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Review of Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type GSM/UMTS phone
Live photos of Nokia X3-02
The emergence of touchscreen models on S40 is a logical development for Nokia. Its products became crowded by those from Korean and Chinese companies who banked on touchscreen models around 3 years ago. Subsequently, entry level touchscreen models cost less than $100 and the market is growing quite fast. Nokia had no adequate answer to these handsets and was forced to drop prices of S60 models dramatically. The company could not position them in the mid price level, while the flagship offerings had to use another platform. The choice was made in favor of MeeGo.
Nokia could sell S60 phones cheaply, but their production cost was above that of rival models. Nokia began losing money and decided to bring touchscreens to S40. The development began 2 years ago, but the process was far from smooth. It was necessary not only to redesign S40 interface for touchscreen use, but adapt the browser, maps and other apps. Nokia started working on S40 6th Edition, but programmers had no time for the new code. In fact, Compact UI had to be the first step in the direction of touchscreen models. For example, it had oversized interface elements, but the 6th Edition was not for sensor models. As the development was connected with different interface elements and applications Touch&Type (S40 6th Edition FP1) was delayed.
The rationale behind the approach is the following: some modern users prefer hardware keypads as they want to use the blind method of typing, while at the same time they are interested in touchscreens and would like to try something new. Touch&Type is for the undecided users hesitating between the two worlds. This hybrid solution offers a touchscreen (so far of small size and low resolution), but retains a traditional keypad. It is difficult to analyze the preferences of this demographic, but they seem to be not very numerous. The first month of sales showed a failure of the concept. Results are too low for these features and price. The same applies to С3-01. The market and users did not embrace the idea behind Touch&Type.
Models have a dubious ergonomics. For example, I do not like the idea that the text must be entered with a keypad, while the delete function (С) has to be applied on the screen. Moving your hand from the keypad to the screen involves the use of different surfaces. Feelings are strange and users have no previous experience, so the convenience is dubious. Similarly, to set the time you have to make your choice from the keypad, while the scrolling is carried out on the screen, which functions as a navigation key it replaces. It is logical, but strange. Senior users will not be particular happy as this experience can be confusing for them. Younger buyers will treat the phone as a surrogate touchscreen model. The phone can be popular in the mid price segment if the price is right. Nevertheless, this phone loses out to many keypad models from Nokia, which offer better features and lower price. The delays in the development of Touch&Type upset many Nokia plans. Add ambiguous positioning in terms of the price. We end up with a niche solution, which can never become really popular (for the segment and the brand).
To my mind, these models can be liked or hated and it is difficult to make a conclusion until you take the phone in your hands, which automatically narrows down the range of possible owners. Better sales can be achieved by adding higher resolution screens (second generation of Touch&Type planned for the summer of 2011) and a virtual keypad for text input. The next step will be to get rid of the keypad, but such models are not envisaged for S40. Touch&Type series will always remain a limited and transient solution. I wonder how many models will be launched based on the performance of 2011. This experiment was implemented in the mass market, but the forecast is not encouraging.
X3-02 looks like a model developed in Asia. Not surprisingly, it was unveiled in Singapore. Strangely, there are 3 rows of buttons instead of 4.
The handset comes in 5 colors: Petrol blue, White silver, Pink, Dark metal and Lilac.
Unlike С3-01, which combines metal with plastic, here we have only the latter. The only metal part is a thin battery cover. The amount of metal had to account for different price levels for the two models, but it did not happen.
The top hosts a 2 mm charger jack, 3.5 mm headset jack and microUSB jack, which supports charging. The right side is used for a paired volume tracker together with a screen and keypad blocking button. The last button is strange as well. You can lock the screen with one touch, but the opposite action involves pressing the button and then touching a key on the screen. I would have made it differently. For example, the unblocking could have used a long press or two short ones. Nokia developers offered us a truly weird solution.
The dimensions are 106.2 x 48.4 x 9.6, while the weight is 78 g. The phone feels well, but it has an aura of a cheap price in comparison with С3-01.
Nokia X3-02 vs Nokia C3-01:
The size of 2.4″ is not enough for a touchscreen, but he we have merely a hybrid solution. The resolution of 240х320 is too low, but again it fits the interface with large icons. The screen uses the resistive technology and can be worked with even in gloves when the temperature dips below zero.
This budget screen boasts only 262,000 (TFT) colors. In the sun you can read the text well due to large interface elements. Viewing angles are hardly the best, but it does not matter here. In lists we get 5-6 lines, while in the browser you can get up to 14 lines.
Large plastic buttons are easy to press. As we have three rows three symbols, including "0" were moved to the right. This decision is suspicious and I could not get accustomed to it. The backlight is bright and its color depends upon the color of the body. The model loses out to rival solutions with better ergonomics.
The phone has an 860 mAh BL-4S Li-Ion battery. The manufacturer claims up to 6 hours of talktime and 430 hours on standby. Music playback is up to 25 hours.
The operation time is usually around 2.5 days in real life conditions, which includes 1.5 hours of talktime, several dozens of shots, a couple of minutes of video recording and up to three hours of music/radio playback. The full charging time is 2.5 hours.
Look at the maximum parameters in different modes:
USB. In USB settings you can choose one of the 3 operation modes:
Data transfer speed reaches 5 Mbps. During the connection the charging process starts.
This model has a USB Host and if you connect the adapter external USB storage can be used to copy files among other things. Nokia labels this feature as USB on the Go, but it is promoted only on Nokia N8, though it is supported on many inexpensive handsets on S40.
Bluetooth. Bluetooth 2.1 features EDR and supports the following profiles:
Data transfer speed via Bluetooth reaches 100 Kbps on average. We tested the transfer of stereo sound to Sony Ericsson DS970. The management of tracks, rewind and random playback work well, but you cannot see the name of the currently played track on the screen.
WiFi. There is a networks wizard, which can store data about such networks. Unfortunately, the phone cannot run WLAN wizard automatically when your browser gets connected. The support of 802.11 b/g/n (WPA2 AES/TKIP) is available too.
Users can access 30 MB of memory out of 48 MB to store any data. The memory is divided dynamically between all applications. The memory also stores the browser cache. Read a detailed account of downsides of the solution in the article on S40 6th edition FP1.
MicroSD memory cards slot is on the side. Hot swappable cards of up to 16 GB are not provided in the box. The model has 64 MB of RAM. Apps have limits of 2 MB, and the heap size is also 2 MB.
A 5 MP CMOS module without the autofocus (EDoF) is enough taking into account the price of the phone. Pictures taken on sunny days are decent and can be viewed on a PC without much trouble. It is a middle of the road solution for a moderate price.
The camera has a horizontal interface (S40 Simple), while the side button starts the shooting mode rather quickly. Photos are easily saved. The top resolution is 2592х1944. Look at samples to make your own conclusions.
Video recording. The handset allows for 3GP recording with the resolution of 640х480 (15 fps). The length of a recording can be limited, but it can also be determined by the amount of free memory. Video effects are identical to those available for pictures and their number is the same. Viewed on phone video shots are fine even if you go for the maximum resolution. On PC you will see artefacts, but it is still possible to enjoy, which is a big advantage of the phone.
All features of the model and the platform can be found in a separate article. Read it, please. Below we have screenshots of preinstalled apps, which need no explanation.
Games are represented by following offerings: Climate Mission (about the environment), Memorize (to develop your memory) and Picture Puzzle.
In Applications one can find Communities with basic clients for Facebook and Twitter, currency converter, clothes sizes converter, world time and Opera Mini.
The handset boasts OVI Chat to communicate with other OVI users, which is nice. Sadly, the audience is extremely limited, while other services are not supported. On the other hand the app can be moved to the background and you will still receive messages there. Traces of multitasking are here as well. It will be interesting to observe the development of the application. If it supports AIM, ICQ and Skype things can become more interesting, but it is not likely to happen.
For the first time on S40 the mail client was changed for the one from Nokia Messaging. It has advantages, for example, the support of up to 10 accounts and fast set up of popular services not to enter server settings. On the upside we also have an option to optimize pictures prior to the download to save the traffic (available for OVI Mail). My 1.8 MB picture was compressed to 16 KB, which is good enough for a phone screen. If you need the original image you will not be able to recover it. The mail client is a bit slow, but it is not an issue if you do not have too many messages.
The detailed description of a client is given on the article about the platform.
Music features are good. It is not loud enough, but everything else is great. Sadly, we do not receive the fast forward option from the screen. The player could have been slightly updated.
It is a typical Nokia product, but there is a speaker defect. During the conversation you may hear some scratching sounds. If it is the case contact the service center to replace the speaker. The issue is not obvious straight away, so you cannot check it out during the purchase. The replacement is free, so you will just lose time.
There are two Touch and Type models on the market – X3-02 for €125 and C3-01 for €145. To my mind X3-02 loses out a lot to the more expensive model due to the inferior body (plastic vs metal) and weird keypad in X3-02. The design of the latter is not attractive too, but this can be highly disputed.
Do not forget a weaker battery, the absence of the flash and a dedicated camera button. In other respects the handsets are the same. You have to decide whether to choose this hybrid solution. Initial sales indicate that the number of its fans is limited.
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Published 27 March 2011
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