Monday, February 25, 2008

Review: Nokia 5310 XpressMusic

By Reuben Lee
Nov 20, 2007

The thing about ultraslim phones (read: Less than 10mm thick) is that they usually come with some tradeoffs either in terms of features, functionality or in some cases, usability. However, that doesn't seem to be the issue with the 5310 XpressMusic. When we saw it showcased the first time at Nokia's GoPlay event earlier this year, it caught our attention with its slim form factor, bright colors and solid build quality. But what impressed us most was its extensive range of music features. From onboard 3.5mm audio jack and Bluetooth stereo to a memory expansion card slot and dedicated music playback buttons, you'd be hard-pressed to find a music-phone as slim and feature-packed as the 5310 XpressMusic.

There's something about the 5310 that makes you want to pick it up to use. It may not be the most attractive-looking or the thinnest handset you can find in the market today. But the combination of a 9.9mm-slim profile, bright color lines (red or blue) and a rather simple yet trendy design somehow makes the phone likeable for most people on first impressions. It also helps that once you pick it up, it's got comfortable and solid feel.

Even though the exterior casing is predominantly plastic, there are no creaky parts or plasticky-feeling keys on the phone. In fact, most of the buttons are responsive except for the "+" side of the volume toggle on the left edge. Those with larger digits may also take a while to get used to the five-way navigation key. We found the dedicated music buttons on the left panel of the screen very convenient for quick access to song playback.

Many thin phones these days use a single port for charging, headset and data transfer. This usually means you cannot do more than one task at anytime. The 5310, however, comes with three individual ports onboard for each of the functions, including one for data transfer via microUSB. We were pleasantly surprised to find a port for a 3.5mm audio jack, especially on a sub-10mm slim phone. This must surely be one feature that will win the hearts of music junkies who like the freedom of using their own earphones.

On the back of the handset, you can find the 2-megapixel camera and two tiny speaker slits. The camera lens juts out slightly, so extra care will have to be taken to avoid scratches and cracks. There are no LED lights or self-portrait mirrors, so it's a pretty basic feature-set for the camera.

The microSD card slot is located under the battery cover. This means you have to remove the battery cover in order to access the card. Fortunately, the slot itself is located beside the SIM card slot and not underneath the battery, so there is no need to remove the battery as well.

No comments: