The X3 is Nokia’s latest music phone, but while the name will give many the impression that this is a cut down version of Nokia’s capacitance screen touting X6, in reality the two phones are completely different beasts.
Whereas the X6 is targeted at the higher end of the contract phone market, the X3 is primarily aimed at pay as you go users looking for a more wallet friendly phone, which is reflected in its sub £80 asking price. The form factor is completely different too, as the X3 has more of a traditional slider design, albeit with some tweaks here and there including some dedicated music keys. In fact the only real ties between the two handsets are the fact that they’re both being pitched as music phones and they both share the same colours scheme. Like the X6, the X3 is available in black with either red or blue strips flanking the screen.
With its slightly boxy design we wouldn’t exactly describe the X3 as a looker, but when you slide the keypad open you’ll find that at least the extra girth means Nokia has been able to equip it with a relatively spacious keypad. And although the keypad is a flat one piece design, there is a bit of travel in each key which helps make it a fairly easy phone for quickly tapping out text messages. Nokia has also added three music keys on the left-hand edge of the display to let you skip forwards and backwards through tracks as well as starting and pausing playback.
Another welcome feature for music fans is the standard 3.5mm headphone jack at the top of the phone which makes it easy to swap the supplied earphones for your own cans. The top edge is also home to the standard Nokia mini charging port, but you can also charge the handset via its microUSB port, which may come in handy if you need an emergency battery top up when you’re around a mate’s place.
The screen is an area where manufacturers often cut costs on budget handsets and unfortunately this is definitely the case here. At a mere 2.2inches the display is very small and the resolution of 320x240 pixels means text tends to look a tad blocky. However, the biggest problem with the screen is its shimmery look that sometimes makes it difficult to focus on. The reason for this seems to be its very narrow viewing angle, as a tiny rotation to the right makes it look very dark while doing the same on the left-hand side washes out the colours almost completely. As a result we could never really find a sweet spot where readability was acceptable.
When it comes to music the phone uses the standard Series 40 media player. To our mind this isn’t quite as attractive, responsive or as well laid out as the Walkman app on Sony Ericsson’s music phones, but it’s still pretty straight forward to navigate around. The music library is divided up into playlists, artists, albums and genres, and album art is displayed on the screen when a track is playing. You can tweak the audio output via the five band equaliser and there’s also a stereo widening setting that aims to increase the apparent width of the stereo image when you’re using headphones.