My thoughts on the Nokia X - with emphasis on the 'No'

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: February 28, 2014

The subject of Nokia pairing up with Android would seem like somewhat of an unlikely subject to come across if you've been involved in the industry as of late, because you probably already associate Nokia with Microsoft and Windows Phone, while Android is a product of rival company, Google. Nokia, for a few years now, has been exclusively dedicated to making Windows Phone devices. The bond between Nokia and Windows Phone has gotten even stronger these past few months with Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia, essentially making Nokia and Microsoft the same thing. So amidst rumors and past dreams, it would seem a little far-fetched at this point to believe that one day we would actually get to see a device with Nokia hardware running on Android. However, given that Microsoft hasn't fully acquired Nokia as of yet, Nokia is technically free to do as they so choose when it comes to experimenting with different platforms. As it turns out, they did just that, and the resulting product is the Nokia X device running on Android.

It's a dream come true for many - in theory. When I had dreams of Nokia hardware running on Android, I imagined something blazing fast and beautiful, inside and out. I've been a pretty big fan of the Lumia hardware Nokia has created for Windows Phone, but even before picking up a Windows Phone of my own I was pretty much completely onboard with the Android platform. If only I could mash the two together, I thought. However, I had assumed that if Nokia were to release an Android device that they would have done so a little more tactfully than they have with the Nokia X family.

I am not impressed with the Nokia X line in the slightest. I've been watching videos and reading about hands-on experiences, and the more I read and watch the more I realized that everything I had hoped for in a Nokia/Android hybrid didn't happen at all. It's kind of like in theory if you were to put your two favorite foods together, it should taste amazing, right? But perhaps you realize a little too late that spaghetti with ice cream on top probably don't combine that well. Well, unless you're Buddy the Elf, but that's a story for another day. The point here is, Nokia, our spaghetti, did not mesh well with Android, our ice cream, like we thought it would. I'm fairly certain that Nokia planned for it to operate this way, mostly so people could see that Android is not as well optimized for lower specs as Windows Phone is.

And maybe I'm pushing the envelope here a little bit, but I don't see the Nokia X line as more than a sick joke that will come at the expense of the customers who end up purchasing the device.

The problem with the Nokia X starts with the specs. You'll notice that the specs are lower end with a 1GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM - which is passable for a low-end Windows Phone, but Android devices running with those specs are going to arguably have a much harder time running smoothly. But when comparing the Nokia X with Windows Phone that shares the same specs, what do you think people are going to go for? The one that has access to Android applications, or the one running on the platform that, although may be lacking the app department, still runs better? Probably going to go for the one with more apps. 

Speaking of apps, another problem with the Nokia X is that if there's an Android app that you want and it's not there, you better get used to sideloading because that's what you're going to have to do to get what you want. Is it a big deal for most? Probably not if you're reading this article, but for the people who are interested the budget Nokia X, they're probably not going to be entirely interested in sideloading applications. 

Simply put, I feel that the Nokia X doesn't do Android any good, it doesn't do Nokia any good, and it's certainly not doing Windows Phone any good. Furthermore, it's not doing any good for the poor customer who picks up this confusing, poorly optimized device. It doesn't even run on Android 4.4 KitKat, which was optimized for low-end specs. Currently, the Nokia X line is currently running on Android 4.1.2, so there's that. Did I mention there aren't any Google Services included on the phone? If you want 'em, sideload 'em.

My advice here? If you're more interested in the phone for the Android aspect, just pick up a Moto G. If you're more interested in the hardware, you'd do better with a low-end Nokia like the 520 or 521. Even if you really want a Nokia phone running on Android, keep dreaming, because this phone probably won't be what you want it to be. I honestly don't think I could recommend this phone to anybody. It was a phone that could have been something great, but even the amount of work that needs to be put in to the device to make it a fully functioning Android (although a poorly running one) is too great, and you're not going to get very far with those specs on Android anyway. It could have been nice, but this end result of a much awaited device leaves much to be desired.

Readers, what are your thoughts on the Nokia X? Do you like the device, or do you think it could have been made differently? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Image via TechCrunch