Getting the Nexus 4 for review was something of a treat for me. I've been anticipating the arrival of a follow-up (and upgrade) from the company's previous flagship device — the Galaxy Nexus — for a handful of very specific reasons. In fact, I've held off on moving to other, excellent devices with expectations of this mystery phone in mind. While I have been largely pleased with using the Samsung-produced Nexus, there are some irksome qualities to the handset (a poor camera, weak display, and lack of LTE for AT&T) that have made me eager to switch.

When I had a chance to venture out to Google's Mountain View headquarters for a feature on the next phone, I already knew a bit about what was next on tap. We'd covered a variety of leaks of the alleged new Nexus, a glass-backed device apparently made by LG. The device turned out to be more than just what I'd seen in leaks — it's a robust handset, with the all the bells and whistles you'd expect, and a design sensibility that suggests Google is continuing to move in a smart direction with its hardware. But there are issues — like an alarming lack of LTE — which makes it tough to see how this stacks up fully against the competition.

Still, it's an interesting evolution of the Nexus experiment. An unlocked, high-end device sold for the cost of what some other phones sell for on-contract with carriers. For this market, that kind of choice is relatively unheard of.

So should you go rogue, toss contracts aside, and pick up a Nexus 4? Or does Google have to make peace with carriers before its phones can be considered viable alternatives?