Nokia 5530 XpressMusic review: Winner by design

GSMArena team, 20 August 2009.
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Retail package on a budget

The retail package was perhaps the best part of the 5800 XpressMusic deal - you got a bag of goodies and at a bargain price too. The 5530 is not as keen to please covering only the basics - no TV-out cable, not even an extra plectrum-shaped stylus. The 4GB microSD card is probably the most valuable item on the list.

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No surprises in the box this time

The supplied Nokia WH-205 headset is one-piece but it seems better than standard (it's identical to the one we found in the Nokia 5730 box). The white earbuds don't match the color scheme of the phone though. Alternative headphones are of course an option given the 3.5 mm audio jack but you'll loose the call/music remote.

The enclosed microUSB cable is quite short - the 20cm variety they usually ship with lower midrange Nokia phones.

Nokia 5530 XpressMusic 360-degree spin

Nokia 5530 XpressMusic stands at 104 x 49 x 13 mm in its full touchscreen shine. That totals a volume of 68cc - almost 20% less than the 5800. You'll immediately appreciate the compact appearance and feel of the phone. In fact we were quite surprised at how palm-friendly it really is - those press shots can hardly prepare you for that.

The weight of 107g compares very favorably against other touchscreen phones in the class though it's just 2 grams less than the 5800. Considering the reduction in size, we were hoping for a bit more.

We thought that the 5800 felt very well in hand and pocket, but the thinner and shorter 5530 does much better. Single-handed operation is a breeze.

Design and construction

The elongated body is the most notable design feature of the XpressMusic touchscreens. The 16:9 display is of course the reason and the aspect ratio is great for watching widescreen videos.

The touchscreen form factor is limiting to the choices of styling and with the 5530 XpressMusic, Nokia tried to stay as close as possible to their current in-house design.

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The styling is simple but by no means cheaper than the 5800 XpressMusic

Up front, the touchscreen is recessed into its frame but that doesn't get in the way of accessing the screen edges. The color accents on the sides are a nice touch and there will be several combinations available - Red on black, Blue on white, Grey on black, Pink on white, Yellow on white. The pink version will have a floral dotted pattern the others lack.

The phone is noticeably thinner than its predecessor and is the size of non-touchscreen phones - it'll squeeze into pockets just like that.

The front is understandably dominated by the touchscreen, all 2.9 inches of it. Loosing 0.3 of an inch from the screen diagonal is a fair trade off for the device getting full 7 millimeters shorter. We'll get back to the screen later, as it sure deserves proper inspection.

The front of the 5530 is completely touch-operated - even the call keys and the menu keys are touch-sensitive. The Media key is here again - it triggers a drop down menu of shortcuts to media and web. A proximity sensor also takes part of the real estate up front.

Nokia 5530 XpressMusic
Nothing says "multimedia" louder than a touch-enabled Media key

The Call and End keys, and the menu key in the middle, are just 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 can also terminate apps.

A certain downside perhaps is that the touch sensitive keys need more thumb pressure than the touchscreen itself - at times that could be confusing for users who have all the right to expect one and the same response from their touch input.

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The three keys below the display

While we're still at it, let's check out the grills top and bottom. Those in fact hide the stereo speakers - perfect layout for watching videos landscape.

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