Nokia X review: This isn't the Nokia Android phone you were looking for

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You can make tiles bigger or smaller, but that doesn't change the information being displayed, unlike the Live Tiles of Windows Phone. Furthermore, there doesn't seem to be an easily understandable rule on how the tiles get grouped or when they're separated by a thin space. After trying to figure it out I gave up because it just didn't make any sense.

Swiping to the left or right will bring up a notification page, which shows you a list of what's been going on with your phone. Swiping from the top of the phone will bring a drop-down menu with toggles to turn features such as Wi-Fi on and off.

The notification page and the pull-down quick settings feature. Screenshot by Aloysius Low/CNET


The X has a barebones 3-megapixel camera, and I found the shutter to be really slow. Even in the bright outdoors, the camera struggles, and noise is readily apparent in those shots. You might expect a high-quality camera based on Nokia's pedigree with its PureView smartphones, but there's only so much the company's engineers can do, given the low-cost components used in the X.

Indoor test shot (click to enlarge) Aloysius Low/CNET
Note the lack of detail on the fur in this outdoor test shot (click to enlarge). Aloysius Low/CNET
Outdoor test shot (click to enlarge). Aloysius Low/CNET


Powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 1GHz processor, the X runs on last-generation chips. They weren't that impressive back then, and that hasn't changed at all for the Nokia X.

The phone's responsiveness leaves much to be desired, and it is that little moment of waiting for apps to run that ruins the experience. This is even more apparent when you're typing a message, there's a noticeable pause before words start showing up on screen. Most of this could be due to the fact that the phone only has 512MB of RAM, which is really on the low side in 2014.

Call quality

If there's just one thing you can trust Nokia to get right, it's the call quality of the phone. The X doesn't let you down here. Calls were crisp and clear and, as sad as this sounds, it was really the highlight of using this phone.

Battery life

Equipped with a 1,500mAh battery, the Nokia X easily lasted a day and a half of moderate use. This is mostly due to the smaller screen and slow processor sipping less power compared to one that has a faster clock.


As exciting as the idea of having Nokia make an Android phone sounds, the poor operating system pales in comparison to the Windows Phone software you see in its high-end devices.

Sure, the Nokia X line of phones may be for emerging markets, but there are plenty of low-cost Android phones that can potentially offer a better experience with Google Play services installed.

Nokia's reputation as a phone maker known for making solid and reliable phones will help it out somewhat, but then there's the challenge from Chinese manufacturers such as Xiaomi. The Redmi , which retails at around $130 (it's around £130 in the UK), is about the same price as the Nokia phone, and performs much better.

The first generation of Nokia X smartphones are, to put it simply, unconvincing. Nokia has its work cut out to convince the world its Android lineup offers a viable alternative to what's already available in an unforgiving market.

The Nokia X is an unconvincing Android smartphone from Nokia. Hopefully, upcoming mobile phones may fare better. Aloysius Low/CNET

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