The Android 4.4.4 update for the Nexus 4 arrived amidst loud complaints of many Android 4.4.3 problems. Although the Android 4.4.4 KitKat update is a very small update by comparison, it does bring a collection of fixes, security updates and performance enhancements according to the release notes.
Despite our overall good review of Android 4.4.3 on the Nexus 4, Google quickly rolled out the Android 4.4.4 update to the Nexus 4 and to other Nexus devices. For more check out our Android 4.4.4 review on the Nexus 7 and on the Nexus 5.
The speed that Google can quickly push out small updates to the Nexus line is one of the best features of these devices. If this was not a Nexus 4, the odds of a fast update to fix these bugs would be much slimmer, specially for an older phone.
The 2.4MB Android 4.4.4 update on the Nexus 4 ,”improves performance, security, stability and fixes bugs.” That’s the official word on what’s new in Android 4.4.4. Unfortunately we don’t know what specific bugs Google targeted with this release, but there were many problems including users unable to install the Android 4.4.3 update on the Nexus 4 and other issues.
Google pushed out the 4.4.4 KitKat update to the Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 devices ahead of Google I/O where the company announced the Android L release which will arrive on Nexus devices later this year and on other devices as well. There is no Android L Nexus 4 beta, so these users will need to settle for Android 4.4.4 for the time being. Although Nexus 4 users can download the Android L keyboard now. It is possible to install the Android L beta right now on the Nexus 7 2013 WiFi model and the Nexus 5.
After using Android 4.4.4 for the last week, and Android 4.4.3 before that, this is a review of the Nexus 4 update, which will help owners decide if they should install the 4.4.4 KitKat update or wait for another release.
ANDROID 4.4.4 INSTALLATION
The Android 4.4.4 installation on the Nexus 4 went smoothly. The update will not install on a low battery, but other than that it appeared as a free OTA update at the same time as the Nexus 5 and installed in about 15 minutes with no problems
After installing the update the Nexus 4 rebooted, and shortly after that it was ready to go without the need to reinstall any apps or re-login to the apps tested.
Android 4.4.4 Features
Android 4.4.4 does not include any new features, but the real reason Nexus 4 owners are looking forward to this update is for the promise of bug fixes, stability and improved performance. The Nexus 4 review unit used to test Android 4.4.4 did not show the bad battery life or sluggishness that some users reported. Issues from small updates often impact only a select number of devices, like in our Galaxy S4 Android 4.4.2 experience. So far there are no new Android 4.4.4 problems on the Nexus 4 review unit used for this test, which is synced with two Gmail accounts, multiple social media accounts and a variety of streaming apps and services.
Android 4.4.4 Performance
Despite a growing list of Android 4.4.4 problems, the Nexus 4 update performs very well on our review unit. Small updates that aim to fix problems can often add other issues to the device, but that is not the case for our test of the latest KitKat update on the Nexus 4. These small issues are why we test Android 4.4.4 and similar updates much like we do a new phone.
Apps work fine on the Nexus 4 running Android 4.4.4. This includes social media apps, streaming apps and games. After subjecting the Nexus 4 on 4.4.4 KitKat to a variety of tasks there wasn’t one app that crashed during the test. This small update does not appear to change the ability of most Android apps to function fine on the Nexus 4.
After installing Android 4.4.4 on the Nexus 4 review unit and using it for a week on AT&T, the device performed good and battery life was not an issue. Bad battery life is one of the biggest complaints about many small Android updates, but our review unit is not impacted by the update.
The Nexus 4 does not connect to LTE networks by design, so it will never match the connectivity speeds of other Nexus LTE devices, but Android 4.4.4 KitKat is not slowing this device down.
WiFi, Bluetooth and cellular connectivity work well on the Nexus 4 after this update.
The overall Android 4.4.4 performance on the Nexus 4 is very good. Although there are some noticeable differences in speed between the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 5, overall this older device handles the new KitKat update well. Everything from opening apps to switching apps and playing games works well on the Nexus 4 with Android 4.4.4.
Should You install Android 4.4.4?
This small KitKat update is one that most Nexus 4 owners should install on the device without waiting. If you are experiencing Android 4.4.3 problems this update may fix many of them and deliver a more stable device.
If for any reason your Nexus 4 Android 4.4.4 update goes poorly you can always use the Nexus 4 factory images to downgrade to an earlier version of Android.