A few weeks ago, Nokia revealed the Nokia X – the company’s first Android-powered smartphone and while the Google-made operating system will run on the smartphone, Nokia made it clear that it will still focus on core Microsoft and Nokia apps on the device. They also added that these devices fall into the mid-range budget category and that their current Lumia range will continue to be their flagship line. The three Android-powered devices announced by Nokia were: the Nokia X (reviewed here), Nokia X+ and Nokia XL.
Build Quality & Design
Reminiscent of their current Asha range, the Nokia X comes in a matte plastic finish with a glass screen in the front. At 115.5 x 63 x 10.4 mm, it fits perfectly in the palm of your hand and at 128 grams, it’s very lightweight. The back is removable and provides access to a removable battery and the dual micro SIM card slots along with the micro SD card slot.
Like the Lumia range, the Nokia X comes in various colours (black, blue, green, red white and yellow). It uses a micro USB port for charging and data transfers. You only have one button on the front located below the screen that allow you to go back a step or home. Other than that, there is a power switch and volume buttons located on the side and a 3.5 mm headphone jack at the top.
The Nokia X is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor running at 1 GHz with 512 MB of RAM. It comes with 4 GB of internal memory (2 GB available for apps, files and media) that can be expand up to 64 GB using the micro SD card slot. Nokia has equipped the Nokia X with all the standard connectivity options such as 3G, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP plus an FM Radio.
The 4-inch IPS LCD capacitive touch screen has a resolution of 480 x 800. It’s not necessarily the best display but is good enough to showcase the colorful themes and Windows Phone-like design of the home screen. Lastly, it comes with a 3 megapixel camera that takes decent shots for this type of smartphone. No front facing camera is included.
This device runs primarily on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean but Nokia has done a good job hiding all evidence that this is an Android-powered smartphone. Even looking at the software information on the phone, it only shows that it runs on a Nokia software platform.
Most of the Google-centric apps are nearly non-existent. Cloud storage is provided by Microsoft’s OneDrive, and maps is provided by Nokia’s excellent HERE Maps software which you can use offline. A plethora of other apps are already pre-installed, including Skype, BBM and Facebook. Also included is MixRadio, Nokia’s own music streaming service and a bunch of games that you can easily remove if you don’t like them.
The heavily customised interface of the Nokia X resembles that of the Lumia range, with tiles representing apps that are installed and can be positioned freely to your liking. There is lag – but that is expected considering it only runs on an older processor and 512 MB of RAM. While the Nokia X manages to run through simple tasks easily, it struggles on graphics-intensive games.
Apps can be downloaded from Nokia’s own app store (Google Play Store has been omitted) which, at the moment is lacking quite a few of the popular apps. However, the Nokia X is an Android device which means you can easily side load apps and install any almost app you want. The UI also includes Fastlane that was introduced in the Nokia Asha range. By swiping left from the home screen, Fastlane shows all your recently accessed apps in a single screen, along with app notifications and your calendar and activity.
As far as all mid-range smartphones go, the Nokia X did better than what I was expecting. Apps installed easily and launched without hassle. The built-in browser also loads web pages with ease, but I managed to crash it a few times loading heavier web pages. The Nokia X supports HSPA that downloads web pages, apps and data reasonably fast. As expected by Nokia, call quality was top notch and calls made through the Nokia X were crisp and clear, with no distortions heard in both ends of the line.
The 3 megapixel camera takes decent shots – but that’s about it. Don’t expect any Lumia-like quality with the Nokia X’s camera, which also lacks a built-in flash. The interface is basic, but I’m glad that Nokia has included controls for white balance and ISO plus face detection and noise reduction. It takes video at 480p, which looks pixelated when viewed on the smartphone but can play 720p videos fine. 1080p on the other hand shows the weakness of Nokia X’s hardware.
While the 1500 mAh battery may seem small, it actually provides up to 408 hours of standby time along with about 10 hours of talk time. Translate that into a real world setting and you’ve got a smartphone that managed to reach for two days on normal usage on a full charge.
At 439 AED, it’s hard to go wrong with Nokia X. The package includes a charger and a nice red-colored stereo headset that fits nicely with the phone’s design. It belongs to the same range of budget-friendly Nokia smartphones that offer good performance at a very reasonable price. Android compatibility opens a new door for Nokia’s budget smartphones, letting users enjoy the large app selection that the operating system is known for. There are other Android smartphones positioned at the same price range, but the Nokia X triumphs over the rest with its better than average design and its commitment to the Microsoft app ecosystem.