Nokia 500 review: In search of Anna

GSMArena team, 24 October 2011.
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Unboxing the Nokia 500

The Nokia 500 omits a memory card in the box. It's a basic package, which only has the essentials: a compact charger, a microUSB cable and a single-piece headset.

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A basic set of accessories

Nokia 500 360-degree spin

The Nokia 500 is a reasonably compact phone at 111.3 x 53.8 x 14.4 mm, as long as the Nokia 700 isn't around. We're talking the same screen size and pretty much the same height and width - but the Nokia 500 is quite a lot chubbier.

Design and construction

The rich assortment of colorful back covers gives the Nokia 500 enough youth appeal but other than that, it's actually a conservatively designed phone. It's a touchscreen-bar device of simple styling and low-cost finish, nothing extravagant about it.

The curved rear makes it comfortable to hold and the soft rubbery finish is pleasant to touch though probably not very durable. Unfortunately the screen glass and the black glossy frame get covered in fingerprints in no time. The Nokia 500 requires regular cleaning if you want to keep it looking good. The soft rubbery finish of the back cover isn't particularly strong - it appears we managed to scratch it by simply pocketing it or putting it on tables.

The front is dominated by the 3.2" nHD (360x640) capacitive touchscreen. The resolution fits the screen size nicely and the display looks good with pleasingly vibrant colors and enough detail. It's just not as crisp and punchy as a ClearBlack screen.

Unfortunately, outdoor performance is average, bordering on poor. With brightness set at maximum it will do on most occasions.

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The Nokia 500

Under the display you'll find the two call buttons, the Menu key in between. Just above them, in the display bezel, is the Nokia 500 microphone. The earpiece is above the display where you also have an ambient light detector and a proximity sensor to disable the display during calls.

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There are a few things below and under the Nokia 500 display

The right side of the phone features the Lock button, which replaces the lock slider usually found on Symbian handsets. The thin, but tactile, volume rocker is above it.

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Right side of the phone • Lock button and Volume rocker

There's nothing to note on left side of the Nokia 500.

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Left side of the phone is bare

The top is where the connectivity ports are. The MicroUSB port is enabled for both charging and data connections. There's a standard Nokia 2mm charging port, as well as a 3.5mm audio jack. All ports are unprotected so they are prone to dust, but have nothing to get in the way when you are actually using them.

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Top of the phone • 2 mm charging connector • MicroUSB connector • 3.5mm audio jack

The bottom of the device only holds the lanyard eyelet.

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Lanyard eyelet at the bottom

Our Nokia 500 unit is all black but it came with an extra couple of rear covers, in red and blue. The back cover wraps around the phone's bottom to create a nice color accent. Unlike the standard black cover, those two weren't so prone to smudges. The phone does look fresher too, with a bit of color.

At the back you see the 5 MP camera lens and the loudspeaker grill. There's no flash on the Nokia 500 and no camera key either - a virtual shutter is all there is. A Nokia logo is nicely etched out in the soft rubbery surface.

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The back holds the camera lens and loudspeaker

A 1110 mAh Li-Ion battery powers the handset, with both the SIM compartment and microSD card slot under it.

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Changeable back panel • Battery, SIM and MicroSD card slot

The Nokia 500 is quoted at up to 500h of 2G standby and 455h in 3G. Talk times are 7h and 5h respectively.

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The Nokia 500 at ours

The Nokia 500 feels comfortable in the hand and isn't a hassle to carry around. It's a simple design free of embellishments and we don't mind the plastic finish. Exchangeable back covers are the only design feature to note.

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