After numerous rumours and leaks, Nokia officially showcased its first ever family of Android smartphones at Mobile World Congress (MWC) meant at Barcelona. Nokia’s Android range of smartphones, which consists of Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL, are especially meant for emerging markets.
The Nokia X, X+, and XL are priced at â‚¬ 89 (Rs 7,500), â‚¬ 99 (Rs 8,500), and â‚¬ 109 (Rs 9,300) respectively. However, only Nokia X will be made available in India by March end this year and its Indian price will be revealed at its launch.
All the three smartphones under the X series are not like the typical Android smartphones that we are used to instead they are heavily-customised version of Google’s Android OS, designed to give you look and feel of a Windows phone . These phones come with tile-based home screen like that of Windows Phone. Fastlane notifications centre- a second home screen if you like- from the latest Asha devices is also there. Besides, they come with a notification bar like Android. They don’t support Google services or Play store instead they have support services like HERE maps, Skype and One Drive.
All the three are budget smartphones and are aimed at emerging market. They are not meant for advance mobile users instead they are targeted at first time smartphone users.
Users cannot download apps from Android market place (known as Google Play store) directly; to download apps users have to visist the Nokia store, or you can sideload APK files or access third party app store like Yandex Store( which is quite popular in Russia) for downloading your favorite apps.
At MWC Barcelona we spent some time with all the three devices and here is out first impression about Nokia X and X+.
Nokia X comes with a 4 inch IPS LCD display with 800×480 pixels resolution. It has 512 MB RAM, 32 GB micro SD card slot, two SIM slots, 3 megapixel fixed focus camera, and a 1 GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 processor. There is no front camera in this handset. The handset measures 115.5 x 63 x 10.4mm and weighs 128.66 grams. It is said to have 10.5 hours of talktime and 22 days of standby on 3G network.
Nokia X+ too comes with a 4 inch IPS LCD display with 800×480 pixels resolution. Even it has a 32 GB micro SD card slot, Dual SIM slot, 3 megapixel fixed focus camera, and the same 1 GHz dual core Snapdragon S4 processor as the Nokia X. It has however marginally better 768 MB RAM. Both the phones are powered by a 1500mAh battery and run on the Nokia X platform which is a modified version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system.
Look and Feel
Both Nokia X and X+ have a matte-finish polycarbonate shells and will be made available in six different colours – green, black, white, yellow, cyan and red. Both the smartphones come with removable back panels under which lies the dual SIM and micro SD card slots.
Nokia X and X+ have just two physical buttons – power/lock button and volume rocker, which are on the right side panel. On the bottom panel one will find the micro USB port while the 3.5 mm jack is at the top. There is a touch-sensitive button under the display, unlike typical three buttons in Android smartphones, which can be tapped to go back a step or held to return to the home screen. In the back panel one will find the 3 megapixel camera.
Even people with small palm size can operate both Nokia X and X+ quite easily with single hand. Both the phones have a simple design philosophy and seems inspired from Asha range of smartphones and look quite elegant for a budget smartphone . The back panels of the phones are not scratch resistant but since they are body-colored all the way they can hide them nicely.
The only drawback seems lack of dedicated camera button but that should be a cause of worry because all most all the budgets phones under Rs 10,000 don’t have one.
The 4 inch display of Nokia X as well as X+ supports 480 x 800 resolution, which is quite low but similar to what other budget Android phones have. At times pictures on the display might look pixelated. However, both the phones have an IPS panel which provides great viewing angles. The display is quite responsive to touch and even the colour saturation and contrast are good.
If you are a first time smartphone user, Windows like tile interface of X and X+ will not be a shocker or difficult to understand. On the other hand if you have been using an Android smartphone you will get confused with user interface of Nokia X series phones.
Once you power on the device the home screen in both the phones have icons and widgets displayed as Live Tiles (single long-scrolling pane )unlike typical Android phones where one will find the app launcher. One can move around and resize the tiles in three different sizes as per one’s liking.
If you swipe the display from right to left you will find another screen which Nokia calls fastlane which list notifications, recent apps, updates and alerts.
One will also find shortcut such as replying to a message, opening audio/video player or returning the call in the Fastlane. It feature is very similar what is available in Asha phones.
Both the models have dual SIM capabilities, 4 GB of internal storage and a micro SD card slot which can accept up to 32 GB card. In the emerging market dual SIM capabilities might work well and may be the USP for the X series of phones.
Also, like typical Android smartphones one can access pull down notification bar to manage WiFi, brightness, audio profile and so on. This is the only feature that would remind you of Android phones.
The lone capacitive button under the display screen is not meant for multitasking; it is just a back button and if you long press it you will land on the home screen.
Both models have just 4 GB of internal storage and a micro SD card slot which can accept up to 32 GB cards.
Overall during my brief stint with the device I was quite happy with the performance of the phones. I played a couple of games including Subway Surfer on the phone and didn’t encounter any lag. Though during the initial usage I was a bit confused weather I was using a Windows or Asha or Android phone.
Nokia X and X+ have an 3-megapixel camera with fixed-focus lens. Picture quality is decent in well-lit conditions. One should not though expect amazing clicks or detailing in the pictures.
Nokia should haved armed the phones with a better camera because most of the Android smartphones in sub Rs 10,000 price bracket support 5 megapixel camera and in emerging markets, most use their smartphones as the primary shooting device.
Like Android phones, Nokia X series of phones cannot download apps from the Google Play store directly. You can only get apps from the Nokia Store, or can sideload the phones via APK files or third part app stores.
All the Nokia X series of smartphones will come preloaded with apps such as Here maps, Facebook, Twitter, WeChat, True Caller, and Skype.
As of now Nokia Store is equipped thousands of apps, including all the major ones like SwitKey, Temple run, Subway surfer, Opera and so on. To find apps one just needs to type the name of app in a search bar at the top of Nokia store and if it is available either in Nokia store or in a third party app store, it will be displayed .