Announced in August 2010, the Nokia X3 Touch and Type is an entry-level handset that packs a lot of features into a small package, including a touch screen, a 5-megapixel camera, and a broad range of wireless options. It’s also relatively inexpensive (around $170) as far as unlocked phones go. However, it’s not without its faults. For one, some of the X3’s services, such as Ovi Music, aren’t available in the U.S. It can be sluggish and though it’s not technically a smartphone, customers might be swayed to other devices like the HTC Aria, which offers more power and features for less, even if it means signing up for a contract. All that said, if you’re after an unlocked phone simply to make calls, the Nokia X3 Touch and Type isn’t a bad option.
The Nokia X3 Touch and Type is one of the smallest smartphones we’ve seen in a while. At 4.2 inches tall by 1.9 inches wide by 0.4 inch thick and 2.8 ounces, it’s slightly taller than the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini but thinner and lighter. We have to admit, in a day and age where the smartphones are getting bigger, the X3’s compact size is a nice change of pace. It easily fits in a pants pocket without adding too much bulk, and the candy bar-style phone is comfortable to hold during phone conversations. We also appreciate that while being lightweight, the handset has a solid construction that doesn’t feel cheap.
Of course, the smaller size comes with some trade-offs, most notably the screen size. To Nokia’s credit, it’s rare and wonderful to get a touch screen on this type of form factor, and the company’s done a nice job of optimizing the menu for relatively easy navigation. The home screen can be personalized with various shortcuts for quick access apps. Also, despite being resistive, we found the QVGA touch screen to be quite responsive and adequately clear and bright. That said, at 2.4 inches diagonally, the X3’s screen is a bit limited in the amount of information it can display, and clicking on links within a Web page can be challenging. There’s also no pinch-to-zoom support or a built-in accelerometer.
For obvious reasons, the X3 doesn’t offer an onscreen keyboard, so you’ll have to use the 12-button alphanumeric keypad below the display to input text. The phone offers predictive text to help with message composition. The keypad is spacious so despite having to peck away at the keys, you should have no problem with mispresses, and Nokia even includes an extra column of buttons for symbols and other functions. There are also Talk and End/power keys and shortcuts to the messaging app and media player right below the display.
On the right side of the phone, you’ll find a volume rocker and a lock button. The top of the device houses a 3.5mm headphone jack, a power connector, and Micro-USB port. Though the X3 features Nokia’s proprietary power connector, we found that you can charge the phone using the Micro-USB port. The camera is on the back, with the microSD expansion slot located behind the battery door.
The Nokia X3 Touch and Type comes packaged with just the basics: an AC adapter (non U.S. standard), a wired stereo headset, and reference material.
Running on the S40 platform, the Nokia X3 Touch and Type isn’t a full-fledged smartphone like the Symbian 3-based Nokia N8, so you’ll miss out on some features like Exchange support and free turn-by-turn navigation via Ovi Maps. Nevertheless, the X3 is still a feature-packed device, particularly for its size and price.