Nokia 5530 XpressMusic review: Winner by design

GSMArena team, 20 August 2009.
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File manager is remarkable

The file manager is yet another aspect where the pedigree counts big time. With the soft keys at the bottom you can almost forget that you are looking at a new device.

The Symbian file management system has been top notch for quite a while now, and you can hardly think of anything to change. The application can basically do anything you can think of with your files - moving, copying renaming, sorting or sending - you name it. You can also password-protect your memory card if you see fit.

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The file manager has extensive functionality

Searching for a specific file or directory is also available with the phone. All you need to remember is a part of the desired name and where it was located (phone memory or memory card) the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic will find it in no time. This is actually a shortcut to the Search app naturally found in the Web submenu.

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Searching for Dexter

Music player needs a cooler look

The music player (identical to the 5800 XpressMusic one) is very similar to the S60 3rd edition versions. A few cosmetic changes here and there and touch-optimization is all that sets it apart.

Not that the music player isn't capable enough or something - it surely has more than enough functionality. However some more eye-candy would have been quite welcome. After all, touch interfaces are usually mostly about being fun to use and nice to look at.

Your music library is automatically sorted by artist, album, genre and composer and searching tracks by gradual typing is available. You can also create your own playlists in no time.

The process of adding tracks to the library is as simple as choosing the refresh option. You won't need to do that if you upload the music via the proprietary PC Suite application.

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The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic music player

With the huge number of supported formats you will hardly ever come across an audio file that the phone won't handle. Album art is also supported and if you don't like the default sound of the device you can enhance it by applying one of the five equalizer presets and if they seem insufficient you can create new ones in a matter of seconds.

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Six equalizer presets are available • creating a new one

Quite naturally, the player can also be minimized to play in background. In this case a tab appears on the stand-by screen indicating the currently running track. You can pause the current track or skip to next/previous. Of course, you can go back to the full music player app using the dedicated Media key above the screen.

Nokia 5530 XpressMusic
Music player running in the background

Fine-tuned audio quality

Well it may have been simply a marketing gimmick in the beginning but XpressMusic is now definitely meaning something. The audio quality of the other Nokia handsets is also quite steadily improving so that now they stand pretty close to the top of the pyramid.

Save for the slightly high intermodulation distortion, Nokia 5530 XpressMusic performs excellently in every part of our test. The frequency response is great with the slightly larger number that appears in the table is only due to the extreme heights of the audible range being slightly cut off.

Compared to the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic the 5530 has an edge in the stereo crosstalk reading, while in the other elements trails behind by the slightest of margins. Here goes the table and the graph so you can see for yourselves.

TestFrequency responseNoise levelDynamic rangeTHDIMD + NoiseStereo crosstalk
Nokia 5530 XpressMusic+0.11, -0.84-90.990.80.0100.454 -90.6
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic+0.09, -0.77-92.292.10.0130.297 -75.0
Nokia 5730 XpressMusic+0.10, -0.72-91.391.10.00860.360 -90.3
Nokia 5630 XpressMusic+0.13, -0.26-94.094.80.466 0.876-97.3
Nokia 5130 XpressMusic+0.04, -0.16-89.989.00.0033 0.014-83.6
Nokia 5310 XpressMusic+0.29, -1.69-94.492.00.015 0.491-73.8
Nokia 5220 XpressMusic+0.29, -1.64-91.790.30.012 0.612-73.1
Samsung S5230 Star+1.02, -2.41-88.087.80.0045 0.222-82.3
LG KP500 Cookie+0.13, -0.32-87.581.90.125 0.150-63.0
Apple iPod Touch 2G+0.04, -0.05-91.491.50.0027 0.012-90.0
Apple iPhone 3GS+0.01, -0.05-92.192.10.00350.011 -95.0

Nokia 5530 XpressMusic frequency response
Nokia 5530 XpressMusic frequency response graph

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

Video player below expectations

Watching a video on the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic is generally a pleasure. The built-in video player has decent functionality but only supports a very limited number of codecs, no DivX and XviD out of the box.

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The built-in video player

The Nokia PC suite has a 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 pixilated but so far it's the easiest way of getting compatible video to your handset.

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 or the Video center (accessed by the Media key positioned above the display), 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. Of course, you can always go to YouTube.com.

FM radio with RDS

The FM radio on Nokia 5530 XpressMusic 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 travel, the 5530 XpressMusic will take care of auto-switching to the frequencies of your selected radio station.

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The FM radio interface is quite cool

The radio station name gets displayed with cool effects across the whole screen, while the rest of the RDS readings are printed in nicely legible text on a line at the bottom. Perhaps we would have preferred this font a bit larger, but it isn't that much of an issue.

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