Nokia X7-00: Heavyweight entertainer | HT Tech

Nokia X7-00: Heavyweight entertainer

Nokia X7-00 comes ahead to take the lead from its predecessor X6-00, which was the first Nokia touchscreen to feature a capacitive touchscreen. It is surprising to see the X-series smartphone get the taste of Symbian Anna even before the company's flagship device N8.

By: SWAPNIL BANDIWADEKAR
| Updated on: Sep 09 2011, 19:55 IST
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Camera interface has got complete overhaul. You can access major settings like ISO setting,Scene mode etc. from viewfinder itself. Only few settings like resolution and get-tagging setting need an extra step to reach them.

Regarding image quality, everything beyond 50cm looks good but not till infinity. The problem with camera is that it uses aggressive noise reduction which also causes to lose details in image. And since the camera module on X7 is EDoF one, it doesn't support macro mode so using it for scanning your documents won't yield good results. Colors in images were not over saturated and colors were almost close to reality.

So camera on X7 is good only for taking casual photos in your birthday party. Don't expect it to great job when you to capture some nature around.


Personal Information Organization

The great file manager is the novelty of Symbian phones. It's like no other. It'd do all file handling jobs quite easily and we doubt if you'll need any third party file manager. Backup and Restore option is directly available from File Manager.

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The Nokia X7 also has support for USB On-The-Go i.e. you can use X7 as USB host device and connect other USB devices such as flash drives, card readers and phones (which support mass storage function). You can then read-write content on this devices. In our testing X7 could read all flash drives, card readers and mobile phones including Android phones. We could use all type of cards including SD cards. We used Samsung Galaxy Ace and turned on Mass Storage function on it. We could surf through entire file system on its memory card. It may not work with your portable HDDs since they require more power and we doubt if anyone will ever connect them to mobile.

As with Windows, Symbian Anna too gives you option to safely remove your USB devices.

Calculator app is very basic. There isn't scientific or any other mode to expand its functionality. It's suitable for first grader who does basic math. So if your life involves playing with large numbers then you better search for some other app.

Calendar is very useful and indeed a feature-rich app. It has Day, Week, and Month views. You can also have multiple calendars which along with their entries are indicated with different colors. You can have personal calendar full of birthday parties and business calendar with corporate meetings.

Clock app which is present onboard is also very nice. It doubles up as world clock too. You can set repeated alarms too.

Apps on X7

There's QuickOffice suite present complete with Adobe Reader. The QuickOffice suite offers 'reader' only for viewing your files and it has support for MS Office 2007 files. You can purchase license to enable editing capabilities.

No company would afford to sell phones without Social Networking abilities and Nokia isn't an exception. To take care of your SNS services it comes preloaded with OVI Social app. It can handle Facebook and Twitter accounts. There's support for multiple accounts (per service) but only one remains active. We're not quite happy with its performance. First of all it was slow, and then kinetic scrolling was also terrible. While using Twitter with OVI Social replies made to tweets would be shown as individual tweets instead of conversation view on web or in other clients. It could lead to misunderstanding sometimes. For Twitter there's very reputed alternative available and that is Gravity but you'll have to pay for it. Another strange thing we noticed that it couldn't run when there wasn't SIM card in phone. This must, must be fixed.

To get more apps and games (and themes, ringtones etc.) there's OVI Store to serve you. Nokia understood the role apps and apps store in competitive mobile industry and has taken rights steps. OVI Store has been improved very much though there are still some quirks which need to be fixed. Mainly categories in OVI Stores should be recreated wisely. Since Symbian Anna is quite new the application availability is somewhat limited but it shouldn't be very long before those apps become available in OVI Store. Surprisingly some apps which were designed for non-touch Symbian also worked. Still you can install app in traditional way i.e. using .SIS files. There are Qt based apps available too since Symbian Anna support Qt.

OVI Store UI is good in terms ease of use. You can view and manage all your apps directly from 'My Account' menu. You can also decide where your apps and other content go after downloading. We wish if it had option to uninstall apps too for apps downloaded through OVI Store.

Another problem we faced with OVI Store was broken installations. Even the apps created would fail to install properly or would start just once after installation. We guess Nokia Smart Installer is responsible for that. We'd have also liked if OVI Store itself was able to check and update all apps on phone instead of making user to manually download and install new versions of apps.

To navigate your way through there's OVI Maps present onboard. It's completely free and comes with free voice guided navigation. On X7 you can download maps directly on phone without need of PC. It can use GPS with A-GPS and Wi-Fi network to determine your position. In our experience it could get GPS lock in less than 2 minutes.

Then there are various tools present on X7 which can be useful in enterprise environment too like Dictionary app, MS Communicator client, Zip manager to handle archives, Message Reader. There's F-Secure Anti Theft app present too which will protect your precious data if your phone gets stolen.

Performance

Performance of X7 has been very well. Most tech savvy people won't believe that it runs on just 680MHz processor and 256MBs of RAM and still outperforms any other high-end handset out there. Many of you will hesitate to agree but no other handset on market can record or play 720p HD videos with these specs. All thanks to Symbian.Smooth touchscreen gives extra points to X7.

We faced lags very rarely and when we faced they happen to come from software side instead of hardware side. For example, Nokia's OVI Social app was extremely slow to respond and buggy too. After using the whole smooth UI of Symbian Anna it ruined our enjoyment. Nokia should improve it as soon as possible. As mentioned earlier even new browser included in Symian Anna wasn't upto the mark. It had problem with handling sites with lots of dynamic (e.g. Flash) content though it could handle big static sites flawlessly. All OVI services need great overhaul except for OVI Maps which are best in market and complete with free voice guided navigation. It could get GPS lock within a minute or so. OVI Music is just restricted browser. Look at its interface; it's not even an app.

Calling was typical Nokia with no call drops or whatsoever. We felt that it was little less loud on earpiece. We didn't even find any issues with network reception and yeah we didn't have to hold it any specific position to receive signals.

Task manager on Symbian Anna was indeed powerful. It's remained unchanged from Symbian^3 but we must admit it was quick and smooth. In any orientation it shows thumbnails of three running apps. You can access rest of the running apps by scrolling through the thumbnails. We used Task Manager for switching task and we could swap between many open apps very quickly and without much delay. We didn't need Task Manager for killing any app but for sake of tasting we did it too. Yes we 'used' it to 'kill' apps. And mind you it executed our orders quickly. However heavy app we threw at it, it killed them in maximum 3 seconds. And we see this as very big improvement over all editions of Symbian.

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Battery life of X7 isn't best in segment. For a device like X7 1200 mAh battery feels too short. For average user it should pull for whole day before low battery notification starts popping up. But if you're heavy user whose use include 18/6 if not 24/7 interenet connectivity, lots of calls, music then you'll probably need to charge it twice a day. Besides battery isn't user replaceable so you can't carry extra battery or use high power one. Nokia should have gone for minimum 1500 mash battery for X7. There's a way to get maximum of that battery by activating Power Saving mode. But it'll also lower the brightness to the minimum and will force the phone to use 2G networks only.

Verdict

Nokia X7 is very good device indeed further enhanced by Symbian Anna. It's not the smartphone flagship for Nokia nor will it try to pose as one. The main aim of X7 is to give boost to X-series and it's got the pure X-series DNA. But competition has already going ahead very fast and what could stop Nokia X7 from being the 'seller' is the price segment it is put in. At the time of writing this review it was priced at 22K which is slightly higher than companies all round performer N8 which is especially admired for its amazing camera abilities. With Symbian Anna update which is due for late August the gap on software will really end. There's no difference hardware wise except for bigger 4' screen. So Nokia should have put it sub 20K segment. But wait there's already Nokia C7 waiting to eat into sales of X7 so it's going to have some serious in-house competition.

And when it steps out there's whole bunch of droids ready to give X7 some run. In sub 20K range there are some good Androids available. LG Optimus Black is the first phone to come to our minds and then Google Nexus S, famous for 'pure Google' experience. Quite old but still a powerhouse, Samsung Galaxy S is also worth taking a note but lack of any kind of camera flash just doesn't satisfy. But all of them offer better photography than X7 while still being compact enough.

While Symbian Ann is a worthy update, the OS itself has become a dying breed now. No doubt the build quality of the phone is much superior compared to the E71 and the rest flocking the market, in the same price segment. And yet X7 fails to differentiate itself much from its siblings. The phone definitely needs a better speaker, bumped up camera and be priced at least belore the flagship N8 before they can get it right.

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First Published Date: 05 Sep, 18:54 IST
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