Nokia XL is not worthy of Nokia’s name and the price it is available at. People that only want a phone just to take photos of themselves and other things might like this phone. But, people that want performance out of this phone might not like it. I am the kind of guy that likes performance. And i don’t like it. It can not perform a single task without stuttering. It has more RAM than its little brother Nokia X. But it doesn’t matter ’cause it still performs horribly.
Design & Build Quality
Design is rather simple just a plain rectangular slab. Entirely made of plastic. Sharp corners but since the back is rubberized it won’t hurt your fingers. The main problem is the total width of this phone, it’s 77.7 mm wide. That’s wide. Even for a phone with 5 inches screen. It doesn’t have a dedicated camera button. No notification light. It’s exactly like an asha phone just bigger, wider and taller and also slimmer. It’s only 11 mm thick. Build quality is exactly as you would expect from a company like Nokia, made to last.
It has a 5 inches IPS LCD with WVGA resolution. Since it’s an IPS LCD the viewing angles are good and also sunlight readability is good too. Even at medium brightness the screen is readable in bright sunlight. Colour reproduction is pretty good. For the price except for the resolution everything is good about this screen. The aspect ratio of this screen is 4:3, which is one of the reasons why this phone is so wide, second being the bezels around the screen.
Camera is the only feature of this phone that is worth the price. It has 5MP rear facing auto focus camera with LED flash and 2MP front facing camera. That 5MP shooter at the back takes photos with tremendous amount of details. You can see for yourself in the still shots below. Its touch to focus/auto focus works great almost all the time. But it’s slow in taking pictures. You can also zoom in easily with the given slider. You can see settings and more in the review video below.
I did a mistake in my review video. I forgot to select the FWVGA option. Yes, this phone can shoot videos up-to FWVGA resolution(see in a photo below) not quite HD but still better than 360p that i added with my review video. So, sorry for that. Below is a video recording at FWVGA resolution with flash on. The format in which it saves the video will stay 3GP no matter what resolution you choose.
Music & Video playback
This phone has a pretty loud & clear loudspeaker. Good for watching videos and listening to music without headphones. When i listen to it through earphones it reminded me of typical Nokia phone. I don’t even know what means. But for some reason it sounded exactly like one of those old Nokia phones. The sound quality through headphones is pretty decent all in all. The volume was a little low though even after turning the volume to the top.
Video playback is not that great of this phone. It can not play 1080p and 720p videos. If you force it to play a full hd video on its default video player. The video will start to play after some delay, but it will look like a slideshow. You can see what i am talking in the review video below.
OS & Memory
It runs on ‘Nokia X software platform’ which is nothing but word play from Nokia. In reality it runs on Android 4.1.2 JellyBean. At least that’s what Antutu showed me. The other name for its OS is ‘AOSP’. Basically it’s just a customization on top of Android, done by Nokia. They also added some of their own unique features like ‘Fastlane’ which is great to see your latest activity.
This phone has 768MB of RAM out of which around 300MB is available for user to use. It has 4GB of total internal memory. Which is divided in two sections ‘internal storage'(around 1GB avalable out of 1.2GB) and ‘phone storage'(Around 1GB available for the user out of 1.1GB). You can further extend the memory with a micro sd card up-to 32GB. It also supports ‘move to sd’ feature by default. You can move small apps from memory card to phone memory or vice versa. It does not support USB OTG.
This is where it feels like throwing the device towards the wall. It performs so horribly in almost every department. Even in its strong area which is the camera, it takes at least 2-3 second delay to take the photo. I know that delay looks tiny here but see the video below and find out what i am talking about yourself. It lags and stutters almost everywhere. Doesn’t matter if you are playing a game or doing a simple task like browsing through pictures or settings. The lag makes the keypad very annoying to use.
The culprit here is that pathetic chipset. Snapdragon 200(last year version), it has a combination of dual core Cortex A5 and Adreno 203. Cortex A5 seriously? Nokia? Because of such a weak processor, even the RAM couldn’t help in increasing the performance. You can root the phone, you can install the latest version of android on this phone easily. You can install any game you want. But what’s the point? If they are almost unplayable.
Even a game like subway surfers was running pretty badly on this phone. i would say save yourself the hassle and don’t do it. It’s not worth to root this phone. The hardware will always act as bottleneck, no matter what version of Android you put on it. Even Antutu a benchmark was making fun of it. Don’t believe me? See for yourself in the video below.
Battery of this phone is 2000mAh and it is more than sufficient for a day of use. Since this phone is not that powerful or power hungry. You will easily be able to use the phone for almost 8 hours even on heavy use. I never charged the phone to full and i played plants vs zombies, it came pre-installed on the phone, so, why not? I played it for almost an hour, the battery was around 50% then and after the playthrough it came down to 40%. While i was playing the game it was also downloading apps in the background and WiFi was on all the time. So all in all battery performance is good. Brightness was set to little less than medium by the way.
Connectivity & Call quality
Connectivity wise it has dual sim, WiFi, 3G, bluetooth 4.0. The WiFi range of this phone is really good. Call quality is good too. You can hear the person talking loud and clear. Obviously if the person is talking from a crowded place you will also hear that chitchat too. No phone in this world can get rid of that. You can only use a 3G sim only in its first sim slot. The second sim slot only supports a 2G sim.
In other words, you can’t use 3G functionality on the second sim even if it is a 3G sim. You can only use 2G on the second sim, if both the sims are in the device simultaneously. This measure was taken by Nokia to save the battery life. If both the sims are on 3G network then it will deplete your battery much faster.
Verdict and Choice
So, should you buy this phone? Hell no. On a second note, if you want to buy a phone with 5 inches screen and a 5MP camera with good quality and only from Nokia. For the price of around 11,000 Rupees/$190(Approx). Then, you can buy this phone. My suggestion would still be no. Apart from that camera, this phone does not have one single feature that is worth the price. Even if it has, the lag and constant freezing will ruin the experience for you. And then there’s that weak as hell SOC, Snapdragon 200. Every time i think about that SOC, it makes me angry and sad at the same time. Like why Nokia? Why!?
Anyway enough of my melodrama, back to the point. When it comes to choice. Only you, the one who is actually going to spend his/her hard earned money on this phone, is going to take the final decision. I can only help you by sharing my experience. By giving my suggestion. There are a lot of other respectable Android phones available around this price range. Like Moto G, Xperia M and many more. Sometimes, i tell people to buy a phone after a price cut. But in Nokia XL’s case i wouldn’t recommend it even after a price cut. It’s not worth it.