The Nokia X30 5G has been available in stores across Kenya for just under a year since its launch in late September 2022. The device is hailed as one of the most ecologically conscious builds by the Finland-based HMD Global.
The uni-body chassis and back of the device are built from reclaimed aluminium and plastic respectively while its packaging is also made from recycled paper.
To further assert its minimalist footprint, the device comes packaged without a charging brick meaning more units can be moved at a lower cost.
We got a review unit and prepared the following review for the Nokia X30 5G.
Out of the box
As mentioned above, the Nokia X30 5G’s aluminium frame and plastic back are built from recycled raw material.
The box it is contained in is mostly from recycled paper utilising less pulp from freshly lumbered wood.
Inside the box, the device comes wrapped in what appears to be wax paper and placed on recessed cardboard. Another piece of cardboard with product information printed on it separates the X30 from a compartment within the box that houses the user and safety guides as well as the setup guide. At the very bottom of the box is the SIM key mounted on the box courtesy of paper flaps cut from the box itself.
At the foot of the box is a smaller compartment that has the USB Type-C charging cable. There is no charging brick in the packaging.
Dimensions: 6.26 X 2.91 X 0.31 inches
Weight: 185 grams
SIM: Nano-SIM and eSIM or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
Screen: 6.43 inches AMOLED Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
Operating system: Android 12, upgradable to Android 13
Chipset: Qualcomm SM6375 Snapdragon 695 5G (6 nm)
CPU: Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Kryo 660 Gold & 6×1.7 GHz Kryo 660 Silver)
GPU: Adreno 619
Internal storage: 128GB, 256GB
RAM: 6GB, 8GB (+2.2 GB UFS for 128GB, +3GB UFS for 265)
Main camera: 50 Megapixels (wide) + 13 Megapixels (ultra-wide)
Selfie camera: 16 Megapixels (ultra-wide)
Battery: Li-Po 4200 mAh non-removable
Colour: Cloudy Blue, Ice White
Exterior and Dimensions
The Nokia X30 5G has a monolithic glass front, a brushed aluminium frame and a matte plastic back. This gives it a reasonable amount of grip so the device won’t easily slide out of hand.
The top edge has two pin-sized holes with only one being functional; this is the ambient sound-detecting microphone. This allows for noise cancellation to a degree for clearer phone calls even in noisy places. The edge also has a plastic strip introducing a break to the aluminium frame.
This is to allow for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and LTE signals into the device for communication purposes. This feature is present on all edges of the device with the right having two while the left edge has three strips.
The right edge has the volume rocker and power button. In the present design philosophy, the buttons are minimalist almost lying flash on the edge of the smartphone.
The bottom edge features the device’s only loudspeaker, its charging port, primary microphone and the SIM card tray. This tray can either be configured as a single physical SIM card with an e-SIM variation. The other configuration is dual nano-SIM. Both configurations have dual standby. The left edge is plain.
The back of the device has the camera bump on the top left side and the band name aligned vertically from bottom to top in the middle of the back cover.
As previously alluded to, the device is fairly easy to handle with the matte back and brushed frame. Adding to this, it has a width of 2.91 inches making it a device that sits nicely in a wide range of palm sizes. It is also only 0.31 inches thick and 6.26 inches long with a weight of 185 grams. It is all in all a light phone that stays put in the hand.
Screen and Camera
The Nokia X30 5G’s display is a 6.43-inch AMOLED Corning Gorilla Glass Victus offering decent security and crisp clarity for the user.
With a screen-to-body ratio of approximately 85 per cent, the X30 offers a great viewing experience with a 90Hz refresh rate illuminated by 450 nits at base brightness and 700 nits at peak brightness.
The device has a high-definition resolution of 1080 pixels by 2400 pixels with a 20:9 ratio and an impressive 409 pixel-per-inch density.
A total of three cameras provide the means by which the Nokia X30 captures photos and videos.
The front-facing secondary shooter is an ultra-wide 16-megapixel camera with the capability to record videos in 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second.
The primary camera is a dual setup of a wide-angled 50-megapixel lens and an ultra-wide 13-megapixel lens. A single LED flashlight is placed underneath the dual camera setup on the Nokia X30.
The most impressive of the smartphone’s camera modes is the super night option with a great high dynamic range that allows users to take great photos in low light.
For video, the X30’s main camera cluster is capable of 1080 progressive scan resolution with an option of the higher 60 frames-per-second rate.
Depending on a user’s preference, the 30 frames-per-second option also produces greatly detailed footage.
Despite having among the smallest camera configurations in the market, the Nokia X30 does not slack on producing crisp images and videos.
Performance, Storage and Battery
Fitted with a Snapdragon 695 5G (6 nm), the X30 has impressive task execution speed although its power efficiency. This is often marginal and barely noticeable though.
The speed of process execution shines through with the Nokia’s two Kryo 660 Gold processing cores attaining a speed of 2.2GHz. Siz Kryo 660 Silver cores with a maximum speed of 1.7GHz round out the device’s octa-core central processing unit.
The great visuals that the smartphone achieves are courtesy of the Adreno 619 graphic card. Gaming and video playback are especially enjoyable experiences because of the crisp visual feedback.
The phone comes installed with the Android 12 operating system but is upgradeable to Android 13. Because it is pure Android, the Nokia X30 has no bloatware and hence does not lag during use.
As an added advantage, the device gets monthly security patches and updates with up to 3 years of OS upgrades.
A whopping 256GB of internal storage makes keeping everything from photos, videos, music, documents and applications a breeze with the Nokia X30. Equally capable is the 128GB version of the device. The internal storage cannot be expanded, an option that is available with other in-class competitors of the X30.
Additionally, with the 128GB variant users get a random access memory option of either 6GB or 8GB. Both options get a universal flash storage (UFS) expansion of 2.2GB for a total of 8.2GB or 10.2GB of RAM respectively.
The 256GB internal storage option gets a RAM bump of 3GB to make a total of 11GB. This is ideal for memory-intensive activities such as running multiple applications, gaming or running high-resolution media content.
The Nokia X30 is powered by a 4200 mAh Li-Po non-removable battery. With heavy use, you will get about a day of battery life. The battery goes longer with moderate use.
The X30 gets the latest Power Delivery PD3.0 charging system. That is, the Nokia gets up to 100 Watts for a quick charge with its cable that has USB Type-C contacts on both ends. This is ideal for fast charging. However, as has been mentioned previously, the device is not sold with a charging brick, so a user has to purchase a high-wattage brick separately.
Communication, Connectivity and Sensors
The highlight of the connectivity and communication arsenal the Nokia X30 has is its Bluetooth 5.1 module. This feature has a low energy (LE) feature that conserves battery life while playing media via Bluetooth. This is critical to an enjoyable experience as the X30 has no 3.5mm jack which conventionally when paired with wired headphones gives great media playback.
To mitigate potential sound distortion, the device has aptX HD, an audio codec that adds extra bits of information to all its codec frequency bands. The net effect is a crisp sound with the discerning ear able to pick the low tones, mid tones and high tones during media playback.
The previous aptX codec with its fewer bits and high noise floor has a greater distortion hence the new module is an improvement.
The Wi-Fi 802.11 with its dual-band and Wi-Fi Direct are great for internet connectivity and data transmission with compatible devices.
FM Radio is available on the Nokia X30 courtesy of its Radio Data System (RDS) which gives access to timing, station identifier and programming information.
You also get near-field communication (NFC) on the device which uses induction to transmit packets of information such as tapping your device on a compatible device to make payments using your electronic wallet (e-wallet).
GPS comes as standard on the device for positioning-related applications such as activity trackers.
This Nokia’s USB Type-C has an on-the-go (OTG) function which allows a user to connect the smartphone to other devices such as computers, tablets and thumb drives for data transfer.
A slew of sensors are fitted in the X30 for convenience of use. You get an under-display fingerprint sensor for unlocking your phone and confirming actions such as online payments with compatible applications and platforms. You also get an optical sensor for unlocking the device using your face.
The accelerometer sensor tracks the speed of movements and is crucial for fitness applications that are downloadable from the Play Store.
The gyro sensor adapts to the device’s orientation enabling a switch between landscape and portrait views especially when browsing or during media playback. This sensor also enables users to play games on the smartphone smoothly using 3-dimensional motion tracking.
The Nokia X30 also has a proximity sensor which conserves the battery by switching off the screen to prevent accidental inputs when holding the device up to the ear during phone calls.
The compass or magnetometer sensor in the Nokia X30 is a digital sensor that positions the phone in mapping applications and functions. It is based on angular momentum.
If you cannot already tell, we highly rate the Nokia X30 5G with its sleek exterior, optimal performance and battery life. Being an eco-friendly device it is a testament to conservation efforts that reduce extractive activities to build it.
The localised user and safety guide published in Swahili that the phone is sold with adds a nice touch and increases utility among Swahili speakers in Kenya and the region at large.
A dent to its ecological sensitivity however is that users have to purchase a charging brick separately. This is nothing to scoff at considering the device itself rentals at just over Ksh60,000.
In our view, it is not a zero-sum dynamic, but is food for thought when looking at purchasing options. If you can look past the limited colour options too, the device is definitely a powerhouse to consider picking when upgrading your smartphone.