Nokia 5500 Sport review: Smartphone for active lifestyle

Ivo Mareček, 22 October 2006.

Rubber is all over around

Due to the strong construction and the empowered resistance, work with the keypad is not the most pleasant thing in this phone. Keys located in the margins are pretty difficult to use, even more difficult than the numeric keys in the center of the rubber surface of the phone. For example, the reluctance of both the right and the left functional keys as well as the * and the # keys is so significant that – should you replace your old handset with Nokia 5500 Sport – you will need time to get used to it. After all it is a matter of time. In few days you will be able to type SMS as easy as before.

Nokia 5500 Sport Nokia 5500 Sport Nokia 5500 Sport Nokia 5500 Sport
Keypad

Keypad’s functional area creates an interesting contrast as to the monotonous numeric part. The four-way navigation key is very comfortable to use thanks to the variety of materials used on it. The same holds true for its confirming central part. The white rubber uplifts, which have replaced the standard red and green receivers, do not require any significant effort, either. Each line with numeric keys is separated from the nearby ones by an expressed rift, which highly facilitates touch orientation. The functional part of the keypad is managed through the use of the four-way key and the side uplifted areas.

Nokia 5500 Sport Nokia 5500 Sport
Main control element • functional keys

Nokia 5500 Sport Nokia 5500 Sport Nokia 5500 Sport
Keypad details

The remarks mentioned above considering orientation on the keypad could partly be compensated by the excellent backlighting of the latter. The keypad gets illuminated in a perfectly even mild white nuance. The only unusual elements are the LEDs located beneath the white panel of the navigation key: the top right LED gleams in white when the phone is on stand-by, the bottom right LED gets activated when the music player is initiated and illuminates in green. The last to mention is the left bottom LED, which has red color and turns on when the phone is in sport mode.

Nokia 5500 Sport Nokia 5500 Sport
Keypad backlighting

Nokia 5500 Sport Nokia 5500 Sport Nokia 5500 Sport
The illumination of the main control element depends on the phone mode (normal, music player, or sport applications) 

Symbian in a square

Nokia 5500 is the first Nokia smartphone with a square display. In terms of resolution qualities (208 x 208 pixels) it scores somewhere between older displays of 176 x 208 pixels and the new resolution types of 240 x 320 pixels. And what about the quality? Nokia 5500’s display is a joy for the eye. It features an active TFT technology, supports 262K colors and has gorgeously even backlights. A similar image comfort could only be found in luxurious models like Nokia 8800, for example.

As a consequence of the square display, icons and letters look a little bit unusual when compared to other Symbian models. Even so, their design is brilliant. Some menu fonts are extremely small though.

Nokia 5500 Sport Nokia 5500 Sport
Display surface • display in the dark

Screenshots could hardly be considered explicit. If you want to see for yourself the exact size of Nokia 5500’s display and visual elements in reality, have a look at phone photos or simply modify the size of the display screenshots so that they fit into a square of 31 x 31 mm in your preferred resolution (for example on a printed list of paper).

3rd edition – modern and handy

Nokia 5500 Sport runs on the S60 user interface of the Symbian OS, and more particularly, Symbian OS v9.1 and S60 3rd Edition. This new OS brings plenty of innovations; it is safer and more robust. On the other hand it complicates work with the phone to a certain extent hence it is pretty probable that even the cheapest programs may have to be obtained at a higher price in a result of certificate requirements.

Nevertheless, the 3rd edition of the S60 platform contains useful applications for end users. Here are some of the main innovations:

  • A possibility to update firmware through mobile networks
  • Push-to-Talk included in basic equipment
  • USB Mass Storage
  • Application improvements: a new web browser and an innovated calendar

Bear in mind however that all above mentioned improvements imply one considerable disadvantage: neither Nokia 5500 Sport, nor other smartphones featuring S60 3rd Edition permit the installation of programs originally designed for older mobiles. There are no exceptions. As a consequence, software designers will have no remedy but adjust all existing programs to the new operation version – a task, which not always means simple recompilation. On the other side, Symbian is not a new OS anymore and it has been some time already since designer fixed their attention on it, that is, every day more and more suitable applications appear on the market.

Reader comments

  • asterix

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

  • Anonymous

it reads your sms to you amazing

  • Anonymous

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?