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Review of Nokia C5 GSM/UMTS

Live photos of Nokia C5


  1. Positioning
  2. Design, size, controls
  3. Display
  4. Keypad
  5. Battery
  6. Memory
  7. USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  8. Camera
  9. Software details
  10. Impressions

In the box:

  • Phone
  • USB cable CA-101D
  • 2 GB memory card
  • Wired Stereo Headset WH-102
  • AC-8 Charger
  • BL-5CT Battery
  • User guide


This model is offered as a variation of Nokia 6303i with bigger keypad and S60, which is not important with the small screen. The handset attracts attention with 135 price tag at the beginning, but it is anyway higher than the current price of Nokia 6303. We have a niche solution and it will become popular only on separate markets among limited groups of consumers.

I will not explain for the second time why we cannot view this handset as a smartphone. It has been already done in the review of Nokia 6700 Slide.

This model is for those who like classic candybar phones with large buttons and use them for calls and in a lesser degree for text messaging and other purposes. Such consumers need good value for money and quality frame materials. Nokia C5 had to offer these features, but due to the bestseller on S40 this model will be less popular with its higher price. This is a model for impulse buying by people who like Nokia brand and are used to its candybar phones.

For the Chinese market the company offers a similar model with the identical index, but it has 5 MP camera and bigger screen. There are other differences and you should not be mistaken.

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Design, size, controls

This neat candybar with classic design is available in two colors white and dark grey. We reviewed a dark grey model with chrome band around the front cover and dark grey keypad. The back cover is made of silver colored metal with matted spraying. This spraying can wear off if scratched. The lower part features more bright metal. It is not the end of the world and if the back cover loses its matted spraying it will look homogeneous, but can irritate nonetheless.

Dual volume control button is on the right side and is sunk into the frame, which is not very convenient. Memory card slot is situated there as well and is closed with the fold out cap. The cap is not always easy to open.

The top features 3.5 mm headset jack, the standard charging socket and the microUSB connector (charging is supported).

Phone dimensions are 1124612.3 mm (4.40"x1.81"x0.48"), weight - 89 g (3.13 oz). The handset fits a shirt or a jeans pocket well.

Nokia C5 vs Nokia 6700 Slide:

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The handset uses 2.2" display with QVGA (240320) resolution. TFT matrix can boast of up to 16 million colors, picture brightness is average, but it is well visible under various conditions. In general the display is balanced, though it trails other Nokia models of the current generation. The screen fits up to 8 text lines and 3 status lines. In some modes you can see up to 14 text lines. The fonts are well legible.

In the sun visibility of information on the screen becomes an issue, first of all due to its size.

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Navigation key is large and pleasant to work with. Numeric keypad is raised and easy to use. Backlight of white color starts automatically, is always visible and balanced. The keypad is quite convenient. There are no complaints here.

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The phone is equipped with Li-Ion Battery BL-5CT of 1050 mAh. The manufacturer claims that the handset can work up to 12 hours in talk time mode and 630 hours on standby. If we compare this time with the results for the majority of the latest Nokia phones, we will see that our handset can stay alive two times longer. In real life the more long lasting models will work for 24 hours in such a mode, while this phone gives you 2.5-3 days.

Music playback time is up to 29 hours, video recording with maximum quality 180 minutes.

The average operation time in European networks is around 2.5-3 days. It includes 1 hour of talk time, you can also take two dozens of pictures, record around 2 minutes of video and have up to 2 hours of music or radio playback time. It takes about 2 hours for a full recharge.

The maximum operation time in different modes is the following:

  • Video playback – 8.5 hours
  • WEB surfing (EDGE connection) – 3.5 hours
  • Music playback with the use of headset – 32 hours
  • Radio – 32 hours

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The handset offers 128 MB of storage with 56 MB of free memory available for the user at the start. The traditional problem remains the same: when you open heavy web pages the phone may close the browser. In general, if you dont visit websites you wont experience any problems.

Around 50 MB of memory in the phone itself are available to users. You can store any data here.

The phone uses microSD memory cards, hot swappable, 2 GB in box, expandable to 16 GB.

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USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

USB. In USB settings 3 modes are available:

  • Data Transfer (Mass Storage USB) – here you have access to the phone memory and memory card without any drivers. The OS sees the phone without any help.
  • PC Suite – work with Nokia PC Suite, access to all handset functions, backup of all information, etc.
  • Image Print – photo printing.

Data transfer speed reaches 1 Mb/s.

Bluetooth. This smartphone uses Bluetooth version 2.0 with EDR support. The phone supports the following modules:

  • A2DP
  • BIP-ImagePush
  • DUN-GW
  • FT-Server
  • HandsFree-AG (1.0)
  • Headset-AG
  • OBEX
  • OPP-Client
  • OPP-Server
  • SIM Access-Server

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.

Wi-Fi. This model doesnt support Wi-Fi.

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The phone features 3.2- megapixel CMOS module with fixed focus and LED flash. It is a simple camera, which will not set the world on fire, but you can take pictures. This solution is typical for low end models. However, look at the pictures.

Samples of camera shots:

Video is recorded in VGA resolution (15 frames per second).

Video sample (mp4, 5,7 MB) >>>

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Software details

By and large everything is quite standard for S60 platform and as far as we have described all standard functions we invite you to read the corresponding material.

S60 3rd edition Feature Pack 2

The phone has no additional applications, but Bounce. Cost cutting can be seen everywhere. We have to mention the unusual though Nokia tips on how to use the phone. There is nothing spectacular, just pop-up help.

Let me show you the screenshots from the handset without any classification according to the software used.

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The ringtone volume is enough for the majority of situations, but its sound is not very clear. The same can be said about the performance of the speaker during the talk. There is a bit of vibration and the sound is not clear enough. I deliberately checked it with a number of phones on sale and in every case I had the same result. The quality of connection was normal, but the speaker spoils the picture. The same can be seen in Nokia 6730 Classic and Nokia 6700 Slide. It must be a sign of a low-end phone.

This model has typical features and capabilities. The absence of Wi-Fi can be a downside for those who use the appropriate features as you cannot stay online through GPRS without paying fortunes. Another drawback, apart from the already mentioned frame wear off, is unstable software. In particular, on the video you can see how the handset reloads when you enter the gallery and work with the camera (our sample was a fully functional commercial handset). The absence of the camera button does not irritate as much as this issue. I am sure that in subsequent firmware versions it will be addressed and the phone will be stable. I am also sure that the buyers of this model do not need the camera much.

The handset is priced at 135 and up. The price is high and the purchases will be either impulsive or its owners will have definite expectations as to the phone.

Surprisingly, I came to the same conclusions as in the case of Nokia 6700 Slide, which is another niche phone. I will repeat here that this model is interesting as a phone for calls. If your expectations are not too high, the handset will not disappoint you. It is a pleasant phone with expected flaws, but surprisingly without rivals. It is unrivaled, because in this price range similar phones are just not offered. The power of Nokia brand will do the trick and the model will have reasonable sales, at least in the beginning. Then its popularity will subside to a moderate level.

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

Review of Nokia 6700 Slide GSM/UMTS phone

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal

Published — 08 June 2010

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



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