Due to launch in early August, the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic has the LG Cookie and Samsung Tocco Lite firmly in its sights as it guns for the cheap touchscreen top spot. Can Nokia reclaim ground lost to its Korean rivals or is the recent shift towards LG and Samsung just the tip of the iceberg. With alot riding on it, not least the companies pride, read on for our thoughts on the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic.
Firstly, just a quick introduction to give you an idea what the 5530 is all about. Nokia are fairly new to touchscreen territories. We saw the Nokia 5800, released at the start of the year, and most recently the Nokia N97, both fine devices but both aimed at the slightly higher price range. So what about those who want a Nokia touchscreen phone and fancy a bit of change to boot? Well, that’s where the 5530 comes in. With both Samsung and LG proving that there is huge demand for such devices, Nokia are eyeing up their slice of the pie.
First impressions are good. Nokia have slimmed down the 5530 in every department compared to its bigger brother the 5800. The 5530 is slimmer, shorter, thinner and even marginally lighter than the 5800. All this makes for a more pocket friendly and, more importantly, comfortable in hand device. The phone is small but still usable which is often a difficult balance to reach. This is heightened further by the use of premium materials in the 5530′s construction, specifically the stainless steel used for the front. This helps to deliver a classy look and feel to the 5530 and also features a nice textured design directly above and below the display. Unfortunately the back abandons the premium metals in favour of a single plastic cover though this is still comprised of high quality plastics and features a nice embossed Nokia logo which encapsulates the minimalist design.
The front of the phone is dominated by the 2.9 inch display. The front of the phone lacks physical buttons in favour of three semi-touch sensitive buttons that sit in the black border surrounding the display. These are call answer, end and menu and while they do look good, they certainly take some getting used to and aren’t as sensitive as the touch screen. At the top sits the power button, on the right side we get the camera buttons (zoom and capture) and the sliding lock key, on the left side we find a guard that opens to reveal the sim card and memory card slot and at the bottom we get the charger port, 3.5 mm jack and Micro USB port. One last addition, the 5530 features a stylus that slides out from the bottom left corner of the phone. While the 5530 may not win any awards for its design, it is a well made piece of kit with a quality look and feel and all the buttons found on the phone are easy to operate. Why Nokia insist on letting you insert the simcard from the outside without the ability to take it out without removing the battery is beyond me but it’s not a negative feature, just a slightly puzzling one.
Nokia have reduced the size of the touchscreen found in the 5800 from 3.2 inches down to 2.9. Apart from the physical size difference, it’s very much the same as the 5800 with the 5530 featuring the same pixel count of 360 x 640. The fact that the 5530 features the same amount of pixels in a smaller display actually makes for a brighter more vivid screen. The 5530 uses resistive touchscreen technology meaning you can use your fingers or the aforementioned stylus. Though it does lack the fluid feel of capacitive touchscreen phones such as the iPhone 3GS, the 5530 is still very responsive and accurate when using the stylus or just your fingers. Personally, i steered clear of the stylus as i find using one somewhat fiddly. Besides, the touchscreen is more than capable of keeping up with you fingers alone. Scrolling through menus is simple and effective (though it doesn’t quite capture the finesse of HTC’s finger swipe technology).
The 5530 also benefits from an accelerometer, a proximity sensor which switches the screen off when the phone is held to your face when on a call and handwriting recognition. The handwriting recognition takes some getting used to; you do have to very precise or have a good legible writing style for the phone to understand. For those who don’t get on with this feature, fear not; when texting or emailing you can use a standard on screen alpha numeric keypad (including predictive text) or turn the phone on its side and use a full QWERTY keyboard. This level of choice is a nice touch as it means each individual can find a way to use the phone that suits them best.
Ok, so that’s the design and touchscreen out of the way, tune in tomorrow for the second and final installment of our 5530 review as we take a look at the user interface, features and give our final thoughts.