Nokia’s had a big screen presence for a long time, and the X7, like many predecessors made a debut in one of this year’s blockbusters i.e. Transformers: Dark of the Moon. It definitely has stage presence is what I thought, and was quite eager to put it through its paces. The handset made its way to our labs and after having used it quite thoroughly for a few days here’s what I can tell you about Nokia X7.
Nokia’s latest trend for their high-end touchscreen handset seems to be ‘uni-body’. The X7 is a rather odd looking device that tapers towards the ends on both sides. Whipping it out of your pocket, you’re going to get confused as to which side is up till the screen comes on. The stainless-steel body does however, give it a very sturdy look and feel. Speaking of the screen – the 4-inch Gorilla Glass encased AMOLED touchscreen sports a 360 x 640 pixel resolution, which is quite low when compared to its peers the Optimus Black and the Samsung Galaxy S that features 480 x 800 pixel resolutions. Nevertheless, the colors are quite vivid and black levels are quite deep, although not as deep as the Optimus P970.
Widgets for all your apps on the homescreen
The X7 has the weirdest and yet oddly innovative slots for the SIM and microSD cards. The trays need to be pulled out and they’re not the easiest things to deal with. Of course, it’s not like you’d need to keep removing and re-inserting the cards, but I would still have liked them to be a bit more accessible. You need to push one side of the slot in and when the other pops out, grab and pull. I call the it the ‘pop, grab n pull’ system. A micro USB connector is located at the top near the 3.5mm handsfree socket and the power/screen lock button that’s also designed to look unconventional. The volume rocker and camera shutter release are placed on the wrong side of the curve making it quite difficult to access when required. They should also have been a bit more raised.
The headphone and power ports
Unconventional. That is the word for the X7, but it doesn’t necessarily work for it. This all metal, hardcore looking handset weighs in at 146g making it quite heavy. The built in speakers are quite loud and the bundled handsfree kit is comfortable on the ears.
Features and Performance
Symbian Anna really didn’t impress me too much, as it’s really quite like the original S60 touchscreen edition with just a few cosmetic changes. The icons are larger and have rounded edges, like on iOS, except here, brighter colours are used. Real-time scrolling’ i.e. the screen moves with your swipe isn’t really a big deal, but does make the UI seem a little more fluid. There’s a hint of lag that’s evident while accessing apps and features. I also noticed that while bringing the handset out of sleep mode, shortcut options in the desktop tabs took about 2 seconds to refresh. It seemed like the 680 MHz ARM 11 processor had a little difficulty keeping up now and then, but functioned well enough most of the time including providing a smooth transition effect when the screen changes orientation. Multi-touch zooming is also present.
The new Anna icon set is refreshing
Although Nokia has taken on a whole new visual for their virtual keypad, I’m quite disappointed with it. While Android and iOS allow you to type and view the chat/message screen simultaneously, Anna does not. It opens up a whole new page with a text field occupying one half and the keypad with rather tiny keys taking up the bottom half. This means it takes one extra key press just to reply to a chat or to send a message. In landscape mode though, the on-screen QWERTY keypad was definitely more versatile.
Comfortable to use
Nokia has still not found a way to integrate the phone book with social networking options. Once again we see Android and iOS a few steps ahead. While they do offer a certain amount of syncing to join contacts from your phone's memory with their corresponding details found via Facebook and Twitter syncing, with Anna, like all previous Symbian versions that offered this, it has to be done manually on a contact to contact basis. It’s quite time consuming, even if you have to do it just once.