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Nokia XL Review: X-tra Large

Back to MWC 2014 in February, Nokia (a.k.a Microsoft Mobile now) has finally broke its tradition by announcing the Nokia X lineup. The Nokia X lineup is not a Windows Phone, but a smartphone that runs on Nokia X Platform based on Android. However, with more and more affordable smartphones with good specifications available in markets now a day, can the Nokia XL stands out in today's world?

Nokia XL official photos

- Dimensions: 141.4 x 77.7 x 10.9 mm
- Weight: 190 g
- Display: 5" WVGA (480 x 800 pixels) LCD
- Processor: 1 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4
- RAM: 768 MB
- Memory: 4 GB, microSD card slot
- Camera: 5 MP Camera, FWVGA video recording, 2 MP front
- Battery: 2,000 mAh
- OS: Nokia X Platform 1.0 (Upgradable to v1.1)

Nokia XL retail package

The Nokia XL comes with a brand new white retail package instead of the blue one from previous Nokia devices, probably is because it is now a part of Microsoft. The box contains the device, charger, battery and manual guide. Unfortunately, the device doesn't have a proper microUSB cable and AC adapter, which brought some inconvenient for transferring file.

The Nokia XL has the same design language as the Nokia X despite it is bigger. The phone is quite wide because of its 15:9 aspect ratio, single hand operation might be a problem for some users.

Nokia XL live photos

The neon orange body does catch many people eyes plus its boxy design gives us a thought of Lego brick. What we actually like about the Nokia XL is its built material, it's plastic material though. The plastic material doesn't get dirty easily plus it is not fingerprint magnet.

Nokia XL handling

The phone is quite wide giving us a hard time for single hand operation. Don't get us wrong, it is nice to hold and bringing the phone in and out is not a problem.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the Nokia XL and Nokia X is the size. The Nokia XL has bigger 5" LCD display but still stick with WVGA (480 x 800 pixels) resolution, which resulting the screen has only 187 ppi pixel density.

The Nokia XL has a 5" display

The 5" display produces nice colour contrast but there might be hard time when viewing text from browser due to its low resolution display. Its display is quite reflective which causes bad viewing angle. Meanwhile, there are white rays around the screen, which is not impressive at all.

The Nokia XL is powered by 1 GHz Cortex-A5 dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 with only 768 MB of RAM. The limitation of Cortex-A5 CPU affects that the device lagging and unimpressive performances, as well as unable upgrade to Nokia X Platform 2.0 found on the Nokia X2. Playing games like Subway Surfers is already a problem with some hiccups, so high graphics games is a huge problem for it.

Speaking the software, the Nokia XL is one of the first Nokia devices to run on Nokia X Platform 1.0, which is based on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.

Nokia X Platform 1.0 (upgraded to v1.1)

Although the Nokia X Platform is based on Android, but it does not support Google apps like Play Store, Gmail, Google+, etc. Yes you are able to download Google Chrome and YouTube on it but you can't sign-in to your account as it doesn't support Google services.

Lockscreen | Homescreen | Fastlane

The user experience of Nokia X Platform is quite identical to Windows Phone Metro UI. Swipe right or left to unlock the screen and it will bring you to the homescreen with full of tiles. Swipe to right or left will bring you to Fastlane, which is a space for all your notifications and the recent apps. Thankfully, if you don't like this UI, you can download launcher from apps store to replace your homescreen.

Nokia Glance and double tap features

Nokia Glance and double tap to wake up the screen features are present on the XL, but the double tap feature doesn't seem to be sensitive.

Based on our experience, the phone will unlock and call someone from call logs automatically, which is quite frustrated. This problem can be solved by setting PIN or password on the lockscreen.

The Nokia XL has a 5 MP camera at the back with LED flash. What makes us curious is the 2 MP front-facing camera is able to record 720p videos for video conferencing but the rear camera can only records FWVGA resolution videos.

Nokia XL camera samples

The Nokia XL has one of the best 5 MP shooter in a smartphone. The camera is able to capture good amount of details, especially on macro shoot. The noise reduction does soften the images but it is still consider in its class.

Juicing up the device is a 2,000 mAh battery with promises 13 hours talk time and 37 hours music playback. The battery standby time is pretty decent, we try to keep the phone in standby for around 8 hours and we find out 0% of battery life is reduced. For heavy usage, it should be last for around 6 hours while moderate usage will bring the phone to around 18 hours before it require for charging. We have experienced charging problem on the Nokia XL, the battery percentage did not increase while we are charging, but after we restart the phone it will show the actual battery percentage. However this problem doesn't always happened, so take it as a grain of salt.

Final thought
The Nokia XL is priced at RM 599. With this pricing, the closest competitors are Asus ZenFone 5 (RM 599), Huawei Honor 3C (RM 499) and Xiaomi Redmi 1S (RM 419). These phones have better specifications and some even priced at lower price tag.

Asus ZenFone 5 | Huawei Honor 3C | Xiaomi Redmi 1S

The Nokia XL is for those who want a simple phone but with capable of Android apps (except Google services apps). It's a good choice if you're still not a smartphone user, but at last we still recommend the devices we mentioned above, or maybe the newly launch Nokia Lumia 630.

- Impressive build material
- Impressive camera
- Impressive battery life

- Nokia X Platform still not ready yet with many bugs and problems
- Unimpressive display
- Relatively high price tag

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