IMPRESSIVE: The Nokia XL. Photo/COURTESY/NOKIA.COM
Nokia is not just looking to flood the Kenyan market with handsets. The firm seeks to cater to different clientele with a variety of handsets that serve a practical function and not a fad race as was once the norm with the firm. The Nokia XL, which was availed for retail in June, is already serving as a platform for local application builders both individually and at the organizational level to provide customised and specialised services to fit the app demands of the Kenyan market.
It's not just service providers that are capitalising on the app deficit as game builders and online shopping companies cash in on the expanding app developer space. DSTV, Kenya Airways, Spotkick Challenge, NewsDrift, Goal.com, Flipboard and Jumia are some of the organizations that owe gratitude to the Nokia XL for creating a space in which the firms can better connect with customers.
The Nokia XL is the second of three devices from Nokia that are running the popular Android operating system in contrast to the firm's high end Lumia line of smartphones running the Windows Mobile Operating System. The diversity and functionality of the two systems is evident, according to Microsoft Devices general manager for East Africa Bruce Howe.
"Nokia X certainly turned heads when it entered the Kenyan market and it is great to be able to grow the range so quickly. Adding Nokia XL to the range adds a real quality affordable smartphone to the Microsoft device family," Howe said during the launch of the XL.
The XL really is a plus for the Microsoft franchise that is slowly making inroads at challenging competitor brands as the go-to device in the Kenyan market.
The phone's 5 inch Liquid Crystal Display, 480 X 800 pixels resolutions capacitive touchscreen with 187 pixels per inch is one of the strong points of the smartphone.
The Nokia X platform 1.0 user interface gives the device the tile look of the Lumia line of handsets, at a lesser price of course. The device also incorporates a glance screen that shows time when the phone is idle.
The phone has an additional Fastlane display which gives a user faster access to apps with are logged on this screen. The screen has the capacitive home touch button at the bottom, and a two megapixels secondary camera, earpiece and sensor at the top of the monolithic screen. Just like with the Nokia X, the XL has no buttons to the left of the screen.
The 141.4 X 77.7 X 10.9 millimeters handset has a volume toggle button and the power button, which also serves as the lock button, on the right edge of the matte finish casing. The handset is available in black, white, blue, green, yellow and orange colours.
The handset also features a five megapixels primary camera at the back and a led flash for taking photos even in less desirable lighting conditions. The primary camera has reasonable autofocus speed, but doesn't give sharp images under dim lighting even with the flash. The secondary camera has an even better capture. Both cameras however are at par when shooting in daylight.
The handset's functions are supported by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor that clocks a speed of 1GHz. In addition, it has a RAM of 750MB which is not power intensive and runs well if only few functions are running. The phone comes with a 4GB internal memory storage and an external storage expandable option of up to 32GB.
All this is powered by a 2000mAh battery which comfortably keeps the phone running for about a day and a half with minimal use, and just under a day with intensive user. The powering capacity is greatly determined by the use of two networks as the phone has dual-SIM capabilities. The first SIM card allows 3G access to a network, while the second SIM only allows Edge connectivity.
Given that the phone's apps are primarily sourced from the Nokia store, a device owner is guaranteed security as all apps are certified. The Nokia XL has an additional security encryption feature that can be manually performed from the phone's settings. The encryption works best for data protection although it can be compromised by third party app stores that can be accessed through the Nokia store.
The 190 gram monoblock Nokia XL is a functional phone that will best serve a moderate user. It is well within its element as an entry level Android handset. And for a Sh15,000 price tag, it is an economical option to vie for when shopping for a handset.