Nokia 5800 XpressMusic £249

30th Mar 2009 | 09:00

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

Nokia's music phone has an impressive features list but a clunky OS

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

Nokia's first touchcsreen S60 smartphone packs in plenty of top features at a decent price


Touchscreen control; Symbian S60 smartphone functionality; A-GPS technology built in; Wi-Fi; HSDPA; Excellent music player; 8GB MicroSD memory card supplied; 3.5mm headphone socket; N-Gage gaming supported; FM radio; 3.2-megapixel camera; Contacts bar; Good web-based applications


Supplied earphones are average quality; Touchscreen control doesn't have iPhone-style multi-touch; Camera performance is limited; Low light shooting not good

The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic (free on contract) eschews buttons in favour of a large touchscreen display, making media playback a core feature.

The 3.2-inch screen is better than most, with a resolution of 640 x 320 pixels. Images are pin-sharp, but the blocky menu doesn't really take advantage of it.

The 5800's Symbian operating system isn't that different to other Nokia handsets, and it soon becomes obvious that it wasn't designed from the ground up to be a touchscreen OS.

Navigating the menus isn't as smooth as it could be, and the lack of navigation buttons compounds matters. Even basic actions – such as scrolling through your photographs – prove difficult.

You'll be able to choose from a mini or full-sized onscreen QWERTY keypad. The former is too small for comfortable use. Using the full-sized keypad automatically switches the phone into landscape mode, which we found a lot more usable.

Predictably, the XpressMusic delivers when it comes to music playback, and it's easy to flick between songs, view album art and keep control of your files. There's also a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you'll be able to use your own headphones.

Songs are stored on an 8GB MicroSDHC card. With the card easily accessed through the side of the handset, it's simple to swap cards and update your music.

There are also plenty of other features on this phone and connectivity is impressive. You'll find 3G/HSDPA for rapid downloads, along with Wi-Fi and GPS for office connectivity and navigation, respectively. As with most modern Nokias, the camera is above average, with a 3.2-megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss lens. Although not that high a resolution, image quality is good in bright conditions.

With its clunky OS and tricky text input, it's difficult to look at the 5800 XpressMusic as anything other than a missed opportunity, despite the rich features list, impressive connectivity and high-quality music playback.

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