Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type review: Slim and sharp

GSMArena team, 28 October 2010.
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Tags: Nokia, Touch UI, S40

Down to earth retail package

The Nokia X3-02 retail package is simple and to the point. All the basics are covered and that’s that.

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The modest retail package

There is a charger, the familiar tiny Nokia microUSB cable (market dependent), a cheap-looking one-piece headset and some paperwork. No bundled microSD card this time.

Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type 360-degree spin

The Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type measures 106.2 x 48.4 x 9.6 mm (a volume of 45.3 cc), which makes for a pretty compact phone. It’s a remarkably slim set – we need to give it that.

You might think the metal back adds a few grams but the Nokia X3-02 is almost feather light – a mere 77.4 grams. The whole package simply make sense. It’s an ultra slim phone, with a surprisingly comfortable keypad and great balance. It allows a comfortable hold for both quick typing and touchscreen navigation.

Design and construction

The debut of Symbian on touchscreen was less than inspiring in terms of design. One would think S40 could’ve been treated even worse. But you can stop worrying about those things right now – the Nokia X3-02 is an excellent performer and quite a looker.

In a way, the X3-02 is trying to earn the approval of some of the best looking phones S40 has to offer. The platform is home to some of the all-time hottest handsets. Think the 6500 and 6700 classic, the Luna and the Sirocco. Do we even need to mention the Arte series? The truth is, the Nokia X3-02 more than makes sense in such a distinguished company.

The X3-02 is a small, lightweight and stylish handset which trades on a classic design. Budget or not, the phone doesn’t feel and look cheap at all, in fact quite the opposite. It’s made of high-quality plastics and is solid, well-built and attracts no fingerprints. Oh, and there’s a touch of metal on the rear cover. That’s the way a phone should behave.

The 2.4" resistive TFT touchscreen takes the upper half of the front panel of the Nokia X3-02. It has QVGA resolution and can display up to 256K colors. Despite its decent brightness, the image quality is nothing to write home about.

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The 2.4-inch display is OK

Since it’s a touch phone with a numpad, we can’t expect a lot from the screen. It still managed to impress us tough. Its touch sensitivity is good enough. The sunlight legibility is also decent, but not perfect.

Friendly size and weight were a priority – making the most of the keypad and touchscreen is obviously a challenge in a package so small. The Nokia X3-02 is an effectively compact and lightweight handset with a great keypad. The limited screen size is the only thing users should consider.

The 2.4” display is on the small side – for a touch phone – but otherwise reasonable for a bar-shaped feature phone. The thing is there’s no D-pad on the handset, so all the navigation takes place on the screen. Well, almost. If you’re keen on doing things the old-fashioned way, you’ll be glad to hear the Nokia X3-02 supports the intuitive menu system with numpad shortcuts. Like on almost any regular Nokia set to date – smart and feature phones alike – each icon in the main menu grid has a corresponding alphanumeric key. Combination of number keys will also let you access the deeper levels of the menu.

There is one more thing about the touchscreen – its haptic feedback is the most responsive and accurate we’ve experienced. Wherever you tap on the display, you’ll feel the vibration right under that particular spot. We don’t know exactly how Nokia manages to create the illusion of vibrations in different places, but we think it’s awesome. At times it even feels better than the great tactile feedback on the Nokia N8 and C7.

There are four keys under the display with a smooth glossy coating: two Call keys and two special buttons (Messaging and Music). They are all decently sized and with distinct press – and their finish sets them apart from the number keys for better touch orientation. They do wobble a bit though and are perhaps the weakest point of the build.

Below the control deck is the 12-key alphanumeric keypad. It uses an unusual configuration, placing the *, # and 0 keys on the left column. It’s an unusual 4 x 3 layout but we are still confident in saying that it’s among the best dial pads we’ve seen. Not that we’ve been dealing with keypads too much recently – it’s been mostly touchscreen. But anyway, the keys on the X3-02 are great in size and feel good under the thumb. The solid, even feedback is also greatly appreciated.

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The keypad is reasonably comfortable • the blue backlit on the White Silver version and the white backlit on the Dark Metal one

The White Silver Nokia X3-02 has a blue backlight under the keypad, while the Dark Metal handset uses a white backlight.

The only things left to note on the front are the ambient light sensor and the earpiece at the top.

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The earpiece and the ambient light sensor

The left hand side of the Nokia X3-02 has nothing but one of the battery cover latches. The other one is on the right, along with the lock key, the volume rocker and the the lanyard eyelet. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated camera key.

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The bare left and the crowded right side

The top of the Nokia X3-02 features the microUSB port, the 3.5mm audio jack and the Nokia proprietary charger plug. The microUSB slot can be used for charging, and there’s even USB On-The-Go support.

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There are three jacks on top

The mouthpiece is integrated in the keypad, and the loudspeaker hole is the only thing to find at the bottom.

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The loudspeaker is at the bottom

The back panel of the handset features the 5 megapixel camera lens and nothing else. The camera lens has no protection against scratches save for being slightly set back in the device. That means you need to be careful handling the phone if you want the image quality to stay the same as the day you bought the handset.

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The lonely 5 megapixel camera lens

Removing the steel battery cover reveals the SIM bed, the microSD card slot and the 860 mAh BL-45 Li-Ion battery. Despite the microSD card slot being under the battery cover, it’s still hot-swappable.

Quoted at up to 5 hours and 20 minutes of talk time and 408 hours of standby in 2G networks or 3 hours and 30 minutes of talk time and 408 hours of standby in 3G networks, the battery really sounds like something. Nokia also promises up to 28 hours of music playback.

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Checking what’s under the hood

The build quality of the Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type is impressive and it should be one of the phone’s best selling points. We had both the White Silver and Dark Metal versions and we should say the available paintjobs is another tick in the plus box for Nokia.

The keypad may seem strange at first, but after a while it starts to feel quite natural. The X3-02 is one of the best S40 phones to date with a great compact design and shape, fitting perfectly in your palm and nearly any pocket. With a small and low-res touchscreen and a full-size numpad, it’s not a usual package. People will be right to doubt the usability but we’d like to assuage their fears: the phone is comfortable to handle. And it’s such a great looker.

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The Nokia X3-02 held in hand

And now we are going to see what Nokia did with the S40 user interface.

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