Every once in a while, Nokia tinker with the design of their handsets and come up with something a little different, and this is most certainly the case with the new X5 handset. Its square shape places it right in the fashion phone category, but for once this does not mean a lack of features as this attractive model is a nifty smartphone running on the Symbian OS.
The problem with reducing the size of a handset is that inevitably text inputting becomes more restrictive, the screen is to small for pratical use and the numeric keypad is always a little time consuming, especially on e mails. Thus a solution of sorts has been discovered here by fitting this compact unit with its own slide out Qwerty keypad. Yes it adds to the thickness of the device, making it 16.9mm, but it allows much more space to be dedicated to keys, resulting in a more pleasing user experience. At just 129 grammes in weight, the phone is also quite lightweight. The design of the phone is going to limit it appeal, your typical businessman looking for a messenging device is much more likely to go down the Blackberry Curve 3G path, however the X5 will have its fans, and looking at the vibrant range of colours available and the excellent social networking features, it is evident this will be a hit with the younger market and is perhaps designed with females in mind. A 2.36" screen is traditionally much smaller than other slider devices, but still offers good image quality thanks to a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. An accelerometer chip is included to perform useful function such as auto rotate as well as more unusual tasks such as skipping the music track that is playing when you shake the phone.
The Nokia X5 runs on the Symbian S60 9.3 operating system and in use this is a functional and attractive system. There are three layouts from which you can choose how your homescreen will look, with the most attractive being the uncluttered "Basic" layout which leaves you with just the wallpaper and a small vertical bar featuring shortcuts, music, personalisation and calender. You can then assign your own function to the four directions that are found on the d pad. As with all phonebooks on Symbian, it is easy to use and offers practically limitless entries. You can choose to have contacts listed by firstname or last name, and if you start typing to search, the phone will eliminate people with each key you press. The X5 has a high quality 5 mega pixel camera which produces a good standard of images, easily viewed in the excellent picture gallery.
It is evident that the Nokia X5 has more to it than just its design, and it is an impressive smartphone in its own right, a fact that will appeal to those people wanting a phone that looks a little different, but who still want a great set of features.
The Nokia X5 and the Motorola Flipside are coming soon.