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Nokia X – A “Forked” Android phone

 

 

The Nokia X is a mid-tier smartphone developed by Nokia, unveiled as part of the new Nokia X family on February 24, 2014. The Nokia X runs a modified (forked) version of Android, referred as the Nokia X software platform. The device shipped on the same day as the unveiling, with Nokia targeting the product for emerging markets.

The X was previously under development known as Normandy, Project N, the Asha on Linux project and MView.

Nokia has launched its much-awaited Nokia X Android phone in India at a price tag of Rs 8600. The phone was one of the big announcements at the MWC in Barcelona, and it may end up being one of their most successful budget handset as well.

The Nokia X sports a 4-inch IPS screen with 480×800 pixels. It’s powered by a Snapdragon S4 chipset clocked at 1.0 GHz Dual Core processor. For photography, there’s a 3 megapixel camera. Other features include 512 MB RAM, 4 GB internal storage, micro SD card slot, and 1500 mAh battery.

On the software front, Nokia X series runs a highly modified version of Google’s Android OS. The Finns call it the Nokia X Software Platform. It will lack popular Google services such as Maps. Expect Hangouts to be replaced by Skype, Google Drive with OneDrive, Gmail with Outlook, and Google Maps with HERE. Users won’t have access to the Play Store either, but side-loading apps is possible. Recently, Nokia announced that 75 percent of all Android apps are already compatible with Nokia X.

 

 

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REVIEWS:

Yep, hybrid Nokia X runs Android — but not as you know it (hands-on)

BARCELONA, Spain — Take a moment to mentally collect all your visions of firing up a Nokia device to scan Google Now, launch Google Maps directions with your voice, and rent Google Play content. Now throw them all away.

The new Nokia X, X+, and XL smartphones that Nokia unveiled here at Mobile World Congress 2014technically do run on Android, just as the leaks and rumors promised — and that means you’ll be able to load up Android apps with ease. However, this X and family don’t turn in the full ‘Droid experience that you think. In fact, the software doesn’t look a thing like Android at all.

 Design & Interface:

The Nokia X is the Finnish brand’s big effort to make greater waves into the low, low end of the smartphone market – and it’s enlisted the help of Android to make that happen.

The Nokia X is a phone that comes with a fairly decent spec list for a phone that’s coming in at €89 before tax (around £75, $120, AU$135) – we’re talking a dual-core 1GHz processor from Qualcomm, 512MB of RAM, a 4-inch WVGA screen and a 1500mAh battery.

Nokia X review

However, it’s important not to compare to this to the likes of the Moto G, as it’s not meant for the more developed regions in terms of smartphone use. This is for areas where Android devices are sold at a much lower average price, but still can do the basic things that others can.

With that in mind, the Nokia X is probably a little better than OK. The polycarbonate body is fairly chunky, but in the hand it dovetails well with the smaller screen, as it would be hard to hold something that small and thin.

Nokia X review

The screen doesn’t seem to suffer either – the contrast is strong, helped by the smorgasbord of colour on offer from the live tiles.

There’s not a lot else on offer here in terms of ports or anything – the mandatory headphone jack and camera (which is only a 3MP option with no flash) are the only other items in a sea of matte plastic.

Nokia X review

But this isn’t meant to be a phone that’s all about design – the Nokia X is supposed to offer a differentiated user experience from the rest of the identikit Android phones on the market.

Nokia X review

To that end, I actually rather liked what Finland’s top Microsoft subsidiary is doing – there’s a nice fusion of Android familiarity and Windows Phone functionality.

The live tiles idea is really cool – it’s essentially just a clever way of doing Android widgets, but while other launchers can make things look too complex, Nokia is doing things its own way and making it all seem a lot cooler.

Nokia X review

For instance, there’s no ‘Apps’ key that shows all the little bits of software you’ve downloaded – now it’s all in one long list that just endlessly scrolls. To that end, it can get a bit messy, so Nokia’s method of creating folders is needed and something that wasn’t possible on Windows Phone.

Nokia X review

It’s nothing special, and you can’t just drag and drop to create a folder, instead needing to tap an icon. But at least dragging the live tile icons for each app will allow you to move the order around automatically, and some, such as the gallery, will expand to show pictures in your album.

Nokia X review

There’s even the chance to change the colour of some apps to match your theme – although the fact you can’t do this to all of them means this feature is slightly negated.

You can also see more notifications on the lock screen than you might on other Nokia phones – it’s a little boring in terms of design, but works well enough.

Nokia X review

The other big change is Nokia’s Fast Lane – it’s an odd change from the notifications bar, as it’s essentially the same thing but one long scrolling page that can be accessed by swiping right or left.

Nokia X review
Nokia X review

It’s cool in some respects, as it allows you to dynamically control things like the music player, and always keeps your most-used apps close at hand. However, there is still the same pull-down bar as on other Android handsets here, but it’s only for changing settings.

Nokia X review

Come on Nokia, you don’t have to change EVERYTHING.

Fast Lane isn’t the same as the multi-tasking menu you’ll get on the likes of most other Android phones – while long pressing the icon will shut it down, the app apparently still runs.

However, Fone Arena noted that the multi-tasking menu is still there, but you’ll need to install specific apps to get it to work – not hard, but its absence out of the box may irk some.

Power, Camera & Verdict:

CPU

Nokia X review

The dual-core processor seems perfectly able to handle all tasks – it stuttered a fair bit when opening some apps, and in the demo the mapping application didn’t like rendering 3D images at speed, but on the whole it was OK.

Then again, it feels like this should be a little cheaper as a device once you’ve dug a little more into it. It’s likely to be pretty kind to that 1500mAh battery, so at least you won’t be reaching for the charger every seven seconds.

Nokia X review

The Nokia X only features 4GB of on-board storage, and no microSD card expansion (unlike the Nokia X+, which has that option and 768MB of RAM to speed things up a little) which is a real worry when it comes to trying to add media as well as downloading apps – there’s not a lot of room for much else.

Update: So it turns out we were fed wrong information on the Nokia stand – there is a microSD slot here, as you can see, meaning the only difference between the X and X+ is the extra RAM…we’d always recommend paying more to get that speed boost, but in some countries a few pounds difference in the price is a huge thing.

Nokia X review

There’s also a removable battery in the mix too (like its brother) – I’m going to guess that Nokia will only release either the X or X+ in more developed markets, and it will likely be the latter to ensure greater app performance, given how close these models are.

Camera

Nokia’s 3MP effort without flash is just that: non-flashy. It’s a super-basic snapper, and it’s almost so basic that I feel the Finns should be making a bit more of an effort, even at this price point.

However, there are some tweaks: you can alter the white balance and exposure levels ( a fairly easy trick for most chips these days) so you can start to improve the brightness when the darkness begins to set in.

Nokia X review

The pictures you take also append to a Live Tile on the home screen in a similar way to Windows Phone – although only if you’ve sized up the window, given you can make the Live Tiles bigger and smaller as you wish in most cases.

Nokia X review

Nokia has been very careful to remove everything from Google here and make it all about Microsoft – there are lots of similarities between the UI on show here and Windows Phone.

Nokia X review

OneDrive is front and centre, and with 10GB of storage on offer that might seem enticing for those stuck using Android phones with no access to Google’s Drive.

However, there does seem to be a feeling this is forced into the phone – part of me keeps wishing that Nokia had just done this before signing itself away to Microsoft, as this could have been a really good addition to the Android game.

Early verdict

The Nokia X is a hard phone to work out – on the one hand, it’s a super cheap handset and as such has the budget specs you’d expect.

On the other, it seems to be not much better than the Lumia 520, which is a Windows Phone handset and supposed to sit above it in the product line – on current prices, it’s also cheaper.

There are some worries here even for the developing nations: that 4GB of storage could get eaten up quickly, and while Nokia is touting the ability to add third party apps through other stores, new phones can live and die by app availability and that could kill the Nokia Android project.

The Nokia X is constructed well enough, has a interesting new UI and is breaking new ground – but as a new phone, it seems a bit expensive for what’s on offer.

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 Specifications:

GENERAL 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100
SIM Optional Dual SIM (Micro-SIM)
Announced 2014, February
Status Available. Released 2014, March
BODY Dimensions 115.5 x 63 x 10.4 mm, 73.2 cc (4.55 x 2.48 x 0.41 in)
Weight 128.7 g (4.52 oz)
DISPLAY Type IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 480 x 800 pixels, 4.0 inches (~233 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes, up to 2 fingers
– Nokia X platform 1.0 UI
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 32 GB
Internal 4 GB, 512 MB RAM
DATA GPRS Up to 85.6 kbps
EDGE Up to 236.8 kbps
Speed HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth Yes, v3.0 with A2DP, HS
USB Yes, microUSB v2.0
CAMERA Primary 3.15 MP, 2048 x 1536 pixels, check quality
Features 1/5” sensor size, panorama, face detection
Video Yes, 480p@30fps
Secondary No
FEATURES OS Android OS, v4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8225 Snapdragon S4 Play
CPU Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A5
GPU Adreno 203
Sensors Accelerometer, proximity
Messaging SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email, IM
Browser HTML
Radio Stereo FM radio
GPS Yes, with A-GPS support
Java Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
Colors Bright green, bright red, cyan, yellow, black, white
– SNS integration
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/Flac player
– MP4/H.264/H.263 player
– Document viewer
– Photo editor
– Voice memo/dial
– Predictive text input
BATTERY Li-Ion 1500 mAh battery (BN-01)
Stand-by Up to 408 h
Talk time Up to 13 h 20 min (2G) / Up to 10 h 30 min (3G)
Music play Up to 26 h
MISC Price group Rs. 8600/-

 

 

 

 

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