The Nokia X3-02 is powered by the Symbian S40 operating system. It’s the lowest-end OS Nokia has, primarily due to its lack of multi-tasking, but at this stage of Symbian development, it offers most of the key features of Symbian S60, its bigger brother.
The Nokia Communities feature gives you access to your Twitter and Facebook feeds in a relatively easy-to-use (though somewhat slow) app-style format, while the Mail app is happy to take on multiple accounts at once, from Ovi Mail, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail and Hotmail. This information can also be laid over your home screen.
The X3-02’s home screen features four slots, arranged vertically, that can be filled-up using the 14 included widgets. Aside from the social networking and email notification bars, the most useful picks include the neat WLAN controller and Favourite Contacts bar. Here’s the full run-down:
- Favourite contacts
- General Indicators (date)
- My note
- My music
- Web search
Symbian S40’s widget-based home screen isn’t a patch on Android, which offers thousands of different widgets that you can position much more freely, but these limitations don’t feel too encumbering on the small 2.4-inch screen.
Other built-in apps are mostly basic, comprised of a world clock, calculator, unit converter, voice recorder and to-do list – as well as a few games. The one concession to today’s demand for snazzy apps is Shazam, the music identification app.
The Nokia X3-02 also has access to the Ovi Store, Nokia’s own app store. App support is very limited though, thanks to the phone’s operating system. Current S40 phones may offer many features we’d associate with higher-end phones when laid-out as bullet points, but apps available for this phone look and feel like feature phone apps. They’re basic and often a little crude. You can have a browse of the games and apps available to the phone at the http://store.ovi.com/ Ovi Store web portal.
Perhaps the most disappointing omission of the Nokia X3-02 is GPS navigation. There’s no software installed, and no GPS capabilities lurk in the background, waiting to be explored. Most Symbian S60 phones offer GPS and come with the free, and very useful, Ovi Maps software, so bear that in mind if you want your phone to double as a navigation device.
The phone uses a resistive touchscreen, which – unlike the capacitive panel used in most smartphones – senses direct pressure rather than conduction. When used with a finger or thumb, this type of touchscreen feels unresponsive and inaccurate compared with the capacitive kind. However, that’s precisely the point of having the physical keypad – typing is the one thing that suffers most from a poor touchscreen.
Full web browsing is in, and snappy to load thanks to 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, but navigation is a little sluggish. Thanks to the resistive screen, there’s no multi-touch. The essential zoom feature therefore relies on an unresponsive double-tap manoeuvre, or a series of taps using the interface’s virtual buttons.
Browsing is a key duty of the Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type’s touchscreen, but we found ourselves craving a physical navigation D-pad or touchpad. Without a super-quick way to zoom in and out of web pages, you start to feel the cramped dimensions of the 2.4in screen – pointing with a finger isn’t accurate enough to tap on most links without zooming in.
The built-in browser offers bookmarks but no tabbed browsing, although Opera Mini is also available for the phone. It offers a more advanced feature set, including tabs and a customisable home screen.
The keypad is a strong point though, with large keys making typing quick, easy and accurate. Certainly for typing short texts or URLs, it’s fine and dandy. It’s if you venture after more verbose conversation that the niggles appear. In essence, frequent emailers would be better off with the Nokia C3’s nifty full-Qwerty keyboard to keep up a decent turn of speed. There’s no option to switch to a virtual touchscreen keypad, either, although we grant it’d rob the phone of its purpose.