Given the phone’s low price tag it’s understandable that it uses Series 40 rather than Nokia’s more advanced Series 60 operating system. Series 40 is pretty straight forward to use as the main menu has the standard nine icon grid layout. By default the handset is set up to use the personalised homescreen that offers short cuts to stuff like the FM tuner, music player and calendar, but you can also turn this off so the home screen simply displays a static picture instead. Unlike some previous Series 40 handsets, the X3 also has the Ovi app store onboard so you can buy and download new games, themes and ringtones directly from the phone.
The supplied headphones aren’t too bad, but sound quality improves dramatically when you try a better quality set of cans as the X3’s audio output is actually quite clean by budget handset standards. The phone only has 45MB of onboard memory free, so if you want to store a decent sized library of music tracks you’ll have to rely on MicroSD cards. Thankfully, Nokia supplies a 2GB card with the phone to get you started and cards of up to 16GB in size are supported. The card slot is also easy to get at as it’s positioned beneath a plastic flap on the left hand edge of the phone.
The X3’s camera is a very basic 3.2Megapixel shooter that lacks both autofocus and a flash. Outdoor shots are passable, but indoor photos are hopelessly grainy unless there are excessive amounts of light in the room. Connectivity is also quite basic. There’s no support for 3G or Wi-Fi, so EDGE speeds are the fastest that the handset is capable of. It also lacks GPS, but there is Bluetooth 2.1 so you can use the handset with Bluetooth stereo headphones. And perhaps because of the lack of advanced features like 3G and GPS, the phone actually performs pretty well when it comes to battery life. We got around three and a half days out of it.
However, the one area where you’d expect a Nokia phone to excel is rather bizarrely where the X3 falls flat on its face, as we found that call quality on this handset was well below par. Despite using it in an area with strong reception, the phone often ended up producing garbled, Dalek sounding audio and on more than one occasion we had to drop a call and try again. In this day and age that’s really not acceptable.
The X3 has a decent line up of features for a budget handset, especially when it comes to music. However, the poor screen and dodgy call quality means that it’s a difficult phone to recommend, especially when there are plenty of better quality handsets available for similar amounts of money.