Nokia C5-03 review: Green cadet

GSMArena team, 17 December 2010.
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User interface

It’s S60 5th ticking inside the Nokia C5-03 and Symbian on touchscreen is no news for many of you. It’s been a long list of phones since the 5800 XpressMusic and quite a number of software updates. Luckily, the Nokia C5-03 takes advantage of the latest improvements.

Here is our C5-03 user interface video for a warm-up.

Kinetic scrolling is one of the things that took some time to get right on Nokia touch phones. In the C5-03 however, it is available almost throughout the user interface – from file and web browsers through gallery to contacts and even the main menu. Finger scrolling has been improved as well.

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The S60 5th edition UI

So, the user experience with S60 5th is a mixed bag and what you think of it will entirely depend on your background. If you know your way around S60, you'll be quite at home with the C5-03 interface. But if you come from an alternative touchscreen platform you'll find yourself climbing a fairly steep learning curve.

Luckily, the Nokia C5-03 doesn’t have as sever a case of the one-tap-here-two-taps-there disorder that plagued earlier full touch Nokia devices. Up until now opening an item in lots of the listed submenus required not one, but two presses - one to select, and another one to confirm the action.

Now that’s almost as good as gone: currently, double tap residuum is only found in the file manager. The improved kinetic scrolling will also make you feel way more comfortable than those first 5800 XpressMusic users.

Homescreen: we’ve been there

The main menu structure leaves no doubt you're on Symbian turf. Icons are set in a 3 x 4 grid or a list that you can freely reorder. Screen orientation can be set to change automatically thanks to the accelerometer.

The status icons on the Nokia C5-03 are located on top of the homescreen, along with the calendar and the clock. A single press on the clock starts the clock application (which is only a click away from setting up an alarm) while tapping on the date opens a drop-down menu where you can either launch the calendar application or change the currently active profile.

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Calendar, profiles can be accessed directly from the homescreen

The Contacts bar follows right beneath the status icons. Each contact is represented by the contact photo and their first name - and it's possible to have three contacts displayed at a time but the list is scrollable to left and right.

Selecting a contact from the Contact bar brings up a screen with contact info (different from what you get if you select the contact from the Contacts list). It has the contact photo, name and phone number.

Further down is an area that shows the communication history for that contact – both calls and messages. And finally, at the bottom there are the top two lines from the contact’s RSS feed.

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The new Contacts bar is pretty convenient

Under the Contacts bar, it's pretty much standard Active Standby but with fewer slots. The Wi-Fi manager is there as well – the Nokia C5-03 is WLAN enabled. Search and Email setup are available, along with email notification showing the number of unread messages, sender and subject.

The blank area beneath is reserved for the music player and radio mini apps - they get displayed when either is left playing in the background.

At the very bottom of the homescreen is the custom Shortcuts bar. Both the Contacts and the Shortcuts bars are optional and can be hidden.

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The available homescreen themes: Contacts bar, Shortcuts bar and Basic

The Nokia C5-03 features a task manager, which you launched by pressing and holding the Menu key. The task manager itself is identical to what you get on Symbian S60 3.2 devices. Much like in the previous version of the UI, it appears on top of every pop-up menu. To close running applications use the hardware backspace key or press and hold the app's icon to display two virtual buttons: Open and Exit.

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The task-manager

The dedicated hardware switch on the right-hand side of the device will lock/unlock the phone.

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