Most of us who are in a habit of jumping places have more than one primary number. This means a good collection of SIM cards, even though, you may not use them. You always carry a couple around, just in case you might need it. This is why a secondary phone comes in really handy and I had been looking for a good dual SIM device within the budget of Rs. 10,000. So, when Nokia X was released for about Rs. 8,500, it was obvious I thought about picking one up. However, spending 10 minutes with the device changed my mind, and these were some of the points I bought with me:
This is not Android
Nokia has been very clever about branding the phone, as a device that supports Android apps. Even within the settings of the device, you would not find the word Android. The UI is nothing like an Android device and dare I say, but it is closer to experience on the Asha 501 than an Android. If you are coming from even a semi decent Android phone, you will simply not like Nokia X. No Google Play, no Google services meant finding apps for even tiny things like syncing contacts. Things which are a luxury with an Android phone are a day’s work on the Nokia X, a bit like setting up an old Symbian 60 device. In fact, we did an editorial, saying this is the most un-Android like Android experience here.
The Experience was not smooth
No, I was certainly not expecting top of the shelf performance from the device like one of the flagship Android phone, but even for a little over 8K device, the experience was pretty bad. The apps stuttered to open, for example, it took about 3 seconds for BBM to load up which comes preinstalled on the phone and took forever if you wanted to drag apps to make folders. The scrolling on the default browser was certainly choppy and broken, overall experience was nothing like an Android experience. In fact, dare I say, I found using the Nokia Lumia 520, a device we had reviewed earlier on techsplurge here, so much smoother and faster.
No Notification Center is a pain
As an Android and iOS user, I am used to swiping down from top of my screen and reading through my notifications. Although, you can do that on the Nokia X, you will not see any notifications there. You only have some quick toggles when you swipe from top of the screen to the bottom. For notifications, you have to go to Fastlane which looks just cluttered. Add to the fact, that if you are on a custom launcher, you simply cannot access Fastlane and hence your notifications are just not there to see.
I cannot live without multitasking
I am used to getting a lot of work done on my Android phone simultaneously. From going through the twitter timeline, to reading on Flipboard to quickly changing music, I am used to doing all these activities in blink of an eye. With Nokia X, there is no multitasking. This means, you can really work on one app at a time and you must come out of it before you can get on another train. This is just painful and something I could not put up with.
The device did not represent value for money
It is impossible to pass a judgement on the Nokia X. You understand there is a market for a device like this, a niche one of people who want to try Android, but even then this did not represent value for money to me. Since no Google Play is available, you are left with plenty of apps to side load. What sideloading apps does not give you is immediate OTA updates. You have to look for an updated apk and install again. No Google services mean, there is no Chrome and hence no Chrome sync, which for me personally is very important. For about 8.5K, you actually can pick the Lumia 525 which performs a lot better and at least is guaranteed a support from Microsoft unlike this Android experiment gone wrong.
I walked out of the store without the device, I had initially planned to pick. Yes, I did get a few snapshots, a memory of a Nokia powered Android phone and plenty of face palm moments which slowly threw me back into thinking of what might have been had Nokia done this well. I still dream of a proper Nokia manufactured Vanilla Android device. I know the dream will never be a reality and this would be as close to the waking up on the right side of the bed after that perfect dream.