As we’ve covered before, when producing thousands of flagship devices some are bound to have problems. Many different devices, including the LG Nexus 4, suffer from occasional screen yellowing problems, and the Nexus 7 had its share of minor manufacturing defects. According to some posts on XDA, another potential flaw of the Nexus 4 is that the back glass will crack when exposed to temperature changes, and while it is certainly plausible, it probably isn’t something the average user needs to worry about.
The reports on XDA cite a YouTube video, in which a Nexus 4 owner displays a Nexus 4 with a cracked back cover, and claims that it happened while the device was charging overnight. He says that the device was also extremely hot when he picked it up in the morning, which led him to the conclusion that the glass was cracked due to the change in temperature. This caused quite a bit of controversy, with some users accusing him of simply trying to get a refund for dropped phone, while others agreed with his interpretation of the problem, and still others thought the reason for the break might not be heat alone.
From what I can tell, I don’t think that the Nexus 4 has a glass quality problem, even though the back glass isn’t Gorilla Glass. I also don’t think that temperature changes alone caused the glass to crack as seen in the video. If the Nexus did in fact break on its own, I think that the most likely culprit is a bad battery. I’ve seen faulty mobile batteries quite a few times, and in general they do two things when charged: Heat up and expand. A faulty battery in the Nexus 4 of this unlucky user could have expanded enough to crack the display, while also heating up enough to make temperature a suspect as well.
Regardless of exactly how the glass broke, I don’t think that the incident warrants a panic about the Nexus 4’s glass quality. It is true that the rear glass of the device might not be as strong as the Gorilla Glass found on the front, but it should not be excessively prone to breaking. Faulty batteries also don’t seem to be a likely problem, although I will be watching to see if more reports surface. For now, I would still feel safe buying the Nexus 4, if it were even in stock on Google Play to begin with.