Nokia 5230 review: Foot soldiers get smarter

Foot soldiers get smarter

GSMArena team, 12 December 2009.

Pretty decent phonebook

The Nokia 5230 phonebook has virtually unlimited capacity and functionality is certainly among the better we have totally up-to-date. Kinetic scrolling is enabled in the 5230 contact list and that's a welcome enhancement.

Contacts can be freely ordered by first or last name and can naturally be searched by gradual typing of any of the names. You can also set whether the contacts from the SIM card, the phone memory and the service numbers will get displayed.

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The fully-functional phonebook

When searching for a contact you make use of a clever dynamic keypad, which shows you only the letters that correspond to actual contacts. Once you type in a first letter, their number decreases leaving only the ones that actually make up real contacts names (in our case – “E” and “X”). A really convenient tool indeed.

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Nokia have thought of a pretty convenient solution for searching the contact list

Editing a contact offers a variety of preset fields and you can replicate each of them as many times as you like. You can also create new fields if you happen to be able to think of one. Personal ringtones and videos are also available for assigning. If you prefer, you may group your contacts and give each group a specific ringtone.

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Editing a contact’s details in the S60 phonebook Nokia 5230

The Call log keeps track of your recent communications. The application itself comes in two flavors - accessed by pressing the Call key on the stand-by screen or from the main menu. The first one brings 20 call records in each of its tabs for outgoing, received and missed calls.

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The call log keep a detailed record of your recent communications

If you access the Log application from the main menu, you'll see a detailed list of all your network communications for the past 30 days. These include messages, calls and data transfers.

Telephony: smart-dial nowhere to be seen

Voice quality is good on both ends of calls, the earpiece sound is crisp and there were no reception problems whatsoever.

The only real downside is the still missing smart dialing functionality. Some may argue it's not as essential on a touchscreen but most of the competition has it duly covered. Not to mention WinMo devices have a very elaborate smart dial system that even searches in your Calls log for numbers that are not in your contacts list.

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The dialing pad

Voice dialing is an option with the Nokia 5230 as with mostly any other phone. The voice dialing mode is activated once you press and hold the Call key. It is fully speaker-independent and doesn't require pre-recording the names of your contacts. Bear in mind though, that if you have multiple numbers assigned to a contact, the first or the default one gets dialed.

Thanks to the built-in accelerometer, you can silence an incoming call (or an alarm) by simply flipping the handset over. Also when in calls, the proximity sensor makes sure the screen turns automatically off when you pick it up to your ear.

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The in-call screen and available options

Using the hardware screen-lock switch you can not only unlock the phone but also silence it.

Unfortunately Nokia 5230 performed rather disappointingly in our traditional loudspeaker test. It ranks in the bottom end of our table , lower than any of the other Symbian S60 5th edition handsets that we have tested so far.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
Nokia 523065.8 60.366.7Below Average
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic75.766.568.5Good
Nokia 5530 XpressMusic70.669.775.7Good
LG KP500 Cookie78.175.782.7Excellent
Samsung S5230 Star82.776.080.2Excellent

More info on our test can be found here.

Touchscreen messaging quite adequate

Nokia 5230 supports all common message types - SMS, MMS and email. They all share a common intuitive editor which by this point should be quite familiar to everyone.

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The 5230 message editor

Delivery reports can be turned on - they pop up once the message reaches the addressee, and on the screen and are then saved in a separate folder in the messaging sub-menu. When you are exiting the message editor without having sent the message, you get prompted to save it in Drafts or discard it.

The email client is really nice, there to meet almost any emailing needs. The easy setup we found in the latest Nokia handsets is also available with the 5230. It has been touched here and there too, so it needs even less input.

If you are using any public email service (it has to be among the over 1000 supported providers), all you have to do is enter your username and password to start enjoying email on the go. The phone downloads all the needed settings to get you going in no time.

Besides, it now prompts choosing whether you prefer POP or IMAP access to mail providers that support both. With the previous version of the email setup wizard that was not configurable. Nicely done!

Multiple email accounts and various security protocols are supported, so you can bet almost any mail service will run trouble-free on your Nokia 5230.

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Checking our email

The client can download headers only or entire messages, and can be set to automatically check mail at a given interval. A nice feature allows you to schedule sending email next time an internet connection is available. This can save you some data traffic charges since you can use the next available WLAN connection instead.

Here might just be the right time to mention the input options on Nokia 5230. The handset offers a standard alphanumeric on-screen keypad, which automatically turns into a full QWERTY keyboard when you tilt the handset thanks to the accelerometer. The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic didn't do that at first. doesn’t do that automatically and you need to select the full QWERTY keyboard option manually.

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The available text input options: alphanumeric keypad and QWERTY keyboard

Finally, the Nokia 5230 offers handwriting recognition, which did a rather decent job, recognizing almost all the letters we scribbled in the box. You can improve its performance by taking the handwriting training - where you actually show the handset how you write each different letter.

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There is also handwriting recognition

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

I Like Nokia 5230 than the smart phone. I be happy to have it again. Its so nice.

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