I bought a Google Nexus 4 to replace my iPhone 4. There, I said it. I feel like I have to justify myself a bit on this one.

A few weeks back, my iPhone started acting strangely. It would freeze up for a few seconds, the Home button wasn’t working consistently, and the battery wasn’t really working great. The battery thing was expected — I mean, batteries don’t last forever — but the other things were just getting annoying. I knew it soon would be time to replace the phone, but getting an unlocked iPhone 5 was going to cost me around $800.

Meanwhile, friends, co-workers, and family had been on me to take a look at the Nexus 4. “It’s vanilla ice cream whatever,” they would say. It was really starting to wear me down, and I have to admit my curiosity was getting the better of me. But the reason I pulled the trigger came down to money: the phone — which is unlocked — costs less than half what I’d spend to get a new iPhone. I figured, what’s the worst that could happen?

OK, so let’s rip this Band-Aid off: I actually like the Nexus 4. I like it a lot. Sure, there are a couple things that bug me about it — but I’m definitely eating crow over my iOS fanaticism.

Things I like about my Nexus 4 (in order of appreciation)

The way accounts are handled

Rather than handling logins in every app, Android centralizes (most?) accounts at the OS level. I added my three Google accounts, which meant that I automatically had my mail in the Gmail app, Maps had my recent search history, Chrome had my bookmarks, Google Reader had all my feeds — and I only had to log in once (per account). Facebook is there, too. Dropbox. Skype. Twitter. It’s all in one place, and apps can share the usage of those accounts without me having to type in my password over and over. Genius.

I know iOS means well to embed the browser in each app, but it just makes more sense to me that tapping on links will open the web browser app. By doing that, I get to reuse cookies and sessions. I can leave things open in tabs and switch back to the app I was in. It’s closer to how multitasking works on your desktop OS.

I can customize anything

I’m loving that I can add widgets to the home screen. I can download apps that customize the LED for different notifications. I’ve read that I can replace nearly every aspect of the UI with something else, and then there’s the whole ‘rooting’ rabbit hole I can travel down, too. I like knowing that if something about the OS bugs me I can fix it.

Apps can do more throughout the OS

Apps can do so much more in Android. Example: any app can add itself to the sharing options. I downloaded the Instapaper app, and now I can share links from Chrome or Google Reader directly into Instapaper — without resorting to a bookmarklet (which I always found a little hacky). Another example: Google Voice can take over text messages completely. That’s awesome. It can do phone calls via Google Voice, too, although I haven’t tried it.

Things I don’t like about my Nexus 4 (in order of annoyance)

No Home button, button on the side is hard to push

To turn my screen on, I have to push a button on the right side of the phone. It’s a small, hard-to-push button, and in order to push it with one hand I have to squeeze the phone in such a way that I often accidentally adjust the volume (which is in the same position on the left side of the phone). I don’t necessarily want a Home button on the front of the phone, but it sure would be nice to have something a little easier to push.

Notifications aren’t quite the same

When my iPhone gets a text message, the screen lights up and I can read that text message. If I’m not near my phone or if it’s in my pocket, and I get a couple more text messages, they pile up on the screen. I can do this for other notifications as well, and it’s all configurable per app. It seems to me like a no brainer on how any phone should handle incoming notifications. Out of the box, my Nexus 4 does not do any of this. The best I get is a LED that lights up (sort of).

I’ve been told that all of this is customizable via apps. Light Flow for the LED. SMS Popup for the iOS text message notification. And that’s fine, really — but it bugs me that these options aren’t built-in.

I need to customize everything

Out of the box, the OS feels unfinished. Not in a half-assed, Windows ME way, but in a “we expect you to tune this to your preferences” way. The first night I got my phone, I was fiddling with it for hours. It’s not just the notifications thing, either, but everything. There’s so much to configure that it was overwhelming. I still feel like there’s an entire settings page somewhere in the phone that I haven’t seen yet, and the OCD side of me is really insecure about that. Sometimes, I just want my phone to be a phone, you know?

The speaker is really quiet, vibration is wussy

They designed the phone with the speaker on the back. When it’s sitting on a flat surface, I can’t hear it even if it’s turned to full volume. That’s just an engineering fail right there. And the vibrate feature is really weak. And because the screen doesn’t light up when I get notifications, it’s like this phone is designed for me to miss everything when it comes in.

Too big for my freakishly-tiny hands

My iPhone 4 fit perfectly in my left hand, allowing me to type and tap with my thumb, without once feeling like it was going to slip out of my palm. This Nexus 4 is too wide for one-handed usage. I can rest the phone against the bottom of my palm and angle it so that my thumb reaches most of the keyboard, but then my fingers are only resting on the back of the phone rather than gripping it. It wouldn’t take much for it to slip out of my hand altogether.

Thing is, I never knew I had tiny hands before I started using this phone. It explains so much. No wonder I was lousy at bass guitar.