It seems that music phones are becoming an increasingly important part of every company's portfolio. It's therefore no surprise that a lot of effort is put in developing such devices, which explains the constantly improving functionality and performance. We'll now have a look at Nokia's most recent creation in the genre - the Nokia 5700 XpressMusic family. Just a quick glance at its features tells you this phone is promising, to say the least. But practice has taught us that features are not all that a handset is about. Stay with us as we find out what this heavyweight musician is capable of.
Nokia 5700 went off to a flying start with its very release, earning itself quite a number of fans. Smartphone functionality topped with music phone charisma was sure to appeal to all walks of life. Although its design was originally meant to mostly please the young, Nokia 5700's curvy lines and lacquered plastic are enjoyed by men and women of all ages.
We started this review with a couple of questions on our mind, and we put the phone to the test looking for the answers. First and more important, we were wondering which one gained the upper hand in Nokia 5700 - music phone or smartphone. And secondly we wanted to know what had changed in the music lineup since the Nokia 3250 release. Answering the first one was going to involve a lot of digging, while the other didn't need this much of an effort. Only a quick glance at both handsets' specs was enough to convince us that Nokia had not been wasting their time. The display is now bigger and offers QVGA resolution and 16M colors. Connectivity has undergone a major improvement, with 3G support added. All that, plus shedding a good 15g of weight, clearly shows that Nokia 5700 and Nokia 3250 are two phones that simply do not belong to the same class.
The retail package we got the phone with was quite well equipped. Alongside a 1 GB microSD memory card, there's a wired remote serving as an adapter for plugging the included 3.5mm earphones into the phone's 2.5 mm jack. The earphones turned out quite a pleasant surprise, but we'll come back to that later when we look at the music capabilities of the handset. The other package contents included an adapter for the microSD card (making it compatible with standard SD card-readers) plus a USB cable. Of course a DC charger was also present and, to our greatest pleasure, we found out that this phone was using the latest Nokia AC-5 charger. It's the most compact and yet best performing among its Nokia siblings. A CD with the required software for synchronizing your phone with a PC, a manual and a booklet highlighting the Nokia 5700 most important features complete the box contents. Most of these of course are strictly market-dependant, so we cannot guarantee that everyone will get the same bunch of extras that we did.
The phone comes in three different color versions including Red, Gray and Black but with all of them the rotating part and the top part are finished in very nice looking lacquered white plastic. It looks very durable and blends well with all the different color versions of the rubber sides and the plastic battery cover. We received the black version for testing and we have to admit we liked that color combo very much.
We are more than pleased with the construction of the 5700. The casing didn't produce any creaks during our test, and it didn't seem likely to start playing up after a few months of use. The phone is also very comfortable to hold, the rubber sides provide for a great grip.
In terms of size Nokia 5700 is a little bit above the average. It is bigger than common phones (108 x 50 x 17 mm), but not as heavy as you would've guessed from the numbers. It weighs exactly 115 grams. And, a real nicety: the phone is fingerprint proof with even the shiny plastic surfaces very hard to blotch during normal operation. In other words, cleaning is no issue for 5700 owners.
|We'll now have a look at Nokia's most recent creation in the genre - the Nokia 5700 XpressMusic family. Just a quick glance at its features tells you this phone is promising, to say the least.|
Going over the phone, you couldn't help but notice the ambient light detector in the upper right corner of the front panel. These sensors have become quite common among Nokia phones since Nokia 6630. They are very handy indeed. The sensor detects the available light and controls the display brightness. It thus acts as a power optimizer and provides less brightness in darker conditions so that it doesn't go hard on your eyes. Next to the sensor, right in the center, is the earpiece.
Right above it, on the top of the phone, is the On/Off key - it's made of the same white plastic as the surrounding surface, fully flat and blending perfectly. This makes it a little less tactile, but we guess it will only take a while getting used to. In terms of functionality there is almost no change. It is responsible for switching the phone on and off, changing profiles, locking the keypad or the phone, and activating offline mode.
The left side of the device features two volume keys as well as a speaker grill right at its top. Depending on the swivel position, either the second speaker grill or the camera and the LED flash are found in the lower end of the left side. None of these needs going into much detail regarding functionality. The volume keys are tiny knobs in the rubber part of Nokia 5700. Despite that, they are very easily felt by fingertips and therefore no problem to use without looking at the phone. They do require a stronger press however but it prevents accidental keypresses when the phone is in your pocket. The loudspeakers position is well-thought of, as the sound doesn't get muffled when you put down the handset on its back, as with some other mobile phones. In all honesty, we should admit that positioning them on both sides of the display like in Nokia N95 is probably better. Nokia's flagship makes great use of its loudspeaker layout as the speakers are not covered by your fingers when you hold the handset.
The bottom side is pretty plain. It hosts the eyelet for a attaching a neck or a wrist strap. Right above it is the 2.5mm audio jack. The microphone pinhole is the last thing to find there. The lack of a built-in 3.5 mm audio jack is a serious flaw having in mind that Nokia 5700 is supposed to be a music phone. This is partially resolved by the included remote, which acts as an adapter too. This of course means that you should carry it with you at all times, and we personally are not very excited about this.
The right side of the phone is where the Infrared port is placed. Right below it there are three openings under a plastic cover. The cover fits in very tightly and we find it very unlikely to go loose and open by itself even if not treated with enough care. Under the cap are the charger plug, the USB port and the memory card slot. Unfortunately the cover is not active, so when removing the memory card you will have to go to the on/off button menu and select remove memory card. Otherwise there is certain risk of loosing data. The plastic cover itself goes well with the design of the phone without doing wrong to its looks despite being quite large.
The largest part of the back is taken by the battery cover. Right in its middle the Nokia and XpressMusic logos are etched. The lower part is taken by the other face of the rotating keypad.
Getting to the battery is not as simple as usual. The first time you open the back cover you can lift it using the plastic tag on the back of the phone. Then you can remove the tag and procede releasing the battery cover by rotating the swivel to 90 degrees and using the gaps under it. Removing the battery itself is also not as easy as some other phones, especially if you have larger fingers and not long enough fingernails. On the other hand, this is not something a regular user needs to do very often, so it's not going to spoil the user experience of the phone. Under the battery lies the SIM card slot that has a lock mechanism that should be used, once a SIM card is inserted.
Of course the main highlight in the phone's design is the swiveling part, which takes up the lower third of the device. Although not new, let alone revolutionary, it deserves a couple of words. Nice words that is, as we think that designers have done a great job with it. The numeric keypad is one of the most comfortable we have worked with. It has terraced keys of sufficient size and tactility to make typing and dialing a piece of cake. When you rotate it at 90 degrees in any direction the camera is automatically activated. It does wait for a second or two before the screen actually turns into a viewfinder but that is because the phone expects to see if the user will do a full 180 degrees rotation. This 90 degrees rotation can be used if you want to take a picture of yourself or of something standing in front of you. When a full 180 degrees rotation is performed the dedicated music keys are positioned under the display, the music player is automatically activated and displayed on the screen. Then you can change tracks with the dedicated music keys. An obvious minus here is the lack of a dedicated stop key, although one is present in the player. You can use the joystick instead, but then one might ask what the purpose of the dedicated keys is if not to operate the player. There is one extra function of the swivel. When watching a video you can rotate the swivel at 90 degrees and position the phone on its side. Upon doing this the video player automatically goes into fullscreen landscape mode to ensure better viewing experience. This works the same way with the image gallery too. Overall, the swivel is very sturdy and rotating produces distinct clicks when it locks into position. There are hardly any chances of it coming loose with time.