Nokia X Hands-on Review: It’s About Damn Time

It wasn’t too long ago that I was in college and everyone was walking around with a Nokia. It’s different these days. What if Nokia had gone the Android route? Would things have gone differently? Would Nokia still be at the top among Android phone makers instead of the Koreans? We’ll never really know, but it isn’t too late though.

Nokia X Philippine Launch

The Nokia X was one of the first few Android handsets from the soon-to-be Microsoft-owned company. It’s by no means a flagship class phone meant to showcase what Nokia can do with the Android platform. Instead, it’s a workhorse of a phone, delivering the Android experience with a Nokia/Microsoft twist.

Nokia X Karel Holub General Manager Philippines (3)

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the official launch event for the Nokia X at the Holiday Inn in Makati and spent some hands on time with it to gather my impressions of Nokia’s first attempt at an Android phone. Curious about what it has to offer and whether it’s worth picking up? Find out in this initial Nokia X hands on review 🙂

Build Quality and Design

The Nokia X may have a smallish 4 inch screen, but it’s quite chunky. I love the matte finish though, and it comes in a variety of bright colors: black, white, green and red. The heft isn’t necessarily a bad thing since you want a phone this size to still have some weight in the hand. It’s a cute kind of chunky and reminds me of Lego bricks.

Nokia X Right Side

The Screen

The Nokia X features a 4 inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen with a pixel density of 233ppi. It’s small and too cramped for comfortable for portrait typing. The color reproduction and viewing angles are excellent though considering it isn’t an IPS screen.

Nokia X Screen Wide Angle

Software and UI

The Nokia X runs on a heavily customized version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Basically, you won’t recognize Android on the Nokia X at all as it combines aspects from Android, Windows Phone and Asha. For starters, there is no app drawer. The homescreen IS the app drawer and it’s a scrolling list at that, rather than a swipable grid. There’s also Fastlane, which allows you to access all your recent activities along with calendar appointments, texts, emails and all that. Swiping down gives you access quick toggles and activity notifications, similar to the regular Android we’re familiar with.

Probably the biggest letdown about the software is the absence of anything Google-related. There’s no Google Play app store, Google Maps, and all those other Google services that we all know and love on Android. You can still download apps through the Nokia Store and third party app stores, as well as side load them. There are also Nokia alternatives to some Google services, such as Nokia Here, which is awesome. Still, if you bought a really expensive app from Google Play, you’ll have to pay for it all over again, assuming that the Nokia Store even has it.

SoC and Performance

The Nokia X is driven by a pretty basic 1GHz dual core Qualcomm MSM8625 processor coupled with an Adreno 203 GPU. It’s not a world-beater by any means, but it provides enough performance to drive most apps. Just don’t expect too much. Here are some synthetic benchmark scores from Antutu and Quadrant.

Battery Life

Nokia X GFX Bench Battery Test

The Nokia X is powered by a 1,500mAh battery. That seems to be the norm for phones this size, although it would have been nice if it were at least 1,700 to 1,800mAh. I was able to run the GFX Bench battery test, which consists of running the T-Rex test on native resolution 30 times and generating a projected battery life for gaming scenarios. The result was a mere 152 minutes, or a little more than 2 1/2 hours of gaming battery life.


While the Nokia X is built on the Android platform, it would be a mistake to assume you’ll get the same experience. The new UI is interesting, but doesn’t quite have the same polish as the Windows Phone UI that the Nokia X software platform tries to mimic.

Nokia X UI

At Php5,990, the Nokia X will certainly attract a lot of first time smartphone buyers who trust the Nokia brand.

Nokia X Price

I was able to come home with one from the launch event, so look out for my full review in a week or so 🙂

Nokia X Box

Nokia X Specs

  • 4″ WVGA capacitive LCD touchscreen (480 x 800 resolution, 233ppi)
  • 1GHz dual core Snapdragon MSM8625 processor
  • Adreno 203 GPU
  • Android 4.1 running Nokia X software platform 1.0
  • 512MB RAM
  • 4GB internal storage
  • 3mp fixed focus camera
  • 3.5G/HSPA
  • WiFi b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • GPS with A-GPS
  • FM Radio
  • Micro USB port
  • 1,500mAh battery
  • Dual SIM/dual standby
  • Price: Php5,990

One thought on “Nokia X Hands-on Review: It’s About Damn Time

  1. OMG, no Google Play!!! Fourth UI screenshot looks like Win98 desktop. I’d rather buy a feature phone that this gummy brick.

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