Nokia XL Review
Poch Pimentel | On 02, Aug 2014
When the Nokia X was announced, it was stated that two other siblings would immediately follow suit: The Nokia X+ and the Nokia XL, both of which would have slightly meatier specs.
When we reviewed the Nokia X a while back, we noted that despite its novel concept, much of the phone was left wanting, although it didn’t stop me from liking it. Having used the Nokia XL for some time now, is it more of the same,or is it a worthy alternative?
Nokia XL Specs
- Android Nokia X 1.0 UI (based on Android 4.1.2 Jellybean)
- 5″ IPS LCD WVGA resolution (800 x 480), ~240ppi
- 1.0GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor Cortex-A5 with Adreno 203 GPU
- 768MB RAM, 4GB internal storage; expandable via microSD support up to 32GB
- 5 MP main camera with autofocus and LED flash, 2MP camera
- Dual SIM
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G, HSDPA, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, A-GPS
- 2000mAh non-removable battery; wireless charging support
- PHP 7,990.00
If we’ll base it on specs alone, you can see that it’s an under-achiever, much like its little brother. The only thing going for it are the slightly higher RAM (which is head-scratching why they didn’t go full 1GB instead), the higher spec’d camera, the inclusion of a fron-facing camera, and the larger screen (albeit with the same resolution). At the SRP of PHP 7,990, it’s your call whether an additional 2,000 bucks is worth it, but I do appreciate the larger screen (which should be obvious by now). As far as budget phones go, this sits at the extreme end of the higher spectrum when IMHO, Nokia should have been gunning for at most the middle spectrum, especially with the specs we’re getting.
Packaging and Accessories
As opposed to its smaller brother, the Nokia XL is now using the new standard packaging that the company employs, which is first seen with the Lumia 630. The style does look similar, although the Lumia 630’s packaging is ultimately different.
The amount of accessories isn’t any better than Nokia X, as the phone comes just with the usual accessories, such as charger and cable, and earphones.
Design and Build
Thankfully, having a what is essentially a blown up Nokia X does have its upsides. The Nokia XL retains the aesthetical superbness of the Nokia X. Like it, the phone is encased with a polycarbonate shell, and like it, you can interchange the polycarbonate shells along with other accessories.
Most of the front is taken up by the 5″ LCD screen, with the bottom bezel housing one soft touch button (Back button), while the top of the screen has the sensors, the receiver, and the 2MP front camera. At the back we have the loudspeakers, the main camera with LED flash, and the prominent Nokia logo etched onto the shell. The phone’s top houses the 3.5mm jack for the earphones, while the bottom has the microUSB port. Only the right side of the phone has buttons, consisting of the volume rocker and the power button. The insides of the phone is the same as the Nokia X, with the large battery, microSD port and the dual microSIM ports in them.
Overall, the phone’s design is more of the same, but it’s not a bad thing. It’s elegant, beautiful, and an eye candy. It feels good in the hand, and upon touch, you’re assured that the materials used are of high quality. It doesn’t look and feel like a budget phone at all.
Display and Touchscreen
Despite the low resolution, the screen is bright and colors are beautifully rendered. I had no problem watching high-resolution videos, whether it be 720p or 1080p. One of my caveats with the Nokia X is the screen size, and I found this Nokia XL’s screen more comfortable for me.
Touchscreen controls are smooth and responsive for the most part, although lag still rears its ugly head here at times. In all, it’s no better nor worse than Nokia X.
As said before, the Nokia XL’s hardware is mostly similar to the Nokia X, so much so that any advantage is at a minimum. The added paltry 256MB is largely unfelt.The larger screen is complemented by a larger battery, which is just enough to make its stamina on par with the Nokia X.
Here is where the experience with this phone when compared to the Nokia X is largely unchanged. As before, the whole phone is run by Nokia’s forked version of Android, Nokia X 1.0. It’s based on Android 4.1.2 Jellybean. All I loved and hated about the platform are still present here. Thankfully, the number of apps have been steadily growing, although there still a lot of areas for improvement. This time around, though, I didn’t rely on the available third-party apps, such as SwiftKey and Go SMS Pro. To be fair, the default apps are good enough. I even liked the default messaging app.
As a phone, Nokia XL does very well. Audio clarity is great, provided you have good reception. Microphone also does well. I’ve also hadn’t encountered any difficulty sending text messages.
As an entertainment device, it’s so-so, thanks to its lower resolution. However, you’ll really appreciate the larger screen here. You’d be bonkers if you’ll opt to consider this as your main gaming device since the low specs aren’t adequate to run anything beyond casual gaming.
Like the Nokia X, though, the camera performance is better than expected. I was able to take some decent snaps with the phone, although none of them would make your eyes pop with excitement.
Low light performance seems better handled, though having no way to choose focal points hurts. Color reproduction still suffers in any lighting condition, with colors largely looking washed out. With the excellent strides that Nokia have regarding camera phone imaging, it’s quite saddening that the Nokia X family performs this way.
As a GPS device, the lack of GLONASS support still makes its performance lacking. It takes longer to get a lock, and loses it faster under certain conditions. Even a cloudy weather makes the phone loose its GPS signal, and it takes a long while to get a lock.
Overall, I found no difference in performance between this phone and my Nokia X. One of my major caveats with my Nokia X was the copious amounts of lag I experience with it, and I was sad to see it still here, despite the slight bump in RAM. Given its price point, I’d give this a second thought. But of course, between this and the Nokia X, I’d choose this phone hands down. However, I strongly feel that the Nokia X’s SRP fits this phone better.
It also doesn’t help that Nokia just announced the Nokia X2, and that the current generation phones can’t be upgraded to Nokia X 2.0. This I personally find unacceptable. This is Windows Phone 7.x to Windows Phone 8 all over again. I find NO reason why it should be this way, especially given the fact that the Android platform is more flexible in hardware requirements.
I have been hoping that the platform gets bumped up to KitKat-based as that would definitely help a lot in the lag department, in my opinion. I still have high hopes with this product line, however, and the silver lining with the announcement of the Nokia X2 suggests that Nokia is still taking this product line seriously. I hope they take it seriously enough to give us at least a mid-range performer at a much better price than this first generation.
If you already own a Nokia X, then you’re not missing much unless you can’t stand smaller screens. However, you have to decide whether a PHP 2000 difference is enough to get a larger screen and a front-facing camera.