- WiFi b/g/n and quadband 3G
- Intuitive touch interface
- Small, thin, and light
- No GPS or cell-based positioning
- Basic multitasking
- Text input via numeric keypad
Nokia sells hundreds of different phone models. Some designs are memorable, some are generic, yet somehow each remains instantly recognizable as Nokia hardware. The X3-02 continues this trend, and manages to be simultaneously appealing and understated. It's a tiny phone in a world of massive slates and sliders, with a footprint barely larger than the legendary Sony Ericsson W800 while maintaining the same ultra-thin profile as the iPhone 4. At first glance, it looks like just another candybar Nokia dumbphone, but with a bigger display. And this is where the Touch-and-Type moniker comes from: the front is dominated by a 2.4-inch QVGA resistive touchscreen paired with a 16-key numeric keypad below. Here Nokia decided to put the star, pound and zero keys in a column to the right of the number keys, with the call, email, music, and end keys in a row above the number keys. The display also contains the earpiece and proximity sensor.
Spec-wise, the X3-02 clearly falls into the feature phone category. It offers touch, WiFi b/g/n, an FM radio, and an unlocked quadband EDGE / quadband HSPA (AT&T-compatible) radio, but lacks any kind of GPS, accelerometer, or QWERTY keyboard. While no specific information is available about the speed and type of CPU used, or about the amount of RAM included, the phone feels adequately responsive running Series 40. The 5 megapixel camera generally lives up to Nokia's high standards for stills (more on this later). You'll find a microSD card slot under the battery cover, but sadly no card was provided with our X3-02. There's only a meager 50MB of usable built-in storage, so we supplied a microSD card. Call and reception quality proved typical Nokia, with top-notch performance all around. The diminutive 860mAh battery easily powered our review unit for 3 days of moderate use -- taking pictures, listening to music, and messaging.
Despite lacking autofocus and a flash, the 5 megapixel camera performs rather well in most situations. The X3-02 uses an EDoF (Extended Depth of Field) lens. As a result, subjects or scenes beyond about two feet (60cm) are always perfectly in focus, but just like a fixed-focus lens, closeup shots are always blurry. Looking at our sample pictures, color balance is fine, but exposure is somewhat constrained by the sensor, which appears overwhelmed in bright light. Noise is under control, and low-light performance is decent considering the small lens and sensor. Since there's no accelerometer or GPS, shots lack any orientation or geolocation data. The camera interface is basic and portrait only, but Nokia provides a surprisingly capable picture editor. While the X3-02 handles stills with aplomb, it captures VGA video that is best described as mediocre. The sound quality is poor, and the framerate is capped to a jerky 15fps.
Series 40 is used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide and is generally regarded as one of the more intuitive non-touch user experiences on phones. Adding touch to an existing platform is no trivial task, something Nokia learned the hard way when it transitioned Symbian from S60v3 to S60v5 with the 5800 XpressMusic. We're happy to report that Nokia avoided making the same mistakes with the Touch-and-Type version of Series 40: touch on the X3-02 is not a half-baked add-on. The interface is polished both esthetically and functionally, and the user experience remains intuitive. Gone are the 3 physical softkeys and the d-pad, replaced by 3 virtual softkeys (soft softkeys?) and direct touch navigation. There's kinetic scrolling, long presses, and haptic feedback throughout the interface. In addition to vibration feedback when tapping on the screen, you'll feel a haptic "bump" when scrolling to the end of a list or menu.
The default web browser is almost identical to the one in Symbian. It covers the basics (HTML, no Flash), but we experienced problems loading some sites like the full version of Engadget. Thankfully, Opera Mini comes pre-loaded and works like a charm. The built-in email client handles multiple Ovi Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, POP3 and IMAP accounts. According to the menus, Gmail integration also enables access to Google Contacts and Google Talk, but we never succeeded in setting this up. Unfortunately, there's no native Exchange support for email, contacts, or calendars. On the social networking front, the phone includes Nokia Communities along with a Facebook and Twitter client with a matching homescreen widget. For some unknown reason, we kept getting repeatedly logged out of our accounts and prompted for our passwords, so we eventually gave up. Hopefully Nokia will fix this in a future firmware update.
On the plus side, the media player works very well and handles music and videos in a variety of common formats such as MP3, MP4, WAV, H.264, AAC+, XviD, WMA, and WMV. The picture editor also stands out. As for the rest of the bundled software, it's pretty much what you'd expect from a feature phone. For additional content, the X3-02 supports Java apps and comes with Nokia's Ovi Store pre-installed.