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Hands on: Nokia X

updated 05:27 am EST, Mon February 24, 2014

Cheap Android-based Nokia X tested at Mobile World Congress

The Nokia X is the company's long-anticipated attempt at an Android smartphone, after offering customers its Asha platform and Windows Phone for a considerable amount of time. Even for a debut effort, Nokia has attempted to try and differentiate itself from the more typical Android devices by heavily customizing the operating system. Electronista tried out the base Nokia X model shortly after its launch.

The typical construction of Nokia's Lumia devices makes an appearance here, with a polycarbonate casing used to keep the weight down, and the unit felt relatively comfortable in the hand. The four-inch display was bright enough to see -- despite the stand's lighting scheme -- had decent viewing angles, and is probably a bit low in terms of resolution for a first attempt at an Android device.

Nokia X
Nokia X

When the phone was initially being used, it was found to be marginally lagging in responsiveness when scrolling through the menu, though a minute later this issue disappeared for the rest of the time the device was used. The main menu does certainly look Windows Phone-inspired, thanks to the use of its tiles, and Nokia's Fastlane activity tracker page also makes an easy-to-access appearance as well.

While navigation in the system is straightforward, there are still some other factors that potential customers must take notice of. Since it does not operate within Google's ecosystem, it lacks core items such as the Google Play Store. While Nokia does point out that apps can be installed via a number of other app stores, and can also be sideloaded, not having access to Google Play could be a deal breaker for those already invested in the ecosystem.

Nokia X
Nokia X

In the brief time it was used, the camera appeared to be useable, if limiting. The app is simple to control and quick to take images with, though the three-megapixel resolution and fixed-focus design may limit some users. The lack of a front-facing camera is also something users will need to take into account.

Overall, it appears to be a decent first attempt at an Android device from Nokia. It may be low-powered in comparison to other Android devices, and limiting in some respects, but considering the cheapest version ships for 89 euros ($122), these could certainly be overlooked by someone getting their first smartphone or Android device.

by MacNN Staff



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