• Nokia says Symbian is on its way out, before promising more support and new models. Can the ailing OS ever really get back on track, or is it time to throw in the towel and give up on handsets like the X7?

    The X-series range is to music what the N-series range is to imaging. In an attempt to be hip and trendy, Nokia has allowed its designers to go crazy with the X7. It’s certainly a unique design, and history has shown how Nokia isn’t scared to try new things. The company has to be commended for doing so, even if it has allowed the release of some real clangers over the years.

    In the case of this phone, the smooth, curvaceous rear and a front with more odd angles than a Citroen DS4 will probably make your initial decision to consider it very easy. Otherwise it might be the non-removable battery or the fiddly covers to change the SIM or memory card.

    Take the four speakers, one for each corner of the phone, for example. Two of them aren’t even real speakers and are simply there to balance the design. The other two are (fortunately) very loud and will let you blast out music, or hear the audio to accompany videos, without separate speakers.

    And, unlike the N8 with its high-end 12-megapixel camera, the X7 makes do with a mere 8-megapixels and ditches autofocus in favour of the EDoF (Extended Depth of Field) sensor that Nokia seems to like putting in just about every new device it releases.

    The upside of EDoF sensors is the ability to take photos quickly without worrying about focus. As long as you aren’t trying to take close-up images, the results are usually pretty good. The phone also gets a twin-LED flash, which isn’t as powerful as Xenon but can cope with most indoor situations.

    On hold

    Because of the odd design of the phone, the shutter button (and indeed the volume keys) are almost at a 45 degree angle on the edge. It means that if you don’t hold the phone securely with both hands, you run the incredibly high risk of pressing the camera button and pushing the phone out of your grip. If you think of holding with one hand, supporting the phone with your thumb at the front, you then risk pressing on the screen and changing settings. It’s a really bad design, given you’ll have to totally change the way you are used to pressing buttons while holding the phone.

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