Nokia 5300 is equipped with a 1.3 megapixel camera. The maximum resolution is 1280 x 1024 pixels. Lower resolution as well as three types of compression quality is available, too. Furthermore the camera offers 8x digital zoom, which only makes digital crops of the original large image, so when you take pictures with the zoom used, you actually get a smaller resolution picture output.
The phone takes pictures in landscape mode using the camera right side button as a shutter release key or the central OK button of the D-pad. The camera has a nice shooting speed. When taking pictures at the maximum resolution and maximum level of quality it takes around 3 seconds from pressing the shutter key to actually saving the picture on the memory card. When shooting in poor lighting conditions, the same exercise takes up to 4-5 seconds.
Nokia 5300 offers a night mode, a self-release timer, and an image sequence shoot mode. In the image sequence shoot mode the camera takes up to four photos in quick succession. The higher the resolution, the fewer photos you can take sequentially. At the maximum resolution the phone takes a total of two pictures. There are several white balance presets you can choose from along with an automatic mode. A good thing is the option to turn off the camera shutter sounds.
Besides all that, the camera offers several image effects such as False colors, Sepia, Grey scale, Negative, and Solarise.
The night mode in fact comes in quite handy when taking pictures in poor light conditions. In such conditions the pictures taken in Normal shooting mode have a lot of color noise. The Night mode improves the pictures a lot and we find it useful here.
The quality of the photos is below average. It seems that Nokia is using some kind of noise suppressing algorithm, which indeed reduces the noise significantly even in low light, but gives all the pictures quite smudged look. Moreover, in an effort to make the photos look more appealing, Nokia engineers have boosted the saturation levels and the colors look rather unnatural instead.
The videos are taken at 15 fps in 176 x 144 pixels resolution or in the even lower 128 x 96 pixels. We won't comment on those since this range of resolutions is pretty inadequate now. So frankly, try to forget that it even shoots video, unless of course you are in to multimedia messaging.
When it comes to connectivity, Nokia 5300 has two versions - both feature tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support. The only difference is that the first one supports GSM 900MHz, 1800MHz, and 1900MHz networks, while the second one is targeted at the American market and supports GSM 850MHz, 1800MHz, and 1900MHz networks.
The phone is equipped with a XHTML browser with WAP 2.0 support. The browser is simple, with three types of font size available. That said, we must point out that we are far from satisfied with the way it deals with general HTML sites. The best that it's capable of is just simply converting those to ones similar to WML WAP sites. Most of the sites are plainly unusable with some small exceptions. Searching with Google is a true nightmare too. Furthermore, you cannot use the browser in a horizontal mode.
Nokia 5300 can also serve as a modem for establishing Internet connection from PC. The phone gets connected to a PC through Bluetooth, via the Infrared port, or by standard 5-pin mini-USB cable. Connection parameters can be configured manually, but you will save time if you use the Internet connection program from the PC Suite. A great feature is that you can now directly download updates of the phone firmware when newer versions become available.
Other than that, the handset has an Infrared port and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR connectivity for close communication with other devices. An impressive feature seen rarely in Nokia mobiles is the support for the A2DP Bluetooth profile, which basically means that you can listen to music on a stereo Bluetooth headset. That being said, it's important to note that the A2DP support is going to be a distinctive feature of all the XpressMusic handsets.