Every once in awhile it’s a real treat to come across a low priced handset that’s designed to make the average user feel like they’ve got everything they need at their fingertips. While Nokia’s higher end mobile segment has been taking brutal hits, their lower budget phones have still managed to retain some semblance of their longstanding quality and attention to consumer requirements. The Nokia E5 and Nokia C3 devices have been faring quite well and I have a good feeling about this, the Nokia X2-01 as well. Here’s a closer look.

Form Factor
Nokia’s C3 came off with a slightly more sophisticated design form in their lower budget segment and the X2-01 has taken on a slightly sportier look. The Full QWERTY keypad is just as comfortable to use as the C3’s and the 2.4-inch TFT LCD (sporting a 320 x 240 pixel resolution) is easy on the eyes in all lighting conditions. Nokia’s thrown in a dedicated music key on one side of the five way nav-pad as well as a messaging key on the other side. Getting back to the keypad, the buttons are prominently raised just enough to separate them from each other and are soft enough to be used at long stretches. The large space bar also helps enhance typing speed.

A singular flap on the left hand side can be peeled open to reveal a micro USB slot for USB connectivity/charging and a hot swap microSD card slot for external memory. The X2-01 supports up to 8GB easily. Strapped onto the rear is a VGA camera. I’m sure you're thinking Nokia could have gone with at least a 1.3 megapixel camera but that would have increased the price a bit as well. A charging port and 3.5mm handsfree socket are conveniently located at the top of the handset. With its red trim and slightly ‘Sony Ericsson – Human Curvature-ish’ design form, the X2 fares quite well in the looks department.

Features and Performance
Interface
The X2-01 runs on a Symbian Series 40 platform, but of course it’s far superior to the older versions. In fact, this new version looks more like an S60 OS. It offers a handy, quick-access styled desktop that’s designed to let you access your social networking accounts, emails, favourite contacts and also has a provision for a frequently used shortcut bar. This ‘Active Homescreen’ lets you stay connected to the web and your social feeds at all times so you won’t miss a beat. The four direction keys on the nav-pad can be revised to access any app you wish to assign them to.

Sporty looking handset

Sporty looking handset

There’s no lag when it comes to switching screens or accessing applications so while it may fall a tad short of being a smart phone, it’ll get whatever job you require from it done with ease.

Media
The on board media player is capable of near crystal clear audio at really high decibel levels. With EQ Presets and the option to create your own settings via a five band graphic equalizer and Stereo Widening you will enjoy the audio playback on this handset. It supports mp3, AAC, eAAC, eAAC+ and WMA and has ID3 tag and album art support. An FM radio with RDS support is also onboard and reception was not bad at all in most locations. It took just about 12 seconds to locate and store all available stations.

5 ban EQ setting for you to customize

5 band EQ setting for you to customize

When it comes to video you’ll have to go a little low res. The X2-01 supports MP4 files but only if they’re coded to a 320 x 240 sized resolution. 3GP files will play without an issue. It’s quite comfortable for viewing videos though I don’t recommend it for too long in moving vehicles.

For the mobile gamer you can download and install games off the Ovi Store or any Java MIDP 2.0 game off your PC and transfer it to the device via your memory card. A few games like Bounce Tales, Diamond Rush, Block'D and the still extremely popular Sudoku have also been thrown in.

Connectivity
Considering the price tag, there are very few handsets that would offer you 3G capabilities in this range save the Sony Ericsson Cedar. The X2-01 offers EDGE/GPRS/WAP capabilities for net connectivity and USB 2.0 for PC interfacing, use as a modem and for data transfer. Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support is also available for wireless data transfer and stereo audio streaming. Nokia has thrown in their social networking app – Communities – for simultaneous connection to both Twitter and Facebook. For chatting you can use Nokia Messaging 3.0 that serves as a universal client and offers support for – Ovi Chat, Gtalk, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger. You can also upload images to these accounts as well as your Flickr account.

Nokia Mail 3.0 for easy set up

Nokia Mail 3.0 for easy set up

The native browser supports Flashlite 3.0 to enhance your web surfing experience. Push email service for real-time notifications allows you to easily create and send and receive emails form Ovi Mail, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Windows Live, Hotmail and other POP/IMAP services.

Misc. Features
Nokia has of course made sure that all your basic requirements from a mobile handset like an alarm, calendar for appointments, schedules etc. and a To-Do list are all provided. A stop watch, voice recorder, notes and a world clock are also thrown in. Anything you don’t see could possibly be found on the Ovi Store for which a pre-loaded app has been provided.

Plenty of relevent goodies

Plenty of relevent goodies

Camera
The on board VGA camera offers very basic settings that include White Balance and a few colour effects. I found the image quality to be quite decent. Colours looked reasonably intact and the focus of each picture, both indoors and outdoors could give any VGA phone camera a serious run for their money.

Pretty good for a VGA camera

Pretty good for a VGA camera

Video recording was not too bad, either. It supports 640 x 480 resolution @15fps.

Even indoor pics are decent

Even indoor pics are decent

Battery
The X2-01’s 1020mAh Li-ion battery manages to perform exceptionally well. I squeezed out well over 4 hours of talk time and with regular usage including calls, messages, emails, social networking and a little music, I charged the handset just once in almost 2 full days.

The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a low budget handset that offers you basic functionality, good audio quality, a full QWERTY keypad, decent battery life and social networking connectivity built in, the X2-03 is the perfect handset. With a price tag of Rs. 3,800 (MOP – price might vary depending on your location) don’t expect Wi-Fi or 3G, but other than that, you’ll have everything else. In this segment it met all requirements and did a much better than average job delivering on all expectations.

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