HOW NOKIA MADE AN OS U-TURN
The long rumored project Normandy within the vaults of former Finnish smartphone maker Nokia (now Microsoft) is finally here. Let me not forget to mention that they do awesome feature phones too and have finally culminated into the X line. The Nokia X being inclusive. The X family is the first of its kind from Nokia running on Open handset alliance’s Android platform. The X software is built on top of Android (forked) just like Amazon did with its Kindle range of tablets. A lot was speculated but finally the device was announced on the recently concluded mobile congress together with its larger siblings, the X+ & XL. Here is what you should get to know about this device before you finally hit those shelves to buy one or hit the web and scroll for one.
The phone was designed as an entry level budget handset set to help smartphones users shift from the Asha range ( I really doubt the Asha’s smartness) to the more appealing Lumia handsets. It was purposely built to help users to easily switch! I am wondering why it took Nokia so long to come up such a project given Androids dominance. We’ve heard stories of Nokia declining to get aboard the Android bandwagon in fear of only being one dominant player. That is Samsung, congrats to Samsung for having scared such a big player off Android. They say the very many Android OEM’s hardly make a profit off it except for Sammy.
Clearly Nokia built this phone with Microsoft at heart as the phone was in the works even before Nokia devices division became part of Microsoft’s devices division led by Stephen Elop . Google doesn’t get a mention with this phone anywhere as most of the services we have come to see on most android devices were given a cold shoulder by Nokia. No Gmail, Maps, Play Store,Calender, the much-loved GoogleNow and a lot more apps we have come to love from Google. I only got to witness services like skype, Here maps, Outlook & Nokia’s own mail client,its own app store and everything Microsoft and Nokia. Actually I got some Google apps working on this device but we didn’t come to talk about hacking anyway, it’s a review so ladies and gents keep your eyes glued onto your screens as I take you through this review.
THE X CONNECTION
This being a budget handset, it supports most radio frequency bands so you shouldn’t worry about having no signal as it comes supporting bands of GSM 850/900/1800/1900 with both SIMs. And getting online either shouldn’t be much of a problem as this device supports 3G HSDPA speeds of 900/2100 but it comes as a disappointment to those who are used to high speeds. Staying true to the set purpose of this phone, those speeds are easy to get you along. So you cannot complain of missing out of what the connected world has to offer.
Facebook is at your finger tips and Twitter tags along. Both social media platforms come pre-loaded ( But you will miss out those hit apps from Play Store unless you hack this device since the Nokia store has a limited number of apps). The 3G speeds of 7.2Mbps that is on HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps on HSUPA as stated on the spec sheet aren’t a disappointment. The device supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot as well as tethering. Need a lot more? It packs Bluetooth version 3.0 and spots a micro USB v2.0.
The device really resembles the Nokia Asha phones especially the 500 line. It draws a lot of aesthetics from the Asha line and a lot of software tweeks from the Lumia brand. The Windows live tiles we have come to love have now been skinned on-top of Android on the X-line though not with that real Windows Phone experience, in reality they weren’t live on the X-line except with the gallery tile. They didn’t look as impressive as they look on the likes of Lumia 620 or the lower end 520 especially on that low res 480 x 800, 4.0 inch IPS LCD display with (~233 ppi pixel density). Hold on right there, clearly these are not high-end specs so far so comparison will go hand in hand with phones of similar specs.
The stunning photos from those low speced Lumia phones were not reflected on the Nokia X having packed a 3MP rear shooter with no LED flash. This did not come as a surprise seeing the Lumia 520 having no flash mentioned anywhere. So the Nokia X wasn’t an exception. It can record up to 480@30fps. The camera was a huge disappointment to this phone at least I can say that the 2005 Nokia N70 has a better camera than this one. It does not mean a budget handset should come short of good specs because most devices at such a price point like the Moto G are better speced than the X and offer a lot more than Nokia had to offer.
ANDROID + NOKIA = DISAPPOINTMENT
I was wondering how an Android experience could feel on a Nokia branded phone but I was let down by the X. Android has a lot to talk about, a lot to love the Android UX cannot be found on the X platform neither the WP experience as the phone seems to pack both on first sight(In writing). The phone runs on the Nokia X software platform built on top of Android 4.1 (Jerry Bean), all powered by a 1GHZ duo-core CPU with 512MB of RAM. However this proved a problem while multi-tasking as the phone lagged and couldn’t run many apps simultaneously with out lagging. Google has solved all these issues in their latest version of Android, if only Nokia would have built their sub-par skin no top of Android 4.4. I will also partially blame it on I being a heavy smartphone user or adamantly admit that the speeds were extremely low given at one time I hacked the device. But the other siblings having slightly more power to talk about came at the cost of the Nokia X.
We have come to love the Nokia due its reputation with quality build and the Nokia X just strengthened that. The body was plastic but with good build quality. Design wise you could get that Nokia experience just like you find that Asha 501. All this body came with a 4GB internal storage that can be expanded via microSD upto 32GB of expandable memory. Low storage,low speeds but with quality build and having a pretty impressive 1500 mAh battery. I think the battery really worked good because of absentia of the many Google services that allow background processing which drains the battery real hard. But Google missing on this phone was a huge disappointment. Google drives Android, so Nokia ditching it in the first place and later embracing it brings me to a conclusion that it shouldn’t have been excluded from the X. I guess it was all about monetizing issues with the so-called Nokia services that seek to replace the dominant Google services, the likes of maps,Play Store and so on.
The cons and pros all come mixed up but one thing I can’t miss my mention is the notification center, what Nokia preferred to call Fast lane. It was a matter of swiping and there you’re with your notifications. It made sure I didn’t miss out a single notification about all my activity. Online and offline it kept reminding what I have missed, what I will miss or what I should expect. It’s all customization on top of what we’re usually accustomed to.The disappointment being lack of the Mix Radio, that Ads free streaming service from Nokia .Its Nokia, It’s the Nokia X and a lot more .