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Preview of GSM/UMTS-smartphone Nokia 5630 XpressMusic
This phone was originally designed as a successor to the Nokia 6120 Classic and after an avalanche delays its gist hasn’t changed much – it will retail at a similar price point and run on Freescale’s hardware platform. But to be frank I have never showed much interest in the 5630 XpressMusic and at some point it almost slipped through my fingers, as it got postponed in light of the 6120 Classic’s ample sales, and then was re-positioned for the music-savvy part of the audience, which, naturally, delayed it even further. And some time later, when it seemed nothing could hold it back anymore, Nokia ran into another difficulty: the sales of the 5310 XpressMusic just didn’t die down, it seemed it was getting even more popular, despite all odds. So during this forced dead time they opted to put more effort into the 5630’s extras and tiny details, in order to make it the most music-savvy offering in its segment.
Nokia 6120 Classic:
Nokia 5630 XpressMusic:
However, sometimes there is nothing one can do to set things straight – and it seems that it’s exactly the case with the Nokia 5630. It’s a well-built, feature-rich and affordable phone, notwithstanding, none of Nokia’s partners took it seriously. All operators who got to pick first turned their noses away from the 5630 XpressMusic, while claiming it was a likable model. Then it was rejected by Nokia’s regional head quarters; eventually its production was moved from Europe to their Chinese factory, making it quite difficult for Nokia’s European contractors to retail this phone.
That was the moment when the 5630 XpressMusic caught my attention and I got curious as to why it didn’t appeal to local distributors. The answers I got from different people weren’t much different, as all of them were along the lines of: “It’s an okay model, but it falls into the segment where smartphones aren’t called-for, let alone music-minded smartphones – there are many other models out there already, so we’ll be better off focusing on time-proven solutions”.
Further complicating the matters was the 5630’s announcement and spoilers at forum.nokia.com that it was running on ARM11 600 Mhz CPU. To be honest, back then I even imagined they were going to come up with a new platform brimming with innovative solutions, as the 5630 XpressMusic’s unusually slim profile (for this much computing power inside, that is) suggested. However the reality was much less exciting – once again, people at forum.nokia.com let a small error slip into their announcement, and as it turned out the CPU employed by the 5630 XM wasn’t even near the much-hyped 600 Mhz, on the contrary hardware-wise it wasn’t much different from the Nokia 6290 and 6120 Classic. Although, its software department has received more than just a face-lift, which is definitely good news. Nevertheless it was pretty amusing to see how some people suddenly got intrigued by the “600 Mhz” remark, oblivious to the fact that faster CPUs don’t necessarily guarantee better performance. So, the disclaimer that followed will probably leave them supremely disappointed in the 5630 XpressMusic.
But let’s get back to the phone’s positioning – being an affordable music-playing phone (one of the least expensive S60-based phones in this segment to date) it may well be considered as a sequel to the Nokia 5320 XpressMusic that was released last summer. Back then I wrote that it would be relatively successful in a pretty narrow niche and that’s exactly how things stand these days – it hasn’t broken any records, but managed to become aviable alternative to other solutions for younger people. Same goes for the 5630 XpressMusic and probably that’s why retailers aren’t particularly bent on this model.
The 5630 XpressMusic comes in a choice of three colors (Grey with blue accent, Grey with chrome accent and Black with red accent), which is an obvious deviation from Nokia’s usual code that involved only red and blue color schemes. Apart from these two, the 5630 is available in silver, which looks dazzling. While there is a possibility that Nokia will release more trims down the line (such as pink, neon and emerald), it’s very unlikely that the 5630 XpressMusic will manage to stay around for this long.
At 112x46x12 mm and 83 grams, this phone is one of the thinnest S60 smartphones out there.
Nokia 5630 XpressMusic vs Nokia 5220:
Housed on the right-hand side is the volume rocker, camera button and microSD camera slot; on the opposite spine there are the player controls with their markings lined up along the left edge of the front face. Perched on the top is the 3.5 mm audio jack along with the microUSB socket used for charging and data connections.
The 5630 XpressMusic’s back cover is somewhat similar to that of the Nokia 5800 and features a soothing pattern and soft finish.
Topping the phone’s display is the ambient light sensor that adjusts the brightness levels of both keypad and screen backlights. Right next to it is the forward-facing CIF camera for videoconferencing in 3G networks.
The 5630 XpressMusic’s stereo-speakers are nothing to shout about – in fact, they sound about as loud and clear as one top-notch speaker.
The phone comes equipped with a 2.2 inch QVGA display (240x320 pixels, 31x42 mm), capable of up to 16 million colors (TFT); on the downside, though, the picture is on the dimmer side, which is our major gripe with the 5630 XpressMusic’s screen after its sun legibility. As for other bits and pieces, it can accommodate up to 8 text and 3 service lines, although in some modes you can cram as many as 14 lines of text into it, all written in easy-to-read fonts.
The 5630 XpressMusic’s buttons are average size-wise, well-spaced out, soft and ergonomically friendly at that. While we can’t say it’s extraordinary in terms of comfort, we didn’t experience any difficulties with it during our quality time either. All buttons are evenly lit in white, and the ambient light sensor makes sure that the backlight brightness is set to an optimal level.
The handset utilizes a 860 mAh Li-Ion battery (BL-4CT), rated for 400 hours of standby, 7 hours of talk time, 22 hours of music, 90 minutes of video recording (top quality settings) and 150 minutes of video playback.
In Moscow the 5630 XpressMusic lasted around 2 days with moderate use (40 miuntes of calls and up to an hour of music, a dozen of images and several minutes of video). It takes the battery just shy of 2 hours to charge from empty to full.
Below is our chart of battery times we managed to squeeze out of the 5630 XpressMusic:
The device comes equipped with 128 Mb of RAM, after first launch you will get around 76 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 5630’s vocabulary. The user also gets around 74 Mb of storage, where any data can be stored.
The 5630 deals with microSD memory cards (hot-swappable), the phone comes packaged with a 4 Gb unit. There are no restrictions as far as memory card’s size is concerned – our handset easily identified a 32Gb card.
USB. You pick one of these 3 connection modes in the USB settings of the 5630 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 5630'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 headset’s display.
As a proof of our earlier statement about the phone’s performance we offer you the results of Jbenchmark tests for the 5630 XpressMusic and a couple of diagrams showing how it stacks up against the Nokia 6120 Classic.
You can learn more about the phone’s software department from our dedicated review.
As far as unconventional things go, it’s worth noting that Contact Bar has been spreading to more phones since its original release in the Nokia 5800, actually it’s becoming one of the trademark features for any music-minded smartphone. When in the Contact Bar mode you’ll see a toolbar lined up against the top of the display, where you can place up to 20 favorite contacts with 3 of them being immediately visible on the screen (naturally, you can get to the others by pressing the navigation key left and right). Much like in the Nokia 5800, the 5630 XpressMusic shows all info on calls, messages and RSS for any selected contact. What I found, though, was that this setup, where everything is centered on a particular contact, was way superior to threaded messages and chat-esque layouts found in some other phones.
Unfortunately it’s impossible to move the bar to the bottom of the screen. As for other things, the 5630 XpressMusic comes preinstalled with support for OVI, including Chat and some other apps. The phone displays updates and incoming events right on the standby screen; plus now the Phonebook application sports a special OVI tab right between Groups and Contacts.
I’m always asked the question whether Contact Bar will be available on the Nokia 5800 and whether it’ll make it to other models as well. Yes, this setup will be implemented in a multitude of phones, except for Eseries-branded offerings.
By the way, I stumbled upon two new feats in the Applications menu – this time around, they have much to do with ecology and ever so popular “green” movement. To be honest, I couldn’t figure out what the former app did, but the other one estimates how much CO2 you’ve generated with your activities. WE:Offset offers the user to calculate the damage he did to the environment and transfer some amount of money as a compensation to a special foundation. For example, a 1700-kilometer flight results in a 2 Euro bill or so.
Other than that, the 5630 XpressMusic is a standard S60 fare.
Obviously, the 5630 XpressMusic houses a generic S60 music player, so if you’re eager to learn more about it, read our dedicated write-up. The only thing we’ll add here is that the phone comes equipped with 8-band equalizers and rather unpretentious loudspeakers that tend to start creaking at the highest volume settings. Plus the pair of earphones that the 5630 XpressMusic comes boxed with should probably be the first thing you need to throw away. Its radio boasts RDS support, but that’s about it.
The phone’s Say&Play feature is nice to have around, but nothing out of this world.
When you minimize the music player and start browsing other phone menus, all you need to do to check current track name and access player controls is push one of the music keys (watch our video tour for more). On top of that they have increased the area taken up by the player pop-up window on the standby screen.
Unlike the Nokia 5730 XpressMusic, this phone comes armed with a low-end camera module with “Full Focus” (EDOF), although mind the fact that it doesn’t have autofocus – on the contrary, it has a fixed focal point and shoots only objects that’s 50 cm away or farther. While Nokia claims that this technology allows for much quicker shots (since you don’t need to make the camera focus), I urge you to disregard this misinformation, as it’s just another way of saying that the 5630 XpressMusic packs in an entry-level camera without autofocus. Unfortunately, we can’t offer you a plethora of image samples just yet. The handset’s video recording department is limited to VGA resolution and 15 FPS.
The 5630 XpressMusic’s call quality was never an issue. Its ring tone volume was acceptable, while the vibro alert proved to be of average strength, or slightly below that. Nothing to talk about here.
What we will comment on, however, is the 5630 XpressMusic’s interface speed – it’s been increased big time, largely thanks to the phone’s optimized software. It may even seem that it takes the 5630 merely 10-15 seconds to boot up, although in fact that’s the time it needs to render the home screen (while still initializing some of other modules).
But in other menus the speed boost doesn’t hinge on tricks like this – for instance, NGage games start up considerably faster. On top of that the 5630 XpressMusci manages to save more power by going into hibernation right after its backlight goes off – while it’s easy to bring it back to life by pressing any button, it’ll take the phone some time to render the home screen again. All in all, it stacked up very well against other phones on this front. Though you shouldn’t expect dazzling performance from it, let alone a 600 Mhz CPU. And to be honest, why would it need one anyway?
The phone’s NGage menu sports around 9 different titles, all Try&Buy, unfortunately.
The 5630 XpressMusic is set to land on most markets in mid April at the price point of 199 Euro (before taxes and subsidies), although it won’t be widely available – it’s a niche solution that didn’t really appeal to Nokia’s regional partners. Actually, the recently-announced Nokia 6260 Slide suffered the same fate, as it was showcased long before the launch event of other phones, in an effort to garner at least some attention. Nevertheless, the 5630 XM is still a likable offering.
Published 11 March 2009
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