Symbian is not dead yet, it’s still up and kicking. The Nokia X7 is out to prove it. After Nokia announced its partnership with Microsoft, everybody thought that this is the end for the company’s mobile operating system. As proof, the manufacturer tried to stuff the X7 with every feature they can think of. As Symbian’s last gasp of life, we’ll see if it goes down with a bang or dies a flat, unremarkable death.
The Nokia X7 measures 119.7 x 62.8 x 11.9 mm and has a bold, futuristic design. The X7 is available in two versions: Dark Steel and Silver Steel. The phone is quite heavy weighing 147 grams. The brushed stainless steel finish of the phone and its distinctive lines gives the phone a contemporary look.
The front of the X7 is mostly dominated by its 4-inch nHD AMOLED screen. It’s a bit frustrating that the display is only capable of 360 x 640 resolutions. But nevertheless, the SuperAMOLED screen made up for it in brightness and color accuracy.
The X7′s screen is one of the brightest AMOLED displays out in the market today. In fact, when it comes to brightness, it is comparable only to the LG Nova - which probably has the brightest screen ever for a smartphone.
The Nokia X7 looks very simple. At the top, you have a uniquely shaped Power/Lock button, microUSB port for charging, and the 3.5mm audio jack. At the sides, you have the volume rocker and a physical shutter key on the left, while at the right, you’ll see a microSD port and SIM card slots.
Most of the back is a solid piece of brushed-finish stainless steel, with plastic elements capping the top and bottom ends of the phone. The metal gives the X7 a very sturdy feel, which users would appreciate over plastic.
A Symbian 3 edition operating system is running on the Nokia X7. Nokia grew up with the Symbian operating system. Because of Nokia, Symbian became a mature mobile operating system. But it can’t compete with other mobile OS like Android and iOS. By just looking at the X7′s homescreen, you can see why. Sure, it is more polished than previous iterations, has new features here and there, but the overall feel and user experience is very different from OSes like Android and iOS.
The homescreen itself is now very similar to its competition. You are free to rearrange icons, create custom folders, hit the menu key to go to your applications - but it feels outdated and a little bit late. As for performance, the Nokia X7 is virtually identical to other Symbian 3 models released by the company. It uses the same hardware, and doesn’t really improve on anything. The phone’s 680 MHz ARM 11 processor and 256MB RAM is adequate, at least users won’t get out of memory errors, but still not comparable to dual core models that are slowly being released by other manufacturers.
For connections, the X7 supports both 2G and 3G network along with support for GPRS and EDGE. 3G connectivity is extremely quick with 10.2 Mbps downlink and 2 Mbps uplink. The phone also has a USB 2.0 port along with a microUSB port which charges the phone. Bluetooth 3.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n helps you to easily share local files and folders.
The Nokia X7′s 8-megapixel camera can accomodate image resolutions of 3264 x 2448 pixels. It does not have autofocus, but does give you a dual-LED flash. Face detection is also available on the Nokia X7. As for geotagging, it lets you record your current location in the EXIF information of the photos, using the built-in GPS.
For image quality, the X7 is not the best options for a camera phone. Its noise reduction feature smudges away most of the fine detail in the picture. The subsequent sharpening stage introduces a lot of jaggies, which spoil the image quality further. Another issue is that the edges of the image are rather soft.
Video capture, on the other hand, is pretty good with the Nokia X7. The phone can shoot in 720p resolution at 25 fps and offers digital image stabilization. The videos are shot in pretty high bitrate - about 12Mbps. The amount of resolved detail is good enough, colors look nice and noise levels are kept reasonably low. Videos hit the 25fps target right on the mark and there are no repeated frames either. Finally you get a smart digital zoom in video mode just like on the Nokia N8. It means that you can zoom in to about 2.5x without losing detail.
As for its web browser, the Nokia has improved it in the X7. The Nokia X7 browser has good page rendering and offers some nice features such as different font sizes, auto fill-in of web forms and a password manager. Panning is relatively smooth but zooming can be a little slow at times, taking a second to redraw the page content after you zoom out.
The Nokia X7 is definitely a step in the right direction, but we’re afraid the competition has zoomed far ahead. While Apple and Google are trying to outdo each other with all sorts of user interface innovation, Nokia is stuck with Symbian. The company’s partnership with Microsoft is potentially a good decision. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 is leaps and bounds better than Symbian and can actively compete with Google and Apple. As for Symbian, it is officially dead.