Nokia X Review

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Nokia has recently announced it’s new series of flagship phones named as the “X series”. What’s different about these phones? Nokia X series will be supporting Android operating system while carrying over the Lumia aesthetics. We have got our hands on the Nokia X which is the medium or base line configuration of the whole series. 4.0-inches worth of Android goodness surely makes this phone a little small but not at all small on functions.

Android power users and even the average ones have come to love the huge screens which are associated with Android phones but Nokia X provides a slimmed down experience. Let’s take a quick look at the technical specifications of the Nokia X, before proceeding to the review.

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Technical Specifications

  • Display: 4.0-inch IPS LCD display (480×800 pixels)
  • Processor: Dual-core 1GHz Cortext-A5 CPU
  • Camera: 3.15 megapixels camera
  • Video: 480p video recording
  • Memory: 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage + ROM, supports microSD card up to 32GB
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 3.0, WiFi, microUSB
  • Other: FM radio and recording, 3.5 mm jack, accelerometer, Opera Mini, Astro File Manager, Music Player and much more
  • Battery: 14 hours battery time with normal usage, 1500mAh Li-Ion battery
  • OS: Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean – Nokia Platform UI 1.1 (Originally 1.0 but can be updated to 1.1)

 

Nokia X Review

 

We, at Team Android, will be covering every aspect of this phone including all the positives and negatives one should bring in to question before pulling the trigger. We will not be comparing this phone to the high class smartphones rather we would be logically taking this phone in context to it’s price point and targeted audience.

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To kick things off, we will be running down the specifications of this phone. It will be boasting a 4.0 Inch (480×800) screen with a pixel density of 233. We did not observe any sort of pixels while using the phone normally, you can only find the graininess once you zoom your eyes onto it which isn’t needed in any scenario. Slightly dated version of Android 4.1.2 will be at it’s heart but don’t worry as most of your apps would be compatible with this version.

1 GHz dual-core processor will be powering it all paired with 512MB of RAM. The processing power is at a good level but it bottlenecks in multi-tasking with the limited RAM. 3.15 MP shooter is placed at the back. This camera is actually well optimized and is very good in capturing detail and colours accurately. We don’t expect you to take your best clicks with this phone because it is pretty obvious that the main attention wasn’t the camera. Dual SIM functionality and micro SD card slot is a key in emerging markets such as Pakistan. Back cover completely comes off giving you a choice to switch it with a new colour.

Android Apps and Nokia Store: This is where we seem to find a little conflict. Although this phone is targeted to support Android apps, it doesn’t include the Google Play Store. Huh? Rather it includes the Nokia Store. You can find most of the apps from Nokia Store like latest games and almost all the social apps but it lacks in other categories. Would you miss that? We guess you won’t. Nokia X is not meant for the user who wants high end gaming, absolute overkill specs to run all the new apps but it is meant for those who want to check their social apps, mail and use the smartphones built in functionality rather than new apps. One major concern we have is the lack of Google Services on this device.

You can not seamlessly connect your Gmail account and forget about your contacts. Neither can you sync your calendar nor any Google smartphone service that comes to mind. This might be a deal breaker for some but their are ways to work around this.  We were able to install APKs after we downloaded them off the Internet (APKReleases.com) or backed them up from our other phones. As with all good things, you have to sacrifice something. We hope Nokia addresses to this and make this phone complete.

User Interface

Overall Design:

This point will be a mix bag. Some actually like the “Nokia X UI” while others absolutely hate it. We think the User Interface serves it’s purpose while looking decent. Nokia wanted to give their Lumia users a sense of similarity to Windows Phone so they came up with this. After messing around a bit we managed to set up a nice main page with all the functions needed at most. Rather than conventional home screens. Nokia X has a centre page which is scrollable downwards and it lists all the apps and also serves the main hub for adding widgets. Each app gets its own icon with a square border. This keeps things nice and symmetrical. When you add widgets, the icons automatically adjust when you hover over a certain position just like in Windows Phone and even in Windows on desktops. We were annoyed a bit from the accuracy needed to activate a certain button on the touch screen. For example, if we wanted to go back to the main contact list from the contacts app, we had to be pretty accurate. This takes a little bit to get used but it shouldn’t be there in the first place.

Navigation:

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Nokia X features only a single physical button placed at the centre with “<” symbol. This acts as a back button when tapped once and when you hold it, you can make it as a home button to be used in apps. Power button is placed just below the volume rockers.Once you power on the device, you would be greeted by a static page which needs to be swiped in order to get to the main page.

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Swipe up during app usage will open the settings menu which is Nokia thinks is better than a physical menu button.

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Moreover, there is “Fastlane”. Fastlane is basically a advanced notification center/live feed. It will list down all your recently opened apps, social notifications in one place. To reach Fastlane just swipe to the right.

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Design

One thing that sets this phone apart from all others is the unique design. A simple bar shape in bright vivid Lumia colours make this phone pleasing to the eye. Materials used to make the whole housing are low grade but definitely not impossible to bare. Plus we don’t expect any better than this for the price which we are paying.

The whole back cover comes off. This allows for changing the whole colour of your phone. Different colour options which can be used later on are few of the demands which young users usually make. Front is a plane slate without much large branding. Also the speaker hides nicely right above the NOKIA logo.

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As this phone takes the simple bar shape design, there are edges to grip too and the matte finish of the back cover keeps it from getting fingerprints and slipping. The micro USB has a odd placement compared to others. It’s actually opposite, so the actual front side of the micro USB cable is basically the wrong side for the Nokia X. Not an annoyance, just something unusual.

Camera

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As we mentioned before, these phones are not made to be smartphone camera wonders but they include cameras to snap photos here and there. We will be covering this point just for the sake that you can see how well it performs. From our use, we got a lot more than what we expected from the 3.15MP camera. Images are sharp, true in colour and not grainy. Lumia and Nokia are known for their extremely well performing cameras but in this case it’s just a mediocre one. The sample images we took tell the whole story — we’ll do a separate comparison of the camera pictures with another Android phone.

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Performance

This phone has surprisingly done well with the limited amount of RAM and processing power it has. The OS did not feel laggy and  navigation in and out of apps was quite snappy as well. Multi Tasking has been on the lower side, sadly but we did not expect it to do well in the first place so one can overlook that. We also hope you wont be using this phone for HD 3D games as it definitely lacks the power needed to run them at a playable frame rate. However games like Temple Run and Subway Surfers had no issues what so ever.

Battery performance has been neutral. It wasn’t that good neither was it bad. It was just right. With WiFi being on most of the time and apps like Instagram being used frequently as well as mixed with some music playing, the Nokia X lasted a day and half. We would consider it a day driver which you can use whole day and leave it on charge during the night. A bit down side we notice is the phone getting hot without any sort of usage which can explain it. Especially when connected to a charger or file transferring. The heat could be felt on the bottom side most.

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All in all, we have found this phone to be pretty exciting and it has amazed us with great brilliance. We did not expect this phone to kill all the latest competing flagships but it definitely won in it’s own ground. Nokia X is a nicely designed practical phone made for a practical user.