Like almost every other basic phone on the planet, the Nokia X2 supports threaded text messaging and multimedia messaging. Yet the X2 doesn't stop there. The handset also offers access to most POP3 and IMAP4 services, instant messaging for the major platforms, and a dedicated portal for T-Mobile e-mail. Keep in mind that e-mail and instant messaging come through a Web interface rather than dedicated apps. The experience can be tedious and frustrating at times, but the options are there if you want them.
The camera takes pictures in two resolutions (640x480 pixels and 320x240 pixels). That's minimal even for a VGA shooter, and you don't get a lot of editing options, either. You'll find only a self-timer, a 4x digital zoom, three color effects, and three white-balance options. Despite the few offerings, however, photo quality is decent. No, it can't compare with even the worst megapixel camera, but it will do the job for quick shots.
The camera also records video, which we weren't expecting. You can choose from two resolutions (320x240 pixels and 176x144 pixels) and the same set of editing options you'll find for the still camera. Clips shot for multimedia messages are limited to 6 seconds, but you can record longer in standard mode. The X2 has about 46MB of internal memory for storing files. If you need more space, the external memory slot supports cards up to 8GB.
We also were surprised to see the music player on X2. The interface is beyond basic--and don't expect miracles from the X2's sole speaker--but you can organize music into playlists and activate shuffle and repeat modes. What's more, the X2 also offers stereo widening, a flight mode, and an equalizer. The handset also has an FM radio, though you'll need to use the included wired headset as an antenna.
When we first heard about the X2 we welcomed the HTML browser. But now that we've had the opportunity to play with it, we aren't so thrilled. The thing is that if you're going to put a full browser in a phone, you need to build a phone to support it. And while the X2 is a solid device that's well-suited for messaging, it's not built for browsing. Not only is the screen resolution too low, as mentioned above, but the navigation is way too clunky without a touch screen. What's more, Web pages load much too slowly over an EDGE network.
The X2 offers the standard set of options for customizing the screen. You can also get more choices and additional ringtones from T-Mobile. The handset also comes with demo versions of seven games: Block'd, Bounce Tales, Diamond Rush, Where's Waldo in Hollywood?, Guitar Hero, Monopoly Here & Now, and Sudoku.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Nokia X2 in San Francisco using T-Mobile service. Call quality was quite acceptable in most places. Voices were clear, and the volume was sufficiently loud. On the downside, we'd much prefer a dedicated volume rocker, and we detected the slightest background hum, but it does the job for making calls.
Nokia X2 call quality sample
On their end, callers said we sounded good. They could tell that we were using a cell phone, but they didn't report significant issues beyond the hum that we heard. Both parties had more trouble hearing in noisy places; the microphone in particular has a sweet spot. Speakerphone calls weren't the best, unfortunately. The sound gets loud enough, but audio cut out continually. We still could make a call, but just barely.
The X2 has a rated battery life of 4.5 hours and a promised standby time of 21 days. Our tests revealed that it has a talk time of 6 hours and 20 minutes. According to FCC tests the X2 has a maximum digital SAR of 1.16 watts per kilogram.
In a country where Nokia phones are becoming rare, the X2 offers everything you'd expect from a Nokia phone. The design is sturdy, the interface is easy to use, and call quality is acceptable. No, it doesn't offer the most high-end features, but it has enough surprises to keep you entertained. And for a low-end model, the full keyboard and messaging options are more than welcome. The X2 is very affordable at just $79 without a contract.