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Justifying the Nokia X30’s ₹47,999 price tag is a futile effort


There isn’t much you can do about how a phone’s price. But for all the consistency and robustness that we associate with a Nokia device, it is difficult to not get to the point immediately with the Nokia X30 5G. The company is testing your assertions that you choose experience over specs with a price tag of ₹48,999 and specifications that aren’t exactly flagship-esque. It isn’t possible to completely ignore specs (there is a range, which evens out things), even though you may always pitch for experience.

The Nokia X30 5G. (Vishal Mathur/ HT Photo) The Nokia X30 5G. (Vishal Mathur/ HT Photo) It has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor, and in India, just one spec is being sold – the 8GB RAM and 256GB storage combination. It is not the biggest screen either at 6.43-inches, though some users would be happy about a more compact display. The 4,200mAh battery is much smaller than the average 5,000mAh battery capacities which most phones around the ₹50,000 price band have. As is the maximum 33-watt wired charging, which incidentally happens to be a bit faster than the 25-watt wired ‘fast charging’ of the Samsung Galaxy S23 ( ₹79,999 onwards).

Before we embark on the more complex stuff, it must be said the design language of the Nokia X30 is definitely very likeable. There is the Corning Gorilla Glass Victus at the front. The metal frame is made of 100% recycled aluminium while the polycarbonate back panel comes from 65% recycled plastic. HMD Global insists this is the most eco-friendly Nokia phone till now, and if that really is the case, it points to a positive trend of attentiveness towards environment. Pocket-ability is at par with the Google Pixel 7, and the Cloudy Blue colour in particular will get second glances.

The 6.43-inch display, dubbed ‘PureDisplay’, isn’t bestowed with a lot of pixels to begin with. In fact, the 2400 x 1080-pixel resolution is the same as the Pixel 7, but the very slight screen size differences mean the Nokia X30 ends up with around 409 pixels per inch, while the Pixel 7 has a bit more at 416ppi. We can move on believing this is enough for a smartphone screen of this size, and an incidental positive being on the battery life.

It isn’t difficult to notice that this screen has been tuned well for colours. At no point does it feel washed out, and brightness isn’t lacking either. But compared with a lot of other phones, any auto-brightness adjustments happen much slower. It isn’t a problem, but an observation we weren’t able to ignore. This screen tops out at 90Hz refresh rate, much like the Google Pixel 7. But there are options which go all the way to 120Hz too. In our opinion, 90Hz isn’t a compromise, for most use cases.

The choice of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor is perplexing at best. And a deal-breaker, at worst. This is a chip meant for much more affordable phones, nothing more. The likes of the Moto G62 (around ₹15,000) and Iqoo Z6 (around ₹13,999) – you wouldn’t expect much from them in terms of performance, longevity or multi-tasking smarts. For flagship-esque pricing (or even if we are to say alternative flagships), this is as unacceptable as it gets. You’re basically ending up with a phone that’s basic on the performance scale, which means most apps would be okay to go, but try multi-tasking or any sort of casual gaming, and things will stutter and stumble.

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You may be correct in the assumption that HMD Global is putting a lot of its eggs in one basket, while other supplies are inconsistent. That’s the camera specifically, which sees the return of the ‘PureView’ moniker from many years ago. Back then, Nokia took significant steps forward with the camera. Now, it is relying on nostalgia while playing catch-up.

There is a 50-megapixel main sensor and a 13-megapixel ultrawide sensor. At least there is no 2-megapixel depth sensor, which even in other phones makes absolutely no sense. While the optical hardware is there, and the image processing is almost in place, overall photography results also suffer due to the choice of the processor. Slow processing, in many scenarios, is one example.

Most photos return good detailing and vibrant colours, though we can often point out that the dynamic range could have been better. You can zoom in, and pleasantly enough, there is no sign of soft frames or aggressive noise reduction. Low light photos, when the night mode automatically kicks in, are well illuminated – remember to hold steady for the longer-than-usual processing time. That said, colour accuracy isn’t the greatest in this mode.

There is just one way to describe the Nokia X30 – overpriced, by quite some margin for what it offers. The environmental focus shouldn’t come at a cost as big as this, and neither should the charms of easy repairability (how often would you need to replace the battery during the life of the phone?). It is hard to shrug off the feeling that the Nokia X30 still wants you to pay a premium for things, that are mostly par for the course, in phones around the ₹50,000 price point.

The Nokia X30 doesn’t have any outstanding spec or feature. Just a mid-range Android phone, priced much higher than what it should have been. It all comes down to your hopes and expectations.


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