Nokia 500 review: In search of Anna

GSMArena team, 24 October 2011.
Pages: 12345678Ľ

Introduction

The new generation of 1GHz Symbian- powered phones can get far. They need a place to start though and the Nokia 500 is happy to help. The common belief seems to be that there are more exciting things than Symbian on a budget. OK, well, the Nokia 500 is supposed to make you reconsider.

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Nokia 500 official pictures

Never mind the sound of a 1GHz processor, this phone doesnít mind starting small. The Nokia 500 is hitting the shelves with Anna inside and the upcoming Belle gives it extra value. By the way, the Nokia 500 seems to make enough sense even without the most recent software. The Finns have more than a handful of basic smartphones whose owners will be delighted at the news of a next smartphone for the masses.

Key features

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
  • Penta-band 3G with 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
  • 3.2" 16M-color TFT capacitive touchscreen of 640 x 360 pixel resolution
  • 5 megapixel fixed-focus camera and VGA video recording @ 15fps; geotagging
  • Symbian Anna OS
  • 1 GHz ARM 11 CPU and 256 MB RAM
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
  • GPS receiver with A-GPS support and free lifetime voice-guided navigation
  • Digital compass
  • microSD card slot
  • DivX and XviD video support
  • Built-in accelerometer and proximity sensor
  • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
  • Stereo FM Radio with RDS
  • microUSB port
  • Flash and Java support for the web browser
  • Stereo Bluetooth 2.1
  • Smart dialing and voice commands
  • Social networking integration
  • Exchangeable rear covers

Main disadvantages

  • Symbian Anna is still catching up with Android and iOS
  • Fixed focus flashless camera, poor image quality
  • Poor video recording quality
  • Relatively limited 3rd party software availability
  • Non-hot-swappable microSD card slot
  • No office document viewer
  • Video player not up to scratch
  • Significant lags in the browser

Nokia didnít skimp on hardware to give the 500 a bump in processor and data speed. The excellent connectivity package is hard to beat in the low end with goodies like free SatNav and penta-band HSPA coverage.

On the other hand, they needed to match the power hike with cuts in other departments. Itís always a matter of balance in the low end after all. The all-plastic finish and garden variety TFT display are things we can live with and we think the exchangeable covers will help the target audience agree.

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Nokia 500 live pictures

The low-end imaging and media are things to warn against but we guess a long list of limitations is hardly surprising for a basic smartphone.

Anyway, no point wasting time on lengthy introductions. This isnít the first time we meet the Nokia 500. We know what to expect but focus this time will be on the actual performance. Canít do without our traditional hardware inspection though, coming up after the break.

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