Speakerphone and Audio

The Nexus 4 has a small vertical notch cut out of the back glass for its speakerphone port. The unfortunate part is that when the Nexus 4 is laid display-up like I always place phones for testing under our digital sound level datalogger, it is quite muted since there is no gap in the cavity for sound to escape through.

Speakerphone Volume - 3 inches Away

With the phone raised, however, the Nexus 4 turns out to be decently loud, which matches my subjective impressions using the device for Google Navigation over the past few days.

Noise Suppression

The Nexus 4 has a pair of microphones for noise suppression both when on calls, and also for the increasingly important task of reducing noise on ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) workloads like Google Now. I believe the Nexus 4 is using Qualcomm’s Fluence for this task, which is an adaptive beamformer system.

Google Nexus 4 - Noise Rejection by AnandTech

To test its efficacy, I turned to the industry standard babble track and ramped volume in front of a pair of speakers to 94 dBA (very loud) and then back down while recording the mobile-terminated end of the call on my PC. I should note that when I run these tests I always originate and terminate the call on the same mobile operator (in this case T-Mobile) if possible.

The Nexus 4 does a pretty decent job at canceling noise on my test call. The Galaxy Nexus noise rejection performance quite honestly never was that spectacular, and getting better noise filtering is going to be an increasingly important part of the speech recognition battle on these platforms.

Audio

Inside the Nexus 4 is a Qualcomm WCD9310 audio codec, which we’ve seen in other devices like the MSM8960-based Galaxy S 3s and a few other phones. Measuring sound quality is probably the number one requested addition to our reviews, and still is a rather nebulous thing to measure at times. For this I worked together with the ever-awesome François Simond (@supercurio) to measure sound quality on the Nexus 4 using RMAA on my desktop equipped with an ASUS Xonar Xense sound card.

Subjectively the Nexus 4 doesn't sound terrible to my ears on a pair of SE535s and listening to music at half volume or less. Objectively however the results are less than awesome thanks to a combination of things. First, audioflinger is set to 48 kHz which results in software resampling causing artifacts for 41.1 kHz source material. Second, there appears to be different modes that the Nexus 4 switches into depending on your volume level, and the frequency response plots show these different plots at the number of different volume levels we tested. We're going to update with some thoughts from Francois about the Nexus 4 soon, for now I think the Nexus 4 sounds ok at least when it comes to the most glaring of things — I couldn't detect any background hiss or whine as the SoC changes states, which is a huge percentage of what I normally wind up hearing on smartphones. 

Cellular, Wi-Fi, GNSS Conclusions and Final Thoughts
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  • Notwist - Monday, December 10, 2012 - link

    I've been married to the Apple ecosystem for the last several years, but more and more, I'm really intrigued by what Android offers, particularly with regards to how it streamlines and organizes things (the card system, displaying multiple bits of info on a single page, etc.). I have alot of trouble with organization in my life, so any systems/software/etc. that can help streamline things and act as closely to a digital assistant as possible would be very valuable to me.

    Also, I love the Podcasts you guys do, and was interested if you could elaborate on the whole "iOS is like an appliance, Android is a computing device" I've heard Anand mention a few times now.

    Basically: as somebody already in the Apple ecosystem, but willing to change (and pretty technically inclined), what are your feelings regarding the two OSes? What would you suggest? Thanks! =)
    Reply
  • EmilyGreen - Monday, December 24, 2012 - link

    Does this phone work on AT&T's 4GLTE or not? Anyone know? I've heard different stories. As a graphic designer (in New York), I need that data speed for sending large files. Reply
  • Mothi - Wednesday, February 06, 2013 - link

    Do Nexus 4 support Apple EarPods from apple? Reply
  • divinny - Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - link

    it does support the earpods cause it got the same 3.5 mm see here http://www.ozphoneshop.com/nexus-4-review , but it won't support the volume buttons it is apple device features Reply
  • addisonis19 - Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - link

    hey i was just wondering i am going to try to swap my battery and was wondering if that will void the warranty i just bought. is there any security tape when you take it apart. i didnt see any but i just want to make sure. Reply
  • Amit kumar - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    Wow awesome devise. It feels fresh, modern and smooth. I agree with you, because I checked full specification of this phone on this site as well. www.gadtecho.com Reply
  • rohini - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - link

    it hasn't been released in India till now! :( Reply
  • nidz109 - Thursday, April 04, 2013 - link

    You should revisit the newest Nexus devices again. With Chrome Beta, the Nexus 10 and Nexus 4 bury the iPad, and iPhone 5 in Sunspider, Kraken, Octane, Browsermark and the RIA javascript benchmark. The Mali-T604 is behind, when it comes to GPU power, but the Adreno 320 is still very competitive. Take a look at the average GLBenchmark T-Rex HD off-screen benchmarks. Qualcomm is doing it right, and I'm patiently waiting for the S800. It's sad that Google's crappy Chrome for Android was holding everything back, but that's not the case anymore. Chrome Beta is actually awesome, and I use it more than the AOSP browser.

    With S800, they're going to have the SoC of the year.
    Reply

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