Nokia X2 in-depth review -

Look and feel

Chic and shiny, the X2’s form factor is let down only by the oddly mismatched metal back panel. It sits well in the hand and the keys are easy to use

Ease of use

Nokia’s Symbian 40 system is getting long in the tooth but it’s still defiantly accessible. The extra media playback keys add to the user-friendliness

Features

The lack of 3G or Wi-Fi means the phone’s hobbled in terms of its data capabilities, but the five-megapixel camera is above average

Performance

The X2 is reasonably speedy and, data speeds aside, does all the things it attempts well

Battery life

That lack of data speed means the phone goes for days between charges

 Nokia X2 Review -
3

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 4:00:18 PM

8

out of 10

Performance

6

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

6

out of 5

Features

10

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Good battery life, easy accessibility and simple menus

Cons:

No 3G or advanced features limit its usefulness

When Nokia’s X-Series first launched, it combined decent storage for music with a faster, more responsive touch-screen than the Finnish manufacturer had previously offered. The X2 model is certainly music-focused, though it features a conventional keypad and a substantially reduced price.

Look and feel

The keypad and the front of the phone are a glossy black, which also covers the sides and part of the back. The rest of the handset is made up of matte red strips and buttons, with a metal battery cover on the back. Inexplicably, this panel is a dark grey colour that looks quite out of place with the rest of the phone. Perhaps wall-to-wall black gloss might have looked cheap, but this choice is a little peculiar.

Those matte red strips are mostly multimedia buttons on the sides of the handset, with media control buttons positioned on the left, camera trigger and volume rocker with microSD card slot on the right. These red strips don’t look too bad, but there’s something uneven about the phone’s design. As with the X6, there’s also a blue and white version of the handset available.

Camera credentials

The camera on the back of the phone is higher-specced than you might expect, managing a five-megapixel sensor with flash but with fixed rather than auto-focus. Results are acceptable but far from outstanding, sometimes looking a little washed out. Still, it combines well with the Facebook app to upload snaps easily. Note though that the lack of 3G means data traffic is not fast.

But the focus here is on music, as with earlier X-Series handsets. The multimedia slot handles cards of up to 16GB capacity, so you can save plenty of music. And you can listen to it on your favourite headphones thanks to the 3.5mm jack located on the top edge of the phone. Those buttons down the sides may not look great but they work well. So if you’re listening to music with the phone in your pocket, it’s easy enough to feel which of the three buttons you need without fishing the handset out – play/pause in the middle and step forward or back on the two buttons either side. It works pretty well. Except sometimes it doesn’t. The keypad locks after a certain amount of time, but there’s no way to override this just for the music playback buttons, which is a shame. Naturally, you can set the keyguard time to longer, but it would have been neat if the multimedia keys had worked no matter what.

Music to our ears

You can also control the music by using the navigation pad. If you’re playing music, the artist and track are displayed on the phone’s home screen. Scroll to the track and press select for the playback screen with playback controls. If you’re looking at the handset, this is an easier way to navigate through your music.

That home screen, by the way, is busy. Of course, there’s the usual network, signal strength, battery and time information, but underneath there’s music, and direct links to the built-in radio and Ovi app store. And there’s more – a carousel of shortcuts leads you to messaging, the Facebook app, plus your photo and video gallery. There are also duplicate shortcuts for music and radio, so no wonder it looks lively. You can customise these shortcuts to make them a little easier on the eye.

It’s a largely classy handset that has much to recommend it, especially the price. But for even casual users, data speeds are important and the lack of 3G and Wi-Fi are disappointing.

The verdict

The Nokia X2 is highly affordable and nicely designed, but the Symbian S40 operating system is getting tired and the lack of 3G is disappointing. Even the most basic evening-out phone has uses for speedy data connections, but for the price, it’s not a bad handset.

David Phelan