Nokia has launched its new X series of phones, and in the same vein as the E series is all about business and the N series about high-end, the X series is designed for music and entertainment.
The top-of-the range X6 with its sharp, narrow features clearly draws much inspiration from the 5800 XpressMusic, which was Nokia’s first successful touch-screen phone. It runs on the same Symbian S60 OS and offers the same 3.2" display with the narrow 360 x 640 pixels resolution, but the screen is far more impressive than the 5800’s for the simple fact that it’s capacitive.
Released a year later than the 5800, the X6 steps out as Nokia’s first capacitive touch-screen Symbian phone. The X6 consequently offers a far more responsive touch experience than the 5800. The improvements are most noticeable when typing messages, with the on-screen QWERTY more accurate and you can drag your finger across the screen when moving between characters allowing for faster typing.
The overall navigation process is also improved by the better touch experience. While the phone operates on the same Symbian OS v9.4, Series 60 rel. 5 as the 5800, you find yourself making far fewer menu selection mistakes. This doesn’t mean that the OS is any better though, with inconsistencies like having to open some apps with a double press and others with a single press still there.
Nokia also miss a capacitive touch trick, as pinch to zoom and other multi-touch gestures are missing. To zoom in on webpages you need to double tap the screen – which is a little archaic in a multi-touch environment.
The X6’s spec sheet reads like a smartphone wish list. It comes with a whopping 32 GB internal storage, a full complement of connectivity options including 3G HSDPA and WLAN, GPS with A-GPS and a 5 megapixel camera. Also included is Nokia's excellent Comes with Music, which is an all access licence to Nokia’s Music Store for a year.
The X6’s camera was particularly impressive. Image exposure is generally excellent with colours coming out true and sharp. The one let down is the lack of a Xenon flash, but the dual LED works well enough.
The X6 is an impressive music device offering decent audio quality, a 3.5 mm jack and FM radio beyond its enormous storage and Comes with Music licence. Managing your media is now a little easier as well, with Nokia updating its Ovi Suite, which has gone some way to making downloading and syncing easier – especially when setting the device up to sync over Bluetooth. The suite still needs to be installed on your PC however.
Despite these great features we never fell in love with the phone. It is often frustrating to use due to sluggish and erratic performance. For some reason, either the ARM 11 434 MHz processor or the OS decides it needs a time out every so often, so the phone slows down to a crawl.
Applications for the device are also rather thin. While Nokia’s Ovi Store is growing, it lacks the volume and choice available on similar markets like Android’s or the iPhone’s. The fact that key apps, such as a document viewer, don’t come preinstalled is really annoying as well.
Other oddities include the fact that you can't charge the phone via USB; the microUSB port is exclusively for data transfers. The device also lacks a microSD slot, so you can't add to its storage capacity or simply grab media from a friend's card directly from a card.
The X6 failed to blow us away. It looks impressive on paper, but there are a few niggles that get to you; performance speed being a key issue. It also lacks the charm the 5800 had when it was first launched, but its screen is far more responsive, which goes a long way to making the Symbian OS bearable.
The X6’s camera, Comes with Music access and capacitive screen make it worth considering though. If you were a fan of the 5800 XpressMusic you’ll probably love the X6.