Bargain Android

At $199, the Nexus 4 is the steal of the century. Somebody call Chevy Chase! But the price drop does put a crimp on my upgrade plans.

Google dropped the price of its flagship stock Android device. Now you can score a carrier-free Nexus 4 for only $199.
Google dropped the price of its flagship stock Android device. Now you can score a carrier-free Nexus 4 for only $199.
Google dropped the price of its flagship stock Android device. Now you can score a carrier-free Nexus 4 for only $199.

By now you’ve probably heard that Google has slashed (and I mean slashed) the price of its 2012 Nexus 4. The new price: only $199 for the 8GB model. That’s 33% cheaper than the Android smartphone was selling for just days earlier.

The best part of the whole deal, though, is that you can scoop the LG-made flagship Nexus without contract.

$199 can also get you the fresh and pleasantly designed Moto X. But you’ll need to commit to two years with Verizon, or AT&T. Either that or pay $579 for the unlocked version.

Sure, the Nexus 4 is not the latest and greatest. And, as I’ve discovered in almost a year of ownership now, it’s not without its faults. The back is glass and scratches easily (I keep mine in a case 100% of the time, which sadly undermines all the effort on the design). Battery life is abysmal. The screen doesn’t pop and lacks contrast, especially when compared to newer flagships such as the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4.

The price drop is an interesting, though not surprising, move by Google.

I say interesting only because so far as I know the company has not resorted to discounting in the past. Previous Nexus models, such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus from 2011, were simply removed from the online store in advance of newer models.

Speaking of newer models, there’s not much surprise that Google would want to clear inventory. The incessantly rumored and “leaked” (oy vey) Nexus 5 is just around the corner. Odds are it will be made by LG; I give a 10% chance that it will come from Motorola.

Perhaps the fact that Google needed to discount this go round means the Nexus 4 was not a hot seller. After all, if the thing was flying off store shelves would a price drop be needed?

Regardless, the move puts a slight crimp on my upgrade plans. I usually flip my device on eBay. Last time I took only a $30 loss on the GNex. So I made up the difference and was able to upgrade to a Nexus 4 last November. Obviously this time I’ll take a bigger hit. I could always hang on to the Nexus 4 longer… but who am I kidding? That’s crazy talk!

Meantime, those in the market for a solid Android handset should definitely consider the Nexus 4. At only $199, it’s quite possibly the best deal the smartphone market has ever seen.

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