Nokia 5300 review: Hop on the music express
Being part of the revamped XpressMusic line, the Nokia 5300 is expressive more than ever and is one great example of how you can have fun with your mobile phone. The dedicated music keys make a sure statement about the music-orientation of the handset. And if that is not enough you can always count on the 1.3 megapixel camera to capture your precious moments and view them on the TFT display with QVGA resolution. Connectivity is at its highest here, since the new Finnish music slider is armed with a mini-USB jack, a standard 3.5mm audio jack and even with stereo Bluetooth support. If the price is right, it really sounds like a good bargain, right? Well, you are not far from the truth.
- 1.3 megapixel camera
- Dedicated music keys
- microSD memory card slot (hot-swap)
- Enhanced MP3 player and stereo FM radio
- QVGA display resolution
- Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP profile
- Standard mini-USB port
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack adapter in the package
- Somewhat cheap looks
- Below average camera quality
- No camera LED flash
- Records video in the low resolution
Nokia has been working hard on developing and promoting their XpressMusic line of mobile phones in a determined way to fight back the Sony Ericsson's Walkman reign in this market niche. The two new handsets called Nokia 5300 XpressMusic, Nokia 5200 XpressMusic and the updated Nokia 3250 XpressMusic now constitute a serious attempt to establish the Finnish manufacturer mobiles on the music phones market. We won't comment on the Nokia 3250 for now since the two other mobiles are of much more interest to us, being brand new models. The Nokia 5200 and 5300 have pretty much the same design. The 5200 is more of a Lite version and is targeted at the budget-conscious buyers, while the Nokia 5300 is a representative of the midrange mobile phones in terms of price and equipment.
Up for now, the Walkman mobiles are still the leading music solution so don't expect these XpressMusic devices to overthrow the king of this realm. It seems though that Nokia has been putting some very serious efforts in campaigning their new handsets and as rumors go, the Finnish engineers have a few more devices up their sleeve.
The Nokia 5300 XpressMusic is an exciting new phone for several reasons. Firstly, it is the first XpressMusic device to come up under the non-smartphone S40 user interface of the Finnish brand. Secondly, the slider form factor leaves it with no direct competitors in the Walkman camp in the respective price range. And finally, it offers features such as stereo Bluetooth support and 3.5 mm audio jack adapter. In fact, there is not even one Walkman mobile to have a standard mini-USB port. That practically makes the Nokia 5300 a leading offering in the midrange music class and it's up to us to see how it copes with the challenge.
The Nokia 5300 is offered only in matt white color with a choice of two trimmings - red and dark grey. The trimmings in fact include only the central frame surrounding the display which incorporates the dedicated side multimedia keys. The handset we got to review was the one in white/grey color combination. The design of 5300 is sporty and somewhat reminds us of the Sony Ericsson W710. There is no doubt that it is aimed at the young audience and most probably it won't appeal to any other group of consumers. Nokia marketing campaign makes every effort to underline the fact that this line of devices is targeted at young people having fun.
The retail package of Nokia 5300 should include a Nokia stereo headset HS-47, a standard 3.5 mm audio jack adapter and a microSD card with a size that would vary according to the region. The one we had in our office had a card with a capacity of 256MB. There is no USB data cable in the package, but since it is a standard 5-pin mini-USB one, the odds are that you may already have gotten one with your digital camera or MP3 player. And you can always buy one for cheap.
A soap bar in shape and size
The Nokia 5300 doesn't exactly rely on its slimness to attract attention. It measures 92.4 x 48.2 x 20.7 mm, which in fact makes it rather thick. But it's rather its body design than actually the thickness itself that's to blame, since it's even a few millimeters shorter and slimmer than Sony Ericsson W850. The weight of 106 g is also acceptable and it is by no means a heavy phone or anything.
In terms of construction, well… construction has not always been the brightest side of a slider. In this case the mobile body is perfectly stable and rock solid when opened, but when closed it did seem to play a little - but not that much to turn you down.
The front panel of the phone is the one that might attract the most attention. In the upper part, above the display, there are two small holes, which in fact are the in-call speaker apertures. In the lower part there are four control keys and the navigation D-pad. The upper set of keys act as context keys for interacting with the phone's interface while the lower set are the call keys for accepting and ending calls. Just beside the red one there is a small hole which is in fact the microphone aperture. Opening the handset reveals the alphanumeric keypad, which is made out of the same material as the body. It is rather comfortable to work with, but more on navigation and keypad is to come later on in the review.
On the left side of the display, you can see the designations of the dedicated music keys. Those keys in fact are positioned on the phone's side and are covered with rubber while in the same time they are marked with small buds. The grey frame around the display is made out of plastic and only the keys themselves are covered with rubber. On the lower portion of the phone's body, you can see the 2.5 mm audio jack (you need the supplied adapter to go to 3.5 mm).
The right side of the handset incorporates the two volume keys and the camera shutter key. Those keys are also covered with rubber. Besides controlling the volume levels, the volume keys have some other predefined functions. A longer press on the Minus key activates the voice dialing, while a longer press on the Plus key lists the Push-to-talk contacts. It's worth mentioning that you can also activate the voice dialing by a longer press on the green soft key on the front panel - it's up to your choice. The Plus key's secondary function works also when you are browsing the menu, while the Minus key and the Camera release key don't - you have to be in standby mode to use those. Next to the camera release button you can find the Infrared port.
The bottom side of the device is pretty bare since all system connectors are placed in top of the phone. Having a look there reveals the 5-pin miniUSB port, the charging port and the On/Off button.
On the back part of the Nokia 5300 you can see the 1.3 megapixel camera lens which has no cover at all, the self-portrait mirror and of course the aperture of the loudspeaker. The Nokia 5300 XpressMusic is visible on a metal plate on the back of the sliding part of the body. One cannot but think of Sony Ericsson W850 when they see that metal plate up there.
Behind the back panel cover, you can see the standard Li-Ion Nokia BL-5B battery with a capacity of 860 mAh. According to the manufacturer, the battery should last up to 223 hours of standby mode and up to 3.2 hours of talk time. Furthermore, it should provide up to 12 hours of play time. The actual play time is around 9 hours which is far worse than the Sony Ericsson Walkman player which have a dedicated music playing uptime of more than 20 hours. In our case when using the Nokia 5300 for around 15 minutes of calls a day and occasionally listening to music for another 15 minutes a day, the battery lasted about full 4 days, which is more than Sony Ericsson W850 when used in similar conditions. And those are the results which include some heavy testing on our side, so the achieved battery life is impressive.
The memory card slot is located under the back panel cover too just beside the hologram Nokia sticker on the battery. The slot is truly hot swappable as it proved in our tests. The SIM card bed is located besides the camera lens and the card itself gets locked by a special latch, which makes putting it in or taking it out very easy.