Nokia 5250 review: Back to basics

GSMArena team, 20 October 2010.
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Basic video player

To begin with, a 2.8-inch screen is hardly the best thing to watch videos on. The lack of DivX and XviD codec support on the Nokia 5250 doesn’t help either.

Of course, you can use the Ovi PC Suite built-in application that automatically converts all kinds of video files to the format and resolution your phone supports. The automatic converter though seems to compress the videos too much, even at the highest quality setting, and they look over-pixelated but so far it's the easiest way of getting compatible video content to your handset.

Nokia 5250 Nokia 5250
The video player is somewhat of a disappointment

The video player itself only works in fullscreen landscape mode but, since anything else would have made the widescreen display useless, this is understandable. When in fullscreen, a tap on the screen shows the controls which are normally hidden.

Using the RealPlayer, you can not only watch the videos saved in the phone's memory or in the memory card but also to stream Internet video content.

FM radio with RDS

The FM radio on Nokia 5250 has a neat and simple interface and can automatically scan and save the available stations in your area. It also has RDS support and automatic scanning for an alternative frequency. This means that if you're on the go, the 5250 should take care of staying tuned to your selected radio station.

Nokia 5250 Nokia 5250
We have no grudges with the FM radio

Pretty good audio quality

The audio output of the Nokia 5250 is quite good, the handset passing our traditional test with flying colors. It won't amaze you with loudness, but, considering the clean output both with and without headphones,we are willing to let that go.

It doesn't matter if you are using headphones or if you have pluged the 5250 in an active amplifier - the frequency response is great with deviations only detectable in lab conditions. The same holds true for the noise level and the dynamic range as well as the total harmonic distortion. Intermodulation distortion and stereo crosstalk increase when headphones come into play, but they still remain perfectly tolerable.

Here go the results so you can compare it to some of the other handsets we have tested so far.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Nokia 5250+0.03 -0.05-85.885.70.0034 0.018-82.2
Nokia 5250 (headphones attached)+0.64 -0.12-83.383.00.0077 0.305-55.8
Nokia X2+0.10 -0.87-85.785.60.0100 0.021-85.6
Nokia X2 (headphones attached)+0.56 -0.64-85.685.50.014 0.314-58.3
Nokia N8+0.07 -0.33-89.990.00.0059 0.015-90.9
Nokia N8 (headphones attached)+0.50 -0.18-89.989.90.016 0.300-55.6
BlackBerry Torch 9800+0.20, -3.87-89.087.50.00890.019-89.2
BlackBerry Torch 9800 (headphones attached)+0.27, -3.49-85.783.30.00880.248-40.4
Apple iPhone 4+0.01, -0.07-90.190.00.00680.012-89.6
Apple iPhone 4 (headphones attached)+0.01, -0.07-90.490.40.00360.092-68.4

Nokia 5250
Nokia 5250 frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

Poor 2 megapixel camera

Nokia 5250 has a 2 MP camera for a maximum image resolution of 1600x1200 pixels. There’s no auto focus or LED flash. Hardly the photography enthusiast’s dream, is it? Well, its performance isn’t anything to write home about either.

The camera UI can be quite confusing with all settings squeezed in a shared menu, which is no match for what some other manufacturers offer on their full-touch handsets.

Nokia 5250 Nokia 5250
Nokia 5250 Nokia 5250
The camera UI

On the positive side, the range of settings on the Nokia 5250 is extensive enough: from manual white balance and ISO to exposure compensation, sharpness and contrast. Various effects are also at hand, labeled color tones and there is also geo-tagging.

The viewfinder doesn't take the whole screen – a bar on the right is reserved for the touch controls. This way you get to see the whole frame rather than having a part of it cropped due to the aspect differences of the display and the sensor.

You have a settings button that launches a semi-transparent overlay of all available shooting options and an on-screen shutter key. With the lack of auto focus you might as well use that last one just as successfully as the regular shutter key.

No great expectations about the image quality turned out to be the right way to approach the Nokia 5250. The amount of resolved detail is pretty low and the contrast of the photos is a mixed bag. And with the noise also pretty high you get the idea that you better use the Nokia 5250 camera for taking contact pics only.

Nokia 5250 Nokia 5250 Nokia 5250
Nokia 5250 Nokia 5250

VGA videos

Video recording is definitely the better part of the Nokia 5250 imaging skills. The phone can shoot VGA at 30fps. Quite good, considering the 2 MP still shots. The relatively high compression results in lots of artifacts, but you still might consider the videos as ok, especially for an entry-level smartphone.

Nokia 5250 Nokia 5250
Nokia 5250 Nokia 5250
The camcorder UI

Videos are captured in MPEG-4 format and can have automatic or manual white balance. The other available settings are night mode, exposure and color effects.

Nokia 5250 camera sample video

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