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Friday, August 5, 2011

Nokia X7 review - The phone from outer space

When the Nokia X7 arrived to my home, courtesy of the nice folks at WOMWorld, I wasn't there to receive it as with almost every package that comes with my name on it. So my wife received the package. I usually ask her to open up the package and plug the phone into the charger so I can use it fully charged when I get back home. When I get home I usually find the phone still connected to the charger lying on the kitchen table. So, I go and grab the phone and start playing with it. The day I got the X7, I had a "WTF?" moment when I got home... The phone wasn't there where all phones are left my wife for charging. So, I scratched my head, and I asked her where it was. She told me that the battery was almost full, and she didn't plug it, but she used it the entire day, shooting photos and videos of my kid, and playing Angry Birds on it. My jaw dropped! It was the first time I've seen my wife being so enthusiastic about a phone. And a touch phone none the less! She's a sworn enemy of touchscreens. She completely ignored the C7, E7 and N8, but she could not resist the X7. And after I held it in my hand I understood why. It has something, that just attracts you to it. it may be the design, it may be the way it feels in your hand. Bottom line, it's a joy to behold.

I usually shoot an unboxing video for every phone I receive, but I barely got 15 minutes of use of the X7 that day, and shot the unboxing next morning while my wife was still asleep, otherwise I might have waited for a few more days.

The X7 doesn't have the camera that the N8 has, doesn't have the sliding keyboard, the Clear Black Display, or the front facing video camera, but it has personality, and it's just a beauty. It's sleek, and I'm talking SE Xperia Arc-like sleek, but much stronger and much better build quality than the Xperia. Because of the design of the phone, the screen seems to be even bigger than it actually is. And the design, makes it look like something from outer space, which made me wonder which planet did the DHL guy came from :P

No one can accuse Nokia of lacking originality and innovation when it comes to design. These days Apple sues Samsung because of "rounded corners with one button" phones. They should take a look at what Nokia does design-wise and innovate instead of wasting time and money in courts.

Back to the X7. The phone is equipped with the same EDoF 8MP dual led flash camera like the C7 and E7. It cannot be compared with the 12MP AF camera of the N8, but still holds it's own, even indoors.

The phone has an unbelievable balance between size and weight. It feels solid, and just fills the palm of your hand.

The display is very bright, but the X7 does not have ambient light sensor. Maybe it was meant to be that way since it's an entertainment phone and most of the times you'll be holding it in landscape mode, and the light sensor may get covered up by your hand.

So, the X7 doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the E7 or the N8, but it quickly became my favorite.

Another thing I liked about the X7 was, and you're gonna think I'm out of my mind, the fact that the touchscreen is not insanely sensitive like the E7's. It does not register a click after the slightest of touches. On the E7 I got a lot of accidental clicks, but with the X7 it never happened. Maybe this is one of the reasons I favor it over the E7.

I got a lot of WOW's at work when I showed up with the X7. And for good reasons.

The picture quality is good, not best, and the HD video recording is very good, as I was expecting from a Symbian^3 device. But the device really shines when you're playing games. It's a whole new experience. The phone seems to be designed to be used mainly in landscape mode, held with both hands. Angry Birds just got better on the X7's screen.

The gaming side is enforced by the two games that come preloaded, Galaxy on fire and Asphalt 5. Both play very well on the X7.

Unlike it's S^3 brethren, the X7 does not have any internal storage, but it has an SD expansion slot and it comes with an 8GB SD card preinstalled. You might think about getting a larger SD card if you plan shooting HD videos a lot, because they tend to eat up your SD space.


There's not much to be said about the hardware, it's about the same as on every other S^3 device, besides the screen and keyboard.

GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100
AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Resolution: 360 x 640 pixels, 4.0 inches
Gorilla glass display
Proximity sensor for auto turn-off
Accelerometer sensor for UI auto-rotate
Memory: 256 MB RAM, 1 GB ROM
Expansion: microSD, up to 32GB, 8GB included
Size: 119.7 x 62.8 x 11.9 mm, 85 cc
Weight: 146 g
Stereo speakers
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP
microUSB v2.0, USB On-the-go support
Camera: 8 MP, 3264x2448 pixels, EDoF(full focus 40cm to infinity), dual-LED flash
Video: 720p@25fps
OS: Symbian Anna
CPU: 680 MHz ARM 11 processor, Broadcom BCM2727 GPU

The box comes with a micro-USB charger, a first for Nokia Symbians. The X7 uses only the micro-USB port for charging, being the first Nokia that does not use the classic Nokia pinhole charger.

The box also contains a micro-USB data cable, and a set of earphones.

On the top of the X7 you can find the micro-USB port, the 3.5mm jack port and the power/unlock button. Unlike previous Nokia touch phones, this one does not have an unlock knob, the only to unlock it is by the unlock touchscreen button. This is more in line with modern smartphones, even though I have to say I miss the unlock knob.

On the right side of the phone you can find the volume rocker and the camera key.

On the left side you have the SD card tray and the SIM card tray.

On the front of the phone you have the ear piece with the proximity sensor, the large 4 inch touchscreen and the classic menu button. There are no dedicated call and hang up keys. The menu button is nicely located in the middle.

On the back we have the 8MP camera with dual-LED flash.

The grids on the bottom corners of the phone hide the stereo speakers. The phone only has 2 speakers, not 4 as it may seem, the top grids being there for design only.


The X7 is powered by Symbian Anna, with the additional games I mentioned above. The Symbian Anna review I wrote was done on the X7.

So, how good is the user experience? Well, think about this: It turned my wife who's a touchscreen hater, and who could not use an Android phone if her life depended on it. She loved it, and now she wants one for Christmas. Hope it'll get cheaper by then.

Here is my unboxing and video tour in case you missed them: