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Monday, September 29, 2014

Gadget of the Week - Nokia XL

In the past editions of CCM Gadget of the Week, we have taken a look at a smartphone-tablet hybrid and a tablet-notebook combo device. Today, examine a smartphone that grants you access to apps from two operating systems.

Our weekly gizmo this week is the Nokia XL Dual SIM, with which you can use both Android and Windows apps.

Where it Stands Out

The ability to run both Android and Windows apps sets the Nokia X series smartphones apart from other Nokia devices running the Windows Phone OS. This includes the popular BBM messaging app which has since been availed on the Android (Google Play) store. To do this, it uses the Nokia X software platform 1.0.

Nokia XL is a dual core, 5 inch IPS display smartphone that can run Android apps. It is the bigger cousin of the 4 inch Nokia X smartphone, but has more interesting features.
It has a Li-Ion 2000 mAH battery, a 5MP rear camera and 2MP front camera. It has both WiFI and 3G connectivity (DL 7.2Mbps, UL 5.76Mbps) and 4GB Internal memory. The MicroSD slot can take up to 32GB storage. See all specifications.

Power management is a vexing issue with most smartphones, but the Nokia BN-02 battery promises a maximum standby time of 37 days (30 days with dual SIM). Maximum talk time on 2G is 16 hr and 13 hr on 3G.

The Nokia XL comes in a wide range of colors as shown below:

Expert Reviews

About the Nokia XL design and screen resolution of 189ppi, PhoneArena says the following:
The Nokia XL deserves its name - it’s big and unwieldy, larger than most other 5-inch phones.The Nokia XL deserves its name - it’s big and unwieldy, larger than most other 5-inch phones.

The 5-inch screen is not sharp, but it more than makes up for this with its great and vivid colors. Outdoors, though, it’s hard to read the screen.
CNET calls it Nokia's best Android phone, but not good enough.
Despite having a solid build quality, two SIM cards and a powerful battery that lasts all day on a single charge, the processor is deemed slow. In addition, the low screen resolution and unattractive Nokia X UI hinders the user experience. Even worse, Google Play in not accessible and the Nokia app selectionis quite limited.

All in all:
Despite having the best specs of Nokia's Android phones, the XL's poor performance and confusing OS denies users Android's full potential and a true Windows Phone experience.

User Reviews

As expected, Nokia XL elicits mixed reactions, here are just a few from across the web:
I really find the user interface revolting. Windows Phone is so much more beautiful. They should have just stick with it and not come up with a half hearted solution. Disappointed!
- Duketytz

every thing is good about this phone but the basics are missing........ the user interface is not as good as others like samsung motorola or sony have ........... google play another big thing is missing..... RAM is too small...... screen size is big, 5mp with flash, dual sim
- Soumyajit Sinha

Not able to find Whatsapp.. every time i search on store or simply at google.. my XL is not read install it.. Is the problem with my device only..?? or with everyone using it.???
- Nitu

Pricing and Availability

In Kenya, Nokia XL is priced as follows in major stores:
  • Ksh 15,399 at Jumia
  • Ksh 15,499 at MIDCOM
  • Ksh 18,990 at BJ's Store
On Amazon, Nokia XL costs USD 187.47 and on eBay, USD 169.