Nokia X3 review

Compact and media-centric for under £100

The definitive Nokia X3 review
The definitive Nokia X3 review

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Of course, the most upfront feature of the X3 is its music mobile credentials. The music player controls on the outside mark out this territory, while a 2GB memory card supplied with the phone provides a decent amount of in-box storage for a budget music phone.

Nokia's also boxed it with an above-average set of in-ear earphones and it has a standard 3.5mm headphone socket on top for music fans who want to upgrade their ear-ware.

Nokia x3 xpressmusic

The media player software inside, though, is low-key and functional rather than novel.

The X3 uses a standard Series 40 media player, so it has a familiar mid-tier phone look and feel: a list of regular media player categories (all songs, playlists, artists, albums, genres and videos) and a player interface that doesn't break new ground.

The D-pad can operate the controls in normal phone fashion, and there's a draggable elapsed time section to help navigation, plus album cover art (if available).

Nokia x3 xpressmusic

The music player controls on the side of the display aren't needed unless the music player's working in the background; if so, they're handy, but don't exactly redefine the mobile music experience.

Some settings can be tweaked, with equaliser presets you can assign as you're playing. In addition to shuffle mode and the like, you can also choose to have lighting effects on the D-pad to go with the music - snazzy if you're putting on a disco for mice.

Nokia x3 xpressmusic

The supplied in-ear earphones put on a fine show. They fit snugly, with extra plastic buds in-box to get a close fit, reducing outside noise interference.

They can deliver a surprisingly heavy-duty music performance, with plenty of bass presence coming through loud and clear, and good definition on high and mid frequencies.

Nokia x3 xpressmusic

It's not subtle, but it's impressive for a budget music mobile.

The media player automatically slots any new tunes loaded up or slipped in via a memory card. MicroSD cards up to 16GB will work in the phone's side-mounted memory card slot.

Nokia x3 xpressmusic

Tunes can be downloaded over the air, or copied over from a PC using the supplied Nokia Music software and USB data cable.

Nokia's PC Suite's Music Manager software can also be used to transfer tracks, and the phone can be synchronised with Windows Media Player on a PC.

Tracks can also be dragged and dropped in mass storage mode, or sent via Bluetooth to the phone - so to sum up, there's a variety of ways to bung your favourite tunes on to the Nokia X3.

Nokia x3 xpressmusic

Some mobile network operators will also be offering the Nokia X3 as one of Nokia's Comes with Music range, which enables unlimited downloads, although UK availability of this service on the X3 is still to be confirmed at the time of writing.

In addition to the music player, more free music and entertainment is available via the phone's FM radio.

Unusually for a mobile phone, you don't need to plug in headphones as an antenna to listen to tracks – you can simply switch it on and listen to it through the phone's loudspeaker.

The loudspeaker, which can of course also be used with the music player, is loud and clear and not too tinny. It does lack on the bass front, as usual with mobile speakers, but is better than most with its punchy delivery.

Nokia x3 xpressmusic

The radio interface is a doddle to set up and use, with automatic tuning taking care of station finding, and sound quality is pretty good if you plug in the earphones.

Nokia x3 xpressmusic

With a relatively small 2.2-inch display, the Nokia X3 isn't set up to be your ideal video-playing device. However, it's OK to watch clips in full screen mode.

The media player supports video playback and streaming in a number of file formats including H.263, H.264, MPEG-4 and WMV9.