- Feels great in hand
- Excellent battery life
- Easy to use contacts carousel
- Some apps can't be saved to mass memory
- Some user interface inconsistencies
- Poor web browser user interface and performance
The Nokia X6 is a Symbian-based smartphone that serves as a refresh and update to the popular Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. It boasts a number of improvements and changes over its predecessor, and is a somewhat more focused iteration of Nokia’s intentions with touchscreen and multimedia-centric devices.
It runs Symbian^1 operating system and offers a 3.2-inch touchscreen, 32 GB of internal storage, 5 megapixel camera, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a GPS receiver.
This device is sold unlocked, directly to the public, for $455.
After living with the X6 for more than a month, I’ve become a fan of the changes that have been made in the software, and the overall strategy that Nokia seems to be employing with these devices.
BUILD & DESIGN
The Nokia X6 is a mono-block or candybar type design. Its 3.2-inch capacitive Touchscreen is flanked by sensors and buttons which are the same color as the body (black), giving it a slightly angular, if not almost futuristic, appearance. Compared to similar devices such as the Google Nexus One or iPhone 3GS, the Nokia carries a stronger design language and looks less like its trying to follow the crowd design-wise.
Compared to the 5800 XM, the X6 is more angular (has a more Nokian feel to it). The weight in hand is excellent and aside from the lack of texture on the sides, is otherwise pretty stable in hand. It seems to have been designed for pockets, as the thin and not-as-plump design slides hidden very well. And at the same time, its understated enough not to attract attention except from those who recognize a bit of the European flair in the design (that kind of feeling you get when after seeing a row of Hondas a BMW sticks out).
The X6 is the first Nokia device to use a capacitive screen. At 3.2-inches diagonally, it’s not the largest of screens, but uses the 360×640 pixel resolution of Symbian^1 well.
Compared to my N97 (3.5-inch transflective and resistive screen), colors are sharper and more vivid in the red side of the spectrum. Responsiveness to touch is about the same, with the X6 showing more of a tendency to have ghosting moments — just hover the screen and an action will happen.
In everyday use, however, the screen makes the biggest difference in typing. The X6 has both portrait and landscape input methods, and where the 5800 XM felt better in the landscape mode, the X6 seems to excel best in portrait (with predictive text turned on). The speed at which it captures and refreshes text is just much better than on the resistive screens.
This does show up as a negative in browsing or when doing finer actions such as multiple selections. Part of this is due to the OS not really being designed for the touchscreen.
Buttons and Controls
The front of the Nokia X6 dominated by the aforementioned screen, with a multimedia menu button at the top right (same as the 5800 XM). Below the display are three buttons for Call, Menu/Home, and End. The Menu button can be configured to “breathe,” showing itself “alive” whenever a missed call, new message, or alarm has activated. There is also a front-facing camera which supports video calls for those services that have this ability.
The left side of the device has only a covered slot for the SIM card. The right side of the X6 has the volume up/down, screen/device lock toggle, and camera buttons. These buttons carry on the same thin yet quite usable motif found around the rest of the device.
The top of the X6 is the most crowded, featuring the power on/off button, 3.5 mm a/v port, 2 mm power port and micro-USB connector. Unfortunately, the X6 isn’t able to charge via micro-USB (big omission).
The rear is simply a (very bendable) plastic panel covering the 1320 mAh battery and housing a window for the 5 megapixel, dual-LED camera to poke out. If you are the type to swap SIM cards often, you’ll grow used to bending the rear panel off — otherwise its a bit disconcerting compared to the solid feel of the rest of the device.