Nokia X1-01 dual sim mobile unboxing and review

Nokias first true dual sim phone X1-01 has hit the market. This is the latest addition to Nokias X series music centric devices. Nokia initially ignored the dual sim market and it lost a major market share due to this in the low end market. Nokias ignorance of dual sim market costed it a lot but has been a boon to chinese mobile manufacturers and local players like Micromax, Karbonn.

Though it was already late, Nokia tried to enter the dual sim category by announcing the Nokia C1-00 and C2-00 last year. C1-00 and C2-00 were supposed to hit the market in Q3 and Q4 of 2010 respectively. While C1-00 has comeout, C2-00 did not hit the market as per schedule.

Nokia did not succeed in gaining a market share with C1-00 because it was a dual sim, single stand by phone. Though it could hold two sims, only one sim will work at any time. You will have to switch between the sims to use them. It would have been better for Nokia had the C2-00 hit the market.

Finally after a 6 month delay, C2-00 was announced again along with the X1-01 and this time Nokia did not waste time. They made the phones available within two weeks of announcing them.

Here we have the X1-01 in grey colour. Though C2-00 was first announced an year back, X1-01 is the first to hit stores and so it is Nokia’s first true dual sim phone. Watch my youtube video below for X1-01 unboxing and quick review.

Quick look at the features of X1-01

  • Dual Sim, Dual Stand By, Dual Band(900/1800)
  • Available in Red, Blue, White and Grey
  • Phone book capacity of 500 entries
  • SMS storage capacity of 250 SMS
  • MP3 Player
  • FM Radio
  • Flash Light
  • Micro SD memory support upto 16gb
  • Display: 1.8″ , 128×160 pixel resolution, 65000 colours
  • 3.5 mm headset connector

Initial Impressions

The phone looks simple and neat. The dimensions of the phone are noticeably larger than other basic phones from Nokia or any similar dual sim phone in the market. The weight and thickness of the phone are also on the higher side. Inspite of that, I liked the phone for its plain looks. The phone with its size is easy to hold and good for the trouser pocket(not the shirt pocket). The looks do not please young guys and girls and its definitely not a phone that girls will like(especially in its grey avatar).

The front of the phone the phone is black which ever phone colour you opt. Only the back panel colour is different. The keypad is the familiar Nokia keypad with two selection keys, Navi Key, Call, End and number buttons. The phones buttons are made of plastic. A single plastic covers three buttons horizontally. The buttons are easy to use and does not pose any problem. It will be a litte difficult to press buttons without looking and them(while driving etc) as 3 buttons have the same plastic and differentiating between buttons with touch is difficult. I 4 way Navi key is also very easy to use, its much much easier than the 4 way keys on most other Nokia phones. Since the screen and buttons are made of plastic and they both have similar reflectivity, the phone looks very uniform on the front side.

The back of the phone is very glossy and is a finger print magnet. It is practially not possible to get rid of the smudges. The back panel is the only thing that changes if you opt for a different colour phone. Shortly we should see after market back panels in different colours hitting the market. The back also houses the loud speaker. The speaker is on the upper portion of the back. Since the back is curvy, some space is left for the speaker when it is kept on a table and so the volume doesn’t decrease drastically. For some Nokia models where the backside is flat, the speaker volume noticeably reduces when kept on a table.

On the left of the phone you have the music keys Play/Pause, Next and Previous common to all X series phones.

The right side has the Micro SD card slot.

Bottom side has the hole for wrist strap.

The top side has the 2mm Nokia charger connector, 3.5 mm headset connector and the flash light.

The phone is fairly sturdy and I did not notice any squeaks in the two days of use. I dropped the floor from my table on the first day itself and the phone back cover and battery came off. The backcover is though fits perfectly does not have any hard clamps. This is actually good. When the phone falls, the back cover and battery come off without any damage. If it had any hard clamps securing the back cover, they would easily break due to shock during a fall.

Operation

The phone uses the traditional Nokia interface which is easy to use. In standby, the left selection key brings up the menu and the right selection key brings up the “Goto” menu. The shortcuts in the Goto can be customized to easily open our preferred applications, say clock or countdown timer.

Being a dual sim phone, it has an additional dual sim settings section. The settings are, 1) “Default SIM for calls”, you can set which sim you want to use by default when you press the call button, or you can set it to “always ask” so that it will ask you for SIM selection whenever you attempt to make a call. 2) “Default SIM for messages”, the options are similar to the previous one. 3) “Standby mode”, here you select whether you want SIM1, SIM2 or BOTH SIMs to be active while in standby mode. If you select SIM1 or SIM2, only that will be on and the other SIM will be off. This is handy if you want to switch off the SIM2 after office hours or at night etc. 4) “SIM name”, here you can set a name and icon to each of the SIMs for easy recognition. The phone can remember upto 5 sim cards(I did not check). So even if you have more than two sims and you switch between them, the phone still remembers the name and icon for the sim. The dual sim settings menu can be accessed easily by long pressing the * key.

You can assign different ringtones and sms tones to the sims so that you can easily recognize which sim is receiving a call/sms. The call durations and message counts are also maintained seperately for each sim.

The phone can store upto a maximum of 250 sms messages. Each SMS has a Sim Icon to indicate which sim received that message.

X1-01 supports Micro SD cards upto 16GB. The Micro SD is located on the right of the phone and is hot swappable, meaning you do not have to turn off the phone to remove/insert the memory card. Point to note here is that you can not connect the phone to PC as it does not have any connectivity options. The only way to load music is to remove the Micro SD and use it with your card reader. As per my experience, the phone only reads MP3 files from the memory card. So if you have any other type of data, the phone just ignores. The phone also does not recognize any jpeg files. So if you are thinking of loading some nice pics to use them as wall papers, you are wrong.

Ringtones – The ringtones are OK(not bad). The volume is really high and missing a call is a rare chance. There are 35 ringtones(including alarm and message tones) and 5 empty slots for downloadable ringtones. Apart from these, you can set any MP3 from the Micro SD as a ring tone. If you have noticed the other basic phones in India by Nokia, most of the ringtones are bollywood tones. There were hardly any decent tones and there was no option of MP3 tones. The ringtones were weak and pathetic. It is good that Nokia has moved away from those bollywood ringtones and provided much better ringtones in X1-01. Users now have much better default tones and if they want they have a large variety of options in the way of MP3 rather than the few old bollywood tones in other models. See my youtube video of the ringtones in X1-01.

Phonebook – Standard Nokia phone book. Supports upto 500 entries the phone memory apart from the numbers you store in the sim cards. Each of the entries in the phone book can have a max of 3 numbers(my experience). The phone also features a multiphone book which . Once you have stored the numbers in the phone memory, you can assign these numbers to different phone books. A number can belong to more than one phone book. When you enable that particular phone book, you can only see the numbers assigned to that phone book. This is handy when the phone is shared by different people.

MP3 Player – This is the one that disappointed me. The phone has an MP3 player which plays MP3. That is it, it doesn’t do any thing else. It does not support play lists which is really bad. I have never seen an MP3 player without play list support. The website mentions “Edit your favourite playlist”, this is actually misleading to many. What you can do is you can add songs to “Favourites” which is the only playlist. For a phone supports a huge 16gb memory which can hold thousands of songs, having a single playlist is totally useless. The navigation is also pathetic. Even if you organize the songs in separate folders, you can not browse through folders. The phone displays a folder along with songs in it, you can not see multiple folders at the same time. The player supports repeat and shuffle play modes. The sound is good both via the speaker(which is really loud and clear) and the supplied headset. The sound is actually better with the supplied headphones than my altec lansing headphones. The phone ofcourse can have thousands of songs in the supported memory, but having more than three or four albums, or say 10 in this kind of interface will be very irritating. The phone supports only MP3 format, no WMA or AAC. It is not a true X series/music centric phone. Check my youtube video on the X1-01 music player below.

FM Radio – Standard FM radio as in any other Nokia phone and it needs a headset to be inserted to use radio. The headset acts as the radio antenna and hence it is needed. You can ofcourse play radio via loud speaker, but headset needs to be inserted for radio reception. The phone can memorize upto 10 stations.

Display – The phone has a 1.8″ with 128×160 pixel resolution and supporting 65000 colours. This is pretty much the display in most Nokia phones at this price range. The display is good but we can not make use of the display as it does not support any wall papers other than the ones which are part of the 20 inbuilt themes. The phone supports external memory but it is limited to MP3 files. It would have been a nice addition to support image files as well, atleast small sized files for wall papers. The themes are basically different colour options for menus and standby with different wall papers. I did not like any of the themes, support of wallpapers via memory card would have made a hell lot of difference.

Battery – X1-01 comes with Nokia BL-5J battery. BL-5J is fairly high capacity battery at 1320mah. The phones battery life with this high capacity battery is exceptional. Even with high usage, you should get atleast 2 or 3 days. This battery is also the one used in the expensive models like Nokia 5233, 5230, X6, 5800 etc. The battery itself costs around Rs.1000(X1-01 costs Rs.1900). Since X1-01 is coming with this battery now, I think the price of the battery will come down like it did with the BL-5C.

Call Quality and Signal Strength – The call quality was excellent and I did not face any issues. But in standby I noticed the SIM2 loosing its signal more than normal. The signal for this in my area is weak, but the Nokia C1-00 did not loose signal as much as the X1-01 did.

Package

Box Contents

  • Nokia X1-01 handset
  • Nokia BL-5J 1320mah battery
  • Nokia AC-3N charger
  • Nokia HS-125 headset
  • Nokia Terms of Service
  • User Guide
  • OVI Life Tools User Guide
  • The package is a no nonsence recyclable package.

The phone was bought for Rs.1950, MRP mentioned on the box is Rs.2009. But at the time of writing this review, the price mentioned on Nokia India web site is Rs.1899/-. So the street price should be atleast Rs.50/- less than this. I also bought a 4GB Sandisk Micro SD card for Rs.400/-.

Miscellaneous

Dual SIM Dual Standby – The phone is dual sim dual standby. Both sims will be active and can receive calls/sms while in standby. But once a call is in progress or while a SMS is being sent/received, the other sim will be switched off temporarily. The sim will auto resume and becomes active once the engaged call is hungup. What it means to you is, if you are on a call on Sim2, the Sim1 will be automatically off. When some one calls you on Sim1, they get a “phone switched off” message. The Sim1 will be active once you hang up your call. This is common with all dual sim phones and not particular to this phone or Nokia.

Games – Phone has three games, Snake Xenzia, Sudoku and Music League

Extras – Under the extras menu, you have Reminders, Calculator, Converter(convert between diffent formats of measurements, currency etc), Spreadsheet, Countdown timer, Calendar, Stopwatch, Composer, Panchangam(a part of Indian astrology), Flash light, and demo.

Flash Light – A handy flash light on the top of the phone. While in stand by, click and hold the Navi Key “UP” button to keep the flash light as long as you hold the button. Alternatively, double click the “UP” button to turn on the flash light, click again to turn off.

Speaking clock – A human voice announces the current time. Unlike some of the other Nokia models, there is no shortcut key for this and navigating through the menu just to hear the time is not practical.

Life tools and Money – I did not use them as they need you to have an account. In short, life tools provides information on Agriculture, Education, Healthcare and Entertainment. Nokia money is essentially a prepaid money account you have to take with Nokia. You can then make cashless payments, pay utility bills etc.

Colours Available – Red, Blue, White and Grey. Though Orange is also seen on the box, it may not be available. It’s single sim twin X1-00 is available in Orange and so Nokia may not produce the X1-01 in same colour to differentiate.

Bugs Noticed

During casually going through the phone menu, the phone suddenly turned off twice.

When you enter a number and select “add to contact”, you will have to scroll through the entire phone book to find the contact to which you want to add the number. This is very irritating when you have more than a couple of tens of numbers. You can type the name of the contact and will show the contact, but it will not give you the option to add to that contact until you come to it by way of scrolling. When it has the feature to type the name and go to the contact directly, it should also let us add the number there. It is ridiculous to see the contact, come back and then scroll to that contact to add a number. This bug was there in some other Nokias also.

Whenever I start MP3 player, it starts playing a particular album in my collection(album name starts with R) no matter which track or album I played previously. Even if I restart the phone and start MP3 player, it again goes back to the same album. So everytime I start the MP3, I have to scroll through the music.

My Conclusion : A very good basic dual sim phone worth the money. Unlike the chinese or some local branded phones, the availability of accessories or batteries will not be an issue with Nokia. The music player is good but very basic. While I do not recommend the phone for MP3 play back, I would recommend the phone even if it lacks the MP3 player. Since it has an MP3 player, treat it as a bonus.

Hopefully I covered all the parts, do let me know your comments on the review and the phone.

Update: 12 Jul 2011

This update is in regards to the SMS delivery status. Arunava has raised a concern in the comments section below that we may miss delivery status messages. Have a look at the image of the sent items folder on the right. Observe the icon before each recipients number. Once a message is sent, an upward facing arrow will be displayed over the envelop. This will change to a tick mark on the envelope once delivered. This is the easiest way to know whether a message is delivered or not. I did not notice this before. These icons have been there in other Nokias as well.

Update: 08 Aug 2011

Music Player Sorting: I finally understood the basis of how the phone is sorting the music albums. I previously thought it was alphabetical order. It was not always alphabetical and I thought this was because of a bug. Now I finally understood that it is based on the order you loaded music into the memory card(probably based on the date the folder is created on the memory card). If you load albums in the order “R,S,A,1,Z,Q, N, L”, that is the order you will get while scrolling through the albums.

The only way to reach your favourite album is to remember the order you have loaded the albums. Ridiculous of Nokia. I can’t help but pity Nokia and the programmer who came up with the logic. Phone can support upto 16GB memory and tt is practically not possible to remember the order you have loaded the music in the huge collection the memory can hold. since I had around 2.5GB of music, I copied all the music backto PC, refreshed the folder, selected all folders, copied back to the memory card. Tedious, but now I could browse the music library alphabetically. If I want to browse alphabetically and load music every week, I will have to copy to pc and back every week.

Update: 11 Sep 2011
The phone always displays contacts from all memory locations, i.e., phone memory, sim 1 memory and sim 2 memory. There is no option to select which memory to display. This is annoying when you have the same contact stored in multiple momories as the phone will display the same name multiple times even if the details are same.

The below video shows how to switch off one of the sim cards. Even when both sims are inside the phone, one of the sim cards can be taken off the network. This is a handy feature though not widely used or known. Even when the sim is switched off, the contacts stored in that sim are still accessible. This feature is missing in more expensive Nokia handsets the C2-00 and C2-03. In C2-00 and C2-03, you either switch off the phone or keep it on, there is no option where you can use one sim(at best you can remove one sim from phone).

Update: 18 Oct 2011
This review can also be considered for Nokia 101 dual sim phone. Apart from the shape and size, they are same including the display, contact and sms storage capacities, music player etc. Accessories supplied are also same. Notable differences: X1-01 has dedicated music keys which the 101 lacks, X1-01 has a 1320 mah battery and the 101 has a 800mah battery and will have a significantly lower backup. X1-01 loud speaker is really really loud and 101 speaker is normal. For around Rs.300/- more, X1-01 is a better buy than 101 though it is a little bulkier. X1-01 also looks more decent compared to the 101.

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  • pankazspam spam

    how is the keypad for texting purposes?Any comparison to 101 keypad?

  • hello.. i just purchased X1-01, evrythng was working very well but when i connect the headset, it said “Enhancement not supported” so i cannot use my headset, i can’t access to the radio on my phone.. help me on this please!

    • vishki

      Are you using the headset that came with the phone or a different one? I did not face any such issue. I used the one that came with the phone and also other headsets(both with microphone and without microphone) without any issues. I do not have any solution for your problem, but all I can say is in case you are using a very old or a mono headset, try using a stereo headset.

  • hanz_on

    very informative review, I almost made the mistake of purchasing this phone. I’m not very fond of the glitches/bugs that you have mentioned. I’m an easily frustrated person that’s why, with the help of your review, I’ve decided not to buy this. Thanks for being true to your reviews, unlike the other phone critics I’ve seen.

  • Junaid

    i bought nokia x1-01, its good for battery timings but not feature wise. sometimes sim 2 or 1 miss signals, went off,. Set gets switch off automatically. i put it on chargind after afte 1 hr it was switched off. it is the ever bad set i purchased. i was Samsung user which was very friendly in usage. Its totally awful set.

  • Snigdhadeb

    Is the phone GPRS /WAP enabled??

    • vishki

      No, this phone does not support GPRS/WAP