Nokia 5230 review: Foot soldiers get smarter

GSMArena team, 12 December 2009.
Pages: 12345678Ľ

Introduction

When touchscreen handsets start to take over the lower segments of the market you know the rules of the game have changed. The Nokia 5230 is a smartphone but it doesnít mind rubbing shoulders with the common run of handsets. So, itís free to explore grounds where few smartphones have ever gone, let alone full touchscreen gadgets.

Nokia 5230 Nokia 5230 Nokia 5230
Nokia 5230 official photos

The land of affordability was the last territory for touchscreen phones to settle in and not quite the place smartphones would call home. So it was, but Nokia just wonít wait for a special invitation when a niche is wide open. And theyíve got quite a fleet already of low key touchscreen smartphones thatís certain to make an impact. The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic had a great bang for the buck and the 5230 is welcome to try and beat the bargain.

Cheap is nice but free is even better Ė and we guess the 5230 will be available both ways through retail stores and carriers. But letís see what it has and whatís been left out.

Key features:

  • 3.2" 16M-color TFT LCD 16:9 touchscreen display (360 x 640 pixels)
  • Symbian S60 5th edition
  • ARM 11 434 MHz CPU, 128MB RAM memory
  • Quad-band GSM support
  • 3G with HSDPA 3.6Mbps support
  • Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS support; Ovi maps
  • 2 megapixel fixed focus camera with and VGA@30fps video
  • microSD card memory expansion
  • FM radio with RDS
  • Bluetooth with A2DP and USB v2.0
  • Standard 3.5mm audio jack
  • Accelerometer sensor for automatic UI rotation, motion-based gaming and turn-to-mute
  • Ovi integration (direct image and video uploads, Ovi Contacts)
  • Landscape on-screen virtual QWERTY keyboard
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Price tag on the cheap side
  • Changeable color battery covers (two extra ones available in-box)
  • Plectrum dongle available in the retail package

Main disadvantages:

  • No Wi-Fi support
  • Display has poor sunlight legibility
  • 3rd party software is still somewhat limited
  • Basic camera
  • Doesn't charge off its microUSB port
  • No smart dialing
  • No DivX/XviD video support out of the box
  • No TV-out functionality
  • No data-cable or memory card in retail package
  • No office document viewer
  • Poor loudspeaker volume

Itís pretty obvious where Nokia are heading with the 5230. In this price range it is impossible to give users every available feature, so the Finns are at least giving them a choice.

There is Nokia 5230, 5530 XpressMusic,and that basically means you can choose between Wi-Fi and 3G with GPS. You can have them all in a single device too, but for a price premium (5800 XpressMusic). Custom made phones to completely match oneís taste and needs are not yet an option. You donít get to choose the level of equipment like you would when buying a car. So, until that becomes available Ė if ever Ė we cannot see a better dealing with the problem than Nokiaís approach.

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Nokia 5230 at ours

The R&D costs to release three similar models are probably low enough and there may be plenty of users to find the given choice absolutely adequate. Whatís left to see is if there are any differences in performance or is it just the level of equipment that sets those three handsets apart.

The review begins on the next page, and all of you bargain-hunters are welcome to unboxing and hardware check up.

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