One of the best things about entry-level Nokia smartphones is a usually well stuffed retail package. The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic for example had stuff in its box that alone was about half the asking price (just kidding, of course).
Of course, the Nokia 5230 being even cheaper, there aren’t as many goodies inside. There is still something we suspect most users will truly appreciate. Xpress-on ring a bell? The 5230 comes with two spare battery covers to let you quickly customize your handset without much effort.
Our white Nokia 5230 has an optional Blue and a Pink cover inside the box, which we don’t quite like as much as the original one. Still, it’s certainly nice to have the option to refresh the looks of your handset now and then.
Moving on to the rest of the box contents, a couple of omissions are noted. There is no data cable (!) or a memory card, so basically you are left without adequate storage out of the box. What we did find in the was a charger and a plectrum that you can use instead of the stylus. We have to admit that if we are to hang anything on our handset this would be much better than a dangling stylus. In fact, a stylus is not even supplied with the Nokia 5230. The phone doesn’t even have a stylus compartment.
The last noteworthy item supplied was a one-piece headset with no volume controls. Decent looks is all it has to offer.
The Nokia 5230 is a moderately-sized handset at 111 x 51.7 x 15.5 mm and a volume of 83cc. It is larger than the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic (68cc) but it has a larger screen, so nothing out of the ordinary.
Strangely enough, the lack of a stylus slot and Wi-Fi receiver haven’t helped make the handset smaller than the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. The weight has even been increased to 115 grams.
When we looked at the Nokia 5230, our first thought was a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic in a new color. Later on we found a few minor differences, none of them critical designwise.
The 5230 is not much of a looker but it certainly has some young urban feel.
The layout of controls has been almost fully retained from the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and we already mentioned the only major difference. The absent stylus makes handling the SIM card a bit of an issue. Following the design of 5800 and 5530, you’re supposed to use a stylus to eject the SIM card from its compartment at the side of the 5230 but you don’t get one on the package. Beats us – even more than the lack of a data cable.
But let’s get back to our walkthrough. The front panel of the Nokia 5230 is dominated by the 3.2” display. This kind of screen size is about average in the touchscreen world but better than most of the competitors in this price range. It also takes a slight edge over the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic and its 2.9” unit.
The nHD resolution (640 x 360 pixels) also compares favorably to the other offerings in this price group. The WQVGA LG Pop offers 2.4 times less pixels and there are quite a lot of applications where that kind of difference shows.
Nokia 5530 XpressMusic uses the resistive touchscreen technology, which needs a bit of pressure to register a click, rather than only a touch. Sensitivity is a tad better than 5800 XpressMusic, though we are not sure the difference will be tangible in real life use. In any case, Nokia still have some to catch up with the best resistive displays we have tried.
Resistive screens give you the option to use a stylus (or a plectrum in this case) or fingers with gloves. Women also needn’t worry about their manicure getting in the way like they would on capacitive screens.
We really appreciate the haptic feedback for the touchscreen. The vibration strength is configurable through the Profiles menu and we really appreciate its timing and intensity: it greatly improves the user experience.
Unfortunatelly, display legibility under direct sunlight is quite an issue much like it is with the 5530. The 5230 clearly underperforms compared to most other Nokia phones.