The Nokia XL, a Big Android Phone With Big Ambitions

BARCELONA, SPAIN — The mobile industry was set ablaze yesterday with the arrival of a new family of Android-powered handsets from the soon-to-be-Microsoft-owned manufacturer Nokia.Three new Nokia devices were previewed here at Mobile World Congress — the mid-sized Nokia X (which we wrote about yesterday), the similar-sized X+, which has extra memory and storage, and a big-screened, beefier version of the X called the Nokia XL. We’ve assembled some hands-on photos of the Nokia XL above.

The Finnish company was quick to point out that its Android experiment is intended as a stepping stone to Microsoft cloud services and Windows-powered Lumia devices for for first-time smartphone buyers, primarily in developing countries.

Maybe that’s a tall ask — the idea of a Microsoft-affiliated handset running Google’s mobile OS certainly had most onlookers here shrugging. But the X phones do stand a fighting chance for a few reasons. First, they are relatively inexpensive, ranging between $135 to $150. Also, they’re attractive and should be a hit with consumers. Chalk this up to Nokia’s excellent sense of industrial design. The company’s phones are chunky and rugged, they come with top-rate cameras, and they are usually offered in fun and bright colors. And Nokia’s implementation of Android isn’t pure Google; it’s heavily customized both visually and functionally.

With its 5-inch WVGA display, Noxia XL puts Nokia’s own customized version of Android on a nice, big screen. It also has the best cameras of the X line — 5 megapixels on the rear, and 2 megapixels on the front. If you weren’t paying close attention, it could be easily mistaken for a Lumia 1320. Unless the display was unlocked, of course.

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