Nexus 4 Owners: Really Unlucky Or Just Really Clumsy

Smashed.

Earlier this week, we asked owners of Google’s new Nexus 4 smartphone whether they’ve found it exceptionally slippery. It was part warning, part user poll. Reader Blaine thought that his phone got all smashed up after falling off an ironing board in a way that sort of defies the laws of physics because of its curved back and super shiny surface. Sad Nexus owners wrote in, but so did tech fans who wanted to defend the honor of Google and manufacturer LG. The consensus? Don’t put your phone on a non-flat surface, and accessory makers really need to hurry up with those bumper cases.

Ryan points out that most any device, even one made from tough glass, can break if you hit it hard enough in just the right place. That’s true.

Mine has dropped at least a few times from the 4 ft. range and I have no blemishes on my phone. I don’t doubt that the guy’s phone broke from a 2-3ft. fall, but it was clearly a freak accident. Most glass will break from a small bit of force if hit in the perfect spot – it is the nature of the material. Also he complains about the material being slippery and says LG chose form over function, but he said himself that he can’t recreate the circumstances that caused the fall. Don’t put the phone on slanted surfaces – seems obvious.

It’s a good idea not to put anything on a slanted surface, unless it’s a vehicle with wheels and that surface is a ramp.

Reader Andy questioned whether one person’s freak phone accident was even worth a blog post, and picked apart reader Blaine’s account of what happened to his phone. Ahh, it’s almost like having a comments section again.

I don’t have a Nexus 4, so I can’t comment on how slippery it is, but making such a statement as “…the scratch-proof glass coating and curved back made it topple off a cloth-covered ironing board…” (emphasis is mine) seems to be putting unnecessary blame–and maybe unwarranted animate qualities–on the phone. There also seem to be other stretches in Blaine’s own account to absolve himself of any blame.

–Any ironing board I’ve seen is flat, so even if the phone had wheels, I’d question how it ended up on the floor. My Nexus S has a curved-plastic back, and I’ve never had it slide off a table–though it’s threatened to vibrate its way off, for which I would certainly take the blame. Anyone who’s owned a mobile phone for any length of time would know that phones indeed become mobile when the vibrate function goes off.

S. simply writes: “Dropped it yesterday. Digitizer is toast.”

This photo is very sad but doesn’t prove much. Lots of people damage their electronics in the first days or weeks that they bring them home. It happens.

James, meanwhile, also owns a Nexus 4, and has also had his phone fall off surfaces that didn’t seem all that slanted to him. He found a handy improvised solution to keep it from spontaneously plummeting again until his backordered bumper case shows up.

Absolutely my Nexus 4 has slipped off surfaces that don’t even seem angled. I too am in backorder for the bumper that surely would make this a non-issue if it were on the phone. I am very fortunate that so far I have either caught it or it fell and landed on carpet. I have now cut a sock that had grip on the foot and am using that to hold my Nexus and keep it from slipping off until my Bumper arrives.

Ryan agrees that the phone has a special relationship with gravity.

You asked if this happened to us and I’m here to say yes it does….all the time. I regularly put my phone on top of my wallet (leather) and after about 15-20 minutes the phone always slides off. At first I didn’t think anything of it but yesterday it fell off my dresser and thankfully hit carpet and didn’t break. This is a big design flaw and I can’t buy the bumper because it’s out of stock so I’m stuck waiting and hoping nothing catastrophic happens. It’s a great phone but with no friction it’s dangerous!

Jesse made a video of his phone allegedly inching its way off the bathroom counter, without even vibrating or playing music. YouTube commenters insist that he must be using some low-tech trickery, like pushing the phone with his finger. It’s that, or Jesse’s house is about to fall over: what’s in this video makes no sense whatsoever under according to the current laws of physics.

What’s the answer, in the end? The one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that the Nexus 4 is a nice phone, and that it would be nice if the people who ordered bumper cases could get them in a timely fashion.