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Review: Nokia 5310 XpressMusic Phone

August 6, 2008 in Nokia Phone Reviews

So I put the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic through its paces for the past couple of weeks to really get a feel for this razor-thin, low-end T-mobile exclusive phone. Inside, everything you wanted to know and probably a lot more than you care to hear.

Down and dirty with the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic.

Down and dirty with the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic.

(I’m going to try something new with review pictures this time around: they’re uploaded onto Ovi, so you can view the slideshow or click on the slideshow to see the rest of the full resolution shots. Let’s see how this works out)

As usual, I must express my sincere thanks to the folks at WOMWorld for providing the trial device. And without further ado:

Up until this year, Nokia’s XpressMusic series was pretty lackluster. The original XpressMusic phones were low/mid-range handsets meant to be score with the younger crowd, but failed miserably because, let’s be honest – no one wants to be seen rockin’ out to something akin to a Fisher Price toy.

Nokia’s designers took the original look and threw it in the garbage, and eventually ended up with the 5310: a budget-priced handset that happens to be one of the slimmest phones around. Oh yeah, and it’s a pretty decent music player, too.

The Outside

The first thing you’ll notice about the 5310 XpressMusic is that it’s small. Really small. It’s official measurements are 4.09 by 1.76 by 0.39 inches (103.8 x 44.7 x 9.9 mm), and to give you some kind of perspective, here’s the dimensions of a couple popular Nokia phones:

Nokia N95: 3.9 x 2.09 x 0.83 inches (99 x 53 x 21 mm)
Nokia N81: 4.05 x 1.97 x 0.70 inches (102 x 50 x 17.9 mm)
Nokia 6010: 4.64 x 1.95 x 0.87 inches (119 x 50 x 23 mm)

If you’ve ever encountered an N81, the 5310 is about half as thick. And probably a quarter of the weight. It’s so light that you won’t even notice that you’re carrying it around.

The front houses the display, keypad buttons, and the dedicated music keys. Nothing too out of hte ordinary here – buttons are about average size (very similar to the N95), and are slightly raised. There’s a firm tactile response when pressing keys, and for the most part they should be fine – although there might be issues with absurdly large fingered people and the 5-way directional key.

I like the unobtrusive look of the dedicated music keys. They’re only very slightly raised and they blend in nicely with the red.

Other features of note on the outside: top-mounted 3.5mm audio jack, power button, and USB port (complete with flimsy port cover), left side charger port, right side volume controls, and rear 2 megapixel camera.

Build quality is what I’d call average. There’s no creaking going on and it isn’t hollow, but the feel is still rather…plasticky. Given its price point ($25-50 with contract), I can’t say I’m too surprised by this.

Not a whole lot to mention about the display. It’s a 2 inch 240×320 pixel TFT. It’s quite bad in direct sunlight. For all other purposes, it does its job.

Camera

The Nokia 5310 houses a no-frills 2 megapixel camera with basic functions. It’s not impressive. Colors are noticeably faded/washed out. See pictures below for more. And video, if you can believe it, is far, far worse. Youch!

I warned you!

Audio

Voice sound quality was typical Nokia, and that means very good in both directions. The loudspeaker, unfortunately, could be better – the maximum speaker volume is way too low, and using it in any kind of outside environment is pretty rough. Part of the reason for this is poor placement of the speaker – it’s situated on the back of the phone, so typically holding the phone in your hand will muffle the sound somewhat.

Even though it’s meant to be a music phone, the 5310 doesn’t come equipped with stereo speakers. That isn’t to say the onboard speaker isn’t good, because it’s actually rather decent. The addition of the 3.5mm audio jack is a nice touch, although the included headset is cumbersome and there’s just way too many wires to deal with.

The retail package also includes a 1 gigabyte microSD card, compliments of Nokia (and falling memory prices).

There’s also a lot of Panic! at the Disco-related paraphernalia preloaded on the phone. Okay, by a lot I mean one song (Nine in the Afternoon) and a couple videos. I cannot stress how bad the videos look on the phone. They are horrendous.

Battery Life

The 860 mAh lithium-ion is definitely one of the 5310′s stronger points. It’s rated for up to 5.5 hours of talk time, and I was able to get a good couple days usage out of it that included a mixture of phone calls, taking pictures, listening to music, and generally messing around with the phone.

User Interface

Finally, a word about the user interface. I like it. A lot. It’s faster and more responsive than previous UI’s, looks 100x better (now looks very similar to S60 counterparts) and the active standby is great. And going through menus while listening to music is actually a pleasant experience. Hurrah, S40 UI’s are no longer an embarassment!

Summary

The Good: small and thin, lightweight, cheap price, battery life, nice interface, overall good value for the money

The Bad: small and thin, horrible camera + video, no stereo anything

See All High Res Photos of the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic

***

Tags

Ray Martinez
9/30/2009
1:02 am

In March of this year I got my 19 year old niece a Nokia 5130, the phone she always wanted. In August, her backlight was going on and off, followed by a problem with charging. Since it was still under the 1 year LIMITED (stressed) warranty, I brought it to Nokia care. The specialist asked my niece a few questions regarding her use – including whether the unit got wet or not (not she said). They gave me the usual spiel which includes “warranty is voided if the unit is corroded”, then I signed a document agreeing to these terms. Confident with her answer (This is the 3rd phone of my niece and she’s pretty careful with her things), I did not really pay attention to the corrosion angle. A week later, I get a call, the LCD is corroded and that my warranty did not cover the repair which would cost me approximately PhP 5,000 (total cost of the unit in the first place was P11,000.)
Now I do not contest the fact that it was corroded (proof can be seen once the unit was opened) but I do contest the causes of corrosion. Apparently normal sweat (from what the nokia care specialist explained to me) can cause corrosion. Huh???!!!!
I asked whether my unit was a lemon from the start (thinking that the store I bought it from sold me a defective unit), but the specialist said no because if this were true, then it would have been causing problems from the very beginning. So I asked if my particular unit could have had a factory defect in terms that it could easily be “corroded”. No answer. So I brought up the fact that if “normal usage” could cause corrosion shouldn’t this be covered by the warranty? She then said that my definition of normal usage may not be “normal” in their world. Well I defined “normal usage” as daily calls and texts, the unit protected from rain and kept in a pocket or a bag. No exposure to moisture other than sweaty hands (and not excessive at that). So I asked her her definition of “normal usage”. Apparently it matched mine because she didn’t answer. So my next question now is – in order not to void my warranty due to corrosion, does this mean I need to wear gloves when I use my phone??!!! After all, I live in a tropical country where the humidity is high and temperatures go up to 34 degrees centigrade! Or I can just opt to use my phone only when my hands are dry and sweat free!
I cannot fight the bureaucracy, after all I did sign the document that agrees to my warranty being void due to corrosion and there is proof of corrosion. What I am contesting however are the CAUSES OF CORROSION. How can you give a blanket definition when just the least amount of moisture leads to corrosion. When “Normal Usage” (my definition not theirs apparently) will kill my phone in a few months and customer service is non-existent in certain circumstances.
I have been a Nokia user for 15 years, my family of 21, are all Nokia users, and between us we’ve purchased about 100 units since the cell phone industry hit the Philippines. Now, I have to rethink the next phone I buy. I’ve always been resistant to change, being completely comfortable with the features of the Nokia phones. Now though, I will not just be looking at the unit itself but also at the coverage of the warranty and how they define the causes of corrosion.

angie
12/24/2008
9:38 pm

I just got a Nokia 5130 today, and I cannot get the back cover off. The pictures indicate that you slide from the part near the camera lens and then lift up the bottom end. but it’s just not working. I’m afraid to try too hard – don’t want to break the thing!

Hope you can help1

ashley
11/30/2008
6:43 pm

i hate this phone!! it freezes, it take 30 min before i can send or recive a text or place a call after i turn it on, it was an absolute waste of money :( (

ang
10/30/2008
9:54 am

I don’t have the 5310 any more, but I believe that to get to the screen you need to remove the back cover, and then a couple of Torx screws.

paul
10/30/2008
4:30 am

how can i clean my 5310?

there’s some dirt on the inside part of the glass which covers the LCD display. i need to clean it coz it annoys me..

if you have an answer,
email me

stish_04@yahoo.com.ph

thank you so much…

The Nokia Phone Blog » Blog Archive » Nokia Snags EMI for Comes With Music, and More
10/7/2008
1:04 am

[...] of Comes With Music, the service is expected to launch on October 16, with the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic getting the first treatment. Nokia has said that the phone will retail for around $229 – a current [...]

The Nokia Phone Blog » Blog Archive » Nokia “Comes With Music” Service to Launch in U.K.
9/3/2008
1:03 am

[...] the first phone to feature Comes With Music will be the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic, a (really thin) low/medium end candy [...]

Reply to paul


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