Product: Nokia X6
System Specifications : S60 9.4 5th Edition, 3.2-inch touch screen, 32GB memory, 3.5mm jack, 3G, 5 megapixels camera, WiFi, , Bluetooth, GPRS, GPS, GSM, HSDPA, Li-ion battery
Price: Dependent on contract, £500 – SIM Free
NOKIA'S OUTING IN the music phone arena is relatively new compared to Sony Ericsson. How the Finnish phone maker distinguishes itself from other handset makers in the musical phone market is with its unlimited music download service Comes With Music. Tracks and albums can be purchased separately or with a few of Nokia's handsets there's an unlimited music download option bundled in.
Nokia's first music oriented phone in its Xpressmusic category was launched at the end of 2008. That Nokia 5800 was a full touchscreen phone that could be purchased either by itself, or with the all-you-can-eat music download service thrown in. Its successor is the Nokia X6, which has some distinct improvements over its predecessor in terms of its screen, storage size, build quality and form factor.
The X6 is Nokia's first phone to feature a capacitive touch screen, as all the previous models have used the far less responsive resistive displays, and this makes the 3.2-inch 640x360 resolution screen of the X6 much more accurate in interpreting touch screen requests. This is particularly noticeable during text messaging or typing anything else on the virtual keyboard. We're not the biggest fans of landscape text entry on Nokia's previous touchscreen phones, since they tend to be a clumsy to use with lots of inaccuracies and a limited preview screen. Nokia has corrected one of these flaws with the improved responsiveness of the screen on the X6, but it still hasn't fixed the tiny preview area.
With 32GB of built-in storage Nokia has opted for no microSD card slot on the X6. With the current microSD ceiling at 16GB, bundling in a microSD slot would increase the storage capacity to up to 48GB - and 64GB once 32GB microSD cards come out - but that larger capacity is reserved for Nokia's flagship N97 handset which also has 32GB of onboard memory and also a microSD slot.
While the X6 build is sleeker in appearance than the 5800, the dimensions are pretty much identical, with the X6 measuring 111mm long, 51mm wide, 18.8mm thick and weighing 122grams. The X6 design has a more professional look compared to the almost Fisher-Price toylike 5800.
Comes With Music is clearly the selling point behind the X6, because there is no longer an option to buy this handset without the service. What is a unclear is what happens after the year of free music is up. We been informed that the DRM based music will still be accessible on the PC and the phone but renewal of the contract is left up to the operator's discretion. So if a phone is purchased with a 24-month contract, as it is with Orange in the UK, it's up to that network whether it wants to extend the Comes With Music contract every year thereafter, for the life time of the agreement.
After setting up the account by using the unique code provided with the phone, downloading music is as simple as clicking on a button next to the track or album name. Transferring music files to the phone is as simple as with any other music download software, very similar to the popular media browser from another well-known smartphone firm.
It is all very intuitive and straight forward to use, with all the music files encoded in wma at 192kbps. The sound quality on the phone is good from its built-in stereo speakers and even better via the decent quality earphones provided. There is no support for the higher quality codecs in use today; so OGG and FLAC support, which the true music enthusiast would expect, are missing.
Nearly every artist or album we searched for was there on the unlimited download service, with very few exceptions of older music. To completely fill the Nokia X6 handset would take about 1,000 albums. With each of those albums retail priced at around £7 this effectively means that £7,000 worth of music storage is possible on the X6 at any one time.
32GB is the storage maximum of the phone, which isn't the case for the computer the desktop software, which can only be loaded on one PC. There are six million tracks available on Comes With Music, so that's enough to fill even the largest of hard drives and all for the cost of the phone, although the music can only be played on the phone or through Nokia's software.
The Nokia Symbian S60 5th edition OS version 9.4 runs the X6, the same OS that's used on a number of Nokia's phones, from the N97 and N97 mini to the 5800 XpressMusic. The interface feels much like all of these others to use, with a simple structure that is easy to navigate around in and everything obvious and straightforward. No matter what menu you are in there's a quick launch media bar just above the screen for quick access to music, pictures, messages, video and the web browser. The music player is also easy to use and well laid out, with categories listing tracks by artist, album and genres, which can be scrolled though kinetically.
Nokia has also stepped up the camera size in the handset, from the average 3.2MP camera in the 5800 to the 5MP in the X6 with a dual LED flash. This comes with a Carl Zeiss lens and can take a good shot, although there is a bit of a lag whilst the image is processed before another can be taken. Nokia could have pushed the MP count and included an 8MP camera. 5MP could be seen as a budget offering, with 12MP now being commonplace and even higher resolution cameras expected soon.
The X6's power comes from a 1320 mAh battery with recharging done through a 2mm Nokia bespoke charger. Just next to the charging port is the miniUSB data connection socket, which cannot be used to charge the device. We thought we were long past the days of the old Nokia charging port, as its recent handsets are charged from the miniUSB socket and it's soon to be an EU mandate to only use USB for recharging.
In our tests the battery lasted for just four hours and thirty-three minutes worth of calls. Nokia's website claims the phone can last for six hours, which is nowhere near the time we saw in our three separate tests. It also claims the phone can last for up to thirty-five hours. We saw about a week's worth of sporadic playback time before needing to recharge.
The Nokia X6 is a decent replacement for its first music phone, the 5800. It's a much better handset all around with sleeker design and a more responsive capacitive touch screen. There is also a massive 32GB of storage, along with unlimited music downloads for a year. Negatives include the battery life being under par, the older charger and the lack of higher capacity codecs, but the positives outweigh the negatives. With £7,000 worth of music storage possible on the X6, it's worth every penny of what you might have to spend for the phone on a new contract. µ
Unlimited music downloads, capacitive touch screen, 32GB of storage.
Nokia older charger.
No one seems sure about what happens when the unlimited year of music downloading is up.