A familiar face
Nokia die-hards will recognise the X6 immediately. Its boxier, slightly slimmer frame may suggest an entirely new handset, but there's no denying the X6 is just thedressed a little differently and with a much easier name to say. In a way, the X6 is the phone the 5800 XM should have been; its capacitive touchscreen and 16GB of internal storage were two areas where the 5800 could have been easily improved.
The handset itself lacks the overall polish we expect from a Nokia handset. Its matte-finished black plastic feels a bit cheap to us, the battery cover of our review unit rattles slightly against the body of the phone and the flap covering the USB port won't return to laying flush with the top of the phone, regardless of how hard (or how gently) we try to reposition it. These are minor issues to be sure, but they collect to form a less than perfect first impression.
The X6 features all the external controls you'd expect from a smartphone: a volume rocker, dedicated camera key, a touchscreen lock switch, a 3.5mm headphone port and a micro USB input, plus a few extra external holes to fill including a side-loaded SIM slot, a Nokia proprietary charging pin port and a couple of holes to loop a lanyard through at the base, if you're into that sort of thing. The proprietary charging port is the only disappointment in this list. The X6 was obviously designed prior to the agreement by all manufacturers to use micro USB charging as a standard, meaning if you buy an X6 it's likely you won't be able to share your charger with your room-mates or family members.
Power up the X6 and you'll be faced with the Nokia Series 60 operating system, which is again similar to the system we saw on the 5800 XM, and also on thereleased a little later in 2009. This system has been in dire need of a refresh for quite some type, especially in regards to its operation on touchscreen devices, and sadly we see very little has changed before its deployment in the X6.
We did notice a minor home screen adjustment, where Nokia has added a revolving menu for your favourite contacts on the home screen, which allows you to dial a number with a single click. Nokia has also added kinetic scrolling in most menus featuring long lists, like your address book, so you can use a swipe gesture on the screen to scroll quickly through to the middle or the bottom of the list.
The great shortcoming of this system in its current state is the design of the on-screen keyboard. Nokia includes the option to convert the full-QWERTY keyboard layout to a standard T9 numeric pad layout, which may help some with the transition, but the predictive text is outdated for its role on a touchscreen phone. Traditional predictive text relies on the user punching in the correct combination of letters, whereas touchscreen auto-correction software, like we see on the iPhone, relies instead on the user being reasonably accurate. The difference will result in users of the X6 constantly hitting backspace to correct mistakes made by chubby fingers on the screen.