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

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

Touch-enabled S40 looks good

The Nokia X3-02 runs the Series 40 6th edition software – the environment should be familiar to everyone now. The few things you’ll find different are the touch-optimized icons and system fonts. Besides that, everything is almost the same.

Here is a demo video of the Nokia X3-02 user interface.

The vast reach of Nokia means that many people have at some point used an S40 device. But old glory aside, S40 still has important features missing and things that need polishing – even in the touch edition.

Anyway, familiarity is not a bad thing. Plus, the UI is simple and fairly intuitive so you can get going right away, you don’t need any special help or instructions to use the Nokia X3-02.

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The refreshed S40 UI

Active standby mode (or Home screen mode, as Nokia call it here) is available as usual. It divides the screen into four sections that can be edited as users see fit (by tap and hold on any section). By default, the clock is on top, followed by Favorite contacts, then Music player and radio and the Shortcut bar at the bottom, which grants instant access to four favorite functions or apps.

You can customize that – rearrange things and add or replace shortcuts.

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The stand-by screen

A brand new feature on S40 Touch Edition is the lockscreen. It’s pretty standard – a clock and tap-to-unlock key. A handy function is that pressing the end key while the keypad is locked, brings up a clock that shows the time and date.

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The lockscreen

The main menu has only two views – Grid and List. The grid layout is handy for offering numpad shortcuts.

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The Grid and List views

Multitasking support is still missing on S40. The only way around it on the X3-02 is the special Messaging and Music keys. You can launch the music player from virtually anywhere in the phone interface. If there’s an incoming call, the app will be paused while you take it. You can’t make outgoing calls unless you exit the app though. The Messaging button offers two shortcuts: New Message and Conversations.

There‘s no D-pad on the Nokia X3-02 but the soft keys are there. Only virtual this time – they’re at the bottom of the screen, and there’s a virtual Menu key between them. The soft keys are user-configurable – you can assign a shortcut of choice to each of them. We do think though, at least one of them is best left with Go To. It’s the kind of quick menu we’ve seen on many S40 handsets but touchscreen makes so much difference.

Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type
Go To is a handy quick launcher

On the X3-02 you get a 3 x 3 grid of virtual buttons serving as shortcuts to frequently used functions or apps. It’s a quick launcher of sorts that makes a lot of sense. The whole thing is fully customizable – you can set a shortcut to virtually any item in the interface. And it makes sure you don’t repeat an item that’s already in the grid. Nicely done.

Another thing to note as missing is an accelerometer. Unlike some of its S40 non-touch siblings, the Nokia X3-02 leaves out features like tap-for-time and turn-to-mute. As for screen auto rotation, it’s not badly missed we think, given the screen size. Some might still find it a nuisance though – having to manually set display orientation where it matters: in the camera viewfinder, image gallery and the video player.

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