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Review of Nokia 5250 GSM Smartphone

Live photos of Nokia 5250


  1. Positioning
  2. Design, dimensions and controls
  3. Display
  4. Keypad and Text Input
  5. Battery
  6. Memory
  7. USB, Bluetooth
  8. Camera
  9. Impressions

In the box:

  • Nokia 5250
  • BL-4U Li-Ion battery
  • WH-102 wired stereo headset
  • AC-8 charger
  • User guide


This is another attempt of Nokia to compete with cheap touchscreen models from Korea and beat them playing their own game. The majority of cheap touchscreen models have 2.8″ screens, while S60 handsets traditionally offer 3.2″. They often differ and some of them come with mirror layer to improve performance in the sun. By and large all these screens have comparable features and provide equal user experience. The switch to 2.8″ for Nokia is an opportunity to reduce the cost of its solutions and bridge the gap with Korean manufacturers. It is unlikely to overtake Samsung and LG as they decrease the price of 2.8″ models and start offering bigger screens in this price range. Nevertheless, Nokia will be able to get a sizeable portion of the segment. One controversial issue comes to the fore here Ц more specifically the competition with its own handsets, when the lower price leads to the choice of a cheaper model. Many consumers choose the phone by brand, price and features. Nokia 5250 is truly the cheapest touchscreen Nokia. S40 Touch will hit the shelves later and we cannot treat them as genuine touchscreen phones. Small screen and the absence of virtual keypads will be considered as a serious drawback by many.

Nokia 5250 can be used as the first touchscreen for a particular consumer. This accessible solution must attract users looking for relatively inexpensive models and who are not ready to pay more, but still need precisely Nokia with a touchscreen. There are many alternatives on the market, but Nokia offers only this model for such a low price.

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Design, dimensions and controls

Smaller screen allows for more compact body - 105х50х14 mm versus 111х51.7х15.5 mm in Nokia 5228. It weighs 106 g (5228 - 115 g) and fits any hand, though you can still feel its weight. The explanation is under the battery in the form of a bigger board. I guess it is just cheaper this way.

The build is so tight that even if you squeeze it hard you will not hear anything. This is a major difference from other Nokia touchscreen models, which have minimal looseness. The plastic is of decent quality with a texture, so there are no fingerprints or scratches here.

Especially for those who think that smaller screen makes life difficult you get the stylus in the box. The battery cover takes only a part of the back side, which contributes to its secure fixation.

The ergonomics of the model is different, because the speaker is on the back and you cannot block it. When located on the table it sounds even louder.

The top hosts a 2 mm charger jack, 3.5 mm headset jack together with microUSB port. The right side features the volume rocker, camera button and screen lock slider. The slider remains straight at all times due to a different construction in comparison with previous models.

Nokia 5250 comes in three colors Ц red, blue and grey. On Nokia website you see only 2 colors (there is no red there) as of now and it will probably appear later on.

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This 2.8″ 16:9 screen of 640х360 (35х62 mm) resolution has up to 16 million colors and boasts a bright picture. It still loses out to models with 3.2″ screens. It is awful in the sun and becomes almost completely illegible (due to small size and the absence of mirror layer). Inside the screen works fine, but the viewing angles are minimal and at a 45 degrees angle the picture also becomes illegible. Taking into account the low end nature of the screen we can consider it acceptable.

The screen rotates automatically depending on the phone location. The turn takes one second or less. The screen is on the same level with the body.

This is a resistive touchscreen, so it reacts to the stylus from the box. I did not like that the screen takes time to react as in first 5800 samples, while Nokia 5228 does not suffer from this problem. It may be influenced by the screen size, but I think it is more connected with the matrix itself.

The screen fits up to 14 text lines and 3 service lines. It is ideal for watching video, photos and long lists.

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Keypad and Text Input

There are three hardware buttons on the front panel Ц 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.

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The phone features a 1000 mAh Li-Ion BL-4U battery. The manufacturer claims up to 8 hours of talktime and 450 hours on standby. Music playback is up to 24 hours, video recording with the maximum quality is up to 170 minutes and video playback is up to 4.5 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:

  • Video playback – 3 hours 20 minutes (H.264 in the hands free talking mode)
  • WEB surfing (EDGE connection) – 4 hours
  • Music playback with headphones – 23 hours
  • Radio – 25.5 hours

Smaller screen is beneficial for many modes as it helps to save power. At the same time in the player mode you feel the difference of - 30% in comparison with Nokia 5228, which offers better performance in this area.

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The model has 128 MB of RAM and after the operation starts 50-60 MB are free. The user can also have around 50 MB in the phone to store data. We tested the operation with a 32 GB memory card, which was easily detected. The cards are not hot swappable, because the slot is situated under the battery.

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USB, Bluetooth

USB. In USB settings you can select up to 4 operation modes:

  • Data Transfer (Mass Storage USB) – the phone memory and memory cards are detected; no drivers required and the OS recognizes the handset without additional help.
  • PC Suite – work with Nokia PC Suite, access to all phone features, back up of all data, etc.
  • Image Transfer – transfer of photos.
  • Media Transfer – transfer of multimedia files (MTP).

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:

  • Dial Up Networking Profile (Gateway)
  • Object Push Profile (Server and Client)
  • File Transfer Profile (Server)
  • Hands Free Profile (Audio Gateway)
  • Headset Profile (Audio Gateway)
  • Basic Imaging Profile (Image Push Responder and Initiator)
  • Remote SIM Access Profile (Server)
  • Device Identification Profile
  • Phone Book Access Profile (Server)
  • Stereo Audio Streaming:
  • Generic Audio/Video Distribution Profile
  • Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (A/V Remote Control Target)
  • Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (Audio Source)

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.

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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:

  • Print 2M – Large
  • Print 0.8M – Medium
  • Multimedia message 0.3M

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 Ц 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 Ц automatic, Sunny, Cloudy, Incandescent and Fluorescent. Sepia, Black&White, Negative and Vivid effects can be applied. There are only two shooting modes Ц 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.

ѕример видео (mp4, 6,7 мб) >>>

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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 weak and cannot be felt at all times.

According to Nokia this model should fetch И115 without taxes, which automatically catapults it into the position of the cheapest touchscreen model of the company (as we agreed not to bring S40 Touch into the equation). Smaller screen leads to certain limitations and this model is not as convenient to use as its "senior" predecessors. In the box you cannot find a memory card or a USB cable, but this frugality is justified.

Nokia 5228 and Nokia 5250 have a very similar price at the moment or 5250 is a bit cheaper. In this case it is wiser to buy Nokia 5228, while the sales of Nokia 5250 will skyrocket when its price drops by И15-20. The handset will enjoy good sells then, but it still cannot compete with Korean touchscreen models priced under И100, which is the main downside of the phone. It is good for Nokia fans, but for others it just misses the mark.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion be known to the author and everybody else.

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Related links

S60 5th edition software

Review of the Nokia 5228 GSM Smartphone

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal
Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published — 26 September 2010

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



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