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Review of Nokia 5330 XpressMusic/Nokia 5330 Mobile TV Edition GSM/UMTS phone
Live photos of Nokia 5330
In the box:
In one review we are going to speak about two models, because the only difference between them is the support of TV features in Mobile TV Edition. The model without such a support was involved in a detective story as you cannot find it on Nokia website unless you access the press releases section. Nokia 5330 XpressMusic seems not to exist. The model was officially unveiled on March 11, 2009 and it had to go on sale in the third quarter of 2009. The phone somehow did not hit the shelves and the device disappeared from Nokia website. I had a feeling that the model was called off, but after a 1 year delay the model appeared on selected markets. For example, in Russia Nokia starts deliveries form week 30, which means we will see it in the retail by the end of July. It is unclear why the company created all this chaos with the announcement of the phone followed by the call off. Probably, its price was too close to that of Nokia 6600i Slide and Nokia 6700 Slide, which made its prospects slim. The official price of €160 was lower, but the phone itself was less attractive, so it was called off. It is impossible to explain why it was relaunched at the high price. Everybody knows that Nokia sliders sell worse than similar Samsung models. The company missed the boat and doesn't have strong presence in this segment.
Mobile TV Edition version differs by the presence of DVB-H receiver, but its support depends on your mobile carrier. If it does not offer this type of transmission, you will not be able to use the feature. The price of both models is surprisingly identical as Mobile TV version is interesting for pilot projects and not the mass market. It is supported by the sales to particular carriers and the absence of mass promotion, which is not necessary for the model.
Going back to the positioning we have to mention that it is a model for the young, which is confirmed both by its design and price. The handset does not offer anything special apart from sensor buttons on the outside of the slider. We have a typical Nokia product on S40 and it looks a bit expensive for the current market situation. If you look at the new models you will immediately notice Sony Ericsson Zylo, which costs €20-30 less and the models are comparable. Unfortunately Zylo was also announced too late and cannot be considered as a strong market offer. So we cannot expect Nokia 5330 XpressMusic to be a bestseller and the same applies to pilot sales of Mobile TV Edition. These are two niche products, which can be bought after the seller's advice and not due to the informed choice of the user.
Sleek finish is everywhere and it comes to the fore in the black body version. The second color is white matte with blue elements. Both are nice, but the design resembles Nokia phones of 2009 and not the modern models.
The dimensions of the handset are 101.2x48.5x14.25 mm (3.98"x1.90"x0.56") and it weighs 114 g (4.02 oz). It is comfortable to hold, the slider mechanism works well, though you need an extra push to open it.
The lower part of the body near the keypad features a light emitting edging. You can choose any color, which is nice and it was used only on several Nokia models before. The edging is visible no matter whether the phone is opened or closed. It resembles a semicircle. During the call the rhythmical backlight is activated.
The left side hosts microSD card slot, which is closed with a plastic cap. Below we see one grilled speaker. My experience suggests that after you take the phone out of a pocket there will be tons of dust on the grille. That is why you should buy a case or keep the phone exclusively in dust free areas.
On the right side we have a dual volume control button accompanied below by the keypad lock slider. The front of the device boasts three sensor buttons responsible for the player. The top of the model has a 2 mm jack for the charger, microUSB for the synchronization and a 3.5 mm headset jack.
In the box you can find inexpensive in-ear headset, which provides decent sound.
There are no complaints to the build quality. It is typical for Nokia. If you press it in the hand you may hear some crunching sound, but there is almost no looseness. All parts fit tightly, but the dust can get inside. The back cover becomes battered and after several days you can spot there numerous scratches, which is a feature of its construction.
The handset features a 2.4" screen with QVGA (240x320) resolution. This TFT display offers up to 16 million colors, which are bright and tasty. The screen fits up to 9 text lines and 3 service lines. In separate modes you can squeeze in up to 16 lines. The fonts are legible and while in the sun the screen fades away you can still read from it.
5 position navigation key is easy to use unlike tight soft keys, which are difficult to press. Numerical buttons are good, they offer middle of the road ergonomics, but there are no complaints here. They are made of solid metal sheet and are separated with the rubber pieces. The backlight is white. It is bright and visible in different conditions.
The phone uses lithium-ion BL-4U battery of 1000 mAh. The manufacturer claims up to 6 hours of talk time and around 400 hours on standby. The music playback time is up to 30 hours and you can watch TV for up to 5.2 hours.
The average operation time is around 2.5 days in real life networks. This time includes 1.5 hours of talk time, a couple of dozens of camera shots, two minutes of video recording and up to one hour of radio or music playback. It takes about 2 hours for a full recharge.
The maximum operation time in different modes is the following:
USB. In USB settings 3 modes are available:
Data transfer speed reaches 1 Mb/s. During the connection the battery charging does not start.
Bluetooth. This smartphone uses Bluetooth version 2.1 with EDR support. The phone supports the following modules:
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.
Around 55 MB of memory in the phone itself are available to users. You can store any data here.
The phone uses microSD memory cards (the slot is on the phone's side), hot swappable, 1 GB in box, expandable to 16 GB.
The model offers a 3.2 MP CMOS module without autofocus (earlier an autofocus was used, but here we have the focus on one focal point, which is a cheaper variation). There is also a LED flash.
The following picture resolutions are supported:
Three types of JPEG files compression are available: basic, normal and high. Among the available options we should mention the shutter sound off mode, x8 digital zoom, an opportunity to save pictures in the phone memory or on the card, adjustable white balance and ISO, etc. The effects can be applied to the already taken pictures in the phone, so whether you should use them from the outset is up to you. The following effects are available: Greyscale, Sepia, Negative, False Colors and so on.
Quick shot mode is also supported. In this case the camera takes up to 3 shots at a time and all settings (including the resolution) remain the same as for the single shot. The autotimer for 10 second is good for self-portraits.
The camera interface is made in vertical orientation and resembles the one used in Series 40v3 models.
Samples of photos:
Video. The device supports video recording in 3GP format with the resolution of 320x240 or 176x144. You can limit the length of the recording, but it can also be set at maximum and will be limited only by the memory of the phone or card. The effects may be applied in the way similar to the photo camera. The number of effects is the same. During the video playback on the phone the quality is decent even with the maximum resolution. On PC the artifacts are visible, but you can still watch the video. This is a big advantage of the model.
All phone features and its platform have been described in a separate review. You can read it by following the link below. Look at the preinstalled applications. I think you don't need any explanations.
If your mobile carrier does not support DVB-H you can forget about watching TV. If you carrier supports this service it should also be active in your city and you need a SIM card from the carrier as well (some carriers promise that in future you could watch TV by paying through an SMS and without the special card, but this remains unclear).
TV application needs around 5 to 10 seconds to start and then appears the picture of the last selected channel or the channels list. For each channel you can download a schedule and set a reminder about a particular TV show. By default the sound goes to the headphones, but you can activate speakerphone mode as well. The headset is still needed because it is used as an antenna. It is a disadvantage in comparison with the outdated Samsung P960, where the antenna was in-built and extensible. On the downside we also have to mention the absence of any holder, so the phone cannot remain in the standing mode. You have to watch TV from hands or put it down on the table. It's still unclear why the manufacturer could not think of such an important "trifle".
The quality of signal is average, but it is not the fault of the carrier, just the screen resolution is not big enough. The same can be said about the screen size. Against the background of 3.5 " high definition screens this model looks like an alien from the past. It costs less, but you cannot watch TV comfortably here.
The model is enough to watch something urgently. If you need a permanent solution you should look elsewhere. I found many dead zones in Moscow without any signal. Also I have to mention the weak sensitivity of the antenna, which loses out to Samsung P960 due to its construction.
Anyway we cannot take DVB-H as the true rival of the terrestrial TV, because it does not offer any original content. The model is too expensive for its intended purpose and provides nothing special at the same time.
There are no complaints towards the quality of voice transmission in both directions, the loudspeaker has good volume capacity and you can always hear your interlocutor well. The communication quality is fine. The ringtone volume is good and the vibro is above average.
The music version of the model does not offer anything new. This is a typical Nokia slider without any unique points apart from the light emitting edging but this is not enough to justify the high price of this 2009 model. It costs around €170 Euros. TV version has the same price, offers DVB-H receiver required by few people and even this demand is only due to the lack of alternatives.
This model happens to be strange. The fact that it was launched a number of times highlights that the manufacturer was not sure in it. I still cannot understand why this project was rejuvenated. The phone will not become popular and is likely to fail from the very beginning. First weeks of sales in Europe already confirm my view as the phone does not enjoy any considerable demand. The market has many cheaper models with better features.
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Published 20 June 2010
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