Nokia X7-00 review: The stealth xpress

GSMArena team, 29 June 2011.
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Basic retail package

The Nokia X7 comes packaged with the basics but not much in terms on value-added goodies, except for an 8GB microSD card. The package includes a compact charger, a microUSB cable and a one-piece headset with Play/Pause, and Skip controls.

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The box is rather empty

The SIM tray is originally ejected and placed under the phone in a specially formed recess. You just put your SIM in the tray and slide it into the phone. The 8GB card is pre-installed so you don't need to worry about that.

Nokia X7 360-degree spin

The Nokia X7 measures 119.7 x 62.8 x 11.9 mm, well within the norm of 4" screens.. It's not that much bigger actually than the C7, which only has a 3.5" screen. The X7 weighs 146g.

Design and construction

The Nokia X7 is a gorgeous phone - it has a bold, futuristic design that gives it broad appeal but geeks will look at the angular shapes and instantly think F-117 Nighthawk. We've handled both the Dark steel and Silver steel versions and both of them look extra sharp.

The shape of the phone is rectangular with the four corners beveled. Each corner shows a grill although only two of them (the bottom ones) house actual loudspeakers. The grills look cool anyway. The mostly metallic back is rounded making the phone more comfortable to hold than an angular back would have been.

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The Nokia X7 looks like a stealth jet fighter

The front of the Nokia X7 is dominated by an amazing 4" nHD AMOLED screen. The lower pixel count is the only thing holding this display back - 360 x 640 is a bit of a stretch for a 4" diagonal. Still, the 4" SuperAMOLED of the Samsung Galaxy S only has about 10% more subpixels than the X7's AMOLED screen. The difference is by no means huge.

The screen on the X7 is also the brightest AMOLED we've tested. It's actually one of the brightest displays we've ever tested, LCDs included. The only brighter display we've seen is LG'c NOVA display, which is some 20% ahead. Still, AMOLEDs are traditionally darker than LCDs so the Nokia X7 screen blew us away. Contrast is infinite technically but that's the usual.

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The Nokia X7 and N8 displays compared

Here's the table with our brightness measurements. You can learn more about the test here.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
LG Optimus Black P970 0.27 332 1228 0.65 749 1161
Nokia X7 0 365 0 630
Motorola Atrix 4G 0.48 314 652 0.60 598 991
Apple iPhone 4 0.14 189 1341 0.39 483 1242
HTC Sensation 0.21 173 809 0.61 438 720
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S 0 263 0 395
Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc 0.03 34 1078 0.33 394 1207
Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II 0 231 0 362
LG Optimus 2X 0.23 228 982 0.35 347 1001
HTC Incredible S 0.18 162 908 0.31 275 880

Viewing angles of the screen are great and colors are lovely and vivid. Sunlight legibility is not perfect but it holds up slightly better than, say, the Samsung Galaxy S II.

The X7 screen sensitivity is as good as we’ve come to expect from capacitive units and touch feedback is very impressive.

Symmetrically placed on either side of the screen are the earpiece and the lone menu key. There are proximity and ambient light sensors hiding near the earpiece. There's no video-call camera here or call buttons. The menu key is relatively big, though it's a bit stiff.

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The earpiece and sensors on top • The menu key is the only button on the front

On top of the Nokia X7 is the uniquely shaped Power/Lock key, which also handles screen lock and the ringing profiles (upon a long press). The two wired connectivity ports are here too – the microUSB that can be used for charging and the 3.5mm audio jack.

At the bottom, there's just the mic pinhole and some labels.

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The two wired connectivity ports and the power key

The sides of the Nokia X7 are quite interesting. The left houses the two trays: one for the microSD card (top) and one for the SIM card (bottom). The right side is home to the volume rocker and the shutter key.

Let's start with the keys. They have a very low profile and both are frustratingly hard to use. Because they sit on the sloping edge of the back, every time you press one of them, your finger slides down pushing the phone up. We kept getting the feeling that sooner or later the phone was going to slip.

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microSD and SIM card slots on the left • the uncomfortable volume rocker and shutter key on the right

The trays for the SIM and microSD cards are not our favorite design decisions either. Both work the same way - you press on the dot, which cause the other end to tilt up. Then you try to pry and pull it out. That's rather annoying but the microSD slot still counts as "hot-swappable" we guess.

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The trays for the SIM and microSD cards

When you're done, you have to push the tray back in and we question the life expectancy of a slot that will see quite a bit of metal rubbing against metal. That's the price of beauty (or rather the metal body in this case).

The four corners of the Nokia X7 are fashioned into loudspeaker grills but that’s just for show - only the bottom ones actually hide loudspeakers. Having four speakers would have been impressive (and we imagine quite loud) but two work well enough.

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The bottom two are loudspeakers the other two are impostors

On the back we find the camera lens, dual-LED flash banded together on a black strip. The camera doesn’t protrude but when you put the phone down it rests on it, making it prone to scratches (there’s no lens cover).

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The 8MP camera and its dual-LED flash

Most of the back is a solid piece of brushed-finish stainless steel, with plastic elements capping the top and bottom ends of the phone (just like on the Nokia N8). The metal gives the X7 a very sturdy feel, which users like us prefer over plastic.

One downside to this is that the battery isn't user accessible - you can't carry a backup piece to extend the battery life of the X7.

Speaking of battery life, the Nokia X7's battery is quoted at up to 450 hours of stand-by (in both 2G and 3G modes) or up to six and a half hours of talk time (and only four and a half hours in 3G). Nokia also claim 6 hours of video playback (with 720p videos) and 50 hours of music playback (in offline mode).

The battery performance of the X7 isn't overly impressive. As a reference, the Nokia C7 claims to squeeze 550 hours of standby and 9 h 30 min of talk time (that's in 2G) out of the same 1200mAh BL-5K battery.

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The curved metal back of the Nokia X7

The build quality of the Nokia X7 is impressive though we don't agree with some of the design decisions (the buttons on the rounded edge of the phone and the card trays). The finish of the X7 proved delicate and quickly acquired a few scratches so you have to be careful with it (a carrying pouch in the box would have been great).

Still, there's no denying that the X7 is a beauty to look at and it's quite slim and compact. The curved back makes the phone very comfortable to hold despite the angular looks.

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The Nokia X7 held in hand

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