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Nokia X2: a glowing example of a budget smartphone

gadgets Updated: Jun 24, 2014 15:56 IST
Nokia X2


The Nokia X2 packs decent specifications, an easy-to-use interface and a good choice of apps into a well-designed shell that lights up when the screen is active. But that's not its best feature.

No, the new handset's party piece is its price. It's going to cost just €99 for the dual SIM model when it goes on sale globally in July.

Revealed simultaneously in London, Finland and New Delhi on Tuesday, Microsoft describes the Nokia X2 as a smartphone designed to introduce "the next billion people to the internet and cloud services." The latest in a growing line of affordable Nokia-branded, forked-Android powered handsets targeting the cost conscious and those in emerging consumer markets, the X2 might just do that.

Unlike the X-phones that have gone before it, the new handset has a bit of internal processing power, a whole 1GB of RAM; a decent rear-facing camera (5MP) with flash and a front-facing camera too. It also integrates apps and Microsoft services better than before, so it comes preloaded with Skype for making video calls and OneDrive for cloud storage, which, like on Nokia Lumia handsets, will automatically upload all images captured with the camera so that its onboard storage doesn't keep filling up.

Although the operating system is a fork of Android, it is presented in a way that looks more like a Windows Phone environment, so there are live tiles showing what's going on in terms of calendar appointments and open apps. Simplifying things further is a fast lane setting that just shows recent activity -- so the last apps or web pages viewed. Or, for the more adventurous there's a pin-board set-up where users can ‘pin' things to the homescreen like photos or links.

The screen itself is generous in size if not resolution. It measures 4.3-inches and is integrated into the chassis in a way that gives the handset an "inner glow" when in use. Highlighting this beacon effect even more is that just like all current Nokia phones, it's available predominantly in loud colors -- glossy orange, glossy black and glossy green, with a glossy yellow and glossy white version in the pipeline.

"The Nokia X family is going from strength to strength, with the Nokia X smartphone achieving top-selling status in Pakistan, Russia, Kenya and Nigeria, while earning the third-best-selling smartphone spot in India," said Timo Toikkanen, head of Mobile Phones, Microsoft Devices Group. "The Nokia X2 elevates the Nokia X experience with a stellar new design, ease of use and new Microsoft experiences. We're proud to continue to bring smartphone innovation to lower and lower price points."

The handset goes on sale "in select countries" Tuesday and will roll out globally in July with a suggested off-contract retail price of €99. For that, consumers will get a handset with a Snapdragon 200 processor featuring a dual core 1.2GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of onboard storage plus support for MicroSD cards (up to 32GB) and of course, 15GB of free cloud storage via OneDrive.