Nokia 5500 Sport review: Smartphone for active lifestyle

Ivo Mareček, 22 October 2006.

If Nokia 5500 Sport doesn’t manage to win you with its combination of a modern Symbian and a resistant body, you will surely give in to its touchpad control, its numerous functions that help you enhance your physical condition, or to its incoming SMS reader.

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Official pictures of Nokia 5500 Sport

Key Features:

  • Outstanding construction for improved resistance
  • Symbian OS
  • Special functions for sportsmen
  • Automatic reading of incoming messages
  • Built-in radio
  • Touchpad control of music and sport applications, and messages
  • Application for work with Bluetooth GPS Module

Main Disadvantages:

  • Stiff keys
  • Connector cap is loose
  • Battery cover is difficult to remove
  • Voice record duration limited to one minute
  • Basic alarm clock

When Nokia presented its resistant sports smartphone 5500 in May, I could not believe my eyes. A Symbian built in an “off-road” mobile? Why? Today I seem to have found the answer: thanks to the possibilities hidden behind the Symbian OS Nokia managed to preinstall in this phone plenty of applications to meet the requirements of sports fans that are at the same time the main customer group Nokia 5500 Sport has been targeted at.

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Nokia 5500 Sport live

Nokia 5500’s design resembles the design of Nokia 3220. The phone has a resistant body covered with rubber elements (in the style of Nokia 5140i), an operational system of a modern smartphone, a number of unique functions, and a bit of sport spirit – all this wrapped up in a single handset – Nokia 5500 Sport. The phone looks rather common at first sight, but its software equipment beats a great part of the competition.

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If you don’t like the black design you can to pick the model in more provocative colors

The smallest S60

A lot of people express a high degree of dissatisfaction with the narrower middle part of Nokia 5500. I myself like it quite a lot though. What’s more, it is exactly the curves of the phone body that facilitate the press of all side buttons on the rubber surface. With its 107 x 45 x 18 mm Nokia 5500 is one of the smallest and lightest smartphones ever together with Nokia E50 and Sony Ericsson W950.

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The telephone held in hand • size comparison with a credit card

In the following table pay attention to the fact that Nokia 5500 Sport smartphone is smaller and lighter than the current best heavy duty mobile phone Siemens M75.

Model Size Weight
Nokia 5500 107 x 45 x 18 mm 103 g
Siemens M65 109 x 49 x 19 mm 104 g
Nokia 5140i 107 x 47 x 24 mm 101 g
Siemens M75 111 x 56 x 21 mm 110 g
Comparison with other resistant phones

Nokia 5500’s surface is a true mosaic of materials of various kinds. Its keypad as well as the area around the display is almost entirely rubber, which creates an interesting contrast as the edges are made of glossy steel. Beneath the silver frame there is another, grayish rubber layer, which is clearly visible from aside. The bottom part is made of black plastics, which fully cover the rear side of the phone. The battery cover represents a combination of all the above mentioned materials – silver steel, black plastics, and rubber layer (the latter is used on connector caps).

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Plenty of different materials

All parts of the phone stick together perfectly; not a single wrong move. Well, nearly not a single: the cap of the connectors has not been elaborated well and as a result it gets loose quite frequently. On the other hand Nokia designers deserve an excellent mark for their work on the protection cover of the battery, which is often one of the weakest constructional spots of most mobile devices. Do not follow my example of trying to manage the tiny screw holding the battery cover with nails as you will break them. You will do fine with a screwdriver or a coin.

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Rear cover lock

The capacity of Nokia 5500 Sport’s lithium-ion battery is 860 mAh, which is said (according to official announcements) to provide up to 4 hours of talk time and 270 hours of stand-by time. Naturally, real-life numbers are somewhat smaller. If you use the phone extensively, that is, you make frequent calls, write plenty of SMS, use the radio, the MP3 player or use Bluetooth, you will have to charge Nokia 5500 every second day. Beneath the battery there is a slot for a SIM card and a microSD memory card. The location of this slot itself comes to show that memory cards will not be possible to change while the phone is running. On the other hand, however, this decision is quite logic given the fact that Nokia 5500 Sport is designed to resist heavy duty outdoor usage.

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Once the cover has been removed • slot for SIM card and microSD memory card

Bigger thighs, slimmer waist

The narrower central area of Nokia 5500 Sport seems to be the most discussed design element among readers. Leave this aside and Nokia 5500 looks like any common mobile device. Its neutral look will neither fascinate you, nor disappoint you.

Among various color versions presented in the official images of the phone I liked the black & white one the most, that is the one I tested before I sat down to write this review. The gray-yellow model does not look obtrusive either, while the black & yellow one is quite freaky and I believe it will catch the attention of customers who tend to follow current fashion trends.

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Side contours

Keys on Nokia 5500 Sport are not on the keypad only. Various control elements are located all over the lateral parts of the phone. On the left side you will find the volume-control and the Push-to-talk buttons. A dominant on the top of the device is the LED together with the loud speaker grill (the latter serving both music and calls). Right next to the LED you will see a standard icon, which shows you where to press when you need to switch on the phone or change the currently active profile.

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LED and main switch-off button • volume control • LED in action (sets off by a longer press on the asterisk)

In the upper area of the right side of the device there is a mode button. Use it to switch between stand-by mode, sports mode, and the music player. In the bottom of the phone are the Infrared port and the Edit key with a pencil icon (located somewhat untraditionally). The cap in the bottom protects both the Pop-port connector and the charger slot. Make sure you remove the cap before you plug in the connector. The cap is pretty solid and holds well even if rubber.

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Mode button • connector rubber cap

Reader comments

  • asterix
  • 07 Apr 2010
  • mtX

I have 5500 for almost 3 years and it still works fantastic!

  • Anonymous
  • 10 Sep 2009
  • mse

it reads your sms to you amazing

  • Anonymous
  • 26 Aug 2007
  • nyD

just wondering if anyone knows if you can get an adapter that can make the phone ready to receive a pair of 3.5mm headphones?