Nokia X3-02 4 Stars

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The Nokia Touch and Type series has another addition in the shape of the Nokia X3-02. This series sees the handset maker combine the candybar phone shape with a standard keypad and a touchscreen, in order to give users who can’t quite decide if they want a true touchphone or not a bit of a choice in the control of their phone. It’s quite a niche area – and whether it proves a success or a bit of a gimmick is likely to boil down to how well Nokia manages to do it.

First impressions

First impressions are promising – the phone looks good, sits well in the hand and is a lightweight at 77.4g. The chassis is high-quality plastic that doesn’t seem to attract too many fingerprints – although the glossy display is another matter.

On the back though, you’ll see the battery cover is steel, held well in place by a latch on either side. Under this cover sits a Li-ion battery with 860 mAh capacity – so you’ll get a decent three days out of a full battery charge.

Back to basics

You might need to take another look at the real keypad, which is a tad confusing. You’ll see three rows of alphanumeric keys, while the fourth row is actually a column on the right. The keys are well sized and offer great tactile feedback – they are close together though, so it’s easy to press the wrong one. The top row features dedicated messaging and music player buttons – we were disappointed that we couldn’t set them for anything apart from the default.

There is no D-pad, which is a move away from the familiar layout. Instead you need to use the 2.4in touch-screen to navigate your way around the menus and to confirm actions – the screen is surprisingly responsive. Viewing it in bright light results in colours fading away, but on-screen information can still be read thanks to the large system fonts. It’s not exactly perfect, but it’s good enough for a budget handset. It does have a five megapixel camera but it’s fixed focus and has no LED flash, so images are disappointing unless they’re taken in bright daylight.

The main features

The software platform for Nokia’s feature phones is Series 40, which has been tweaked to feature larger, touch-optimised icons and other elements that should make operating on a  smaller touch-display easier. The display has a low resolution of 240x320, which is really noticeable on a web browser. On the plus side, the WebKit-based browser offers a good view of websites and it also offers support for kinetic scrolling. You have the alternative choice of the excellent Opera Mini browser, which has been designed to speedily render mobile websites.

To access your social network sites, you’ll need to use the Communities application; it is pretty basic but still operates well enough for Facebook and Twitter. The onboard email client is also pretty basic, but nevertheless is easy to set up and offers support for multiple accounts.

The verdict

The Nokia X3-02 is easy and user friendly in use. It may be basic but it still works well. It’s just a shame that Nokia didn’t decide to go that one step further by including a higher-resolution screen and onboard GPS.

 

rs to achieve this.

Mediocre camera

The one thing that is really disappointing is the very average camera. Also, smartphones need apps and Palm has a low number available to users – still fewer than 2,000. Palm expects this to improve as developers become able to switch apps from one platform to another. And it’s worth pointing out that big companies such as Electronic Arts and GameLoft have already developed apps for Palm, but it doesn’t make up for the low numbers. The apps are available from the App Catalog  an easy-to-use, well designed store, which is let down by a lack of stock.

It’s a shame that Palm is let down by its apps, because the Pixi Plus is a great phone with a fantastic operating system and hardware. If you’re not bothered about having thousands of apps to choose from, then the Pixi Plus is fun to use and a very desirable handset. But if you are desperate for games and flatulence simulators, or are after a decent camera on your handset, the Pixi Plus is not the phone for you.

When it came to making phone calls, the Pixi’s call quality was good (and it doesn’t matter how you hold the phone!) It may not have the huge speaker on the back, which featured on some of the earlier Palm devices, but it still works well and sounds good. Battery life is not as good as some other smartphones, so you will have to charge it every day to ensure you get maximum performance.

Like its stablemates the Palm Pre and Palm Pre Plus, there is an option to have a special back on the handset so that it can be wirelessly charged using the Touchstone magnetic charging block. While this comes as standard on the Pre Plus, if you buy a Pixi, it will need to be bought separately, as will the Touchstone. On the side of the device you’ll find a micro USB connection hidden beneath a flap that fits so well that it can be rather tricky to peel off – this makes the Touchstone a practical, as well as rather cool, option.

The verdict

If you want vast numbers of apps and a decent camera, the Pixi Plus is not the phone for you. If, on the other hand, you’re after a simple, intuitive smartphone that’s smaller and cheaper than the iPhone 4, the Pixi Plus is a great choice.

Pros:
Tidy, good-priced phone with an attractive design. The combination of keyboard and touch-screen is ergonomically sound.
Cons:
No GPS and disappointing snapper results. The display could be improved.
Rating:
  • Look and Feel 4 Stars
  • Ease of use 3 Stars
  • Features 3 Stars
  • Performance 4 Stars
  • Battery life 4 Stars

Final verdict: 4 Stars

Review by Mobile Choice