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Nokia X and Nokia X+ hands-on: a promising start

Posted: , by Nick T.

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It is still a bit hard to believe that Nokia just jumped on board the Android bandwagon, yet here we are, holding the Android-powered Nokia X and Nokia X+. These two, however, feel and act like anything but Android handsets, which is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. They both promise a lot, all the while costing very little, which could potentially draw the attention of the budget-conscious crowd. But even with Android software support, are they actually decent, attention-worthy phones?


Nokia X and Nokia X+ hands-on: a promising start
Nokia X and Nokia X+ hands-on: a promising start
Nokia X and Nokia X+ hands-on: a promising start
Nokia X and Nokia X+ hands-on: a promising start
Nokia X and Nokia X+ hands-on: a promising start
When it comes to design, we find no differences between the Nokia X and the Nokia X+. Really, it is next to impossible to tell which one is which when looking at the two smartphones side by side. Both are solid handsets with a sturdy feel, built of brightly colored plastic. The size of the Nokia X and X+ makes them ideal for single-handed operation and our thumb can effortlessly reach any area of the display. 

The power and volume keys are positioned on the right sides of the Nokia X and Nokia X+ phones. We see nothing wrong with their design as both are sufficiently raised and respond with a pleasant click when pressed. The 3.5-millimeter headphone jack is on the top while the microUSB port is on the bottom. Below the displays of the Nokia X and Nokia X+ we find a single capacitive key, which takes us a step back when pressed once, and back to the home screen when long-pressed.


Given the low pricing points of both the Nokia X and the Nokia X+, we must say that we're quite pleased with their capacitive touchscreen displays. The two feature an identical IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 480 by 800 pixels, which is a pixel count acceptable for a 4-inch display. Viewing angles and color representation also seem pretty decent. One thing that's missing is a super-sensitive touchscreen, but we weren't expecting to find perks like these on an entry-level phone anyway.

Interface and functionality

The Nokia X Software Platform, as Nokia calls it, looks nothing like Android. And you know what, we're not complaining for the software feels intuitive and it is easy to get the hang of it. Nokia's UI has been clearly inspired by Windows Phone, with tiles of various sizes and colors, but inspiration has been drawn from other platforms as well since we find a global search bar that pops up after a downward swipe. An app drawer seems to be missing. Instead, all installed apps are listed in a vertical home screen and can be organized in folders. A swipe down from the top of the screen brings forth a panel with toggle switches for your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, data connectivity, and so on.

Swiping to the left or right side takes us to the Fastlane, which is kind of like a supercharged notification panel. It lets us keep track of missed calls and unread text messages, but it would also display information fed from social networks and messengers. In addition, shortcuts to favorite and recently used apps are present. The music player controls can be accessed quickly from here as well. 

There's a ton of goodies that Nokia has pre-loaded on both the Nokia X and the Nokia X+, including Nokia's Mix Radio and Here Maps with support for offline maps and navigation. Additional apps can be installed via Nokia's own marketplace, or via third-party marketplaces, such as the Yandex store with its catalogue of over 85 000 Android apps. Speaking of Android apps, one of the key selling points of the Nokia X and Nokia X+ is that they run Android software. Yes, even if you side-load your own APKs. Software compatibility, however, isn't 100% ensured, and given their humble hardware specifications, we doubt that heavy games and apps would run well on the X and X+.

Processor and Memory

You won't find much under the hoods of Nokia's X phones. Both pack a Qualcomm dual-core processor that can reach a maximum of 1GHz. 768MB of RAM are present on the Nokia X+, while the Nokia X has only 512MB of RAM. But nevertheless, the UI is light enough to run near-flawlessly even on a low-end hardware configuration like that. Even the several pre-loaded games ran well on both devices, although we bet that graphics-intensive games would be next to unplayable. 

Storage space is one of the weakest links of the Nokia X phones. You get less than 2GB for your photos, apps, and music, which is why equipping them with a microSD card is pretty much a must. Thankfully, the Nokia X comes with a 4GB microSD card out of the box. If you don't mind relying on cloud-based storage, you're free to use Microsoft's OneDrive, which provides Nokia X owners with 7GB of storage at no cost.


Nokia X and Nokia X+ hands-on: a promising start
We know that having a basic camera is better than having no camera at all on your phone, but really, we don't see ourselves using these phones' 3MP snapper unless no other camera is around. Both handsets sport an identical 3MP fixed-focus camera with no LED flash. The software exhibits some shutter lag, which is definitely not a good thing. A number of settings are present in the camera app, including white balance and exposure adjustment. Panorama mode and video recording are present as well. Selfies will be hard to pull off with this phone because of its lack of a front-facing camera.


Hardly a surprise, the Nokia X and Nokia X+ phones have their weaknesses, but they're definitely not to be underestimated either. In fact, they do have the potential to grab a chunk of the entry-level smartphone segment thanks to their aggressively low prices. To be more specific, the Nokia X will launch at 89 euro ($122) and the Nokia X+ will be priced at 99 euro ($136) before taxes and subsidies. That's definitely not bad for a brand-name 4-incher that can run some Android apps, all the while providing access to goodies like Nokia's Here maps and the wonderful Mix Radio service. We have high hopes for Nokia's X phones and we'll definitely be keeping an eye on their development over time. 

  • Options

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 05:54 5

1. zachattack (Posts: 621; Member since: 31 Jul 2013)

you want to talk brick phones, i'm starting to think everyone at nokia layed a few bricks in their life time. Their whole team must be masons if they keep making thick ass phones like this. So unattractive i don't get it

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 06:33 2

8. Skoms (Posts: 118; Member since: 03 Feb 2014)

This is a brick phone.

wp nokia dont sell

so microsoft has to do this.

I hope this will dont help microsoft

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 08:32 1

14. InspectorGadget80 (unregistered)

This phone is also plastic and why is no one complaining bout? still I'd rather buy NOKIA phones over any other Android device

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 09:23

17. sgodsell (Posts: 4757; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

Microsoft and Nokia are only using the Android name to get their sales and revenue up, because WP clearly can't do that for them. Just look at the past quarter will tell you WP sales are terrible. Microsoft is riding Google's coat tails, because Android was expected to sell around a billion phones this year alone. This was projected even before Microsoft and Nokia released these 3 forked older versions of Android handsets. Microsoft was telling everyone how terrible Google and Android is, but yet here they are going to use it to make sales and generate revenue for them.
Talk about Karma. Also why would anyone want to program anything for WP now. Just program for Android instead of wasting time learning how to develop for WP.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 09:25

18. eharris560 (Posts: 78; Member since: 28 Dec 2012)

This is a Nokia project not MS.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 09:30

20. eharris560 (Posts: 78; Member since: 28 Dec 2012)

This is Nokia not MS

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 12:16

27. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)

You really think MS would just allow them to do this without their permission, to put their apps on the device?

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 06:49

10. alterecho (Posts: 1099; Member since: 23 Feb 2012)

I think this neo-industrial design looks amazing.
From this preview, i can already say that it seems to be much better than WP. Nokia's implementation of tiles seems to be better than Microsofts implementation.

Maybe Microsoft will learn how to design a good OS, from Nokia, after the acquisition.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 09:29

19. eharris560 (Posts: 78; Member since: 28 Dec 2012)

You are crazy (uninstalling) my friend. Trust me these tiles are not better that MS tiles.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 10:35 1

23. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3576; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)

He'll find something to say bad about WP, whether it's true, or not.... He's just a petty troll, and that's all..

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 11:52

25. grapeseed87 (Posts: 123; Member since: 13 Mar 2013)

Haha good one! :') I needed that. This is funny because CLEARLY the tiles UI is taken from WP and Nokia was only ever able to implement it first because of WP. Same now being copied by Samsung and the Flat design by many OS.

Good one man! XD

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 21:55

30. bwhiting (Posts: 188; Member since: 15 Jun 2013)

made better to use as weapons when being robbed - Nokia "The Leaders of the Self-Defensive Cell Phone"

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 05:59 2

2. andro. (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

This is interesting,while Nokia is throwing their arm in at android they are keeping their best tech well away from it,ie: wireless charging,pureview,puremotion hd,clearblack,Nokia HERE services etc

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 08:36

15. Kriksis (Posts: 93; Member since: 27 Aug 2012)

it has here services, check the video from the very beginning you can see a tile with "here" written diagonally...

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 06:04

3. Vanster (Posts: 124; Member since: 15 Jan 2014)

haha its coming

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 06:21

4. Aplusk (Posts: 120; Member since: 10 Nov 2013)

seems like it runs on ICS.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 06:22 1

5. noim1 (Posts: 297; Member since: 15 May 2012)

Samsung might be BuTT hurt now !!! ha ha ha .... getting my XL asap !!!! Nokia best design and build quality !!!!

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 06:34 1

9. Skoms (Posts: 118; Member since: 03 Feb 2014)

nokia dont make their phones anymore its foxcon

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 06:23

6. mokhtar (Posts: 405; Member since: 06 Jan 2014)

this is just a big joke hhhh
btw the interface of camera is just copy past from sony

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 06:30 2

7. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

It isn't really a shock that Nokia put out "Android" phones since these are Android virtually in name only. There's nothing there that actually makes Android worth having on a phone, and the lack of Google services makes it practically worthless for me.

This isn't going to win Android users over to Microsoft or Nokia, and in fact will probably drive some further away. It's simply an excuse for Nokia to be able to say months from now "Well, see, we tried Android, but no one bought it, so Windows Phone was totally the way to go!"

No, assholes, if you made Android phones worth buying you'd quadruple your sales.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 07:01 2

11. microsoftnokiawin (Posts: 1236; Member since: 30 Mar 2012)

1 word mon amie "ROOT"

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 08:14 1

12. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

XDA will turn these phones into usable Android phones, real quick...

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 09:18

16. joey_sfb (Posts: 6540; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)

why bother to root these two phones?

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 10:36 1

24. rodneyej1 (Posts: 3576; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)


posted on 24 Feb 2014, 12:21

28. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)

Only a retarded MS fanboi site would say that this is going to benefit MS and Nokia and not Google. Ridiculous.

This move by them says that WP sucks and needs to leverage Android's app ecosystem just to compete.

They are going after the emerging markets! So what! Android already has that avenue conquered!

Good luck luring developers to do that!

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 08:15 1

13. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

I read the cons on the Nokia+:
Low-resolution camera (3 megapixels)
The camera lacks autofocus
The camera lacks flash
No front-facing camera

Is Nokia serious about creating an Android line of phones?
I mean the Moto G is a better phone....

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 11:57

26. grapeseed87 (Posts: 123; Member since: 13 Mar 2013)

Its basically making low end phones to fill gaps by low end Android phones much like it did with Lumia 520. MS still makes money off of both and Users still feel like they are in the brand of the tiles and such which is of WP.

Its just a way for them to tap into some extra money. Plus 89 Euros! Come on.

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 20:35

29. aksa123 (Posts: 341; Member since: 30 Jan 2014)

Sub-$150, what do you expect?

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 09:48 1

21. reh1965 (Posts: 19; Member since: 06 Dec 2013)

Somehow People don't get it... An android device for around 89 euros. Of course low specs, but it will certainly be attractive upcoming markets. Looks great from that point of view

posted on 24 Feb 2014, 10:32 1

22. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1580; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

If Nokia/Microsoft wants to sell them in the USA and they to will have to upgrade the specs of the Nokia X+ and the Nokia XL. I expect an upgraded Nokia XL to be made available to the American market by Christmas 2014. Expect also a Nokia/Microsoft Android x phone based on the Nokia 525 to appear soon.

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