Nokia X is the first ever Nokia smartphone running Android (AOSP). We received this device some 20 days back and as per NPU’s tradition, we don’t rush to write reviews just on the basis of 2-3 days of use like many other sites. This Nokia X review is based on use of Nokia X as my daily driver for last 20 odd days.
Design wise, it resembles pretty well to Nokia’s colorful Lumia range, but has some design genes from Asha 5XX range as well. It looks well-built and beautifully designed. It gives a feel of robustness and reliability when you hold it in your hand. With its small size, it is very pocket-able and joy to use with one hand. The 480p display is very bright and has good color contrast. The tile shaped icons look really beautiful on this display, which has some issue with finger-prints, which make It look dull at time, especially if your palm is sweaty. Surprisingly, it has one of the best outdoor visibility amongst the devices of its price range.
The Nokia X comes with Nokia X OS which is based on AOSP and has Swipe UI seen on Asha 5XX range, only much enhanced. Fastlane is now much capable and it shows all apps updates and notifications and mind you the notification support on Nokia X is very reliable. The other homescreen has all the apps shaped as re-sizable tiles, that can be arranged in Folders, too. There is option of changing color of 3rd party apps’ tiles, which may be a welcome addition on Windows Phone as well. You can watch our UI hands-on in the video below. This UI really keeps even first-time smartphone users at ease, due to its simplicity.
While Nokia X runs smoothly and is responsive most of the times and the device handles the big games like Asphalt Airborne 8 very well without breaking a sweat. There are some apps though, which take sometime in opening up and there is some noticeable lag when we try to return to homescreen, while in a resource-intensive game or app. But, this is the first OS build, and this can be improved by Nokia in future updates.
Apps & Games availability:
Nokia X shines when it comes to apps availability, because of its Android roots. Nokia store along with 3rd party stores cater to apps and games needs of users efficiently and nearly all the top free Android apps are available for Nokia X. You can check our video below to see 10 top Android apps from Google Play on Nokia X.
Native & Nokia / Microsoft exclusive apps:
Nokia has packed Nokia X with fully-featured HERE Maps with offline support and it provides great user navigation experience like always. Nokia MixRadio is one of the best free music streaming app with great music listening experience and it again comes with offline mixes as well. OneDrive which comes with 10 GB free storage from Microsoft (in case you back up your camera roll) is very well integrated and the app comes with functional and feature-packed UI. You can take a deep dive in various native apps’ UI by watching our hands-on video below
For a 3 MP fixed-focus camera, Nokia X performs decently. Especially in low-light it surprises with its noise cleaning, though details capture wise, it is as good as an entry-level smartphone camera can be. Even the video capture is decent for a 3 MP camera without flash and can capture video in 480P resolution. It will be really interesting to review 5 MP auto-focus camera of Nokia XL with so much manual control on offer. You may like to read our extensive Nokia X camera impressions full of sample images and video by clicking here
Browser & Multitasking:
The native Nokia Browser on Nokia X has recently been updated with some cool new features which have made it better. The browser renders webpages really fast and offers a good browsing experience with tabs, favorites, password manager and history settings. Though, one can also download browsers like Opera and UC browser from app stores, and you can also set any of them for opening web links from any application.
The multitasking on Nokia X is more like iOS and Windows Phone than Android. So, while some background processes are always on and you keep on getting push notifications from apps like Facebook, Twitter, Mail, some Games etc, consistently, most of the apps get suspended when sent to background and fast resume from the suspended state on reopening. Though, downloads, apps installations, music play etc work fine in background and one can see them happening in real time in Fastlane and even control them.
Music, Video Playback:
Nokia X has a different UI than what we usually see on other Nokia smartphones and it may be liked by many. The music output is good quality and speakers are loud, in fact speakers and music output quality let Nokia X score some extra points. Video playback is also smooth but is limited up to 480p videos playback only. So, you won’t be able to play videos in 720P res or higher on Nokia X, a limitation which we think Nokia should do something about.
For a heavy usage, with many mail boxes syncing, lot of push notifications and moderate to heavy browser use, Nokia X lasts 22-24 hours. So, for moderate use it may be able to last for 4-5 hours more
Nokia X is a compelling option for someone looking for a quality Nokia smartphone on budget. With its wide apps support, Nokia design, quality and being priced very competitively in market likes China, it may be a no-brainer to go for. Though, in markets like India where it is priced close to market price of Lumia 520, you may like to weigh your options. Lumia 520 tops it up in camera and overall smoother operation because of its sorted out OS. Though Nokia X has some advantage in apps and games availability with games like “Candy crush saga” yet not available for Lumia 520. Anyways, Nokia has really done something impressive here. It has taken Google out of Android on Nokia X and then made it more lucrative with exclusive apps and experiences from Microsoft and its own
You can also enjoy our detailed video review of Nokia X below or click here