Nokia 5500 Sport: First look

Michal Sedlák, 16 May 2006. Read the original review at MobilMania.cz
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Now we present you the first and only Nokia sport smartphone. The 5500 Sport model combines rubber and steel. It also has an uncommon square-shaped display and a bean-shaped body. It pronounces text messages and is prone to fingerprints.

Last Wednesday Nokia introduced a new splash and dust resistant model. It seemed that after the tourists' and climbers' favorite phones, 5140, 5140i and 5210 models, Nokia wouldn't introduce anything suitable for sand, slough and water. Nokia proved us wrong as they offer us the 5500 model running on Symbian 9.1.

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Nokia 5500 Sport official pictures

A Symbian phone doesn't have to be oversized

When saying the word "smartphone" the member of the mobile society is expecting a phone with huge size and most probably overweight. This time, everything is within the limits with Nokia 5500 Sport - size 107 x 45 x 18 mm; weight 103 g - this is more than satisfactory for a smartphone.

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Nokia 5500 Sport alive and from every side

Surprisingly, Nokia didn't offer us any of its famous color designs. I am holding in my hands a sample with brown and golden elements, with orange edges in front. There's no such version on the official photos. I like the eccentricity, but I rather consider this as a tasteless combination. Everyone has its own design flavour, of course.

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The phone, compared to a credit card • held in hand

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Compared to Nokia N70

The prototype wasn't able to start the operating system. That's why I will focus only on the body construction and rather express my first impressions. For the same reason I can't test the untypical for a Symbian phone resolution of 208 x 208 pixels.

5500 Sport is very comfortable to hold in hands due to its bean-shaped form - you have place to put your fingers on. Considering the fact that I'm testing a non-final sample, the construction is rather stable and doesn't creak. The upper part is firmly lined with a golden steel frame. There is a flashlight at the top, below it is the loudspeaker. The volume buttons and the camera release button are located on the left side.

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There is a steel frame all around the front cover

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Flashlight and loudspeaker • volume buttons • camera release button

Three modes

The Pencil button didn't fit into the main keypad area, so it has been placed on the right side, just under the Infrared port. Above them is a key for switching between three available phone modes. The music player and the sport mode are active all the time. They are run in background regime together with the phone application. We have already met a similar solution in Nokia N91.

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The backlighting is interesting - it is white when the classic mode is on, red when the sport mode is active and green when you're listening to music.

As part of the sport fashion, which the phone is intended for, 5500 measures the burnt calories, the walking or running speed, the distance and etc. There is a "correct way of living" application, too. Nokia 5500 can pronounce text with a mechanic voice. So, even during the exercises, you may set the phone to report the calories' status or when you are overloaded with work in the office the phone may read the incoming message without even holding it in your hands.

The music player function was not forgotten. There are HS-29 headphones with a cable remote control included in the package. The phone supports AMR, WMA, MP3, AAC and eAAC file formats. According to the specifications of the manufacturer the battery should keep the phone working for up to 10 hours while playing music. It is a Lithium-Ion battery with 860 mAh capacity, the indicated talk time reaches up to 270 min., stand-by - up to 240 h.

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The rubber cover of the connector • battery's metal cover with tight lock

The battery cover is made of metal as well. It has a rubber border surrounding it which includes the Pop-Port connector's rubber cover and the charger port. However, the rubber cover does not fit very well. Of course, this is a non-final sample, the retail phone will be "tight" properly for sure. I have to use a coin in order to open the battery cover. I have tried to take it off with a nail, but I couldn't - it is too tight.

The navigation button looks rather big compared to the whole phone body. However, I had to press the left and right ways with my nail, trying to avoid pressing the confirmation center. Probably my thumb is very big. The context keys under the display are very hard to press. The others are quite all right.

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The navigation button • the keypad • calls rejection receiver • the orange frame

Having in mind the fact that the phone has to be at least a little "armored", it's simply impossible to have a perfect keypad. I find the design of the calls control keys as a perfect one - there is a green and a red receiver at both ends of the orange frame. Pressing them is very clear and distinct and they are elegantly added in the complex design.

The music is floating

Nowadays, the mobile phone is a real music player. At least for most of us. The songs are saved into the phone fast and easy due to the Mass Storage support. There is a microSD memory card slot. Nokia will add a 64 MB card in the package, as much as the available internal memory of 5500.

On the back side of the new Nokia 5500 is located the 2 megapixel camera lens. Except for the maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels, it also offers video recording in 176 x 144 resolution. I can't switch on the prototype thus I can't guess whether there are exposure compensation and similar functions available.

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The built-in camera lens

There is GPRS and EDGE support for fast data transfers, both class 10. Infrared and Bluetooth are present for short distance transfers. The games would be more amusing when using the motion sensor function.

So far, the new shock, water, and dust resistant Nokia smartphone didn't impress me much. In another color variant like black-silver, for example, it looks like a cheap toy. The metal and well elaborated rubber parts are not enough. However, we'll wait for the final version. Maybe the outdoor Symbian will prove itself as a priceless powerful tool. Nokia 5500 Sport will be available this summer for about 300 EURO.

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