Nokia X7-00 Review - Introducing Symbian Anna

By on June 29th, 2011 19:01 GMT
Although the latest X series phone launched by Nokia, the X1-01 was among the less featured, the Finnish giant continued the series with a top tier device, the X7-00.

Nokia X7-00 is the sequel of the old and controversial Nokia X6, which was considered a multimedia device mainly because of the large amount of storage for those times.

Furthermore, Nokia showed that the X6 is an extremely important device in its portfolio and released two additional versions of the original X6, one with 8GB of internal memory and the other with 16GB.

The X7-00 is more than a music phone, as the device comes with a large display and powerful hardware, which makes it the perfect entertainment tool.

The phone is aimed at Nokia fans who are still into the Symbian platform and can afford to purchase an expensive smartphone.

Announced in April 2011, Nokia X7-00 hit shelves in June 2011, which means that the handset has yet to make its debut in various parts of the world.

The smartphone is now available for purchase for €370 (about $530 USD), depending on the location. There are only two colors schemes available for users to choose from: Dark Steel and Silver Steel.Design

Even though the Finnish company is recognized as one of the largest handset manufacturers in terms of number of phones launched and shipped, Nokia has yet to show its true potential when it comes to design.

However, due to the latest changes on the mobile phone market it's safe to assume that Nokia learned from its mistakes and is now taking the art of craftsmanship to the next level.

Some of its latest products, including the N8 and E7 can be considered masterpieces from this point of view, but none were really revolutionary.

With the X7-00, Nokia takes smartphone design in a new direction where looks is not everything that should attract customers.The phone's brushed stainless steel finish and distinctive lines bring a contemporary look and feel, but it's the gently curved body that makes it fit perfectly in someone's hand.

A Trekkie would find the X7-00 the perfect communication tool, while a Warsie would definitely use it as a holographic mobile device.

Even for those more attached to the mundane, Nokia X7-00 will definitely be a surprise, either good or bad, but a surprise still.

First of all Nokia X7-00 is a music phone, which means that music sound should be astonishing even when you do not use professional headphones or wish to listen to the music with your friends using the handset's loudspeaker.It appears that Nokia found an interesting solution to the latter and decided to plainly cut all four corners of the X7-00 and put in stereo loudspeakers.

Alas, only the bottom loudspeakers are real, the ones from the top are fake. It seems that for design reasons Nokia decided to fool us.

The large 4-inch touchscreen seizes the entire front part of the phone. Just below the display there's the usual Symbian (Menu) key. No other touch sensitive keys have been included near the Menu key though.

To emphasize the minimalistic look of the phone, Nokia included few external keys and ports within the phone's body.More importantly, the X7-00 follows the same unibody form factor line of the E7 and N8. However, there are some downsides to this, such as the fact that access to the battery is restricted, which means users won't be able to pull it out.

Although the metallic chassis of the phone gives it a solid look, grip over the phone is not at its highest.

Additionally, the two trays blended within the device's left side, which contain the microSD memory card and the phone's SIM have a weird way to open up and may lead to any of the two card to drop while on the go.

On the positive side, the two external keys on the right side of the phone, the volume button and the dedicated camera key are nicely embedded.

On top of the phone there's a power on/off button, which can also be used to lock/unlock the display, as well as the 3.5mm audio jack and the microUSB port.The X7-00 lacks an HDMI port and the usual sliding key that locks/unlocks the phone's touchscreen display.

The 8 megapixel camera on the back features a dual-LED flash next to it, but misses any protective lenses, which makes it prone to scratches.

The smartphone's mic is placed on the bottom side, so make sure you do not cover it with your hand while speaking on the phone.

Display and Camera

Unfortunately, Nokia X7-00 does not come with ClearBlack, Nokia's best mobile display technology.

However, the 4.0-inch AMOLED touchscreen display features an nHD (360 x 640 pixels) resolution and provides users with a high quality image in any type of situation, indoors, outdoors, low-light and bright-light.

To make the entire phone extremely durable not just the body, the display is covered with scratch resistant Gorilla glass.

The phone also features built-in accelerometer for display auto-rotation, as well as proximity sensor for auto turn-off.

If you wonder why Nokia hasn't put a 12-megapixel camera module inside the X7-00, than you should know that the phone is expensive as it is now, the addition of an improved camera would have boosted the phone's price even higher.An 8-megapixel camera will do just nicely, so make sure you don't reject this phone because of its photo snapper.

Now, the good news is the fact that the camera features dual-LED flash, which makes night pictures look much better than those captured with a standard LED flash.

The bad news is that the X7-00 lacks autofocus, which was replaced with fixed focus. The latter makes the camera useless when you need to picture something at closer range, but on the other hand you will be able to capture pictures much faster.

The camera's interface requires users to tap at least twice to make any changes in the settings. Not the most user-friendly I would say.
 
There's nothing extra included, but at least you get the same settings that have been embedded with the E7 and N8: White balance, ISO, Colors, Contrast, Sharpness and Scene modes. Face detection is the only feature that might actually prove useful, but with the autofocus missing I'm not so sure about the usefulness this capability.

In terms of quality, the X7-00 does good, but it's not among the best 8-megapixel cameras. The maximum resolution that users can set to take pictures is that of 3264x2448 pixels.

The maximum resolution that can be used for movie recording is 720p@25fps. Check out the samples below for a more accurate opinion about the quality of the photo snapper.Menu and Software

One of the first smartphones to run Symbian Anna, along with the E6, Nokia X7-00 tries to bring a tint of freshness and innovation.

Unfortunately, there are few major changes introduced by Symbian Anna, which makes the next iteration of the mobile platform, Symbian Belle more important and highly expected.However, it is almost impossible to predict if Nokia future plans include possible upgrades for the latest Symbian Anna compatible smartphones to Symbian Belle, so it's safe to assume that new devices will be launched that will run the latter.

Anyway, the most obvious and visible new feature offered by Symbian Anna is the newly designed icons, which are now rounded.Furthermore, text input has also been improved and a portrait QWERTY input, plus a split screen when entering text into web pages and apps have been added.

Nokia browser has been greatly enhanced to offer faster performance, while the usability of the photo gallery has been improved, as well.

The main menu has been kept the same, so you will get the same layout and a few customization options.In addition, the task manager shows small screenshots of the applications that run in the background. Unfortunately, you can only see three of these, so you'll need to scroll if you have more.

The main menu can also be rearranged to look like a grid or list. The low number of folders included in the main menu might actually be a good idea, as you won't lose time scrolling for the needed folder.You can also rearrange the applications in the main menu or create new folders as you see fit.

There are number of of 'standard' apps that come pre-installed on the phone along with the Clock, Photo editor, User guide, Social networking services, YouTube client, Search, Ovi music, Office, Notes, Mail and other Symbian-specific functions.Some of the key applications that come pre-loaded with Nokia X7-00 include: calendar, calculator, converter, file manager, recorder, Vlingo, Psiloc Traveler, Foursquare, F-Secure, Adobe PDF, QuickOffice (only viewer), Zip, Dictionary, Message reader.

There's no media sub-menu, but you get some dedicated apps under the Music menu: music player, Radio, Shazam and Ovi Music.Overall, Symbian Anna is another small step forward for Nokia, but there aren't many major changes that could put it against other mobile platforms on the marker. 

Communication

The X7-00 is a quad-band GSM (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900) bar smartphone, HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 (10.2 Mbps) and HSUPA (2 Mbps) compatible, which features GPRS and EDGE class 33.

The phone is an all-rounder when it comes to connectivity, as it offers all the possible tools that one would need on the go.Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, UPnP technology, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, microUSB v2.0 and USB On-the-go support provide users with enough connectivity options for any need.

The integrated browser has been improved and is now three times faster than the one included in the N8 and E7 models.

The browser v7.3 comes with high value touch UI improvements, including URL entry bar, always visible ‘Go Back’ and extended toolbar buttons and search-integrated address field.

In addition, I have noticed that the browser features better user responsiveness, as well as faster history navigation and page loading.Furthermore, Flash Lite 4.0 is also supported, along with kinetic scrolling and pinch to zoom, as well as auto fill-in, RSS reader, download manager, password manager, pop-up blocker.

The handset features a GPS receiver, which works in conjunction with Ovi Maps 3.06. The built-in GPS receiver features the A-GPS function, which makes localization even faster.

It is also worth mentioning that with Symbian Anna users are now provided with smarter search tool, check-in to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare or local social networks, as well as the ability to share places via email and SMS.In terms of messaging, the phone offers a complete solution, accepting all available message types. The message client works with POP3, SMTP, and IMAP4 protocols, and supports more than one email account.

In addition, Symbian Anna also includes instant messaging with Microsoft Communicator Mobile, email enhancements that include full meeting request support and hardware-accelerated device encryption.

The quad-band (GSM 850 / GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900) network compatible smartphone has a very good GSM signal reception. The sound is very good at both ends, and pretty loud too.

Processor and Memory

Nokia X7-00 is powered by and ARM11 family processor clocked at 680 Mhz with a Broadcom BCM2727 GPU (graphics processing unit). The device works pretty smooth, but I noticed that sometimes it freezes for a few seconds, especially after a phone call.The smartphone packs 350 MB of internal memory (around 250 MB user available), as well as 1 GB ROM and microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB.

Nokia also offers a free 8GB microSD memory card in the sales package.Multimedia

Nokia X7-00 is by definition a music phone, so we should expect only top of the line multimedia features.

Although the X7-00 runs the latest Symbian Anna platform, it comes with the same standard Symbian music player.A wide array of settings allows users to make the necessary adjustments, such as: pre-installed equalizer modes (Bass booster, Classical, Jazz, Pop and Rock), Balance, Loudness and Stereo widening.

Unfortunately, you won't be able to introduce your desired settings within the Equalizer, which does not offer this capability.

However, the sound quality is excellent, but I wouldn't expect less from an expensive Nokia music phone.The device features Radio FM with RDS function, but no other capabilities such as FM transmitter. Reception is very good, and sound is above average as well. The Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP support enables you to listen to music wirelessly.

One of the downsides of the X7-00 is the fact that it lacks an HDMI port, but we can live without one.

The phone is delivered with Nokia Stereo Headset WH-701 earphones, which make are a nice addition to the multimedia package.Battery

Nokia X7-00 is powered by a standard 1,200 mAh Li-Ion (BL-5K) battery, which is rated by the manufacturer for up to 6 hours and 30 minutes (4 hours and 30 minutes for 3G) of talk time or up to 450 hours of standby time.

Unfortunately, the battery's energy is depleted pretty fast if you plan to use Wi-Fi, widgets, HSDPA connectivity, music and then talk some.

You will get around two days of full use at most, which is a bit disappointing especially for those who travel a lot.

Impressions

It is important to understand that the X7-00 is aimed at Nokia fans who are still into the Symbian platform.

If you are not one of the last boy scouts who want to try out the latest Symbian smartphone launched on the market I suggest you look into other mobile platforms.

The X7-00 is a nicely built device that doesn't resemble anything that the Finnish giant has ever manufactured until now.

The Good

Even though I have already praised the phone's design, I feel that I should mention it again here, along with the newly launched Symbian Anna operating system, which definitely changes the phone's insides.

I would also like to mention here the large 4.0-inch AMOLED display, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity, microUSB port with USB On-the-go support, Stereo Bluetooth 3.0, excellent audio quality, and GPS.

The Bad

There are some downsides that could make the phone less attractive, like the fact that it is overpriced, as well as the lack of autofocus for the 8-megapixel camera.

In addition, for some people who are used to carry an extra battery, the 'embedded' battery might be a problem.

Sales Package

Nokia X7-00 handset
Nokia Fast Micro-USB Charger AC-10
Nokia Battery BL-5K
Nokia Fast USB Charger AC-10C (PRC)
Nokia Fast USB Charger AC-10UC (NA & TW)
Nokia Stereo Headset WH-701
Nokia 8 GB microSDHC Card MU-43 (pre-installed in the device)
Quick start guide
Nokia X7-00
79 photos
   Nokia X7-00

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