The Nokia X3 Touch and Type is an interesting new type of mobile that combines the old-school numeric keypad with a new-school touchscreen display. The X3 Touch and Type promises so bridge the mobile gap for those who prefer to text and dial on a traditional keypad while prefer the web browsing experience of a touchscreen. Read on to see if the Nokia X3 Touch and Type is a winning combination or a mixed bag.
What we like
The Nokia X3 Touch and Type is the perfect size for a touchscreen phone with a numeric keypad. It’s slim enough to fit comfortably in the hand while allowing you to easily tap both the screen and the keys with your thumb. The rubbery keys are very easy to type on and the thin metal battery cover gives the phone a reassuringly solid quality.
We love that instant sense of familiarity which comes with a Nokia phone. If you’ve owned or used a Nokia before at any point over the last couple of years it won’t take any time at all to familiarise yourself with the X3 Touch and Type’s menus and layouts.
Initially we thought that a mixture of a touchscreen and a traditional numeric keypad might not work but after a while you really do get used to it. Its feels really natural and it makes us wonder why nobody has tried this before. After a few hours of playing around with the X3 Touch and Type we almost forgot about the vague novelty of its design.
Tapping the ‘Go To’ button in the bottom left of the main homescreen brings up a grid of nine shortcuts to apps and various settings which you can personalise to suit your needs. From here you can also personalise the homescreen, shortcuts to your favourite contacts, your text message inbox, Facebook, the music player and the camera.
Facebook works rather well on the X3 Touch and Type. Your news feeds and messages load quickly are displayed clearly. It’s by no means the best mobile Facebook experience and it’s no substitute for the desktop equivalent but it does allow you to do the basics – check messages, Like and respond to people’s comments – effortlessly.
Moving music onto the X3 Touch and Type is a simple task of connecting the phone to your computer via USB and loading the files manually, or from a program like Windows Media Player. It’s really easy to create playlists on the phone once you’ve loaded your tunes and thumbing through tracks on the touchscreen is quick and surprisingly fun. It sure beats plodding up and down on a directional menu key.
The 5-megapixel camera of the X3 Touch and Type works really well. There’s a whole range of fun effects like sepia, greyscale and negative and settings for white balance. The digital zoom is really fluid and the camera focuses quickly. There’s no huge lag between pressing the shutter button and the phone taking pictures either, which is a big plus in our books.
We found call quality to be pretty good. With the volume turned all the way up it was loud enough to cut through noisy 9am traffic and we could hold calls easily in low signal areas.
What we don’t like
The Nokia X3 Touch and Type is a pretty solid phone, there isn’t much to complain about. But there were a few things about the phone which irked us.
The touchscreen isn’t the most unresponsive we’ve seen but it can make it tricky to navigate menus sometimes. We found that when scrolling through some menus we’d accidentally select an option or click something we hadn’t intended to.
Out of the two browsers that come with the X3 Touch and Type, Opera Mini is easily the faster of the two and is the easiest to use. However images and text appear discoloured and blocky compared to the default S40 browser, which renders pictures with greater colour fidelity but is also significantly slower. So you’re stuck between a choice of a slow or ugly browser.
While Facebook on the X3 Touch and Type just about does the job, the Twitter app is a little on the clunky side. Tweets take a while to load and are cut off after about 35 characters meaning you have to manually open up each one if you want to see what your followers are talking about. It’s not so bad over Wi-Fi but we found that over 3G and GPRS, loading times tended to drag.
While we really liked the camera it annoyed us that the screen doesn’t auto-rotate when we turned the phone to take a picture in landscape mode. You can manually change between portrait and landscape, which requires diving in and out of the camera settings menu. This is not the end of the world, but an onscreen portrait/landscape toggle control would have been preferable.
The lack of flash is especially irritating considering that the 5-megapixel camera, with all its effects and settings is excellent for a mid-range phone.
Nokia has struck a good balance here with the X3 Touch and Type. The mixture of a small touchscreen with a basic numeric keypad really works. There were a couple of things we found annoying such as the browsers and the omission of a flash for the camera. But overall the Nokia X3 Touch & Type is a decent mid-range phone that’s easy to get to grips with.