Nokia 5630 XpressMusic review: A sharp note

GSMArena team, 2 July 2009.
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Design and construction (continued)

We conclude our round-trip of the 5630 XpressMusic with the rear. The thin plastic battery cover features a dual LED flash right under the 3-megapixel camera lens. On the other are the two loudspeaker grills. You can see how the loudspeakers performs in our dedicated test in the Telephony part of this review.

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The plastic rear: camera lens with LED flash

Releasing the battery cover reveals the 860 mAh Li-Ion (BL-4CT) battery and the SIM compartment. The SIM card compartment is housed under a hinged metal bracket and swapping it in is quick and easy.

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A look under the battery cover: battery and SIM card slot

The Nokia 5630 XpressMusic feels solidly built and we didn’t notice any rattles or creaks while reviewing the phone. The plastic looks a bit on the cheapish side, though the 5630 XpressMusic may be excused for this given the low price it’s going for. Having a lot of metal would have also increased the weight.

The phone’s front tends to collect a few fingerprints but it isn’t such a big deal. The back, on the other hand, is absolutely fingerprint-proof.

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The slim Nokia 5630 XpressMusic handles nicely

S60 3.2 UI: Homescreen redesigned

The Nokia 5630 runs on the Symbian 9.3 OS with S60 3rd Edition user interface. It has Feature Pack 2 but there have been changes since its previous incarnations.

The biggest (and best) change is the Contacts bar option for the standby screen. It is similar to the typical Active standby screen but things have been reordered and as the name suggests - a bar with contacts has been added.

The top of the screen is a bar with favorite contacts - each represented by the contact photo and their first name - and it's possible to have three contacts visible at a time though the list allows for scrolling left or right.

For each contact you can add an RSS feed, so we guess a nice trick is to add a contact that isn't a person just so that you'll have quick access to your favorite feeds from the homescreen.

Selecting a contact from the Contact bar brings up a screen with info on the contact (a different one than you get if you select the contact from the Contacts list). It has the contact photo, name and phone number. Under that are four buttons - call, send message, update feed and settings.

Bellow that is an area that shows the communications history for that contact - both calls and messages. And finally, at the bottom there are the top two lines from the RSS feed.

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The new Contacts bar • viewing a contact from the Contacts bar

Under the Contacts list, it's pretty much standard Active Standby. First up is info on the email account showing the number of unread messages and sender and Re: fields of the most recent message. Under it is the status and number of friends online for Ovi Contacts, which gets replaced by song info if the music player is running. At the bottom is the shortcuts tab.

The old Active Standby layouts are still here and include Basic - you can assign shortcuts to the D-pad, Horizontal icons bar - the old Active Standby and, finally, the Vertical icons bar, which has only tabs (shortcuts, calendar, music player and personalization) but doesn't hide much of the wallpaper.

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Basic • Horizontal icon bar • Vertical icon bar

Finally, the S60 UI Feature Pack 2 brings some graphical improvements as well, such as animations when browsing the menus.

The task manager has also received a face-lift and now appears on every pop-up menu. It's actually placed on top of every list, which can be a little irritating at times. Alternatively, you can still use the well-known shortcut of pressing and holding the menu key to bring up the task manager.

The embedded 128MB of RAM are an important factor for OS performance. In Symbian terms 128MB is virtually impossible to deplete even with several applications running in the background. You shouldn't expect any memory full warnings on your Nokia 5630 XpressMusic.

The 600 MHz ARM 11 CPU is lightning fast and is the speediest you'll find in a mid-range Symbian. Navigating the menus is quick with an instant response to user commands. The blue circle next to the icon of a running application is a well known Symbian indication reminding users to quit unwanted applications that are still running in the background.

As with all Symbian phones, there is a built-in voice recognition system. It does a good job, being fully speaker-independent and recognizing a fairly high percentage of our commands.

Telephony

Signal reception is great on the Nokia 5630. The phone has commendable speaker quality and the sound during calls is clear and free of any interference. Vibration is also strong enough to make sure you never miss an incoming call or message.

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Calling Dexter on the Nokia 5630

The results from our loudspeaker test are at your disposal - Nokia 5630 XpressMusic turned out to be a good performer in this respect. Check out the table showing how it stacks up beside some of the handsets we've put to the same test. In case you want to find out more about the test itself or a complete list of tested devices, hit the link.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOverall score
Apple iPhone 3G66.1 62.171.7Below Average
Nokia 5630 XpressMusic68.665.776.0Good
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic75.766.568.5Good
LG KM900 Arena70.968.278.3Good
Nokia 5320 XpressMusic74.3 66.678.3Very Good
Samsung M7600 Beat DJ75.775.777.8Excellent

You can find more information about the test itself and the whole list of tested devices here.

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