Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the possibility of Phil Jackson coaching the New Jersey Nets, studying for a road test, or caucasians with dreadlocks, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.
With their powers combined (Captain Planet TM), the Google Nexus 4 and T-Mobile’s $30 unlimited data plan are the best value in mobile tech. On the hardware side, you have a high-end phone that’s unlocked, yet sold at a subsidized price ($299 or $349 depending on configuration). On the service side, you have a dirt-cheap plan that gives you unlimited texts and 5GB of high-speed data per month — without a contract! All that said, it’s not a perfect combination for everyone.
On the plus side, the Nexus 4 boasts a 4.7-inch screen with a 1,280 x 768 resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, an eight-megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM, and a 2,100 mAh battery. Best of all, Nexus phones serviced by Google get the latest Android updates first and are free from the bloatware that carriers won’t let you uninstall. There are some phones with slightly better specs, but certainly not available for a contract-free price of $299. I’ve been using a 16GB Nexus 4 for the last couple of weeks and I’m extremely pleased with its performance.
On the down side, the storage and data speeds will not be enough for hardcore users. Although cloud services are more robust than ever, the 16GB storage maximum will be problematic for some people. The Nexus 4 also lacks an LTE radio, which prevents it from hitting the best data speeds available in the U.S. The good news is that the Nexus 4 does have an HSPA+ 42 radio that’s compatible with T-Mobile’s best speeds. HSPA+ 42 download speeds are competitive with LTE, but the latency and upload speeds aren’t nearly as good.
If you’re the kind of person that uses data and text more than voice minutes then you should check out the T-Mobile $30 plan. If you can live with 100 minutes of talk time a month, it’s an absolute steal. Keep in mind that in addition to the deficiencies in ping and upload speeds, T-Mobile’s network isn’t as vast as AT&T’s and Verizon’s. Depending on where you live, work, or travel to, coverage can be an issue.
Still, if your T-Mobile coverage is up to snuff and you can live with 16GB of onboard storage then it’s tough to beat this coupling. You have a fantastic unlocked phone at a great price and service that’s less than half of what most tech enthusiasts pay. It won’t work for everyone, but for many people in America the Nexus 4 backed by T-Mobile’s $30 plan is an unbeatable combination.