Despite not achieving critical acclaim, the first Nokia touchscreen, the 5800 Xpressmusic, has sold very well. And the Finns weren’t content to rest on their laurels, packing a whole new load of tech into the latest flagship device – the X6.
Nokia has taken a few bold steps with the X6 – for one, it’s the company’s first foray into the more finger friendly capacitive touchscreen technology, and it’s ramped up the storage on board too.
More on the Nokia X6 and Comes with Music:
– Nokia X6 hands-on pictures
– Nokia Comes with Music: What we learned
– Hottest phones of the year in video
The X6 comes in two flavours – 32GB of storage and a full Comes with Music package, meaning unlimited music downloads for a year, and the other is a more basic 16GB version, with no music downloading offered. The cost difference is just over £100 – but Nokia clearly believes there’s a market for both.
The first thing you’ll notice about the X6 (especially if you’re a Nokia fan) is the phone seems very similar – which is because it’s based on the successful Symbian S60 operating system, which has been powering Nokia phones for nearly a decade.
The problem with this is that the S60 platform is ageing, and the cracks are really starting to show these days – and the X6 shows them up worst than most.
While the capacitive touchscreen makes things seem a little more responsive, in truth it’s useless, as the phone will constantly pause and have a really good think before opening a new application, even if there’s nothing else running at the time.
The design of the phone is also very odd, as it’s pretty thick, but yet feels lightweight in the hand. You also have to use a slider on the side of the phone to unlock it for use – and this is really out of the way of your digits, meaning you’ll have to keep shuffling the phone around in your hand to use it.
There’s another problem too – Comes with Music is still very much in the early stages, and if you’ve spent nearly £500 to download music wherever you are, you’ll be very disappointed with the interface. If you’re after the odd single it’s fine – although the touch-based browser is pretty inaccurate – as you can just search for a song and download it.
However, when it comes to an album, you inexplicably have to download each song individually. Not only is this irritating, but the phone will pause so much you’re never really sure which ones you’re currently pulling from the internet, meaning big gaps in your album collection.
The music player is decent enough – it’s a little fiddly to use, mostly because the OS pauses so much through operation, but it allows you to swipe through songs easily and quickly – although sorting them by letter can be a bit hit and miss, often dumping you back to the start of the list.
The video player is pretty good, and having up to 32GB of storage on board means you can fill it with a good 10-15 movies and still have plenty of space for your downloaded music. We were also impressed with the way the X6 handled Bluetooth headphones – simply pair them up, turn them on and you’re ready for some wireless listening.
The internet browser on the X6 is pretty awful as well – not only is it slow to respond to the touch, and has an erratic zoom, it also is pretty darn slow at navigation as well – we were quickly wishing for something as slick as the iPhone experience when trying to look at something as simple as the football scores.
The camera isn’t too bad either – the flash was pretty weak and the pictures sometimes appeared to be a little bit washed out, but for a 5MP camera we were pleasantly surprised, and some of the snaps, particularly in close up, were easily the equal to the likes of the Sony Ericsson W995.
The Nokia X6 is a hard phone to characterise – on the one hand, it’s a polished effort with the latest technology, and a wealth of free music for a year right out the box. On the other hand, it’s a phone with far, far too many problems – the laggy operating system and the slow internet (and badly designed Comes with Music interface) are among the worst we’ve seen, especially for phones in this price bracket.
If you’re really desperate for unlimited music and don’t want to use this phone as your day to day device, then we can think of some worse out there.
But if you want this phone to replace an ageing favourite, we recommend you steer clear – at least until Nokia decides to issue an upgrade or two to sort out the operation problems.