The Nokia X3 puts in a decent messaging performance, supporting the usual text and multimedia messaging plus email and instant messaging.

The flush, one-piece keyboard provides a reasonably responsive way of tapping in texts with some proficiency.

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Texts can easily be upgraded to MMS messages, with a toolbar of icons ranged along the bottom of the screen for adding photos, sound clips, video clips, and so on. It's easy to operate and intuitive to use.

Messages are presented in 'conversations', with a threaded string of incoming and outgoing messages for each contact you've recently been in touch with.

Nokia x3 xpressmusic

The X3 uses the Nokia Messaging Mail email client, which enables you to set up email for a new Ovi Mail account or set up details from an existing POP3/IMAP4 email account.

Settings are pre-loaded for several services, including Windows Live Hotmail, Google Mail and Yahoo! Mail – you just need to tap in your email address and password - and you're away.

Nokia x3 xpressmusic

Other email provider accounts can be set up quickly and easily in a similar way – settings details are taken care of automatically.

The email user interface is reasonably attractive for a budget handset, and emails are sensibly ordered and headers viewable in lists on the screen.

Nokia x3 xpressmusic

Some attachments, including JPG images, can be viewed, but not all file types are supported (we couldn't view PDFs, Excel and Word documents, for instance). You can send documents from the phone though.

With no 3G, large attachment files can take some time downloading or uploading, but then again that's not really what the Nokia X3 is designed to do.

The email client has a fair selection of options to manage accounts, including the facility to send instant messages directly from your email account, and you can use the number pad keys as shortcuts for certain options.

You can also send quick replies to emails, with 9 preset messages available that can be selected and sent in a couple of key presses – useful for fast acknowledgements of incoming mail.

Multiple email accounts can be stored and accessed in the Nokia Messaging Mail application, and you can set the phone to regularly check email accounts automatically for new messages.

Nokia x3 xpressmusic

Instant messaging is supported on the Nokia X3, with Nokia's own IM application enabling you to use Ovi IM, and support for Windows Live Messenger in a separate IM app in the messaging folder.

You can send and receive short messages to other IM users online easily and speedily, and leave it running in the background.