Nokia's most eco-friendly phone yet looks and feels as nice as ones that don't make such a big deal of their sustainability. We're starting with that to ensure we counter those who might draw parallels from the notion that healthy food cannot be tasty (itself a highly disputable disposition) - the X30 is tightly put together and can pass for a true flagship looks-wise.
The aluminum that makes up the body of the phone is all recycled, which is, of course, a good thing. Probably just as good is the touch of metal when you're handling your smartphone and the exposed flat rails all around the X30 deliver. The satin finish on the large aluminum surfaces will hide dings better than a high-gloss treatment, but there is some polish to be seen from the frame's slim chamfered edges - enough to serve as an accent but not too much that you have to worry about how it will hold up over that long game.
Also recycled is the back panel, but only partially so - 65%, and it's plastic instead of 'something premium'. Even so, it's perfectly good enough, we'll say, and it will have its contribution to the X30's longevity since it will be less prone to cracking should the handset participate in an unplanned encounter with the ground.
One thing that's not so great about the rear is that matte as it may be, the material does tend to accumulate smudges. Our Ice White review unit does an admirable job of hiding them under most angles, but they're there, and you'll see them under the right circumstances. The alternative Cloudy Blue colorway may be more keen to reveal its uncleanliness.
The stylishly minimalist camera assembly is in the top left but somewhat further in than on most phones. Made of the same aluminum, the two-level island rises from the rear panel, which gently washes its shores. The '50MP OIS Camera' inscription refers to the main camera, which, as we'll learn later, is more than just that. The fact that there are only two cameras helps keep things neat.
A smallish Nokia badge smack in the middle of the panel advertises your brand loyalty quietly. The dreaded trash can symbol, alongside some other regulatory bits, are down below, but not too in-your-face.
Over on the front, we're back to some more premium stuff - the display is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus, Qualcomm's latest formulation available to all (as in, not the Victus+ version Samsung's getting). X30 competitors are a generation or two behind on this one.
The first OLED on a Nokia since 2019 is flat, and so is the glass on top of it. Bezels aren't the slimmest, and the bottom one is thicker than the top one, which in turn is thicker than the black strips along the sides - that's not so high-end.
An under-display fingerprint reader can be found on the X30, hand in hand with the OLED display that allows for it (but doesn't mandate it). This, then, is also a first since 2019. Someone else might snarkily comment that this is probably the reason why it doesn't work quite as well as most others in 2022, but we're better than that and would never say such a thing. But yes, it did indeed fail to unlock a bit more often than we've gotten used to.
The selfie camera is placed in a cutout in the middle of the display, near the top edge. It would be otherwise unremarkable, had it not been for the unnecessary ring around it that draws attention where attention needs not to be drawn.
The earpiece is behind a mesh cut out from the frame, leaving the glass panel a simpler shape to make. Sadly, the earpiece is just that and doesn't work as an extra speaker.
The actual loudspeaker is on the bottom, keeping company to the USB-C port, primary mic and card slot. The card tray accepts two nano SIMs, but microSD is out of the question.
Going back to the top, there are two more pinholes, and we had both of them pegged as mics, but the specs of the X30 say it has just two mics total, and there's already one on the bottom, so... Indeed, the X30's documentation only marks the left one (in the photo below) as a microphone, and doesn't say anything about the other opening.
What you can't tell from the outside survey of the X30 is that underneath the surface, there are seals that ensure it's dust- and water-resistant. The IP67 rating of the phone means it should be able to survive if submerged under a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Now, we know (from experience and also from reading fine print) that ingress protection tends to deteriorate with age and use, so perhaps do your (strictly accidental) dunking of the X30 in water in its earlier days and not towards the end of its third year of warranty.
The Nokia X30 measures 158.9x73.9x8mm and weighs 185g. This makes it marginally more compact and lighter than the Galaxy A53 or the Nothing phone (1) and nearly identical in size to the vivo X80 Lite. A Pixel 6a, on the other hand, is noticeably smaller in footprint, albeit slightly chunkier. It's not the best option if you're after a truly compact phone, the X30, but it wouldn't feel like a burden on your pocket, is what we're saying.