One of the first phones to arrive with Nokia’s new Symbian Anna- can Nokia’s software compete with the extremely strong competition? Boasting strong multimedia credentials, and a bright AMOLED screen, it’s uncomfortably sandwiched between older Nokia models, and future devices powered by Windows Phone 7 and Meego.
What we like
Again, Nokia has brought us a reliably built, solid phone. If you’re uncomfortable with light , plasticky smartphones of other makers, you’ll find the X7 doesn’t disappoint. Similarly, phonecalls are of a reliably good quality.
The 4-inch AMOLED screen is, as expected, a great choice for a phone that’s aimed as a video-centric entertainment phone. High-resolution video looks excellent on the screen, and through Nokia’s app store (currently called Ovi) you can get several on-demand video services, like CNN and the BBC.
Several popular games like Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and Worms are free to download too.
You’re able to connect your social network profile via Social and get updates displayed on the homescreen, whilst the X7 also supports most of the popular email clients like Yahoo and Gmail.
Even if not using headphones, the two built-in speakers have plenty of power to ensure everyone can hear when showing video. The battery stood up to plenty of use, including gaming and video-streaming; we found it lasted about a day and a half with heavy use.
The new Symbian Anna software also brings improvements to Ovi Maps, bringing it more in-line with teh likes of Google Maps. You can share your location through FourSquare and other social netowrks, as well as sending map locations through text message or email. Connect to WiFi, and you can even download whole country maps, taking a lot of stress away from the 3G connection and processor.
The X7 camera has an eight-megapixel sensor, and there’s a dual-LED flash set next to the lens. It’s a good camera, taking particularly strong shots in low light. Nokia know what they’re doing with their cameraphones, and this one is capable of 720p video capture too.
What we don’t like
Despite the rebranding as Symbian Anna, its Nokia’s ageing software that lets the phone down. Despite pushing itself as an entertainment phone, we’re not sure the phone has enough power to back-up its claims. The phone struggles with not-so-taxing games like Worms, whilst the lack of a YouTube clip player with a half-decent resolution overshadows the likes of the BBC iPlayer.
The touchscreen, whilst bright and sharp, isn’t that responsive to touch, and we got frustrated with waiting around for the phone to pick up on our taps and swipes. Now that we’ve seen the likes of the Nokia N9– albeit briefly- we had hoped that the X7 would be similarly responsive. It’s not and doesn’t stand up well against smartphone competition.
Incredibly, this is somehow the first Nokia Symbian phone with a portrait keyboard, yet it’s not overly effective. Shaped like a rectangle, we found we were making consistent mistake whilst typing out messages and emails.
The new Symbian Anna trumpets a new split-screen view, but this simply boils down to being able to see text on the phone whilst typing. It’s not exactly earth-shattering.
Whilst the Nokia X7 is generally a solid chunk of phone,we’re not sure about the odd air vents on the corners, and some may find the brushed steel backing slips out of your hand a bit too easily.
Whilst Nokia’s software update has added missing features, it doesn’t solve many of the complaints we’ve had with previous Nokia Smartphones. The unresponsive touchscreen is frustrating, and some of Nokia’s apps seem buggy; we were often pushed back out to the phone’s main screen.
Until Nokia sort out the issues, it lags behind much cheaper phones in the perfomance stakes. Nokia’s own N8 has a better camera, is cheaper, and will also get this Symbian update later. The X7 benefits from plenty of free entertainment content, but it’s difficult to call it a strong entertainment phone.