Review of Nokia X6: Part 1

Review of Nokia X6: Part 1
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The X6 is the first Nokia capacitive touchscreen phone to enter the mobile phone market. Considering there are numerous other models with the resistive technology, it is rather surprising that Nokia has waited so long to release a capacitive handset.

There are two versions of the phone, one with a whopping 32 GB of internal memory, and the second with a respectable 16 GB. As the X6 is the latest in the range of the Xpress Music phones, the phenomenal memory will certainly be useful.

The phone is aimed at a slightly narrower demographic than its predecessors, as the phone is fairly expensive. The steep price may be due to a combination of the new type of screen and the significant memory; however while those features are good, it does not justify the price entirely. The following section will look at each aspect of the phone in greater detail.

User Interface (4 out of 5)

The mobile operating system packaged with the phone is Symbian S60; which is a slight disappointment. The operating system itself has nothing of value to add to the device, as nothing much has altered since the previous touchscreen versions.

The screen is an excellent example of capacitive technology, with increased responsiveness and speed. However there are a few problems with the software, as it tends to lag significantly. Additionally, the touchscreen is difficult to use with anything other than direct finger contact, including a stylus or long fingernails. The crowning glory is that the screen performs very poorly in direct sunlight, with the contents disappearing almost entirely.

On the positive side, kinetic scrolling has been added to the device. It has been implemented in most areas of the device, including the main menu. The main menu scrolling is counter-intuitive to the rest of the device, as scrolling to one side has the opposite effect. There is also an accelerometer which flips the screen according to the orientation of the phone.

The Symbian design is unmistakable in the Nokia X6, which is somewhat comforting and disappointing at the same time. Considering the phone is fairly expensive, a little more innovation would not have gone amiss. Apart from that, the navigation of the phone menus and programs works smoothly, albeit with a slight lag.

There are numerous shortcuts on the home screen to various popular applications, including Contacts. The multimedia applications are easily accessible using the special media key on the front of the device.

Features (5 out of 5)

Nokia X6 Side

The Nokia phonebook is perhaps the best that is currently available in mobile handsets. It has kinetic scrolling like the rest of the phone; and an interesting search mechanism. When searching for a specific contact, the onscreen keyboard only retains letters that appear in actual contacts. For example, assuming there were two contact entries under ‘L’, namely Lynnette and Linda. The user taps on the letter ‘L’ to bring up the two contacts. The subsequent keypad will have just the letters ‘y’ and ‘i’, to indicate the two actual possibilities.

The email client is excellent, with a no-frills interface. It is simple to set up, as all the user needs to provide is their email address and the password. The service provider settings are automatically downloaded and installed. Incoming calls can be silenced by judicious use of the accelerometer, which is a handy feature. Additionally, the proximity sensor turns off the touchscreen when it senses the phone is against the ear.

As the phone is intended to be a music-oriented device, there are some interesting extras that have been added. The music player is fairly standard Symbian-issue, with little alteration from previous handsets. However there is an interesting tool, Playlist DJ, which consists of four sliders. Each slider represents a certain mood, and the slider regulates the quantum of the mood. The sliders are set to reflect the user’s mood, and the tool generates a playlist based upon that information. Of course, each song needs to be categorized and defined before the feature works properly, however it is still an innovative addition. Overall the audio quality is excellent.

The contents of the package deserve special mention, as Nokia has seen fit to include a decent set of headphones, instead of the earbud version that is usually shipped. The WH-500 headset is geared toward enjoyment of music, and since the phone is an Xpress Music handset, this makes perfect sense.

The camera is 5 megapixels, with a dual LED flash and a Carl Zeiss lens. The camera options are good for a mobile phone, although the options are difficult to set due to cumbersome accessibility. The flash has its own shortcut, which is handy. The image quality is very good because of the optics used. There are no easy photography options like smile detection or touch focus, like similar models from other manufacturers, however that does not necessarily detract from the quality of the application.

The web browser is again similar to older models, and long-time users of Nokia phones will recognize the mini-map navigational aid. There is Flash support built into the browser, which is certainly a strong point in the handset’s favour – as compared to its contemporaries. The kinetic scrolling is another good addition, making the web browsing experience significantly better than before.

The GPS hardware is especially sensitive and tenacious, maintaining its signal even in densely populated areas. It has a partial subscription to Ovi Maps freely available, although some features are part of a premium package. The touch interface is highly intuitive and easily navigable.

Design (4 out of 5)

The X6 is pretty large and, at 122 g, there is a solid feel to the device. Although touchscreen phones have been slimmer, the phone is fairly average in that department. It measures 111 by 51 by 13.8 mm, and the screen takes up about 3.2 inch screen with a 360 x 640 resolution.

The handset is smoothly finished, with rounded edges. The front has a small video conferencing camera in the top right corner, a media key just below, a set of three touch keys along the bottom edge and the screen. The right edge has a volume rocker switch, the standby key and the dedicated camera button. The left has two speakers on either end, and the SIM card slot in the middle. There seems to be no ejecting mechanism for the SIM card and therefore it proves to be cumbersome to remove.

The top of phone has the microphone jack, the power button and the microUSB port.The back panel has the camera and a dual LED flash. The camera lacks a lens cover, but maintains a flat edge as a result.

The handset comes in two colour combinations – black with red highlights and white with blue highlights. The phone is designed well, with a candybar appearance. However it does not break any new ground.

Performance (3 out of 5)

The call quality is excellent, with minimal ambient noise disruption. This may have a great deal to do with the speakers and the headset that comes with the phone.

The kinetic scrolling and accelerometer are great additions to the Nokia lineup, and the sensitivity of the capacitive touchscreen is profound. However, the speed of loading leaves much to be desired, as there is significant lag in between application pages. The worst lag is visible in the image gallery, especially when panning and zooming into images.

The battery life is staggering with around 400 hours on standby, and approximately 8 hours of talktime. The music can play for around 35 hours, which is truly impressive.

The Verdict (4 out of 5)

The phone is the latest in the line of Nokia music phones. Although earlier models have been marketed as midrange devices, the Nokia X6 is significantly more expensive. The capacitive display justifies the price somewhat, but the overall impression of the Nokia X6 is that the new features do not balance out the difference in asking price.

Aficionados of music will appreciate the excellent sound quality and the elaborate music player, whilst also enjoying the touchscreen features like kinetic scrolling. In sum, the phone is an admirable attempt by Nokia to scale the capacitive obstacle that has eluded them so far, but the result could have been much better.