The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, which was released in October 2008 was the first Nokia phone to be released with the Symbian S60 5th Edition platform. Not only was it the first S60 5th Edition phone, but the Nokia 5800 also happens to be the first S60 phone that came with a touchscreen.
Being part of the XpressMusic range of phones, you’ll expect a lot in terms of performance and feature enhancements. So, Nokia went a level ahead with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic by adding support for controlling the text input and user interface navigation using either the provided stylus, plectrum or finger touch.
We start off by looking at the design of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.
Design (4 out of 5)
Looking from the front, one cannot help but notice that the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic looks somewhat similar to the iPhone. Only a little slimmer in width. Your initial thought when first looking at the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic phone is “iPhone wannabe killer”, but once you pick it up and get the hang and feel of it you start to appreciate its unique qualities.
Starting off with the color scheme, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic comes out of the box in a choice of three colors which are Black, Red and Blue. The next noticeable design feature of the phone is the TFT resistive touchscreen that measures 3.2 inches in length at a resolution of 360 x 640 pixels.
There is no hardware full QWERTY keyboard on the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, but what is on the front face, in addition to the TFT touchscreen, is the call and end softkeys which are separated by a third softkey for the menu. The Video call camera, sensors and ear piece all appear above the screen.
The sides come fitted with volume controls and a 16GB capacity microSD memory card slot. Also fitted on the side is the SIM compartment. This seems to be a strange design decision. To remove the SIM card you have to remove the battery and use the stylus to release the SIM card. Finally you get stereo speakers fitted on the left side of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.
Also included of course is the power button that appears on the top end of the phone and the 3.5 mm audio jack that appears right in between the power switch and the microUSB socket.
The back of the phone is reserved for the battery compartment. Right above the battery, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is fitted with a 3.15 MP, 2048x1536 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics and auto-focus camera. The camera is complemented by a dual-LED flash. From here, the stylus fits snugly into the phone, tucked away for convenience.
The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic weighs in at 109 grams. This makes it a pretty light phone for the 111 x 51.7 x 15.5 mm dimensions. The phone looks and feels tall but seems a little bulky from front to back. This is a plus for the phone design as it fits comfortably into your palms and fits in pretty comfortably into practically every pocket.
Generally this is a phone that comes with a simple look and feel that is easy and comfortable to handle.
User Interface (3 out of 5)
The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is pretty much another Symbian S60 5th Edition based Nokia phone. What does this mean? It means as far as the interface goes, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic conforms to some standards that are found in other Symbian S60 phones. The only thing is, touchscreen was not a standard as far as Symbian S60 goes.
Touchscreen features, especially when it comes to scrolling, are pretty inconsistent and that can be a little frustrating to the user. For instance on list menus one can use kinetic scrolling but not when scrolling through organizer entries.
To navigate around the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is pretty much similar to the standard Symbian s60 model which includes a Homescreen that comes in short of its potential. There is a basic one with virtually no functionality other than the icons at the bottom to launch the virtual number pad and the icon that opens the contacts. There is also an option to have a shortcut bar which accommodates four application icons, the running media and organizer items.
Going into the menu option should be familiar to S60 users. Icons are lined up in a grid just like other Symbian S60 phones. These give access to all the applications you would want by tapping on the icon with the finger, plectrum or stylus.
Features (4 out of 5)
The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic comes with a high resolution touchscreen with accelerometer. With a firmware update the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic becomes capable of kinetic scrolling, although this feature has not been implemented very well when compared to other phones like the iPhone.
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic allows you to change theme effects or switch them off entirely. The phone also allows you to change the menu mode that you use. The voice command features on the phone do not require one to prerecord the voice, it just works as is. Included is a virtual onscreen dialing pad as an alternative option to the voice dialing.
Also included in the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is a virtual full QWERTY keyboard with large keys and a smaller QWERTY keyboard that is suitable for use with the provided stylus or plectrum.
As far as messaging goes, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic supports multiple email accounts, it supports SMS, MMS and Instant Messaging and offers the option of T9 auto complete on text input. A photo editor, support for flash lite 3.0 and a TV-out connector are included. There is also support for Nokia Maps 3.0 touch which is now called Ovi Maps backed by an in-built A-GPS receiver. Other connectivity options include GPRS, EDGE, 3G HSPDA, 3.6 Mbps WLAN Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Version 2.0.
Memory includes a hot swappable 16GB microSD with 81MB internal memory. Internet browsing can be enjoyed with full HTML.
The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic can record up to 640 x 480 pixels at 30 fps as mp4 or 3gp. Audio can be recorded as WAV, AMR and AAC/MP4. Video playback with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic includes the following formats: MPEG4 and WMV and Video streaming on 3GPP and CIF. There is also a video editor on the phone.
The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is built for playing music and therefore this is what it has to offer. The phone has playlists with selection capabilities by artist, composers, album and genre. Album graphics display and audio visualizations are included. The phone comes with an 8-band graphic equalizer with bass booster, stereo widening and loudness. Music can be played back as MP3, SpMidi, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+ and WMA
The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic has dedicated volume keys and one click access to the Music Player from the Media Bar. Also included is a stereo FM radio with RDS and a choice of 3.5 mm audio headphone jack or integrated stereo speakers with surround sound.
All in all the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is a great phone for entertainment. The other call related and business functions of the phone are pretty much standard as compared to similar models on the market.
Performance (3 out of 5)
In general terms the performance of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic leaves a lot of mixed results and feelings. The touch navigation for the Symbian S60 was a good start but unfortunately it is still way behind all the competing brands. The phone attempts to make up for it with the large resolution screen which is a good strategy.
The phone is not as responsive as the other Nokia S60 phones, especially the E-Series range of phones. A speed boost would definitely do a lot for this phone. The accelerometer could have been put to better use when it comes to gaming on the native games provided, unfortunately it is not.
On the other hand, media capabilities are great, the sound quality is awesome and video playback is awesome as well. It is unfortunate that the screen is not too visible out in the sun and the quality of the pictures taken using the in-built camera are way below expectations.
The GPS with Ovi Maps is awesome and that is a boost especially using it on the large screen. Keep in mind though, that occasionally this phone tends to take its time getting a fix on the GPS satellites. One trick is to make sure Ovi Maps is used in online mode.
The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic performs very well when it comes to the call quality. Connectivity is pretty solid whether its voice, data, Bluetooth or cable.
The Verdict (3 out of 5)
The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic came in as a good start for the Nokia Symbian S60 5th edition series of phones. There are a few things that they could have improved on but despite that the phone is great. My favorite thing about this phone is the GPS Navigation with its large high resolution screen and of course its performance as an entertainment phone with its awesome sound and vivid graphics and screen contrast. The only drawback is that the screen is not great in the sun. The general design is great in terms of visual aesthetic and feel.
With great sound, great connectivity and a high resolution screen, this phone comes in today at about US$250 and I would say that it is worth the price. Just remember to upgrade it to its latest firmware version to get the most out of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.