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Nokia X3 – 02 Touch and Type

Full Review

While its high-end segment seems to be a bit less-crowdier than the value-for-money segment. After the C3 got its touchscreen version, Nokia quickly unveiled the touchscreen version for its entry-level X3 series. We already reviewed the Nokia X3 back in August, despite its good music playback, we were not quite impressed with this mid-segment slider. Let’s see how the new X3 Touch and Type is compared to the older X3 and the newly launched C3 Touch and Type.

Nokia X3 Touch and Type is a budget smartphone. It has a hybrid design that combines a touchscreen as well as a traditional 12-button phone keypad.

The Nokia X3 Touch and Type has a sleek, brushed aluminium finish and will be available in five colours (white silver, dark metal, lilac and pink). It is also one of the thinnest Nokia phones ever at just 9.6mm. It weighs a mere 78 grams.

The Finnish company is targeting rapid texters who are used to using a traditional keyboard. According to Nokia, “Our research tells us consumers who have invested years in becoming fast one-handed, one-thumb texters want to maintain their speedy edge for SMS, chat and instant messaging — yet enjoy the benefits of touch as well.”

The X3 Touch and Type has a different design to the Nokia N900 phone which has a touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard, and Nokia’s upcoming flagship smartphone, the N8, which is a full touchscreen device with no physical keypad.

Despite its price, which is expected to be low, the Nokia X3 Touch and Type has plenty of features. Running the Symbian 40 Series operating system, the X3 includes 3G and HSPA support, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1. On the entertainment side, the X3 Touch and Type has a 5-megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, video recording, MP3 player and FM radio capability. Only 50 MB of internal memory is present, but the X3 Touch and Type has a microSD card slot that can be expanded with cards up to 16GB in size. According to Nokia, battery life is rated at five hours talk time and 17 days of standby time.

The X3 Touch and Type will have access to Nokia’s Ovi Store for third-party applications, and will also feature Nokia Messaging — a client that offers push access to consumer e-mail and chat accounts.

The X3 Touch and Type is an intriguing hybrid phone, but it remains to be seen if the concept will take off. With its entry-level positioning, we are sceptical as to how responsive the 2.4in resistive touchscreen will be — it looks promising in Nokia’s preview videos below, but we’ll be keen to put it to the test when it launches in India.

Against the C3 Touch and Type, the X3 Touch and Type pretty much has everything the C3 Touch and Type  sans the LED flash  for the camera. The physical form factor looks a bit similar but X3 Touch and Type has dedicated music keys.

From the older X3, the Nokia X3 Touch and Type is a big upgrade in terms of screen size and camera pixel count. However, the form factor changes from slider to candy bar design.

Summary

The Nokia X3 Touch and Type is a feature-rich entry level phone with a very nice design. It sports a 5MP camera and offered plethora connectivity options. It is an attractive option for those who need a stylish and affordable phone that does not skimp much on features.

Pros:

  • Stylish design
  • Bigger screen than the old X3
  • 5MP Camera
  • Good set of connectivity options

Cons:

  • No GPS
  • Resistive Touchscreen
  • Hybrid design may not appeal to all

Specifications:

General 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
Announced 2010, August
Status Available. Released 2010, September
Size Dimensions 106.2 x 48.4 x 9.6 mm, 45.3 cc
Weight 77.4 g
Display Type TFT resistive touchscreen, 256K colors
Size 240 x 320 pixels, 2.4 inches
Sound Alert types Vibration, MP3 ringtones
Speakerphone Yes
– 3.5 mm audio jack
– Dedicated music key
Memory Phonebook Yes, Photocall
Call records Yes
Internal 50 MB user available
Card slot microSD, up to 32GB, buy memory
Data GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 – 48 kbps
EDGE Class 10, 236.8 kbps
3G HSDPA, 10.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 2 Mbps
WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth Yes, v2.1 with A2DP
Infrared port No
USB Yes, v2.0 microUSB
Camera Primary 5 MP, 2592 x 1944 pixels
Video Yes, VGA@18fps
Secondary No
Features Messaging SMS, MMS, Email, IM
Browser WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML
Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS
Games Yes + downloadable
Colors White Silver, Dark Metal, Petrol Blue, Pink, Lilac
GPS No
Java Yes, MIDP 2.1
– Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Gtalk
– Facebook, Twitter
– MP4/H.264/H.263/WMV player
– MP3/WAV/WMA/eAAC+ player
– Flash Lite v3.0
– Organizer
– Voice memo
– T9
Battery Standard battery, Li-Ion 860 mAh (BL-4S)
Stand-by Up to 408 h (2G) / Up to 408 h (3G)
Talk time Up to 5 h 20 min (2G) / Up to 3 h 30 min (3G)
Music play Up to 28 h
Misc Price group Rs. 9,000/- to 10,000
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Nokia X3

Nokia X3

The X3 is Nokia’s latest music phone, but while the name will give many the impression that this is a cut down version of Nokia’s capacitance screen touting X6, in reality the two phones are completely different beasts.

Whereas the X6 is targeted at the higher end of the contract phone market, the X3 is primarily aimed at pay as you go users looking for a more wallet friendly phone, which is reflected in its sub £80 asking price. The form factor is completely different too, as the X3 has more of a traditional slider design, albeit with some tweaks here and there including some dedicated music keys. In fact the only real ties between the two handsets are the fact that they’re both being pitched as music phones and they both share the same colours scheme. Like the X6, the X3 is available in black with either red or blue strips flanking the screen.

With its slightly boxy design we wouldn’t exactly describe the X3 as a looker, but when you slide the keypad open you’ll find that at least the extra girth means Nokia has been able to equip it with a relatively spacious keypad. And although the keypad is a flat one piece design, there is a bit of travel in each key which helps make it a fairly easy phone for quickly tapping out text messages. Nokia has also added three music keys on the left-hand edge of the display to let you skip forwards and backwards through tracks as well as starting and pausing playback.

Another welcome feature for music fans is the standard 3.5mm headphone jack at the top of the phone which makes it easy to swap the supplied earphones for your own cans. The top edge is also home to the standard Nokia mini charging port, but you can also charge the handset via its microUSB port, which may come in handy if you need an emergency battery top up when you’re around a mate’s place.

The screen is an area where manufacturers often cut costs on budget handsets and unfortunately this is definitely the case here. At a mere 2.2inches the display is very small and the resolution of 320×240 pixels means text tends to look a tad blocky. However, the biggest problem with the screen is its shimmery look that sometimes makes it difficult to focus on. The reason for this seems to be its very narrow viewing angle, as a tiny rotation to the right makes it look very dark while doing the same on the left-hand side washes out the colours almost completely. As a result we could never really find a sweet spot where readability was acceptable.

When it comes to music the phone uses the standard Series 40 media player. To our mind this isn’t quite as attractive, responsive or as well laid out as the Walkman app on Sony Ericsson’s music phones, but it’s still pretty straight forward to navigate around. The music library is divided up into playlists, artists, albums and genres, and album art is displayed on the screen when a track is playing. You can tweak the audio output via the five band equaliser and there’s also a stereo widening setting that aims to increase the apparent width of the stereo image when you’re using headphones.

Given the phone’s low price tag it’s understandable that it uses Series 40 rather than Nokia’s more advanced Series 60 operating system. Series 40 is pretty straight forward to use as the main menu has the standard nine icon grid layout. By default the handset is set up to use the personalised homescreen that offers short cuts to stuff like the FM tuner, music player and calendar, but you can also turn this off so the home screen simply displays a static picture instead. Unlike some previous Series 40 handsets, the X3 also has the Ovi app store onboard so you can buy and download new games, themes and ringtones directly from the phone.

The supplied headphones aren’t too bad, but sound quality improves dramatically when you try a better quality set of cans as the X3’s audio output is actually quite clean by budget handset standards. The phone only has 45MB of onboard memory free, so if you want to store a decent sized library of music tracks you’ll have to rely on MicroSD cards. Thankfully, Nokia supplies a 2GB card with the phone to get you started and cards of up to 16GB in size are supported. The card slot is also easy to get at as it’s positioned beneath a plastic flap on the left hand edge of the phone.

The X3’s camera is a very basic 3.2Megapixel shooter that lacks both autofocus and a flash. Outdoor shots are passable, but indoor photos are hopelessly grainy unless there are excessive amounts of light in the room. Connectivity is also quite basic. There’s no support for 3G or Wi-Fi, so EDGE speeds are the fastest that the handset is capable of. It also lacks GPS, but there is Bluetooth 2.1 so you can use the handset with Bluetooth stereo headphones. And perhaps because of the lack of advanced features like 3G and GPS, the phone actually performs pretty well when it comes to battery life. We got around three and a half days out of it.

However, the one area where you’d expect a Nokia phone to excel is rather bizarrely where the X3 falls flat on its face, as we found that call quality on this handset was well below par. Despite using it in an area with strong reception, the phone often ended up producing garbled, Dalek sounding audio and on more than one occasion we had to drop a call and try again. In this day and age that’s really not acceptable.

Verdict

The X3 has a decent line up of features for a budget handset, especially when it comes to music. However, the poor screen and dodgy call quality means that it’s a difficult phone to recommend, especially when there are plenty of better quality handsets available for similar amounts of money.

GOOD:
Decent design and build, great audio quality, powerful loudspeakers.
BAD:
Outdated interface design, display has poor viewing angles, average camera, basic web browsing capabilities.
VERDICT:
If all you want is a phone with good music playback, then the X3 is for you.
Price:
Rs. 6394/-

Specifications:

General 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
Announced 2009, September
Status Available. Released 2009, December
Size Dimensions 96 x 49.3 x 14.1 mm, 65.8 cc
Weight 103 g
Display Type TFT, 256K colors
Size 240 x 320 pixels, 2.2 inches
Sound Alert types Vibration; Downloadable polyphonic, MP3 ringtones
Speakerphone Yes, with stereo speakers
– 3.5 mm audio jack
– Dedicated music keys
Memory Phonebook 2000 entries, Photocall
Call records 20 dialed, 20 received, 20 missed calls
Internal 46 MB
Card slot microSD, up to 16GB, 2GB included, buy memory
Data GPRS Class 32
EDGE Class 32, 296 / 178.8 kbits
3G No
WLAN No
Bluetooth Yes, v2.1 with A2DP
Infrared port No
USB Yes, microUSB
Camera Primary 3.2 MP, 2048×1536 pixels, enhanced fixed focus
Video Yes, QCIF@15fps
Secondary No
Features Messaging SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email
Browser WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML
Radio Stereo FM radio with RDS; built-in antenna
Games Yes + downloadable
Colors Red on Black, Blue on Silver
GPS No
Java Yes, MIDP 2.1
– MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV player
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/WMA player
– Organizer
– Voice memo
– Flash Lite 3.0
– T9
Battery Standard battery, Li-Ion 860 mAh (BL-4CT)
Stand-by Up to 380 h
Talk time Up to 7 h 30 min
Music play Up to 26 h
Misc SAR US 1.28 W/kg (head)     0.72 W/kg (body)
SAR EU 0.73 W/kg (head)

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