hese days it’s quite refreshing to have a phone you can switch on and ‘boot up’ in a matter of seconds, as against a minute or two on many smartphones. However, such simplicity comes at a price – although in this case that isn’t much, given that the phone is aimed at the entry-level end of the market.
The X3 isn’t a 3G phone, and there’s no Wi-Fi, GPS or a stupidly high megapixel camera. In a world dominated by touchscreen, the X3 almost looks out of place as an old-school slider. Of course, there are plenty of people who haven’t been converted to touch, so it’s good that a manufacturer is aware of this.
For people who prefer real buttons, this phone is a godsend. Besides a numeric keypad, navigation button and proper call and end keys, there are also three music control buttons left of the screen.
The phone might be fairly basic, but the emphasis is on its music capabilities, not imaging and video (although it does these things too).
Nokia has done this before, but the X3 looks slicker than previous XpressMusic models, which Nokia now simply refers to as Xseries.
There’s a metal keypad and coloured edging around the display, a smooth spring-loaded slider and the all-important 3.5mm headphone jack (you even get a decent set of in-ear ‘phones too). The phone also gets stereo speakers.
As Sony Ericsson isn’t pushing out any Walkman handsets at the moment, it seems Nokia has this market to itself.
Although the phone comes with Ovi Maps, you’ll need a Bluetooth GPS receiver if you want to avoid manually searching for a location.
Because of the lack of GPS, and the Series 40 platform, you won’t find loads of applications to download, but the phone does come with Opera Mini for a decent web browsing experience.
There’s also a competent email client thrown in. Our review model even came with ten, full version, games which is very generous in an era of ‘lite’ or time-limited versions. It’s important to stress that some networks may not show the same generosity as Nokia has on SIM-free models.
There are other handsets on sale that offer more in the way of apps and content, but the X3 is fine for those that want simplicity and doing little more than making calls and texting. Although you can use Facebook and Twitter, social networking or instant messaging isn’t the focus of the handset.
The music player is where the phone excels, and while you don’t get the Comes With Music free music download service, it’s easy to manage your music via your PC. Nokia has included a 2GB card, but it will happily swallow up an 8 or 16GB card.
If you do find yourself needing a touchscreen, more storage or Comes With Music, there’s the X6 that takes things to the next level. But, it would be silly to write off this phone – especially when you’re still a fan of physical buttons to push.
The X3 is at the entry-level end of the Xseries range, and consequently the opposite end of a market seemingly dominated by touchscreens and apps. The camera is relatively basic, but the emphasis here is on music. With the dedicated music buttons, expandable memory and a respectable media player, the X3 is just fine as a music player. It will also play video, make calls, send texts, receive email and get you on the web. The phone looks good, feels good in the hand and has excellent battery life thanks to the lack of 3G, Wi-Fi or GPS.