubt put the phone in higher regard—especially if they’ve been dependent on that particular connectivity option for quite some time now. You will be able to enjoy amazing speeds on various activities, from web browsing to Skyping.
For many, though, HSPA+ is already fast enough for their needs—and it’s usually cheaper than getting an LTE plan. But if you’ve got it, why not make use of it, right? After all, it’s there and it’s easy to do. Who knows if Google eventually takes action and releases some sort of software update that prevents this kind of tweak or exploit. Those who can enjoy LTE on their Nexus 4 smartphones better enjoy it while it lasts.
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