Nokia X review: A Windows Phone-Android hybrid that punches above its weight

4.00

The first ever Nokia-Android handset is aimed at emerging markets, but pleasing design and a low price could make it attractive for Western markets

While the Samsung S5 remains under wraps for a few more hours, the real headline-grabber at the Mobile World Congress is a cheap-as-chips phone that may prove a real game-changer. And it is the work of a company recently described as on the ropes: Nokia.

The new Nokia X is fast, smooth, gorgeously designed and will sell for €89 (£74). And it runs on (gasp) Android software.

Over the last few years, Google’s free mobile phone software has become dominant, featured on handsets by Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, Motorola and just about anyone, but Nokia pinned its flag to Microsoft’s rival Windows Phone system.

This was something which some of the Finnish company’s shareholders weren’t mad about. One told CEO Stephen Elop that the path to Hell was paved with good intentions, and would he please take another road.

After all, Nokia, with its exceptional and strikingly different industrial design could surely make a superior Android phone, couldn’t it? But the Android market is a difficult place to stand out.

Nokia’s solution is to make something unique: the Nokia X range uses a heavily customised version of Android designed to look almost like Windows Phone.

It features Nokia specialities such as free downloadable maps and a music compilation app, though only limited camera functions (one model has a 3MP camera, another 5MP).

The idea is to provide an affordable phone loaded with Microsoft and Nokia goodies so when it’s time to upgrade, the move to a Nokia Lumia smartphone will seem logical and look familiar.

The downside, some will feel, is that you don’t have access to the comprehensive Google Play Store with its million apps.

Instead, you’re guided to a Nokia app store, curated so you know that every app’s been approved to work.

Other app stores are available, geared to growing markets in Russia and Asia, for instance, which is the Nokia’s prime focus for the X, though the range will be available in the UK.

The resulting phone is a potential winner. It feels great and much classier than its price suggests, even if the display is no match for high-resolution rivals. The customised software is easy to use and intuitive. And the apps that are there look just as they do on other Android phones.

If you’re missing some favourites, and you’re techy enough, you can load almost any Android app to the X by cable, but Nokia stresses that the phone is designed to work with Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud services and Nokia’s Here Maps, rather than Google’s services. The X series is certainly a gamble, but nobody can accuse Nokia of taking the easy road. However it’s paved.

Read more: Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL: Specifications, prices and release dates
Nokia launch first ever Android Phones  
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

    £19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

    Recruitment Genius: Client Services Administrator - IT Industry

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A leading provider of ICT servi...

    Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line Technical Support Advisor - Up to £26K inc bonus

    £20230 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for a career in...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

    £13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company is...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future