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Review of GSM-handset Nokia 5130 XpressMusic

Live photos of Nokia 5130 XpressMusic

Table of contents:

  1. Positioning
  2. Design, Size, Controls
  3. Display
  4. Keypad
  5. Battery
  6. Memory, Memory cards
  7. Performance
  8. USB, Bluetooth
  9. Camera
  10. Menu, themes, applications, games
  11. Music Department
  12. Impressions

Sales package:

  • Handset
  • 1020 mAh Li-Ion battery (BL-5C)
  • Charger (AC-3)
  • 1 Gb microSD memory card
  • USB data cable
  • Wired stereo-headset (WH-102)
  • User Guide


What do you need to do to make your competition's life tougher than ever? Not much, really launch an adequately priced phone that will push the bottom line of its price-bracket down, so that everyone will have to readjust and play your game. Over at Nokia they have definitely done the homework and learned a couple of invaluable lessons from the past with the financial crisis raging across the street and most manufacturers changing their primary focus to profit margins (except for Samsung), Nokia is about to trip them up. When Sony Ericsson and Motorola publicly announce their new market strategies, they should always be ready to deal with the consequences, which come along in the form of Nokias decently specd solutions with very affordable price tags scheduled for Q4 of 2008 and early 2009.

The Nokia 5130 gives a start to their new music-minded range and at the same time poses a serious challenge to all other phone makers aiming at this segment. The 5130s main strength is its 90 Euro price tag coupled with a pretty big memory card found in the box. Offerings like this used to retail for 150 Euro and more; however, Nokia chimes in with a new set of rules that everyone else will have to play by, or leave. And there is no third option. Furthermore, the launch of the Nokia 5130 has already disturbed the plans of many marketing departments and broken many short-sighted forecasts, simply because the vast majority of its potential rivals slotted for early 2009 were positioned at 120-130 Euro price point. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out whats going to follow. Also, there is no use to deny that the cheapest XpressMusic handset to date is the second nail in Walkmans coffin as you probably remember, the Nokia 5800 was the first one. While offering superior music quality and comparable functionality, Nokia-branded solutions cost much less, which results in a huge competitive advantage.

The Nokia 5130 is positioned as a phone for those who are in the market for a decent music playing solution with an affordable price tag. All in all, its the cheapest solution of its kind to date with no alternatives whatsoever.

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Design, Size, Controls

The Nokia 5130 comes in a choice of two colors, much like most other XpressMusic-branded phones red and blue; although in either case the front fascia is decked out in black glossy plastic. The navigation button, along with the strip running along the sides, is color-keyed to the casings trim. The battery cover is another place where these two color schemes differ its either dark blue or carmine respectively. To be frank, we were surprised by how well the 5130 XpressMusic was built the back cover didnt feel loose at all, and the casing didnt squeak in the hand.

Video, looks, menu, user interface (wmv, 32,7 mb) >>>

The phone measures 107.5x46.7x14.8 mm and tips our scales at just 88 grams with this size its quite palm-friendly and will fit right into your hands.

Nokia 5130 vs Nokia 5310:

Housed on the top end is the microUSB slot, covered by a plastic flap, along with the 3.5 mm jack and 2 mm charger socket.

Sitting on the left-hand spine are three music keys, while on the face above there are three glowing symbols standing for what each of these buttons does (also color-keyed to the rest of the casing).

Mounted on the right is the volume rocker and microSD memory expansion slot.

Around back is the 2 Mpix camera lens.

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The 5130s display sports 2-inch diagonal and a resolution of 240x320 pixels (31x41 mm), showing up to 16 million colors. All this results in a bright and vibrant picture. This model is actually notable for its quite decent display.

The display remains readable in the sun (TFT), which is mainly due to the tinted protective layer. However, even this screen starts glaring heavy on some occasions, so you will need to find the right angle. Regrettably, given the displays relatively tiny diagonal, it is not very convenient to use outdoors, which is also true of other phones with 2-inch screens onboard.

The display accommodates up to 9 text and 3 services lines. The font size wont give you any trouble, furthermore, you can manually adjust its size for some modes and applications.

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The 5130s buttons are made of glossy plastic, similar to that used in the front fascia; the good news is that they are all pretty big, but on the other hand, they felt on the stiff side and we found that they werent spaced out as wed like them to be. But on balance the keypad was relatively easy to handle, although we cant say its ergonomics were stellar. All buttons were evenly lit in white.

At the same time, I really liked the phones navigation button it was on the larger side, quite soft at that, and therefore a cinch to use.

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The handset comes with BL-5C battery a 1020 mAh Li-Ion cell. As the maker claims, it is good for up to 6 hours of talk time and 290 hours of standby. In Moscow, our 5130 lasted around 3 days with 3 hours of music, 1,5 hours of calls and very few SMS. So most users may expect it to stay online about 2-3 days with their usage patterns. The longest music playback time we managed to squeeze out of it (native headphones, max volume settings) was 19 hours 50 minutes (radio module enabled). It takes the 5130 1 hour and 50 minutes to charge from empty to full.

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Memory, Memory cards

The handset ships with around 17 Mb of storage that can be managed by the user. The microSD memory expansion slot is housed on the right-hand spine, and on top of that, it allows you to swap cards on the fly. The maximum memory card size supported by the device is unlimited we plugged in our 8 Gb unit and experience absolutely no problems with it.

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JAR-file size limit 1 Mb, heap up to 2 Mb. The 5130 is no different from its platforms average results performance wise.

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USB, Bluetooth

USB. The Nokia 5130 comes with the microUSB socket, housed on the top edge of the phone. This socket is used for plugging in the bundled data cable.

The vendor says that the handset supports USB 2.0, and it does indeed, in USB Mass Storage mode the connection via USB cable puts up reasonable data transfer speed which makes up about 500-600 Kb/s.

Upon successful connection you can pick one of the following modes: USB Mass Storage, PC Studio, or modem mode. Plus the 5130 supports MTP protocol.

Bluetooth. The handset comes with EDR-enabled Bluetooth 2.0. The following profiles are supported:

  • Dial-Up Networking Profile
  • Generic Access Profile
  • Generic Object Exchange Profile
  • Object Push Profile
  • Serial Port Profile
  • Handsfree Profile
  • Headset Profile
  • Synchronization Profile
  • Basic Image Profile
  • File Transfer Profile
  • HID (host) Profile
  • Stereo Advanced Audio Distribution Profile
  • Advanced Audio/Video Remote Conference Profile

The Bluetooth implementation is, as always though, nothing to complain about, we encountered no issues with handling this type of connections. The stereo-headset also worked fine. The 5130s Bluetooth speed tops out at around 170-180 Kb/s.

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This handset has 2mpx camera (CMOS) which is not that much by todays standards, but it is still pretty much sufficient for a mid-tier offering. Nokia has decided not to bet on the camera part, it is more of an optional feature here. This is why cameras module picked for 5130 is one of the cheapest units out there, and provides average quality.

The following resolutions are supported:

  • 1600x1200
  • 1280x1024
  • 1280x960
  • 800x600
  • 640x480
  • 320x240
  • 160x120

The two lower resolutions were added so as to allow the user to take photos that would fit as wallpapers for the display. Three JPEG compression types are supported: basic, normal, high. Considering the fact that photos do not blow your imagination away, it is better to go for the top quality, it wont get any worse after all.

The shutter sound can be disabled, also there is a 8x digital zoom, but there is no reason to use it. You can save photos in the internal memory or on the memory card.

Some effects can be applied to already saved photos, should they be used initially it is up to you to decide. Such effects as False Colours, Greyscale, Sepia, Negative, Solarize are available.

For those who love to shoot a lot of photos at once, there is special mode for you camera makes up to 3 shots at a time, all settings remain similar to those selected for the single shot mode, including the resolution. There is an auto-timer for self-shots.

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Video. The handset allows recording video in 3GP format, available resolution 128x96 pixels, or 176x144 pixels. There are three recording quality settings available. You can limit a recordings length, but it also can be unlimited, so the 5130 will go on until the memory runs out (memory card or internal memory). Effects can be applied for video just as they can be applied for photos, they are all the same.

Video sample (3gp, 256 kb) >>>

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Menu, themes, applications, games

The handset runs S40 6th edition, so we are not going to go over its core functionality here again you can learn more about its standard features in our dedicated write-up.

Software features of Nokia S40 5th Edition

The 5130 offers a couple of themes, but they are nothing out of this world.

The handset comes preinstalled with an array of games - Snake III, Bounce Tales, Rally 3D.

The Applications section includes such standard functions like World Time, Converter, Widsets installer, and Nokias catalogue for uploading new apps.

Opera Mini needs no introductions; it comes preinstalled on most S40-based phones.

Nokia Sensor will certainly appeal to the youth.

Share on Ovi this application will help you store various data on Ovi servers.

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Music Department

Lets start with the fact that the 5130 XpressMusic comes boxed with a bog-standard headset with plastic earbuds, which is exactly what youd expect to find in one box with a 90 Euro worth phone. And this is the reason why you show throw them away first thing thankfully there is the 3.5 mm audio jack on the phone, so that youll be able to plug in your favorite pair of headphones.

The 5130 XpressMusic ships with a generic S40 player application well get to its functionality later, but for now let me note that it comes with several neat themes that havent been seen before. Much like all other XpressMusic-branded phones, this one houses a dedicated audio chip that makes for quite decent music quality all in all, we found that the 5130 was in line with Samsungs music playing phones and significantly better than Walkman handsets volume-wise. While in the speakerphone mode the 5130 plays music through its sole speaker, which is reasonably loud, but on balance we cant recommend it as a portable jukebox.

The display shows data on artist, album, and even album art, if it is available in the current tracks tag. The navigation pad does pretty much standard things (jumping between tracks, fast forward, and stop/pause). The progressive fast forward feature is finally here, however when you only start skipping forward, it goes at a 5 second step.

The playback modes available with the 5130s player are: sequential, random, repeat one track/all tracks.

Outside the player application you can access the Stereo Widening feature. Also, there are seven five-band equalizers with 5 presets (Normal, Pop, Rock, Jazz, Classical) and two user-manageable setups.

The music library can be categorized with the help of the following filters:

  • All tracks every song stored in the phone.
  • Artists tracks sorted by artist.
  • Albums shows songs depending on album.
  • Genres classic, rock and so on.
  • Composers filters your media content by composers.
  • Playlists. Another set of filters, including Favorites (you can throw any track onto this list either while its playing or when browsing categories), Most popular and Recent tracks, Recently added and My tracks. A very interesting set of filters that might be quite useful.

Your own playlists may be composed either on a PC or on your handset. Unlike the previous edition, with the 5130 you can pick either stand-alone tracks to add them onto your playlist, or entire albums or all tracks from a specific artist, etc, which is a really handy option to have.

Music upload a stand-alone item in the menu, that includes only a link to Nokias site for the time being, and once the Nokia Recommendation service gets online, it will lead right to it as well. Apart from AAC, eAAC, eAAC+ and MP3, Nokias player also supports WMA format. You can also beam sound to a wireless Bluetooth-powered headset, or skip forward/backward wirelessly.

Stereo Widening allows extending the stereo base.

Back to the table of contents >>>


The 5130 XpressMusics loudspeaker is reasonably loud, so that you wont miss a call in most environments. The vibro alert is a tad above average strength-wise. And as far as call quality is concerned we found nothing to fault this phone for.

The Nokia 5130 is set to land some time in February and will retail for 90 Euro or so (before subsidies), which puts it miles above the competition. It seems that Nokia have finally gotten serious about clearing up some more room for themselves on the market. As far as its competition goes, the only phone we can only think of is the Sony Ericsson W200i, however it comes with a worse sales package, offers much less functionality and saying that its got a comparable display would be a stretch. Plus it goes for 100 Euro or so, and while it might drop a couple of Euros by the first quarter of 2009, there is no reason to believe that it will see a sudden surge in demand.

On balance, the Nokia 5130 falls just a hair short of breakthrough you could argue that its plastic feels somewhat cheap, but in the end it all comes down to price and functionality and on this front the 5130 is second to none. See how the Sony Ericsson W302 fares against its feature pack and youll definitely see what we are getting at. And to sweeten the deal, the 5130 comes armed with a dedicated audio processor that makes for a pretty decent audio quality. All in all, for measly 90 Euros its as good as it gets.

Related links

Software features of Nokia S40 5th Edition

Review of GSM-handset Nokia 5310 XpressMusic

Review of GSM-handset Sony Ericsson W200i

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Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Oleg Kononosov (oleg.kononosov@mobile-review.com)

Published — 01 December 2008

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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