REVIEW | Nokia 5310 Xpress Music

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In an ocean of smartphones, Nokia has re-released its classic 5310, in a re-imagined music-focused avatar. We tested this Nokia 5310 Xpress Music feature phone for a couple of days, and below are our thoughts on it.

Design and Ergonomics

The build is all plastic, with a smooth textured coating for the sides and the rear. This combined with the curved edges makes for a great fit and feel when the device is held in the hand. The coating on the plastic Numpad buttons are different, making them a little stickier and grippy, which is well thought through for button presses. The buttons are large enough, with good travel distance when pressed.

On the sides are red buttons, purely for music controls. Play, Pause, Previous, and Next track on the right, and Volume Up and Down on the left. Placement is perfect, aligning with the thumb and index finger when held. In terms of the design, materials used, and placement ergonomics, Nokia has done a superb job.

The screen is 2.4-inch in size and features a resolution of 240×320. The panel is a TFT LCD, which is bright enough and clear for feature phone users.

Connectivity at the top is a micro-USB and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There are no other ports on the other sides of the phone. The unit does support dual SIM and a microSD expansion card up to 32GB.

One of the specialties of this phone is the inclusion of stereo speakers. It’s visible on the front face of the unit, as slits at the bottom and top. The stereo balance is good, with quality being about okay. There is no bass, but it can get quite loud. The package also includes a pair of headphones.

Specs and Performance

The Nokia 5310 is powered by a basic Mediatek MT6260A CPU. Memory is just 8MB, with 16MB of storage. Keep in mind that this is a feature phone and not a smartphone; though these specs seem basic, they are likely sufficient to get the job done. 

Making calls, sending SMS, and listening to music, the phone performed well, and there were no hiccups.

The unit does not have WiFi but does have Bluetooth.

We played the music using the included Radio app, and it was able to easily tune radio stations and play them back, even without the headphone connected. The 5310 lives up to its Xpress Music moniker and makes music listening on the go super easy.

Battery and Charging

The included battery has a capacity of 1200 mAh and is removable. Given the small screen and light specs, the 5310 has an incredible standby time of over 20 days. With light use, it usually lasted us a luxurious 1 to 2 weeks.

Charging though was a slow affair. The included charger is a minuscule 550 mA, and it took us over four and a half hours to fully charge the phone.

Software and User Experience

The software platform used is the Series 30+, which is an application user interface for multiple Nokia phones. It’s specifically developed for use with MediaTek processors.

As mentioned earlier, the phone does not have WiFi, and thus depends on the SIM card for internet connectivity. Speed is limited to 2G though, which can be frustrating. The phone comes with the Opera Mini browser for your web-surfing needs. But without a touch screen using the direction pad for navigation isn’t the most convenient.

Many of the pre-installed feature phone apps on the phone just links to the Web versions such as the Facebook app. But there are also classic games and new game apps, such as the nostalgic Snake game, and the newer Asphalt 6.

Overall functionality is satisfactory; just don’t expect to be able to do as much as you would with a smartphone.

Camera and Optics

In the past basic call and text phones like the Nokia 5310 did not have cameras; but with the advent of camera-focused smartphones, Nokia decided to add a basic camera in this reimagined Nokia 5310. The implementation is a very basic 0.2-megapixel camera or a VGA camera. It’s a single unit, and there is no front camera. It does include a flash module though.

Being a very basic camera implementation, the photos are poor. If you take pictures expecting good results, comparable to other smartphones, it’ll be a massive let down. On the other hand, if you don’t have a camera and this is your first budget camera device, it’s nice to have. You can also set custom wallpapers with the photos taken.

From our testing we found detail to be expectedly low.

Value and Competition

The Nokia 5310 Xpress Music is a niche device, given that most people would opt to have a smartphone. For the average consumer, a budget smartphone would offer more functionality. So even at a low asking price of P 2,090, it’s only going to attract fans of the classic Nokia phone, who may consider having this as a second phone; or perhaps a companion for a workout or run wherein music would be the only need.

Outside of this, it may be well-suited for commercial use, with companies providing these to the delivery service staff or other blue-collar workers needing company phones.

At a mere P900 more you could have a Nokia C1, which is a budget smartphone, that offers a lot more in terms of capability.

Conclusion

There is no doubt some novelty to this device, thanks to its classic looks. Build quality and attention to details such as materials and ergonomics is what you’d expect from a brand like Nokia… simply top-notch. Where it flounders a bit is applicability, with its utility being niche. Thanks to its low price, this could be a good addition to your phone collection. Or if you need a simple on the go music device which supports radio, the Nokia 5310 Xpress Music nails it.

  • Model: TA-1212 DS
  • Price: P 2,090
  • Verdict: A niche music-themed reimagining of the classic Nokia 5310
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