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Review of the Nokia 5228 GSM Smartphone
Live photos of Nokia 5228
In the box:
Nokia has jumped on the cheap sensor phone bandwagon. Lacking alternatives to the S60 platform, they are revising their first model in the lineup, the Nokia 5800. The first junior offspring became known as the Nokia 5230 (also available as the 5235 with a music subscription service). It has fewer accessories in the box, only one loudspeaker, no 3G support, revised casing, and no stylus. The difference is not that huge, especially for those who don't need 3G. The lack of Wi-Fi appears critical, but then again, only for those who are accustomed to using such devices as smartphones and not regular phones for calls. For many owners, the Nokia 5230 is just a touch-sensitive Nokia phone, not a smartphone. And this is normal. As a result, the carriers became interested in lowering the price of the device for it to be competitive against Korean alternatives, and asked Nokia about that.
The Nokia 5228 was created with that objective in mind. The model was supposed to become the cheapest sensor solution in its segment. That is, the cheapest Nokia solution, of course. The company could have lowered the price of the existing Nokia 5230 without any real problem but in that case it would have to compensate the price difference to the partners under the terms of the price protection agreement. That is why Nokia uses an old trick by offering a "new" model at a lower price for select partners. Except for the lack of GPS, different color options and no spare rear panel in the box, the Nokia 5228 is no different from the familiar Nokia 5230.
The initial MSRP (without tax) for the model is EUR 139, and Germany is the first country to have received it. The device was originally developed for a German operator and will be available on a limited number of markets only. However, it is not the cheapest sensor phone from Nokia, as the company released the Nokia 5250 some time ago, which is another low-end, touch-sensitive solution. The difference between the Nokia 5250 and 5228 is in the screen diagonal: the former is equipped with a 2.8-inch display, whereas the latter has 3.2 inches. Otherwise, the models are pretty much the same.
The 5228 model is an exact copy of the Nokia 5230. As before, the casing is made of plastic, and the build quality is not bad. If squeezed a little, the phone shows some flex, but it is within the reasonable limits. Compared to the Nokia 5800, the inside clasps have been changed, making the casing more solid; nothing comes off, and the clasps themselves are fairly reliable.
The phone measures 111x51.7x15.5 mm, and weighs 115 grams. It is absolutely identical to the Nokia 5800 in size, but doesn't have a stylus and the rear panel is an ordinary one. Those who are not used to type with their fingers can use the bundled plectrum instead.
The Nokia 5228 is available in three color options: white/blue, black, and white/silver.
The right side contains a volume rocker, screen and keyboard lock slider (both can be locked automatically) and a camera button. The lock slider is large and well balanced unlike the one in the Nokia 5800; it works just fine.
On the left side, there are two slots, for the microSD card and SIM card, with covers. The SIM card slot won't open easily; you will have to use something sharp, say the plectrum, for that.
On the top, there is a regular 3.5 audio jack, 2 mm charger port, as well as a microUSB port with a plastic cover. Unlike the Nokia5800, the phone is equipped with a single loudspeaker that is located at the far left corner at the top of the device. Due to the absence of the second loudspeaker, music quality at the maximum volume is significantly worse. The sound loses clarity, and although you won't hear crackling or anything else as disturbing, you are sure to hear some distortions in a quiet room (we tested the phone using some OVI store tunes).
There is also a proximity sensor in the phone that locks the screen when you are talking.
Installing a SIM card is not a trivial task. The slot is located on the side and the card can't be taken out when the phone is working unless you use a pair of tweezers. There is a slit under the battery, through which you can push the card out using a stylus. In general, it all works quite fine, and there is also a quick SIM card installation guide on the reverse side of the rear cover.
The screen is absolutely identical to the one used in the Nokia 5800. It is protected with a plastic cover, is slightly recessed, and you can work with it using both your fingers and a plectrum. The screen characteristics, image quality, diagonal and resolution are excellent. As a reminder, it is 3.2 inches wide, has a 16:9 aspect ratio, and a resolution of 640х360 pixels (39х69 mm). Up to 16 million colors are supported, and the image is bright, vivid and eye-catching.
The screen orientation changes automatically when you rotate the device. It takes no more than a second. As the display is recessed a bit, every now and again you can feel your finger catch the edges. Although some may not like it, personally I don't find it disturbing.
The screen is quite readable outdoors, no problems there. At the same time, it performs poorly in direct sunlight. There can be up to 14 text lines and 3 service rows on the screen simultaneously. It is ideal for watching video and browsing through pictures or lengthy lists.
There are three hardware buttons on the front panel – i.e. Call, End, and Menu. The End button also works as the Back key in menus. You have two options, or rather two different keyboards, for text input.
First of all, you can use the standard alphanumeric keypad, which imitates that of a regular phone. It works in the portrait mode only and is easy to work with using just one hand.
As the second option, you get a regular QWERTY keyboard. It works in the landscape mode only. The keys are handy and you can use your both hands for typing. The device offers maximum freedom in terms of text input, but there isn't anything really special about either mode. It is also up to you to decide whether you want to use finger input or work with a stylus.
With type assist on, the phone will underline the most recent word and will show you a list of similar ones whenever you tap on it.
Personally I don't take handwriting recognition seriously, although it is a viable option especially if coupled with a stylus. Unless you are somewhere in Asia, I don't think you will be using this feature either.
Tactile feedback is similar to the Samsung VibeZ technology in its realization. The phone vibrates to confirm input and you won't miss it. Although it doesn't really feel like pressing hardware buttons, you still get some feedback to your actions.
The phone features a 1320 mAh Li-Ion BL-5J battery, which is the best Nokia offers in this segment. The manufacturer claims up to 7 hours of talktime and 438 hours on standby. Music playback is up to 33 hours, video recording with the maximum quality is up to 210 minutes and video playback is up to 4 hours.
In real life the average operation time is around 3 days. It gives you an opportunity to talk for around 1.5 hours, take several dozens of pictures, record two minutes of video and listen to the music or radio for 1 hour. The full charging takes approximately one hour and 30 minutes.
Look at maximum operation times in different modes:
The model has 128 MB of RAM and after the operation starts 70-74 MB are free. The user can also have around 70 MB in the phone to store data. We tested the operation with a 32 GB memory card, which was easily detected. The cards are hot swappable.
USB. In USB settings you can select up to 4 operation modes:
Data transfer speed reaches 5 Mb/s. When USB cable is connected the phone does not start recharging.
Bluetooth. Bluetooth 2.0 boasts EDR support. The handset has the following profiles:
Data transfer speed via Bluetooth reaches on average 100 Kb/s. We tested the transfer of stereo to a headset like Sony Ericsson DS970. Tracks handling, rewinding and skipping work without any problems, but the name of the track played at that time is not displayed on the screen.
Wi-Fi. The biggest drawback of the model is the absence of WiFi, which makes it less attractive for consumers.
The phone has a 2 MP CMOS module without the autofocus. It is a typical entry level camera devoid of anything special.
In terms of settings you can choose one of 3 resolutions:
The following scene modes are available: Automatic, User Defined, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, and Night.
You can set the grid on the screen or use the timer for self-portraits.
Use the following color effects: Sepia, B&W, Vivid, and Negative. White balance – automatic, Sunny, Cloudy, Incandescent and Fluorescent. The contrast range is between -2 and +2. The acutance is on three parameters and you can choose ISO (low, medium and high).
In other words we have standard camera settings here. Look at the pictures and you will understand that the camera is not the top product, but is enough for this model.
Video recording. During the video recording the range of available settings is more limited. You can benefit from the picture stabilizer. White balance – automatic, Sunny, Cloudy, Incandescent and Fluorescent. Sepia, Black&White, Negative and Vivid effects can be applied. There are only two shooting modes – automatic and night. The maximum resolution is 640х480 in mpeg4 and you can disable the sound recording (there is no adjustment of the coding quality, so it is always 30 frames per second). The total recording time is only limited by the available free space. 640х350 resolution is supported and is adapted for the screen size, but there is no need to record with this resolution if you plan to view the recording on a PC or another phone.
There are no problems with the connection quality. The ringtones are loud enough for different situations, but at the maximum volume the sound is not clear. The vibro is good and can be heard at all times.
You should compare this model with Nokia 5230, which costs around €130-135, while Nokia 5228 costs €120 from the start. As the models are identical and have GPS as the only difference, the cheaper model looks more attractive. In the box you do not get the memory card and additional panels though. The price difference goes for these accessories and you have a difficult decision on hands. If you already have a memory card you can save some money, but if not the price difference will disappear when you buy one.
Taking into account the dominance of Korean manufacturers in this price range (Corby 3G, simple Corby, LG Cookie in different variants) you can say that the price of Nokia 5228 is not minimal. It is good for Nokia, but loses out to models from Korea a lot. Their models are cheaper and have similar features, which leads to great sales. I can frankly say that this phone will be loved by loyal Nokia customers, who are skeptical of offerings from Korea and are ready to pay more for their choice. These people are numerous and the model will be popular. On the other hand the introduction of Nokia 5250 at a slightly lower price will turn it into a bestseller, but it remains to be seen how attractive this popularity will be for Nokia as it can adversely affect Nokia 5228/5230 and other models.
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Published 22 September 2010
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