Nokia X7 Review

Nokia X7 Review

I’ve been playing this smartphone for few weeks now, so I really have enough time exploring this handset from Nokia. Read on my full review of the Nokia X7 after the break.

The Hardware

I first saw the Nokia X7 in action when it scored a cameo on the recent Transformer movie. Though it was just a quick glimpse of the phone, from there you can already throw-in your guess it was built with look and feel of a little robotics, and of course it’s entertainment-centric.

The Nokia X7 comes with a unibody design that houses a 680 MHz ARM 11 processor, Broadcom BCM 2727 GPU, 256 RAM, 1GB ROM, Wi-Fi module, 3G radio, and 1300 mAh Li-Ion battery.

The back of the Nokia X7 is made of metallic material that wraps round the backplate and finally curves in both sides up to the frontage. Measuring 119.7mm x 72.8mm x 119mm, the Nokia X7 flaunts a 4-inch AMOLED display, in which the horizontal edges align with the chassis.

The chassis was built with angled corners as if each houses a speaker, but no; just the two of them located at the bottom does, while the other two were added just for symmetry.

The metallic back is where you can find the phones 8MP camera. To the right of it is the memory card slot while the volume rocker is on the left.

At the lower portion of the backplate, you can find the SIM card slot with the camera button at the opposite side. Back to the frontage, there’s a trapezoidal home button just below the screen, and the phone’s built-in earpiece at the opposite side. More on these buttons later…

Designed with the shape of a parallelogram, the power/lock/wake button of the Nokia X7 is located at the top along with the 3.5mm audio jack and the microUSB port which you can use for compatible USB devices and also for charging.

Like most of today’s mobile phones, Nokia placed the mic just at the bottom of the handset.

Nokia X7 Specs

Symbian Anna OS
680 MHz ARM 11 processor
Broadcom BCM 2727 GPU
4-inch AMOLED screen, 360 x 640 pixels
256 RAM, 1GB ROM
8GB memory, external microSD up to 32GB
8 MP camera with fixed focus and dual LED flash
720p HD video recording @ 25 fps
GPRS/EDGE
HSDPA 10.2Mbps, HSUPA 2.0Mbps
WiFi 802.11, b/g/n
GPS, a-GPS
Bluetooth 3.0
microUSB 2.0
3.5mm AV connector
FM Radio Tuner
1300 mAh Li-Ion battery

The Symbian Anna OS, UI and Display

The Nokia X7 is one of the first two handsets (the other one is Nokia E6) to carry Symbian Anna OS. It’s basically an update to Symbian^3 which we found more intuitive and smooth than other previous Symbian releases. When you first power up the device and get into the main UI, the most notable feature on Symbian Anna is the new icons.

To launch the menu, just hit the button below the screen. You might see tiny circle on the upper-right portion of each icon — it actually means that particular app is running in the background. There are a total of 12 applications in the main menu which you can view either in Grid View or List View.

These menus aren’t static. You can customize each or arrange the contents of each folder according to your preference.

The Nokia X7 has a 4-inch display and comes with three customizable home screens where you can add your favorite widgets and shortcuts. I thought there’s a chance to add more screens, but I realized it ain’t possible with X7.

I find it simple adding widgets and shortcuts to each screen; just tap the screen and hold it for about 3 seconds until you get the “+” symbol which means you can already add new stuff either from the Widget catalogue or from a list of Homescreen Apps at the Nokia Store.

You can also customize or remove existing widgets; just tap on it and interact with the available options (usually just Settings/Remove).

 

Below each homescreen is a set of three touch buttons.

Options allow you to Show open applications, Edit Homescreen, Change wallpaper, Delete Homescreen, and put Widgets to offline mode. The Call button basically gives you access to calling functions, settings, or search for contacts. I’m not really sure why Nokia put an additional touch button in the middle that only allows you to flick all the three homescreens, if in fact you can do that by swiping right on the screen. Perhaps the Finnish phone maker thought it could be a better alternative to those who prefer touching a single point rather than swiping? Hmmm, I guess that makes sense.

I’m personally impressed with Symbian Anna and the entire UI in Nokia X7, just that I have concerns on the type of display used in this handset. The 4-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display is pretty responsive though, and the resolution is vibrant at 360×640 pixels and 183ppi yet I must say it got fair power consumption; but for situations you’re in direct sunlight, the display is of high contrast compared to normal view. What exactly that means is reading text is harder, and sometimes you really won’t appreciate the quality of images. Indoors, you’d see Nokia X7 display as one of the bests of today’s smartphones. The reinforced Gorilla Glass has been used for the screen of Nokia X7 so it’s scratch resistant, but for users like me who is sensitive to smooth surfaces, adding additional screen protector gives you not just a shield in the frontage but also lessen unwanted finger prints.

Messaging

For years, we’ve known Nokia’s Symbian platform intuitive as it is and undoubtedly very easy to use. With the advent of smartphones carrying a more advanced OS like Symbian^3, Symbian Anna, or even the Symbian Belle, one might be curious how’s the messaging of these platforms differ from that of iOS, Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone.

Symbian Anna’s messaging feature on Nokia X7 may be quite confusing at first, but you’ll get used to it due to the fact that the layout is almost just similar to competing platforms.

One of the things I really like on core messaging feature of Symbian Anna on Nokia X7 is its capability to attach multimedia files not just from gallery but also right on the moment you capture them.

Web Browsing

I have to admit that I’m personally not much impressed of the web browsing experience with the previous versions of Symbian. The pages load so slow and sometimes you see images and other contents cluttered. And that’s not just when you use Symbian’s default web browser, but even when you use highly optimized web browsers for Symbian like Opera. This has been changed however, when Nokia made a significant improvements of the native web browser in Symbian^3.

Using default browser
Using Opera

And since Symbian Anna which powers Nokia X7 uses the same WebKit engine version as the one used in Symbian^3, you actually get the same level of web browsing experience with those rocking S3 handsets like the Nokia N8. Web pages now load faster, although I see parts of this blog’s aren’t really being rendered well. This is perhaps due to the Flash-based contents of this site. But for other popular websites and news portal like Yahoo!, BBC, CNN, and etc. – everything just works seamlessly.

Using default browser
Using Opera

Better yet, I highly suggest Opera though over Symbian Anna’s default web browser as it still renders web contents better than the latter.

Multimedia and Entertainment

I think one of the things that I really have to consider on this review is the multimedia and entertainment features of Nokia X7. Let’s start with Music…

The Nokia X7 comes with at least 4 apps pre-installed on Symbian Anna, namely: the Music Player itself, Radio, Ovi Music, and Shazam – an app that identify information of a certain music played like the title of the song, artist, and etc., which all are being relayed to the user.

The review unit I got has already several MP3 files stored in the memory so I didn’t bother myself transferring some of my own MP3’s. Instead, I just grab that Nokia headphones that comes with the package and plug it on the handset. I must say the sound is of high quality, it’s clear and crisp. Though I didn’t try using a headphone from other brands, I believe Nokia has also engineered the phone’s audio so it would deliver the same quality. I’m impressed with the UI of the Music app and below are some of the screenshots I took so you would see how exactly the UI looks like.

Next up is the built-in Radio. Nokia X7 uses the Radio Data System or RDS protocol so I believe some of you might be familiar of it since it’s the same protocol implemented in a wide-range of devices including that ever-popular Apple iPod Nano (5th and 6th gen).

The Nokia X7 makes use of the headset plugged into the 3.5mm audio slot as its antenna, so basically you always need to have a headset with you whenever you want to launch the Radio app.

The rest of the features such as saving and viewing station list, switching to loudspeaker, selecting frequencies, and etc. are all available right in the UI.

And here comes my favorite, the Videos and TV.

When I first opened the folder from the main menu, I thought the Nokia X7 really has that TV feature we see in today’s mobile phones from local brands like Cherry Mobile and MyPhone. Might be funny, really, that I got myself wrong; but the TV feature on Nokia X7 is actually just a selection of popular channels which also provide contents available for streaming. In other words, what you will see on this department are just pre-installed apps by CNN, Nat-Geo, and E! Online. Good thing though these are among my favorite TV channels, so it’s not really that much of a frustration. There’s also a YouTube app and of course, the native Video player so you can view recorded videos or the ones you transferred from external sources. I can’t find an option to add more apps right on the Videos & TV menu, but certainly you can still download similar apps from Nokia Store and have it saved in the Applications folder/menu instead.

Gaming

I’m personally not a gamer anymore since I quit playing DotA and CS over a year ago, but when it comes to mobile games – I’m still indulging it. In fact, I’m now addicted to Galaxy on Fire and Asphalt 5 which both are premium games pre-installed in Nokia X7. For gamers, you probably very much concerned on how Nokia X7 perform on games like Galaxy on Fire and Asphalt 5. Undoubtedly, I must say that this Symbian Anna phone performs well on these games, thanks to the 680MHz CPU and BCM2727 multimedia processor. Want Angry Birds? I downloaded it too, and you got to believe it works flawlessly on Nokia X7.

Camera

As we knew it, the Nokia X7 is built with an 8MP shooter. Yes, it is fixed focus – yet it still does pretty good shots both for still images and video clips. I found it difficult to take shots using the camera button though, so I prefer using the touch option instead. I tried using the camera at different occasions, and I would like you to see sample images, untouched, so you can give your own verdict of the X7’s camera.

Never mind the last photo.J

And here are two sample video clips I got, the first one was recorded while I’m in transit (high mobility) and the next one was taken in the lawn.


So what do you think of the phone’s camera? As to the video, the Nokia X7 multimedia processor (the BCM2727) actually allows the handset to capture up to 720p HD videos, so it’s undoubtedly pretty great on its category.

Verdict

The Nokia X7 may not be today’s best smartphone as more and more higher end handsets are coming out, but at the price point of Php 21K or less – I have to say that it’s an option on the same category. Yes, there are Android handsets just below Php 20K; but the entire build of Nokia X7 hardware, the sleek and unique external design, and the Symbian Anna OS (which I think can be upgraded to Symbian Belle), the phone unique features like USB OTG – could be all deal breakers.

Bert Padilla

Founding-Editor of Cebu Tech Blogger where he shares insights in eCommerce, Digital Marketing, Ad Ops, Tech, Startups, Technopreneurship, Life Goals and Hacks. He's the brainchild and ninja of a Cebu-based digital agency, TekWorx.Digital, with ventures TekWorx, (eCommerce and Digital Marketing), AdWorx (Outsourced Ad Ops for Publishers) and BlogWorx (full-fledged Blog Development service). Read his Full Curriculum Vitae. For training and consultancy, services, speaking engagements, blog partnerships or media invites, click here. Alternatively, get in touch with him on Messenger.

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