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Review of GSM/UMTS-smartphone Nokia 5320 XpressMusic
Live photos of Nokia 5320 XpressMusic
The Nokia 5320 is another expansion of Nokia’s music-centric range, although this time around it’s aimed at the youth looking not only for sound quality, but also unconventional features. The 5320 just happens to have some, including Say and Play that allows the user to press a button, say some song’s title and artist and the handset will start playing it. But by and large, it is a mere gimmick that won’t be particularly craved among the phone’s audience. It works well, although it’s more along the lines of Sony Ericsson’s TrackID – happens to be useful, but very rarely. All in all, Say and Play aims to give the phone a bit more “wow” effect and bragging rights to its owner; in other words, just the thing the youth needs.
The Nokia 5320’s position is quite interesting too, since it’s the maker’s main mid-tier offering (220 Euro) – below is the Nokia 5220 XpressMusic, although it bases off S40 and doesn’t brim with features. Apart from music, the 5320 is also strong within the gaming department, as you have probably guessed, courtesy of NGage - it can run games in landscape mode, flaunts an 8-way navigation key and some other specific traits. All in all, Nokia has tried to deliver an all-in-one device for the youth. What’s more, unlike their previous shots at this segment, like the Nokia 3250 or Nokia 5700, this time around Nokia has broken away from cumbersome and gaudy designs. This has been made in an effort to cover the group of young people who don’t want to just fit the mold and would like to have something from a “adult’s” arsenal. I tend to think the 5320 XpressMusic can well be in the running for the “Teenager’s dream” title, but it won’t look out of place in the hands of 18-26 year olds either. In this sense Nokia has hit the nail on the head with this handset, as it combines a slew of different features with music moved to the fore.
As of today the market doesn’t offer any direct rivals to the 5320 XpressMusic – in fact, what can compete with an affordable (or at least priced commensurate with its feature pack) candybar-shaped S60-powered smartphone. It won’t be a bestseller, but within its target price-bracket the 5320 will be an offering to reckon with, plus it’s one of the best performers when it comes to playing music.
The 5320 XpressMusic design sways more towards the “no-nonsense” end of the market, which used to be a trademark trait of Sony Ericsson’s products. Among its attractions are good plastic, glossy front fascia and sides decked out in matte plastic. The 5320 comes in a choice of two colors – blue and red, but they only differ in the color of the side plates and navigation key.
Since it’s a music-heavy device, mounted along the left edge are three music buttons that allow for one-touch availability of the music player and Say and Play feature. Further down is the microSD memory card slot with its seal sitting flush with the flush, which makes it quite challenging to open. I liked the pattern on the side, it makes the 5320 look not so flat, makes it more eye-candy. The phone feels robust in the hand, doesn’t creak at all. On balance, I couldn’t find anything to fault it on as far as overall look and feel goes.
The 5320 measures up at 108x46x15 mm and tips our scales at 90 grams, which are great numbers for a smartphone; while it’s not as miniscule as its S40-based XpessMusic predecessors, it is pretty much in line with feature phones size-wise. It readily slips into just about any pocket or purse.
Nestled on the bottom edge is the microUSB port covered by a plastic flap, and a 3.5 mm headset/remote jack.
Topping the display is the forward-facing camera for videoconferencing and the Own Key, as its name implies it can do just about anything you want. On the right there are the volume rocker and dedicated camera key.
The handset utilizes a 2-inch QVGA (240x320 pixels, 31x42 mm) display, capable of up to 16 million colors and outputting a pretty bright and discernible picture. All in all, the 5320’s screen is nothing to complain about. It can accommodate up to 8 text and 3 service lines with some modes pushing the upper limit even further – to 14 lines of text. All fonts are very readable.
This display gets washed out in the sun, but only a little.
The 5320’s navigation cluster is pretty sizable, although the buttons are somewhat crammed together, so it is a bit inconvenient to handle. The numeric pad is made of plastic with all keys sitting right next to each other and thus delivering a lower level of comfort that you’d expect from this phone. The keypad is lit in reasonably bright white. One of the 5320’s traits is its 8-way navigation button that packs in 4 extra directions for games. All in all, the keypad found in this handset is below average – in fact, it’s the biggest problem of the Nokia 5320 XpressMusic; it just feels on the cramped side and there is nothing you can do about it.
The phone is equipped with a 890 mAh Li-Ion battery (BL-5B). The 5320 XpressMusic is rated for 3.55 hours of talk time and 250 hours of standby. Music time – up to 24 hours, max quality video recording – up to 140 minutes, video playback – up to 160 minutes.
The handset’s battery life averaged 3 days in our tests, when we used the 5320 for about an hour and a half of calls, a dozen or two snaps, several minutes of video, and around an hour of music/radio. It takes the 5320 around 2 hours to charge from empty to full.
Below is our chart of battery times we managed to squeeze out of the 5320 XpressMusic:
The device comes equipped with 28 Mb of RAM, after first launch you will get around 96 Mb of free memory at your disposal, which is enough for running a dozen applications and browsing “heavy” web-pages – the word “slow-down” is definitely not in the 5320’s vocabulary. Although it shares the platform with the Nokia N78 (both software and hardware), the 5320 is a bit more on the sluggish side when launching applications, also it tends to freeze up during navigation to upload maps.
The user almost has 140 Mb of storage available, where any data can be stored.
The 5320 deals with microSD memory cards (hot-swappable), the phone comes packaged with a 2Gb unit. There are no restrictions as far as memory card’s size is concerned – our handset easily identified a 8Gb card.
Using the Nokia N82’s TI OMAP 2420 platform wouldn’t be the right thing to do in a relatively cheap solution, so for the 5320 XpressMusic they went for a single-chip platform from Freescale with the ARM11 CPU running at 369 Mhz inside.
The 5320 XpressMusic is almost no different from the Nokia N82/N78 performance-wise, so it is pretty much in line with other state-of-the-art S60-powered devices.
USB. You pick one of these 3 connection modes in the USB settings of the 5320 XpressMusic:
Data transfer speeds top out at around 1 Mb/s.
Bluetooth. The phone comes with Bluetooth v2.0, with support for EDR. The following profiles are supported:
The top speed you can get with the 5320’s Bluetooth connection is around 100 Kb/s. We also tested its A2DP profile in pair with the Sony Ericsson DS970 headset, which worked just fine – we managed our play list, skipped within tracks and adjusted volume seamlessly, however we couldn’t make current track’s title show up on the 5320’s display.
Just like many S60-powered devices, the 5320 houses a 2 Mpix CMOS-camera manufactured by Toshiba. But unless you are in great lighting conditions, the shots will keep going out noisy and blurry and regrettably the LED flash here is much of a help.
Using the settings you can pick one of the following image resolutions – 1600x1200, 1152x764, 640x480 pixels 320x240 pixels. Such shooting modes as single shot, multi-shot and self-timer (10, 20 or 30 seconds) are also available. You can also make use of the night mode, white balance settings (Sunny, Incandescent, Fluorescent). Sepia, Black&White, Negative overlays will help you to alter color settings. As it was mentioned above the flash utilizes LED technology. Digital Zoom can be activated by pressing the navigation key, but you won’t be really happy with it, as the bundled editor gives you an opportunity to zoom in as well and on top of that ensures better image quality.
Video is recorded in a quite mediocre quality. The 320x240, 176x144 and 128x96 pixel resolutions at 15 FPS are available, the 5320 saves all clips in .3GP files, and some of them may have the sound turned off – it’s up to you to decide. As for the time limit, they are non-existent now, unless you are in the MMS-mode.
All S60-based smartphones employ a dedicated sound processor these days, so you won’t notice any difference between the Nokia 5320 XpressMusic and, say, the Nokia 6210 Navigator in terms of music quality. However, the 3.5 mm headphone jack, dedicated music-minded keys and a remote control coming boxed with the 5320 give things a new turn, making the phone so much more of a true music playing device.
Apparently, the 5320 XpressMusic player application has been carried over from the platform’s standard feature set – learn more about it in our dedicated article. What we’d like to make a special note of here is the 5320’s 8-band equalizers. Its speakerphone mode isn’t particularly loud, so its dual speakers get negated by their poor positioning. The handset doesn’t handle top volume settings very well, which is certainly a drawback. On top of that, the 5320’s standard earphones shouldn’t stay in your pocket for too long – actually, it’s better to replace them with a pair of custom headphones outright. The radio application here comes with RDS functionality, but that’s about it – learn more about it in our dedicated write-up.
The 5320’s standard set of applications features already par-for-the-course applications, including QuickOffice for reading office documents and presentations. Its full version (purchased separately) will allow you to edit docs. On top of that the handset can deal with Adobe Acrobat files and ZIP archives. There is also a new app bundled with the 5320 - Dictionary, whose name says it all.
The 5320’s games pool includes Jelly Chase, Groove Labyrinth 2 and Marble Cannon.
Arab markets must appreciate a specially tailored organizer that shows qibla direction, and also can turn on at the prayer time and start reading it out (at the same moment the 5320 will switch into the silent mode and will stay in it for as long as the prayer lasts). Nevertheless this application will be missing from most regional feature sets.
We won’t review all themes and wallpapers here – the thing is, there are too many of them over here, plus there are tons of content available for upload.
Call quality was never an issue with the 5320 XpressMusic, as it easily lived up to our expectations of a Nokia-branded phone. Ring tones sounded quite loud; we also found the 5320’s vibro alert to be average strength-wise.
The 5320 XpressMusic is set to arrive early in February with a price tag of 220 Euro, which is quite a bargain for a competent music-playing device, which just happens to be a smartphone running the FP2 and enjoying NGage functionality. The youth will be happy having such an offering around. On balance, since it’s beyond competition, sports likable design and solid materials, plus comes preinstalled with some games, the 5320 is bound to become sought-after within its target audience. Although it’s important to realize that it’s a narrow niche, rather than a mainstream. All in all, Nokia has struck gold with the 5320 XpressMusic, which, along with the Nokia 5220 XpressMusic has the mid-tier market for music playing phones covered pretty well. Other manufacturers will have to do something really special to break this duo and throw their own solutions onto consumers’ short-lists. The 5320 may find a rival in the face of the Nokia N78, but it won’t be a direct clash, since the latter is more expensive, being less of a music-centric offering at that.
Published 12 June 2008
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