Nokia X assessment: What occurs when Nokia makes an Android telephone?

Nokia X review: What happens when Nokia makes an Android phone?

For a corporation now beneath Microsoft’s rule, Nokia has critical grit. The telephone maker introduced an Android telephone referred to as the X simply two months earlier than finishing its merger with Microsoft. Much more intriguing is the truth that that is no run-of-the-mill Android system: The X comes with a Home windows Telephone-like launcher, provides Microsoft providers and shall be bought for round $one hundred twenty in creating markets. Whereas it will not be a strong smartphone, it has many distinctive qualities that assist it stand out from the low-finish crowd. What’s it like, and will Microsoft spend money on its success?

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Nokia X assessment

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Nokia

Nokia X

Execs

  • Affordable hardware for the worth
  • Battery life is sweet for many duties

Cons

  • Poor efficiency and responsiveness
  • No entry to Google providers
  • Cannot multitask from apps
  • Mediocre name high quality

Abstract

For its worth, the X has respectable options and good hardware. Nevertheless, its complicated ecosystem and quite a few efficiency points make it exhausting to advocate over equally priced finances telephones. 

Hardware

The X does not stray from Nokia’s signature design language. In truth, if I have been to briefly see it within the wild (not understanding what it was), I might simply confuse it for an Asha 500-collection system. Identical to the Ashas, the X has sq. corners, straight edges, a big bezel and a detachable plastic again cowl with a matte end, though it lacks the clear casing of the Ashas. My evaluation unit is a white, twin-SIM Nokia X, nevertheless it additionally is available in black, blue, yellow, purple and inexperienced.

Every little thing concerning the X seems and feels easy. A quantity rocker and energy button grace the fitting aspect, whereas a micro-USB port and three.5mm headphone jack are situated on the underside and prime, respectively. Holding with Nokia’s standard type, the left edge stays devoid of any buttons. And identical to the Asha 503, the entrance of the X options solely a capacitive again button and earpiece. It lacks a entrance-dealing with digital camera, and once you flip the telephone over, you will discover a rear three.2-megapixel digital camera with no LED flash.

Luckily, I had no drawback holding the four-inch, 10.4mm-thick gadget, though lately, such a handset is taken into account fairly small. In case you’re coming from an Asha or older three.5-inch iPhone, you will probably recognize the dimensions of the system; simply to place issues in perspective, it is 5mm wider and 1mm thicker than the iPhone 4s. Nokia will come out with a 5-inch model of the gadget referred to as the XL within the close to future, so grasp tight for just a little longer in the event you’d somewhat go together with one thing greater.

Nokia X review: What happens when Nokia makes an Android phone?

As a result of it is a cheap handset (it begins at $123 USD), the X was by no means meant to be a lavish system. It exists primarily to deliver a contemporary smartphone OS to creating markets at a decrease value, so the specs are about as minimal as you will get today. It comes with a low-energy processor, WVGA show, restricted inner storage (1.2GB consumer-accessible), small battery and so forth. In different phrases, it is excellent as somebody’s first smartphone.

The X makes use of a four-inch IPS LCD panel with WVGA (800 x 480) decision. At a pixel density of 233 pixels per inch, the show is cheap in comparison with different Android telephones bought at across the similar worth. As anticipated from this type of display, the viewing angles are respectable and whites are brilliant, however sadly, colours are unsaturated and there is lots of mild unnecessarily bleeding out from the edges of the show. These tough patches apart, the display is definitely fairly good for such a cheap system.

For connectivity, the X is a primary, entry-degree 3G system fitted to creating markets, although it sports activities a restricted variety of frequencies. It comes with quad-band GSM/EDGE and twin-band (900/2100) HSPA, which maxes out at 7.2 Mbps down and 5.seventy six Mbps up. You will additionally get WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth three.zero and GPS.

Software program

Nokia X review: What happens when Nokia makes an Android phone?

The one space of the X that ought to attraction to each energy customers and first-time smartphone consumers alike is the firmware. Briefly, it is in contrast to something anybody has ever seen. Because the X is positioned between Nokia’s Lumia collection and the Asha lineup, it isn’t shocking that it makes use of a proprietary interface that takes parts from each units, despite the fact that it technically runs on Android AOSP (model four.1.2, to be actual). This implies you possibly can nonetheless use most apps, widgets and launchers supported on the platform, however identical to on many Chinese language units operating Android, you will not have entry to Google Play Providers like Gmail, Contacts, Calendar and so forth.

Nokia’s Android launcher

Nokia X review: What happens when Nokia makes an Android phone?

The default launcher on the X is tile-based mostly, very similar to Home windows Telephone. The tiles may even be resized — two totally different choices can be found — and you may change the colour of every one to suit your personal approach of organizing the telephone. There’s sufficient area for 3 small tiles, or one giant and one small tile, in case you favor. Nevertheless, this technique differs from Home windows Telephone in that Reside Tiles aren’t supported, so most tiles do not change in any respect whenever you make them bigger (solely particular ones, such because the gallery, add extra performance to the tile when enlarged).

You will not have entry to a regular Android app tray, however you’ll be able to create folders should you wish to obtain a bunch of apps. This motion is completed by lengthy-urgent any tile, which additionally permits you to transfer apps round and add widgets at your leisure.

There are many different gestures that you’re going to have to study as nicely. Tugging down on the launcher brings up a search bar (assume Highlight for iOS 7). Swiping down from the highest opens up a kind of fast-settings menu, which exhibits toggle switches for connectivity and music, in addition to an inventory of units or networks you are related to. There’s additionally a shortcut to your settings. Swiping up from the underside reveals a menu that corresponds with no matter app you are utilizing.

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Nokia X Android screenshots

Lastly, a swipe to both the left or proper brings up the Fastlane. This can be a function carried over from Asha (you’ll be able to even hint its roots again to MeeGo), and it serves as Nokia’s model of the notification menu. It exhibits just lately opened apps, notifications, alarms and your present music choice. Some alerts, reminiscent of texts and calls, are actionable, so you possibly can reply to them inside Fastlane itself; if you wish to filter out your alerts, you are able to do it individually or unexpectedly. You may as well customise the listing so undesirable gadgets are filtered out. (Professional tip: Tapping the again button from the house display will take you to Fastlane as nicely.)

There’s additionally a particular lock display that exhibits your current notifications. Swipe left on a person alert to take away it, or swipe proper to leap instantly into that app. It’s also possible to swipe up from the underside to clear all of them out, if you don’t need a number of notifications taking over all of your display area.

Identical to on Nokia’s newest Lumia units, the X includes a Look display that allows you to view the date, time and symbols for every sort of notification awaiting you. Typically it really works; typically it does not. Moreover, you possibly can double-faucet on the display to wake it, however I could not get this to work very persistently. In contrast to most Android units, which supply affordable multitasking choices, the X is rather more restrictive. You’ll be able to solely get to the Fastlane from the house display, which suggests you possibly can’t multitask with out exiting your present app utterly.

Nokia X review: What happens when Nokia makes an Android phone?

Nokia does not bombard you with Microsoft providers, nevertheless it does make them extra available than, say, their Google equivalents. Skype is preloaded, however you can even get OneDrive and Outlook within the Nokia Retailer. Curiously, it virtually looks like the corporate needs to keep away from wanting prefer it’s blatantly pushing Microsoft merchandise, despite the fact that that is precisely what it is making an attempt to do.

That does not imply Nokia’s prevented bloatware altogether, nevertheless. You will nonetheless get too many preloaded apps: Opera browser, WeChat, Viber, BBM, Nokia MixRadio, Right here Maps and 10 video games. Lots of them may be uninstalled, apart from the Nokia-branded choices. Most core apps — dialer, messaging, calendar, digital camera, alarms, web, music and e-mail, as an example — have been made by Nokia, and are thoughtfully designed. (I particularly just like the alarm, which was impressed by the MeeGo-based mostly N9.) Even the keyboard has a Nokia aptitude that gives neat swiping gestures.

Utilizing Android on the X

Nokia X review: What happens when Nokia makes an Android phone?

The perfect half is: When you do not like Nokia’s interface, no sweat — simply obtain a brand new launcher and use that as your default as an alternative. I attempted a number of and every one made it really feel like I used to be utilizing an actual Android gadget, however there are nonetheless some catches you have to be conscious of. Most significantly, Google Play Providers aren’t allowed on the X (with out rooting, at the very least). This implies you do not have the complete suite of the corporate’s providers: Play Retailer, Music, Video games, Calendar, Voice, Google+, Contacts — the listing goes on. Primarily, it’s because Nokia needs to give attention to promoting Microsoft’s choices as an alternative, together with Skype, Outlook, OneDrive and so forth. That is truly a good suggestion on Nokia’s half, when you think about the primary-time smartphone purchaser (or anybody else who hasn’t been fallen underneath Google’s spell): If Home windows Telephone is just too costly, no less than the X is a less expensive choice that introduces customers to Microsoft’s ecosystem in a roundabout means. In concept, as soon as shoppers are capable of purchase fancier telephones, they’d be extra inclined to offer WP a better look as a result of they’re already tied into Microsoft providers.

This type of setup is sufficient to confuse most customers. Together with this mixture of Microsoft providers, Home windows Telephone and Asha, the X is, at its core, an Android gadget. Thus, it helps most Android apps, however the technique of acquiring these apps will not be as reduce and dry as they need to be. The Nokia Retailer is the official place to go, nevertheless it does not supply the identical library because the Play Retailer. As an alternative, Nokia curates apps: It invitations builders so as to add strains of code that make their apps suitable with Nokia’s particular UI, after which submit their apps and await its approval. It is fairly the method, and judging by the restricted variety of obtainable apps within the Retailer, it appears that evidently a whole lot of builders have not bothered with it but.

So what occurs if the app you actually need is not within the Nokia Retailer? To Nokia’s credit score, the corporate’s made it attainable to obtain or sideload any app you need — although it is not straightforward. If you cannot discover the app you need within the Nokia Retailer, it suggests an inventory of third-social gathering app shops so that you can take a look at. Presently, it lists SlideME, Aptoide, 1Market and Yandex as choices, and, through the use of this technique, I used to be capable of get the app I needed round ninety five % of the time. Of the quite a few searches I carried out, solely a small handful produced no outcomes. The issue is that it takes for much longer to seek out the app you need (in case you discover it in any respect), and you need to go into particular person shops for those who’re in search of an replace. Lastly, you’ll be able to load any APK file onto the telephone by way of microSD and web hyperlinks, although you will not get updates until you manually sideload them.

Digital camera

Nokia X review: What happens when Nokia makes an Android phone?

There is not a lot to say concerning the fastened-focus three.2MP digital camera. The photographs aren’t incredible (particularly for Nokia), however it’s not truthful to carry such a reasonable telephone to requirements set by fancier units. Because the X is meant for a lot of first-time smartphone customers on a restricted finances, this digital camera will match their wants fairly nicely. It is received a 1/5-inch sensor measurement and f/2.eight aperture lens, and Nokia even throws in a couple of guide settings to sweeten the deal, together with ISO, white stability, publicity, sharpness and face detection.

Predictably, you are not going to get nice pictures at night time. The telephone merely does not have the fitting specs to do low-mild photographs any justice. That stated, the photographs I took through the day truly seemed about nearly as good as one would anticipate from a digital camera like this; whereas the restricted dynamic vary and lack of autofocus make it troublesome to have an satisfying expertise, I got here away impressed by the colour copy.

Efficiency and battery life

Nokia X review: What happens when Nokia makes an Android phone?

At such a low worth level, the expectations for a telephone’s efficiency differ from that of a midrange or flagship mannequin. The X comes with a 1GHz twin-core Cortex-A5 Snapdragon S4 Play, an Adreno 203 GPU and 512MB RAM (the X+ and XL will include 768MB). In plain English, this implies it is ok to deal with most elementary telephone features, nevertheless it’s geared towards first-time smartphone customers and creating markets, and is not meant to maintain up with excessive-finish, quad-core smartphones.

Taking a look at it from that viewpoint, I needed to see a telephone that is usable, responsive and constant. I did not anticipate it to make computations extremely quick, nor did I want it to load video games like Asphalt eight on a dime. Nonetheless, it needed to help all the core apps and some extras with out crippling the consumer expertise.

With these standards in thoughts, the X has its share of excellent and dangerous traits. The mesh of varied UI parts from totally different platforms will drive an Android aficionado nuts, however the X can also be designed to maintain issues easy. So long as the consumer is not venturing too far into the weeds (sideloading apps, as an example), it’s going to be straightforward sufficient for somebody to determine their means across the telephone. And whereas it might be a bit complicated for some, the training curve and consumer expertise are extra affordable than an Asha telephone. Actually, as time goes by and the worth of the X goes down, I would not be stunned to see this collection utterly exchange the Asha lineup.

Nokia X review: What happens when Nokia makes an Android phone?

Nevertheless, it is not a really responsive system. I observed numerous delays between my contact and the display indicating that I might finished something. There have been loads of occasions through which I needed to repeat gestures time and again till it lastly found out what I needed it to do. And no less than a pair occasions a day, I lengthy-pressed the again button to go to the house display, solely to be greeted by a prolonged pause and “please wait” message. I additionally observed that the display would randomly flash on and again off once more, and it typically turned on in my pocket with out being prompted (this prompted frequent redials and misfiring emails to individuals I not often speak to anymore). At occasions, notifications confirmed up later than they need to have, and infrequently they did not even present up in any respect.

Due to all this, I can not say that the X has consistency. Too typically, I might repeat the identical motion solely to get totally different outcomes. A handset that has a thoughts of its personal is not one thing I can tolerate in any telephone, no matter how a lot it prices. As well as, it was typically a ache to get even probably the most primary providers arrange on the X.

Name high quality is mediocre at greatest, as most of my conversations have been filled with static and the opposite finish of the road is usually muffled. Moreover, my expertise connecting the X to Bluetooth units was inconsistent. Then again, the meager 1,500mAh battery lasted longer in common smartphone use than I might’ve anticipated, though processor-heavy duties did worse. After a day of average use, my assessment unit nonetheless had 30 % leftover, and lightweight telephone customers ought to be capable of squeeze out no less than two or three days, if no more. The telephone did not fare nicely in our infinite-video rundown check, making it solely 4 hours earlier than dying; within the X’s case, this is not a lot an indicator of a horrible battery as it’s the incapability of the processor to deal with such actions effectively.

The competitors

Nokia X review: What happens when Nokia makes an Android phone?

Pricing will differ relying on area, however the X formally retails for round $one hundred twenty. It is positioned between the upper-finish Lumias and decrease-finish Ashas, though, as I discussed earlier, I would not be stunned to see the X make the Asha lineup irrelevant if it drops in worth within the subsequent couple years. Its present value, nevertheless, is about the identical because the Samsung Galaxy Star Professional, a comparable gadget with comparable specs. The X has 3G help and a greater digital camera, nevertheless it additionally has a complicated ecosystem based mostly on Microsoft providers; the Star Professional, then again, has full entry to Google providers and encompasses a extra acquainted TouchWiz interface. It is also unsure what sort of help Nokia will supply the X now that it is formally beneath Microsoft’s wings, so it might make extra sense to go together with one thing just like the Star Professional, which has a extra strong ecosystem.

Wrap-up

Nokia X review: What happens when Nokia makes an Android phone?

Microsoft’s in a pickle. On one hand, its model-new acquisition simply got here out with a product operating its competitor’s OS; on the opposite, that very same product may be key to gaining mindshare in creating markets, which is likely one of the bloodiest battlefields in cellular proper now. It is arduous to really feel assured within the X’s future as a result of Microsoft might select to not spend money on the collection, focusing assets on cheaper Home windows Telephones as an alternative. Due to this uncertainty, the X must be a completely beautiful gadget and a unbelievable worth if I’ll advocate it — and sadly, it isn’t.

For its value, it has respectable options and strong hardware, nevertheless it does not have sufficient redeeming qualities to assist it pull forward of its competitors. The specs are corresponding to a sub-$one hundred fifty Android smartphone. Nevertheless, the ecosystem is extra complicated and the efficiency does not fairly meet my expectations for a finances system. Plus, who is aware of how lengthy Microsoft will hold it round and replace it? Nokia’s nonetheless a trusted model, and it will get a number of curiosity in creating markets whatever the competitors, however I used to be finally too annoyed to advocate this over different equally priced fashions.

The X works higher as a attainable Asha alternative than a full-on smartphone expertise, and maybe that may occur within the subsequent yr or two. I am extra assured within the efficiency of low-finish Home windows Telephones just like the Lumia 520 than I’m in comparable Androids, and a twin-SIM Lumia on this worth vary can be a way more compelling deal.

Edgar Alvarez contributed to this evaluation.

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<a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/nokia/x/”> Nokia X </a>

  • Key specs
  • <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/nokia/x/” title=”Nokia X critiques” goal=”_blank”> Critiques 2 </a>
  • Costs
  • Discussions
  • Sort Smartphone
  • Working system Android (Jelly Bean [4.1])
  • Display measurement four inches
  • Inner reminiscence four GB
  • Digital camera three&#one hundred sixty;megapixels
  • Introduced 2014-02-24

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6.5common consumer score
  • Reception and name high quality eight
  • Show 5
  • Battery life 10
  • Digital camera 2
  • Ease of use four
  • Design and type issue 7
  • Portability (measurement / weight) 7
  • Media help 6
  • Sturdiness eight
  • Ecosystem (apps, equipment, and so forth.) 7

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