Nokia 5530 XpressMusic review: Winner by design

GSMArena team, 20 August 2009.
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There's a couple of games too

A couple of accelerometer-based games are what you will find preinstalled on the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic. The titles are the same as in the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic - the slightly childish Bounce and the Racing Thunder GT racing simulator.

You can opt between touchscreen or accelerometer control. Handling is decently precise and while it cannot match hardware controls, the experience is good enough.

Nokia 5530 XpressMusic Nokia 5530 XpressMusic Nokia 5530 XpressMusic Nokia 5530 XpressMusic
There's a couple of games preinstalled

In case you are not happy with the games offered you can find additional titles at the Nokia download center or 3rd party developers. The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic doesn't have N-Gage support at this stage so that is not an option.

Final words

The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic certainly seems both well reasoned and reasonable. It is a clear attempt to bring the S60 5th edition to the hands of a larger audience, which in turn should motivate a bigger developer community, which in turn will make the platform appealing to an even wider user group, which in turn would make Nokia lots of money. But we digress. Considering the appeal of the handset, it sure looks an important step towards bringing the touch-enabled S60 to par with the more mature competitors.

In addition, the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic is welcome to fill a gap in the company touchscreen portfolio. Now that it has the entry-level covered, Nokia has complete supply with the mid-range 5800 and the high-end N97. We'd be quite interested in a handset that ranks between the last two and maybe a multimedia monster to top the N97 would take a bit longer. But the rate at which the platform is evolving is quite promising.

For now though, Nokia is wisely focused on fixing the bugs of its new OS and the more affordable handsets (whose shortcomings are more easily forgivable by default) seem the right way to go. The N97 was more of a prestige move and it's probably not so vastly outnumbered in the side-sliding QWERTY niche to fear a really humiliating defeat.

So a series of smart moves might have bought the Finnish company some time to get used to a world it wasn't really that well prepared to inhabit in the first place. But it sure takes a greater effort to stay on the path of success, than it does to postpone failure.

Anyway, if McLaren could rise from trailing by over three seconds a lap to a win, why can't Nokia make something similar? They do need time though to pump up their touchscreen performance against some pretty tough rivals. Let's take a look at what the other manufacturers have to offer for this kind of money.

The LG KP500 Cookie and the Samsung S5230 Star are the cheapest touchscreen alternatives by the two compatriot makers. The lack of Wi-Fi and smartphone capabilities is partially compensated by the more lively interfaces and the lower price tags but it would be a pretty safe bet that the 5530 will win this one. And that we guess is the one that matters the most - beating the most obvious rivals in the mass segment - and by a good margin too.

LG KP500 Cookie Samsung S5230 Star
LG KP500 Cookie • Samsung S5230 Star

The 3G-enabled Samsung S5600 Preston looks a stronger contender though. Adding GPS and high-speed network data might be enough to make up for the lower-res display and the lack of smartphone capabilities.

Samsung S5600 Preston
Samsung S5600 Preston

The more exotic alternative LG KU990 Viewty is well known for its camera, but the touchscreen experience it delivers, as well as its looks seem well dated now.

LG KU990 Viewty
LG KU990 Viewty

Finally we come to the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic's bigger brother - the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. The S60 touch pioneer is equipped with a larger screen and built-in GPS, plus the 3G network data, which are all pretty major upgrades. With the prices of the two pretty close at the moment thanks to some heavy carrier subsidizing, it's only the compact body and the somewhat better design that speak in favor of the 5530.

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

But all that being said we are still keen to take the bet that once its price settles down in a couple of months, the new XpressMusic touchscreen will be looking forward to match - and perhaps beat - its forerunner's sales. As it seems, ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner here - a winner by design, and worthy one, we should add.

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