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Nexus 4′s Glass Back, the Worst Idea Since the Last Phone With a Glass Back

The LG Nexus 4, Google’s newest Nexus device, such a thing of beauty, isn’t it? That brilliant 4.7″ display on the front, the Crystal Reflection pattern tucked under a piece of glass on the back, those cascading edges, and that soft touch plastic housing, all make up for one of the more interesting smartphone designs of the last couple of years. Unfortunately, for those that purchased one or plan to purchase one, you may have to cover it up with a bumper or case, as it may also be one of the most fragile smartphones ever made. 

Glass, never known to many as the most durable of coverings, blankets the Nexus 4 both front and back. On the front, we have an LCD display that’s covered by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2, a product promoted for its ability to bring extra toughness to smartphones. On the back, we get the same sort of protection. Well, at least we thought so. After having an LG Optimus G (review) – the phone that laid the groundwork for the Nexus 4 – and now this new Nexus, I can without a doubt in my mind, say that glass on the back of a smartphone is one of the worst design ideas of the decade.

The back glass plate of both of these devices cracked on me within two weeks of having them. Two weeks. But before we get into this, I should probably point out that I take better care of my smartphones than almost anyone you will ever meet. My original DROID looked like it was a week old, a year after having purchased it. I’ve never had to replace a phone via warranty or insurance, as I’ve rarely ever dropped one. In fact, I’m not sure I would even get past one hand if I were to try to count the number of times I’ve dropped a phone. I don’t use cases or screen protectors because I’ve never had to. Again, I baby the hell out my toys.

But back to these two cracked backs – both of which cracked without a drop. Let me say that again – both the Optimus G and Nexus 4 cracked in my possession without ever dropping them. You know what did it? Setting them down gently onto my room temperature stone countertop. That’s it. The temperature change after it went from my warm hand to a room temperature countertop was apparently enough to split both devices’ glass backs almost directly down the middle. To think, that deciding whether or not my device is going to crack just by laying it down gently, is something my mind doesn’t even want to entertain. But that’s where I’ll be should I decide that I want a Nexus 4 that no longer looks this way.

It’s not just me, either. Take a tour through your various Android forums and you’ll find reports left and right of scratches and cracks. Most of these reports also include lines like “I don’t know how it happened, I’ve been super careful with it” and “I pulled it out of my pocket and noticed a crack.”

So why on Earth would LG and Google choose glass? That’s a great question. Since there is an entire industry now dedicated to replacing glass backs of the iPhone 4, I’m not sure I have an answer. All you have to do is Google “iPhone 4 glass back” and you’ll come up with dozens of fix-it shops, stories of lawsuits, and and how-tos on replacing the back of the phone with something other than glass. Since posting up pictures of both devices with broken backs, the first comment I received each time was, “How did they not learn from Apple?” Even Apple learned from Apple, going with an aluminum backside for its new iPhone 5.

Glass is fragile, everyone knows that. Well, apparently not everyone or we wouldn’t have phones with back panels made of the material. I don’t think I need to continue to hammer this point home any longer, so I’ll just say this – if you are buying a Nexus 4, buy a bumper, case, back screen protector or any other protective material that you can find because it’s not safe.

  • VinMessina

    Completely agree.

  • g-nex enjoyer

    two words : LG-quality

    • Justin Swanson

      Is it still two words, when they have a hyphen between them?

  • Sam

    Phones are not meant to be dropped. You can put all the Gorilla Glass or even put King Kong glass on the mofo reinforced with reactive regenerative armor. None of that is needed if one just takes care of his sh&t.

    Don’t be clumsy.

    EDIT: (Btw, I’m NOT referring to Kellex)

    • Liderc

      So why bring it up? Kellex didn’t drop his or the Optimus G, so it’s obviously not a dropping problem – it’s a quality problem.

  • Detonation

    And yet when I made a negative comment about the front and back of this phone being glass about a month ago, I was down voted into oblivion on this site…

    • http://www.AndroidAllies.com/ Max M.

      You did it wrong, man. You gotta go where the hivemind takes you.

    • TheOiulkj

      lol. Welcome to the comment section of droid life, were people evolved from isheep, to androids. Neither have minds of their own. Still, I’d hang out with a slightly more intelligent robot over disgusting livestock any day of the week.

  • Liderc

    Disasterous. Between this problem and no LTE, complete failure. I’ll hold onto my Galaxy Nexus, it looks brand new after a year + use.

    • joejoe5709

      +1. My Gnex has teeny scratch on the back and a very small ding on the bottom corner (the one time I dropped it). Neither of them are noticeable without high scrutiny. My last phone was an LG and it was showing its age after six months. Say what you will about the cheapness of Samsung’s plastic, but it’s lightweight and it obviously stands up to abuse.

      • Justin Swanson

        The only scratches on my GNex are from when dirt/dust get between the case and the phone. It’s only along the back edge though. How do people prevent this type of scratching?

    • Dain Laguna

      how is that even possible? does it interact with nothing, ever?

  • alex drum

    ….Its LG… honestly, what did everyone expect… they are not known for high end hardware and this is what happens when they try and do it anyway.

  • https://www.facebook.com/aaron.williams.125 Champion1229

    After having the Droid Razr the back of my phone HAS to be some sort of super tough, shock absorbing material! I have gotten so used to just throwing my phone around and not taking care of it that a glass back wouldn’t last a DAY!

  • Nick S.

    Above pics are examples of what happens to a smartphone with a glass back after hours and hours of trying to beat all the levels of Granny Smith on hard mode.

    =)

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      +1

  • antintyty

    who didn’t see that coming? Really.

  • http://twitter.com/WaltPartlo Walter Partlo

    I think I will wait until there is a place that does the replacement backs in sandalwood, like on the fruity phone 4s. :P

  • shamu11

    So does the nexus warranty cover cracked backs? If not where can I get warranty for this ?

    • Robert Johnson

      Since putting it on a countertop is generally not considered “misuse” or “abuse”, I’d try the Google or LG warranty. You can buy breakage insurance from Squaretrade.

  • teevirus

    I am the clumsiest person I know. I cracked my Verizon Galaxy Nexus within a few weeks. Completely shatter it in a few months. My original Droid incredible was the definition of beast. It sill looks great 3 years on. I have dropped it on concrete and stepped on it several times. I which for this sort of durability in all touchscreen devices.

  • Pedro

    Ringke Slim case and maybe a Skinomi.

    Shoot, maybe a Skinomi for the back glass might be enough.

  • Russell Sprague

    I was really baffled by this glass back thing, didn’t they learn anything from the iPhone 4? In all seriousness, I know multiple people with broken glass on the back of there iphones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nathanielnewmanmusic Nathaniel Newman

    I’ll keep my Razr Maxx HD thank you. The Kevlar may be a marketing item. But the metal and plastic that surrounds it is better than glass.

    • kixofmyg0t

      The Kevlar in the RAZR HD actually serves a structural purpose, it’s not just for looks.

  • FortitudineVincimus

    Funny how the “pure Nexus experience” never really lives up to the hype in 1 way or another. This time… bad design idea.

    • Hunter

      I don’t think the “pure Nexus experience” had/has any influence on what materials comprise the rear of a phone.

      • Droidzilla

        Actually, it does. Google dictates that. That’s why the N4 is less square than the Optimus G.

        • Hunter

          But does it dictate glass…on the back?

          • Droidzilla

            Nexus experience does not equal a glass back, but Google are the ones who had the final say in the Nexus 4 having a glass back. So I guess you could say that to have the latest Nexus phone experience, it does require having a glass back. The phone, that is; not you. You can have a flesh back and be just fine.

    • Liderc

      Not to mention no LTE. Total failure really.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000375133959 Eric Sorensen

    Do you think companies will make alternative back coverings?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000097716654 Michael Contreras

    This is the one thing that is leaving me torn about either buying an unlocked Galaxy Nexus or the Nexus 4. I don’t want to risk having a broken glass on the slightest of impact if any. I’m about to ditch verizion to go to tmobile for the Gnex or the N4. I’m leaning towards the Gnex, but who knows when software support will last at this point and I intend on keeping my phone for years, but seeing how the Nexus S lasted for two years of software support, I’m unsure as to which phone to choose from. In the meantime while I wait for Google to restock on N4s, I’m gonna look for some covers that can prevent this crap from happening. Hopefully the next nexus won’t have the same glass problems as this one.

    • vitriolix

      Rooting and throwing an AOSP rom on the Galaxy Nexus is dead simple and will give it life for years

  • Jroc869, Cool story bro

    I still love this phone. I just hope I don’t be come another statistic.

  • http://www.mecha-digital.com/ Jason@MechaDigital

    The astonishing part is that they had *years* of iPhone user’s misery to prove that this was not a good idea. Or at least to give some indication that it could be a problem area and therefore required careful testing. Smh…

  • Paul

    People want to be different and have something that’s “nicer” than plastic, but there are several reasons why plastic is used so much. It’s kind of like how throughout history rich people have eaten parts of animals that don’t taste good just to be different.

    As for me, I’ll take cheap delicious pizza and the plastic durable Note 2.

  • ajm1

    Yeah im personally loving the polycarbonate build of my htc one x plus. No cracking concerns here

  • http://twitter.com/msrl Matt Lindsay

    Mine hasnt cracked yet but it does already have scratches :-/

  • Jim

    This is a shame for all Nexus lovers, myself included. Samsung is constantly berated for its use of plastic but it never bothered me on my Galaxy Nexus. Just the opposite. I knew my device was likely able to withstand a drop or two, plus, it could not have been easier to take off and replace its back panel. Am glad my soon to come GNote 2 is made of plastic.

  • http://www.pcprocare.com/ Barry Taylor

    I don’t get why they don’t use a polycarbonate screen on phones.. They’re scratch proof, smudge proof, nearly indestructible and much cheaper than “gorilla glass”.

  • http://twitter.com/Andr0_X Andr0_X
  • http://www.pcprocare.com/ Barry Taylor

    What sucks even more is that for people like me, i make sure that, no matter what, when i put my phone into my pocket, i face the screen towards my leg. that way, if i accidentally bump into something with my phone in my pocket, the screen won’t crack. Been doing that ever since i switched from a flip phone to a candybar phone. Never had a screen crack or any accidental damage to the front. I also make sure I always put my phone in the same pocket, and my keys/screws (working on cars or other misc projects) or anything else goes in a separate pocket. I don’t even have to think about it anymore..

    • Ethan Sanchez

      This.

    • Pdiddy187

      Exactly how I do it.

    • EC8CH

      My G-Nex with it’s curved glass feels like it’s hugging my thigh.

      Feels like it’s loving me back :-P

      • Iucidium

        I’m going to miss my Nexus S doing that. My RAZR MAXX just lies there….

    • mjdupuis

      The main problem with putting your phone into your pocket with the glass against your leg: rivets on jeans.

      • http://www.pcprocare.com/ Barry Taylor

        You know, this is probably the first time a guy has said this to you.. I tried on like 3-4 pairs of pants last night because of you.. Ha. I had to check if rivets were in the way and i had overlooked a crucial problem.. None of the pants I own have a rivet anywhere near the spot my GNex sits.. Just pocket material.. Thanks for the heads up though!

    • http://twitter.com/J0ESK0 J0ESK0

      Describes me exactly. The Nexus 4 has no safe way to put in your pocket. Glass front and glass back… GENIUS! /s Thankfully my Gnex doesn’t have that problem.. *strokes Gnex lovingly*

  • Ibrick

    Good thing winter is coming up..

  • Spoken Word™

    Yest another reason I’m glad I decided to toss my $ at the Galaxy Note II. It’s sad really. I’ve owned each Nexus phone until this 1 ruined any hope of being in my stable with it’s paltry internal storage, lack of expandable storage, and lack of LTE.

    • Droidzilla

      Well, it does have LTE in Canada (and presumably here when T-Mo rolls out their LTE network).

  • Prime7

    I don’t think I know a single iPhone 4 or 4S owner who isn’t using some sort of case. Glass backing is stupid because of this, since the case destroys whatever aesthetic they were striving for during design.

    • Bobby

      I used my 4s for a year without one. I’ve dropped it multiple times from the height of 2-3ft with minor scratching and little “pits” on the metal band. They’re pretty resilient.

  • http://www.androidradar.de/ Leif

    One of a couple reasons why I love the flexible and easy to replace backs of Samsung phones. Good plastic is still the most durable material for smartphones. Glas breaks and aluminium scratches and doesn’t absorb anything when it falls.

    • http://twitter.com/jdhas jdhas

      It shames me that I have but one +1 to give your comment.

      • Lactose_the_Intolerant

        +1 the comment, then remove it… then +1 it again :p

    • MikeCiggy

      Yea, it’s weird all of the people who complain about Samsung’s build quality because it’s cheap plasticy feel.

      Well Kellex has a broken Nexus 4, I bet his Gnex is in still perfect condition.

      • http://www.facebook.com/aarontrevor Aaron Sentell

        The screen on the Galaxy Nexus was ridiculously easy to scratch, though…

        • hfoster52

          Zagg shield the first day and I have no scratches.

          • Josh Oberg

            Just water damage from zaggs install

          • ha

            Wow…maybe you should let someone install it for you if you have water damage from installing a screen protector…..

          • shamu11

            Do you think a case will absorb all drops and temperature related cracks?

          • KleenDroid

            You’ve got to be kidding. You don’t dunk it underwater… All you need is a little moisture.

          • shamu11

            By drops I meant actually dropping the phone

          • KleenDroid

            I was referring to the water damage from a Zagg install comment.

        • MikeCiggy

          I use an XO skin and I agree they could have used better glass on the screen, like gorilla glass but everywhere else on the phone the plastic is great. I’ve dropped mine so many times and I never even worry. $5 TPU case and XO skin and my phone is a tank.

        • NexusPhan69

          That’s how glass works. Harder to scratch is more brittle and prone to shattering. Harder to shatter is a softer glass that makes it easier to scratch. There is no magic here. Easy choice in my opinion. One that the Galaxy Nexus got right.

        • Larizard

          I agree. Opted to get a case but not a screen protector (because screen protectors look tacky), and I found a scratch on the screen. Good thing it’s small, near the top where the black notification bar is at, so it isn’t obvious.

          EDIT: I’ve dropped it about 3 times now, since getting it last May.

        • http://www.facebook.com/j.c.sugrue James Sugrue

          I was using an XGears Fantom on my Galaxy Nexus, and for a while it was the best screen protector I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, because of the curved glass, the adhesive began to lift on the sides and dust started getting under the screen protector. If they had curved it to match the contours of the GNex, it would have been hands down the best screen protector of all time.

          • ha

            Zagg worked great on my gnex. no peeling at all.

      • hfoster52

        I drop the hell out of my GNex (I swear I have butter fingers with this phone) and it keeps marching on..

        • vitriolix

          I cracked my screen by dropping mine… it’s definitely not as well built as my Nexus One was

          • j

            every phone can crack when dropped. a single instance isn’t enough to say one phone is built better than another. dropped my OG droid countless times and nothing happened.. but then once I dropped it at just the right angle and boom.. screen cracked.

          • vitriolix

            I dropped my nexus one a bunch of times, I have way more than one datapoint :) yes.. I’m clumsy

          • ratnok

            The Nexus One is nearly indestructible – if you drop it on the back. My daughter dropped mine on the front getting out of a car and the front glass shattered.

          • FAL_Fan

            I had my D3 until the D4 came out and I handed the D3 down to my lady who is not the best with phones, it lasted until about 2 weeks ago and now there’s a crack on the bottom left corner of the screen. Everything works on it, mind you, but sadly now I can’t trade it into Samsung for $60…or craigslist for that matter.

          • C-Law

            I JUST cracked my gnex screen :-( I made it a year. I’m always so careful too. But accidentally dropped it. Guess I’ll be getting insurance next time. Or a case

          • bryantjopplin

            Replace it yourself. I did. Got a refurbished off ebay 85 shipped and looks brand new. Easy to do as well.

          • MLBaylor

            Link? Ive never seen it for less than 140.

          • http://twitter.com/LindsayConey Lindsay Coney

            Easy choice in my opinion. One that the Galaxy Nexus got right. http://youtube.qr.net/jN3i/watch?v=vtNTgwzt7iY

          • ratnok

            I have a transparent plastic case on mine- I wanted to give it to my wife when I bought the next Nexus. But when I did drop it (2 days after buying it) it was totally fine besides a few nicks.

        • Gus

          Maybe you won’t drop a smaller phone as much.

          • asdf

            Exactly. All you claiming butter fingers know that the gnex is big, hard to grip in general right? I own one and love it, but I have to be very careful not to let it slip.

        • michael arazan

          Dropped my D1 over 20 times, with a case on it, and never a crack or scratch on the screen. On my gnex i did put a tiny dent in the metal rim that surrounds the glass the first time I dropped it before my case came.

      • Pdiddy187

        I’ve dropped mine about 5 times from head height onto linoleum. No scratches whatsoever.

      • S_T_R

        My “GNex” got multiple gouges from a 6″ fall and numerous scratches around the charging port from not getting it 100% every time. It is NOT an example of great build quality. Possibly better than the Nexus 4, but that’s it. If you want “great”, find a Nexus One. THAT is a solid phone.

        • ERIC REED

          The OG Droid was a beast at taking falls…I couldn’t kill that thing!!

          • Larizard

            I’ve dropped my OG Droid more than 20 times the 2.5 yrs I had it, and it still worked. The edges were chipped but the screen had so scratches at all. The only problem I was having was the lag when opening new/RAM intensive newer apps. I love that phone.

          • carbonbased573

            There was a time I was out in San Jose visiting friends who work at Apple in Cuppertino. I took my OG Droid and threw it down the sidewalk intentionally, just to show how durable it was. I did this several other times at work. You couldn’t kill that thing. Beat to hell when I traded it in but the glass was in tact.

          • http://twitter.com/michaelsm1th Michael Smith

            At one point my OG Droid screen backlight stopped working. I decided to drop it from 6ft on to tile floor and it fixed my issues.

    • Capt. Crunch

      You forgot about Kevlar haha

      • Droidzilla

        I never get why Motorola doesn’t get more props for their use of Kevlar. It looks slick, feels great, is lightweight, lets signal get through, and is plenty durable to boot. It’s like a premium plastic (I mean that in a good way).

        • kixofmyg0t

          Because they’re not Samsung thats why.

          If Samsung used it you’d get sick of hearing from EVERYWHERE about how great it is.

    • http://twitter.com/jeffaye Jeff Ayers

      If you watch the Note II drop test, a lot of the impact is absorbed and released through the back cover flying off. It may not look or feel the best, but it certainly is practical. I think Samsung is on the right track with the development of plastic flexible displays that won’t break as well.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lorne.serpa Lorne Serpa

        Iike a crupple zone of a car? Designed to give so other things don’t. Only 2 days till arrival of my VZW Note 2.

    • John

      So you are telling me KEVLAR is less durable than plastic? Lets make policemen wear plastic armours! Oh, yeah. Samsung fanboyland.

      • Hunter

        You realize that the kevlar in the rear of those phones is so thin and so far removed from the kevlar in bullet resistant vests that it is used simply as a marketing ploy and that the plastic surrounding that kevlar is indeed stronger, right?

        K good, thought you were simply spouting craziness.

      • chris phillips

        My scions fuel door has kevlar on it. I’m not sure i’d want to shoot at it though.

      • Paul

        Paper will stop a bullet if it’s thick enough. Glass is also extremely strong if thick enough as well.

        • CIFchamp24

          Wait is that how bullet proof glass works???! haha

    • EC8CH

      I agree plastic is one of the better material choices. I like what HTC has done with the One X and the DNA with a higher quality feeling plastic with a matte finish. Looks and feels much better than slippery shiny Samsung phones.

      • http://www.facebook.com/BJ.van.Beethoven Ben Edwards

        Only problem with a matte finish is that it gets absolutely filthy, extremely quick.

    • roberthenderson

      GS3 32gb with a 64gb class 10 card. I’m about flexibility and common sense in my phone. With an insane amount of memory I can download a launcher for the pure Android look or download a ROM if I want the full on experience (won’t do that though because I love and use a lot of the Samsung smart actions on my phone).one thing is for sure unfortunately, and that’s that I’ll never buy a nexus device.

      • Mark

        I’ve been on a GNEX for a year now and HATE not having a micro SD. I also hate that this phone can’t have the innovations that come with modern UI’s. The multi screen multi tasking from Samsung, and the battery saving features from Moto smart actions would be welcome additions. I’m looking forward to upgrading to a non Nexus

        • EDNYLaw

          If you want battery saving use either tasker or automateitpro. Both do the same thing as smart actions but they can do SO much more. I use automatepro on my GNex and it blows smartactions on my Razr out of the water.

      • ha

        Still wont be the full experience :). You love android but hate nexus yet nexus is the stock android system how its supposed to be. Seems weird to me,

    • shamu11

      Where can i get warranty that covers shattered backs?

    • BSweetness

      Exactly. A lot of people complain about how cheap Samsung devices feel, but they’re made that way for a reason. The plastics allow for far more flex upon impact, which can disperse the force much better than a rigid device like those from Motorola or glass like this. When the back of many Samsung devices flies off upon impact, that’s further dispersing the potentially harmful force created by the fall. Sure other OEMs might make devices that feel like they’re more durable, but the fact is that Samsung’s materials tend to be far more forgiving in a drop.

      • LionStone

        Sounds good…my buddy cracked his screen on his GN the second day he got it.

        • BSweetness

          Glass is glass. No matter who makes the device or what type of glass it is, it can break. This story is primarily talking about the materials used for the back of the phone though. Pretty much all smartphones use glass on the front.

          • LionStone

            Yes thats right but you were saying that “Samsungs materials tend to be far more forgiving in a drop” and i say no, not really, even though the back is plastic the glass on the front can break just as easily.

      • Paul

        You mean the metal frame of the macbook pro isn’t good for a hard drive when it’s dropped? But all of those apple fanboys are so sure it’s better. lol

    • Ihatenexus

      OH, how the mighty fall! Looks like all the I-nexus nerds are crying now, I can hear them loud and clear. Nexus this, Nexus that, The Nexus is the Best…….Blah blah blah, oops fall, CRACK.

      • brian moran

        get one!

      • tookieboy

        It still is. Cracked or not, still works way better than whatever phone you use. If you’re not on a Nexus, well too bad, you can wait for your updates. If you’re an iOS troll, _|_

      • ha

        Appple users are typically much more clumsy because the majority of them are children and women.

    • angermeans

      is there such thing as “good plastic?” As for me I’ll pass. Samsung really needs to step it up as the competition is running circles around them (well besides LG that is).

      • http://profiles.google.com/elouisyoung Eric Young

        you’re an idiot. samsung is crushing it right now.

      • http://www.facebook.com/j.c.sugrue James Sugrue

        You are a moron. In Q2, a third of ALL smart phone sales were Samsung. And yes, there is such a thing as “good plastic” Glocks are made of nylon, and they definitely don’t feel cheap.

        • angermeans

          Really? Are we four years old? Do we have to call names because you feel the need to defend your choice of a smartphone? We aren’t talking about Glocks because yes some are nice. Samsung phones are not made of nylon they are made of plastic. No dressing it up it is cheap plastic they aren’t doing anything special with it. Like I said before Samsung needs to step up their game plastic smartphones just don’t cut it anymore. BTW I purchased and had the GS3 (I also had two Galaxy Nexii) for a couple months and it was a good phone and there is a reason that they have sold so many of them, but plastic phones this far in the game just doesn’t cut it anymore when companies like HTC, Apple, Motorola, and even LG are looking into creating better hardware to go along with good software.

          I don’t understand why people take an opinion on a smartphone as serious as you have to have to feel like you must call names to get your point across. We all know that their are good plastic out there, but the cheap and awful looking fake brushed aluminum look that Samsung is passing off on it’s flagship devices needs to be updated. They are great phones, but like I said when the competition is running circle’s around you then you might want to look into pushing the envelope a little and get off of the plastic phone band wagon. I think that most if you ask them would feel the same. I’m pretty sure once Samsung decides to update their build quality then everyone will be saying the same thing about other phones that come out that are plastic. These aren’t cheap phones and are priced in the high end market so they should feel high end and unfortunately in my opinion Samsung phones don’t feel high end and I’ve owned about a half dozen or so in the past two years.

    • http://www.pcprocare.com/ Barry Taylor

      My wife and myself both have a GNex.. It’s her 2nd Android phone.. Samsung could get rid of their “stress testing tools” and just send my wife a phone for a week. She has thrown hers across the bathroom (somehow fell out of her pocket with incredibly fast forward momentum..) She’s dropped it @ the kids bus stop a few times, dropped it out of her lap when getting out of the car.. The sides have a little damage, but the front/back still look great!

      I hated my GNex back cover when i first got it.. plastic tabs holding it in place? Are you serious.. However, like you said, they’re bulletproof!

    • Trey Mitchell

      Polycarbonate != plastic

  • MikeCiggy

    I said it when the design features were just rumors, we on Droid-Life always talk down about the glass back of an iPhone and I was very disappointed that Google would think to try it. There are many way to make a phone look good without glass on the back where it does not NEED to be.

  • blee

    ugh.. this is awful.. i thought people saying they cracked it was sitting on it or lightly dropping it… but temperature change is shattering the glass??? I thought this was tempered glass like the pyrex cookingware…. this is shoddy planning then… :( i hope mine doesnt break like this.. (if i ever get it off backorder)

  • moelsen8

    couldn’t get a bumper with mine, so hoping my $4 case & screen protector from china gets here before my nexus 4 does. at this point i’m starting to bet it will.

  • vitriolix

    This sucks. I have been itching to get one of these, in fact tried for like 20 minutes to get the Play Store to process my order…but now I really think I’ll just get something else, this is stupid.

  • Stevedub40

    I don’t care how “premium” it makes your device feel; glass on a phone is never a good idea. We obviously need a glass front, but I can’t seem to figure out why you would want a phone wrapped in glass.

    • Droidzilla

      This. I’m still getting one, though.

  • http://profiles.google.com/soapinmouth Eric Steinberger

    I just think it’s hilarious how much of a grass is greener predicament this has become. Everyone was so envious of the build materials of the iphone4. The nexus 4 comes out and all initial reviews are loving the materials claiming it as the highest build quality android phone ever. Now that people actually have it put to use… yeah….

    • CIFchamp24

      The funny part is that the build quality is still the best out of pretty much any android phone ever. But is it the smartest……..

  • http://scribblepeople.net Mike

    ooh this may sway me again! BAH!

  • Pancake345

    You should be more careful.

  • UncleFan

    This cracking issue is the #1 reason I bought a GS3 yesterday instead of a Nexus 4. I just can’t afford to be dicking around with warranty returns… I want to enjoy my phone without worries.

  • http://twitter.com/jnewman1991 James Newman

    I’ve had mine for a week an it’s held up just fine (knock on wood). I usually don’t put it on anything other than my bed, couch, or my wireless charger as soon as I get one. That being said, I still think the glass back was a dumb idea. Sure, it feels really solid and makes the phone look nice but it’s weak. Hopefully we get some awesome replacement backs like the iPhone did. I wouldn’t mind a carbon fiber or leather back cover.

  • Me

    Nexus 4 is a dud.

    Nexus One (Original Nexus, Worlds first Superphone)
    Nexus S (meh)
    Galaxy Nexus (Must have, ICS, JB, buttonless design)
    Nexus 4 (dud)

    • http://www.getintonursing.com/ Jon

      yup…and this may extend to tablets too. Nexus 7 awesome…Nexus 10…I’m not sure. I watched an excellent side by side comparison review by Armando Ferreira on his youtube channel. Google “Google Nexus 10 Vs Microsoft Surface” to watch the video. I was shocked to see how poorly the Nexus 10 did with web pages and games not optimized for the super high resolution.

      I think it really has much to do with websites and apps not being made for the crazy insane resolution of the Nexus 10 and I’m sure the iPad retina must have similar problems with some content.

      • Justin W

        iPad apps have to be re-scaled by developers to work on iPads. I’ve never owned an iDevice, but I don’t think you can run an iPhone app on an iPad (mini or otherwise).

        • JetBlue

          I remember it was where the app ran like it did on an iPhone but you could scale it to the full screen but it was pixelated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.plantz Sean Plantz

    Thats terrible, although it seems a common theme. My Gnex cracked very easily, once it was just in my pocket and a slight bump against a wall shattered the whole thing, then a 2 foot fall into dirt did it all over again, where as my Droid X fell face first on concrete, down a flight of stairs, my 2 year old son thew it against a wall, etc. And nothing.

  • Matthew Runo

    I really like my Nexus 4, and don’t think it’s any more breakable than that other device we won’t name here. I’m happy that the phone isn’t plastic. Anything but a cheap feeling plastic phone.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      I’ve never heard of the iPhone 4/4S cracking by setting it on granite O_o

      • https://twitter.com/paladaxar Paladaxar

        Chris Chavez!!! I love you, man (no-homo) :)

        You should move over to Droid-Life and write for them…I always enjoyed reading your articles back when Phandroid was top dog :)

        • Jroc869, Cool story bro

          That would be epic!

        • Ahuahau

          No homo usually means, homo (and that’s ok)

      • Colton Wilburn

        weird…what are you doing here haha

        • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

          I…. got lost? O_o

      • http://starvedfool.com/ David

        Agreed. I’ve never personally known anyone who had a cracked iPhone 4/S back. And the ones I’ve seen online were because they were dropped – not random cracking.

    • vitriolix

      Did you read the article you are replying to?

  • Jewels Winfield

    and no LTE

  • http://www.AndroidAllies.com/ Max M.

    This article has pretty much made me decide not to get a Nexus 4. I baby my devices too, but I do it because I like to have them naked. If I have to use a case, then what’s the point?

    • http://scribblepeople.net Mike

      I may get a bumper or thin gel case!

      • FortitudineVincimus

        OK!

      • http://www.AndroidAllies.com/ Max M.

        The bumper was intriguing, but I don’t know how well it will protect the back.

    • vitriolix

      Now the question is… what is the next best option? I’m thinking GSIII or Note II … I really want to run stock though. I guess I need to go dig into the XDA forums for the Note II and see if there are any AOSP ROMs yet

      • http://twitter.com/JayGood259Ozz Kris

        Running stock android on the note2 kind of defeats the purpose of getting that phone. I don’t want to start the argument but stock android is over rated.

        • vitriolix

          It’s really not for me. I have owned TouchWhiz devices and its just a jumbled mess of poorly thrown together, half thought out features.

          An enterprising modder could split out the stylus drivers and APIs while leaving the cruft to the side, the question is… has anyone.

          • http://www.AndroidAllies.com/ Max M.

            I wish. I want it on my N7…

          • vitriolix

            I don’t think that’s possible as the hardware needs to support it

          • BSweetness

            It used to be a jumbled mess, but it’s come a long way. I won’t say it’s the greatest out there, but Samsung has added quite a bit of extremely useful features in it.

          • vitriolix

            Well… this fragileness and the lack of SD and non removable battery were just too much for me… just got a Note II on cyber monday deal :)

      • http://www.AndroidAllies.com/ Max M.

        I got a Galaxy Nexus last December, and I suppose it is fine for now. I will wait for the next batch of Nexii. Hopefully next summer?

    • Akashshr

      Unfortunately I will still get one! The hell with the glass scare…Baby is baby!

  • http://www.kovdev.com/ kover

    I’m eagerly awaiting the day I find mine cracked. Thanks for the motivation to constantly check it!

  • zUFC

    I guess you should of gotten one of those bumpers……haha

  • http://www.facebook.com/djamATL Derrick James

    this is why i will always love the build of motorola phones. i have a Nexus only because motorola phones dont have unlocked bootloaders. ill jump back in a heartbeat if it happened

    • vitriolix

      My Nexus One was a tank. I dropped that thing like 8 times on concrete and only got metal casing scratches

      • Lactose_the_Intolerant

        HTC’s Tank-erbolt has been know to fracture concrete when dropped.

        • http://twitter.com/djfunkyg Gary Martinson

          My t-bolt’s screen disagrees with you (twice)… :-(

          • Lactose_the_Intolerant

            Ouch =(

  • http://www.gizmoninja.com/ Tabe

    I agree.

    • http://scribblepeople.net Mike

      i will never praise glass, heh, just kinda want these phones for what is inside it

      • mikron24

        why on earth does LG release a new back cover that fits but its plastic ….who knows

    • Justin W

      I personally feel Google was a bit smarter though – they went with Gorilla Glass instead of just glass.. I haven’t had any issues with my nexus 4 yet.

      • Hunter

        Its Gorilla on the front, not the back.

        • Justin W

          Yes, the iPhone 4 had Gorilla on the front, not the back. The Nexus 4 has Gorilla Glass on both front and back. http://goo.gl/GfkNu

          • Adam Outler

            That would have been a smarter option. Its not like scratches on the back matter that much. Id rather have a scratched back than a cracked piece of glass in my pocket.

            Headed LG is a horrible engineering company.

        • http://www.AndroidAllies.com/ Max M.

          I think Matias Duarte said in the Verge video that both were Gorilla Glass.

          • http://www.gizmoninja.com/ Tabe

            Contrary to popular belief, Gorilla Glass isn’t really very crack resistant.. it’s main purpose is to be scratch resistant.

      • CIFchamp24

        I don’t know about you guys. I personally think its smarter to use whatever glass doesn’t crack from a simple change in temp. It’s good you haven’t had an issue yet, but you really think thats the smarter route huh?

    • EC8CH

      I think it’s stupid then and now. Sure it looks good, but it’s not very practical.

    • Ihatenexus

      OH, how the mighty fall! Looks like all the I-nexus nerds are crying
      now, I can hear them loud and clear. Nexus this, Nexus that, The Nexus
      is the Best…….Blah blah blah, oops fall, CRACK.