Nokia 5250 review: Back to basics
Nokia 5250 unboxed
The Nokia 5250 is a no-frills smartphone with a limited set of accessories. There is the mandatory charger, a one-piece 3.5mm headset and the usual leaflets and guides.
Stylus fans will be glad to see that there's one enclosed with the phone. In fact it tucks inside the phone's body just as you would expect. We fins stylus input old school, but we know many people prefer it - especially with the 5230 smaller screen and not-so-thumbable Symbian UI.
There is no microSD memory card whatsoever and not even a USB cable in the retail box.
Nokia 5250 360-degree spin
The all-plastic Nokia 5250 measures 104 x 49 x 14 mm and weighs 107 grams – almost the same as the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic. All of Nokia’s current crop of fifty-something touchscreens have similar size and overall styling. When it comes to those, among the things you need to put up with are a disproportionately wide screen bezel and excessive thickness.
The Nokia 5250 will still fit in a pocket or purse trouble-free. And handling is reasonably comfortable in both portrait and in landscape mode.
Design and construction
There are many similarities between the 5250 and the elderly Nokia 5530 XpressMusic but they will surface once we take a look at software. As far as the design is concerned, there isn’t much that the two phones have in common (save for the size and weight).
The Nokia 5250 is the ideological successor of the 5800 XpressMusic but the styling is a bit closer to the X6. Chubby but reasonably good looking, the 5250 has a handful of paintjobs to choose from: Dark Grey, Blue, Red, Purple, and White. The glossy black front always stays the same – the only thing that changes is the color of the back and sides.
The 2.8” resistive nHD (360 x 640 pixels) display is the smallest touchscreen we’ve seen on a Nokia smartphone. Image quality is good enough though. The screen is vivid and colorful indoors but to work comfortably with text you’ll need a larger font setting.
Sunlight legibility is disappointing. Things haven’t changed a bit since the 5530 XpressMusic. And viewing angles could’ve been wider too.
The Nokia 5250 uses a resistive touchscreen as opposed to the capacitive displays in devices like Nokia X6 or the recently unveiled Nokia C6-01 and C7. We have no issues with its sensitivity though.
Above the display, are the earpiece and the proximity sensor. There is no ambient light sensor to optimize the screen brightness.
Right next to them is the trademark touch-sensitive Media key which opens a drop down menu of shortcuts to media and web.
The Call and End keys, each side of a Menu key, are the main hardware controls under the display. A press-and-hold on the menu key launches the task manager – in the long-standing Symbian tradition – to let you easily switch between running applications and to terminate apps.
The left-hand side of the Nokia 5250 is completely bare, save for the lanyard eyelet in the upper corner. And on the right we find the volume rocker, the lock switch and the camera key.
The top features the 3.5mm audio jack, the 2.5mm charger plug and the microUSB port (covered with a protective cap). The phone doesn’t support USB charging. The bottom only hosts the stylus.
At the rear, we find the camera lens at the top end and the loudspeaker grill all the way across. The 5250 loudspeaker turned quite a performer, by the way, but more on that later.
Under the rear cover is the 1000 mAh Li-Ion battery (BL-4U). Quoted at the impressive seven hours and forty minutes of talk time and 450 hours in stand-by mode, along with 24 hours of continuous music playback, it sounds like a set that won’t let you down. We didn’t have the time to properly test it but the small screen and the absence of power-hungry radios such as 3G, Wi-Fi and GPS certainly makes such claims sound credible.
Under the battery cover you can also find the SIM card compartment and the microSD card slot. The memory card is hot-swappable but you can only handle the SIM card after removing the battery.
The Nokia 5250 is inexpensive and that‘s all up front – there isn’t much in the retail package, lots of features are missing and the phone is completely made of plastic. It doesn’t feel cheap though and does what it says on the tin.
As a matter of fact, we’re pleased with the 5250 build quality – surprised wouldn’t be too much. The phone is solidly built and there were no wobbles and creaks while reviewing the thing. The Nokia 5250 handles nicely though it could’ve been at least a tad thinner.