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Nokia 5220 XpressMusic
Nokia’s XpressMusic range of mobile handsets, has some pretty funky designs but sometimes doesn’t fully deliver on all fronts. With most handsets in this range, you’ll find the audio quality is indeed something to write home about, but the handset’s all round performance may not be all it could have been. One of the newest additions to Nokia’s music series is the 5220 XpressMusic and here’s what I have to say about it.
Personally I found the handset’s design a bit lopsided when I initially opened the box and set my peepers on it. However, I have to admit it did grow on me. The glossy black finish with the blue line, smart and well placed keypad along with the 5 way nav pad made for a slim (10.5mm), sleek and quite a stylish mobile. The handset has a 2-inch QVGA display sporting a 240 x 320 pixel resolution with 256k colors. In bright sunlight you just may find it a wee bit uneasy to view, especially text messages or emails, but it’s not too bad. The ambient light sensor is quite useful, depending of course on how the area is lit.
A standard 3.5mm handsfree socket is located on the top of the handset. This is a real asset as the bundled Nokia earphones are not comfortable to use for audio. They didn’t sit too well in my ears and I wasn't too thrilled with the sound quality either. In this case you’re free to use any earphones of your choice and simply use the handset’s microphone (which by the way has a great pick up) when on a call. On one side of the handsfree socket is a neatly concealed micro USB port. On the other side is a button for popping the rear panel.
Volume keys that double up for zooming in when using the camera are located on one side above a microSD card slot. The flashing (can be turned off) music keys are located on the other side just under the charging port. These three keys are handy and well placed for skipping tracks or playing and pausing. The 2 megapixel camera is located at the back of course.
Features and Performance
Interface and Navigation
Running on a Symbian OS with a series 40 UI, the 5220 is easy to navigate. Unfortunately it’s a bit sluggish if the music player or FM radio is running in the background. One of my biggest peeves with S40 handsets is this - in case your memory card is loaded with content that utilizes a substantial amount of its space, access to the card from any area can take unusually and unnecessarily long. Moving files is also a bit of task in this same regard.
The 5220 XpressMusic really shines when it comes to the overall functioning of the music player. It’s extremely loud so you won’t have to worry about those painfully noisy train compartments. With a set of EQ presets and the option for creating your own personalized presets, you can enjoy an even better audio experience. The Stereo Widening option seems a bit redundant though since it tends to jar the wax out of your ears if the volume is near peak. I even switched the EQs off just to check and it was quite the same so my suggestion is just leave it off. The player also picks up the album art of the track, (if it’s loaded) but stretches the small image to fit the display thereby making it look quite tacky. A small thumbnail image would have been just right. It reads MP3, M4A, AAC+ and WMA file formats. You don’t necessarily need to create playlists; if you have your files stored in folders, you can play them from there without interruption.
I was quite disappointed with the performance and reception capabilities of the 5220’s Stereo FM radio (with RDS). During my daily commute through the city, I wasn’t able to get a clear signal almost throughout the journey. Even in spots where I would normally get a somewhat audible reception from other devices the 5220 failed to provide me with that, even if I held it out the window. The handset also comes with a voice recorder for use as a dictaphone or keeping voice memos.
Watching videos may be a bit of a problem considering it has just a 2-inch display. However it’s not too much of a problem.
Fun and games
There are four games that come pre installed – City Blox, Rally 3D, Snake III and Guitar Rock Tour, which is a mobile version of the popular console game – Guitar Hero. Of course this version plays audio in midi and not MP3 so don’t expect too much. However it is fun to play and does help wile away the time. Nokia’s Wallpaper creator also let's you create psychedelic wallpapers and nothing more. Also evident, is Nokia Maps. You will need a GPS unit to be connected in order to use them of course but at least the application is preloaded. And you will have to download the maps that aren’t present.
Thankfully, the 5220 comes with 2 browsers for internet browsing via GPRS/EDGE. The native browser was not to my liking as it seemed to move at snail's pace sometimes. In this case the Opera browser was a better option.
Nokia’s WidSet application and Yahoo! integration via Yahoo! Go, the search option that seems to be standard with all new Nokia handsets, is available. This version allows for just internet related searches and not internal content. The 5220 also has a built-in Flickr application for uploading images to your account. USB 2.0 connectivity is also present for file transfers, which sadly don't happen as fast as I imagined.
All other mundane features from a World Clock to the usual calendar options for schedules and reminders etc. are present. A To-Do list, Notes application, calculator, countdown timer, stopwatch and a dictionary are also present and do tend to come in handy from time to time. The handset also supports Stereo Bluetooth so if you have a good A2DP enabled headset or headphones you can get the best out of the music player.
The phone's equipped with a 2MP camera with features that include White Balance settings, landscape mode and portrait, self timer up to 10 seconds and a few effects. The only problem is it takes a painfully long time to process images.
Images in normal daylight are not bad at all for a CMOS sensor in this bracket. Once again, don’t expect too much but I think it’s still quite good to be used in average conditions. However, certain areas with excess light do tend to look a little burnt out.
The lack of a flash is not really noticed too much. The camera’s sensor manages to fare quite well with subjects photographed in low light conditions. All images look quite good on the small display of course so if you’re gong to use the handset to just pass images along to others via BT or show them off from the handset you have nothing to worry about.
The 5220’s battery is decent. It’ll easily run for over a day and a half with regular use and provide you with at least 3 hours and 10 minutes of non stop talk time. Though it's supposed to offer users at least 5 hours of talk time there aren't too many handsets that can live up to what the company claims.
The Bottom Line
With a price tag of Rs. 7, 700 the 5220 XpressMusic offers great music quality, a decent camera and a fairly decent battery life all packed into a stylish and unique form factor. On the downside, the interface is a bit sluggish at times especially if the memory card has a lot of data and multitasking with background audio also adds to this factor. The FM radio is an issue, but other than that, looking at the bigger picture, the handset has enough to offer users who aren’t looking for more than just a good music enabled handset. It’s worth the consideration if all you want is music. It's available in three colors - Green, Blue and Red.
Nokia 5220 XPressMusic
GSM 900/1800/1900, EDGE
|Physical||108 x 43.5 x 10.5 (camera) mm, 78g|
|Display||240 x 320, 256k colors, TFT LCD, 2 inch |
|Memory||30MB internal, MicroSD for external |
|Media||AAC+, MP3, 3GP, Voice Recorder, FM radio|
|Connectivity||USB v2.0, Bluetooth with A2DP|
|Battery||400 hrs standby, 3 hrs 10 mins talktime |
|MRP||Rs 7, 700|