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Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
We at Tech2 have been covering the 5800, Tube, Bat-Man phone, i-Killer or whatever else you’d like to call it, for a long time now - ever since the rumors and fuzzy images surfaced. If you haven’t, well you’re either indifferent enough to have avoided the hype altogether or well informed and patient enough to have waited this long for its arrival. But does it live up to all that it was expected to do? Allow yours truly to lend you some insight into that.
To recap from the description of the handset I gave in the preview – the 5800 may not be a sleek handset but it is well designed. Its dimensions are 111 x 51.7 x 15.5mm and it weighs in at just 109g and the only figure that I had a teeny tiny problem with initially was its depth. Nothing I didn’t get over very quickly though. The display is brilliant and very clearly visible even in direct sunlight. The 3.2-inch touchscreen sports a 360 x 640 pixel, 16 million color display resolution.
Once again I’d like to say, I personally am not a fan of the color the handset’s body is set in. I have yet to see the Blue colored model and decide. I do like the concealed hot swap SIM and microSD card slots built into side and the screen lock slider that’s well placed on the other side. The placement of the micro USB port, charging slot and 3.5mm earphone socket on the top is a good idea as it makes it quite convenient for all connectivity. I especially like the drop down ‘media-bar’ that can be accessed via a small touch sensitive key located above the display.
I still like the design though. It feels just like a normal candy-bar handset without the wide design like most other touchscreen handsets.
Features and Performance
The 5800’s tweaked out S60 version touchscreen User Interface is well constructed and can be used virtually with no help from the stylus whatsoever. The only time you’ll actually require the stylus is when you’re using the extremely intuitive handwriting option for entering data. A couple of negatives with the UI is that the accelerometer is a little too sensitive and that can’t be adjusted. Secondly there’s a 2-3 second gap and no transition effects every time the orientation is changed. The glitch could be easily fixed with a software update I’m hoping.
Lastly, selecting links on a WebPage is a little difficult as sometimes the status bar doesn’t appear so it’s a little confusing figuring out if the next page will appear or not. Other than that I think the touchscreen interface even with the double tap is well constructed. It’s even better with the tactile screen feedback. That sensitivity can be adjusted. Something that Nokia has not been able to curb is the dreadfully long wait period when attempting to open the video center section to view all video files. The more videos there are to load the longer the wait. My advice, open them from the file manager section. Flick controls is also present for scrolling through images.
The various modes of data entry are also well designed with a full QWERTY keypad that can be used only in landscape to optimize the use of the large screen, a smaller QWERTY keypad that can also be used in portrait, a normal mobile alpha-numeric pad for the conventional users and of course handwriting recognition. The handset also uses a very useful contacts bar - it allows users to have a few select contacts saved on the desktop with personal images etc., and when selected, a drop down box will reveal all the recent correspondence with that particular contact.
Being an XpressMusic edition handset the 5800 is built for multimedia and I have to say it handles all media VERY well. To start off, the music player is great for sound quality at a pretty high decibel level. EQ presets as well as an 8 band customizable graphic EQ and Stereo Widening are available to help make things a little more interesting. I’m not a fan of the earphones included, but you can of course use your own if you want or feel the same. The handsets FM radio had very decent reception while on my commute and took no more than 16 seconds to search and save all available channels as presets so that’s another plus point. It also has a voice recorder and a separate application for Podcasts.
It was a pleasure watching videos on the widescreen display (16:9). Once you find a converter for your videos to accurately adjust them to acceptable formats and screen size you’re good to go. The only problem is that videos didn’t seem to resume playback from the point it stopped which I found a little odd considering all of the new S60 handsets have that feature. It wasn’t too big a deal as forwarding was very easy using just a finger to slide across the progress bar. The Video Center menu also allows you to add sites with video content for convenient viewing.
There are a couple of games also available in the handset. Sadly I didn’t like either. The Bounce Touch game that I played on the N79 is rather difficult as it’s not easy to control the character with your finger running across the display. You end up covering most of the screen and you wont be able to see too clearly where you're heading, unless you use the stylus. The GT racing works on the accelerometer so you’ll have to tilt the handset for steering and due to the sensitivity of the same it’s also a bit problematic for control. On the plus side both games look really good on the display.
The speakerphone is extremely loud and audible and the speakers also manage to throw out a little bit of bass into the mix music but that also tends to jar the speakers just a tad. But I do like the rounded tones that the speaker still manages to deliver.
Nokia’s 5800 XpressMusic is loaded with connectivity options from video streaming and Podcasting via EDGE or GPRS since 3G is not a relevant source just yet (and the handset does support the same with HSDPA) to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v2.0 with an A2DP profile and of course USB 2.0. Data transfer speeds via USB are quite good so no issues here. You can also set up your personal email accounts in the messaging section and even download the mail for exchange application if you’re set up for the same. Other connectivity includes shortcuts to Facebook and MySpace as well as Nokia's Switch application for data exchange between handsets.
The browser looks really good on the large screen and although navigation is easy with a flick of your hand in any direction, like I said before, selecting links is a problem. Sometimes the status bar doesn’t appear to let you know you’ve made a selection and the link is in the process of opening. A double tap on the screen will also enable you to zoom into that portion of the page. The browser has full support for flash content on WebPages.
Nokia Maps 2.0 looks pretty good on the 5800’s large display. There’s nothing really to talk about here that you haven’t already heard with regard to Nokia’s mapping system. With A-GPS support, things are a bit quicker when it comes to finding locations etc. What the handset lacks is an option for geotagging images. As usual the handset comes with a 3 month Navigation Free set up and then you’ll be required to pay the fee for further usage.
Just like any S60 handset the 5800 is equipped with all the standard applications like a converter, calculator, notes, calendar, and alarm. The touchscreen functionality makes all of them a lot easier to use though. Through Nokia’s Download section, you can get a few freebies like Quick Office (read only) and WorldMate etc. that will help increase the overall functionality of the 5800.
The 3.2 megapixel camera that the 5800 is equipped with also has a Dual LED flash. The touchscreen interface makes accessing all the settings and features very easy, so touchscreen to the rescue once again. The camera is loaded with all the features that you’d expect to find in any Series 60 handset. Unfortunately the camera doesn’t perform too well.
Low light images indoors tend to be riddled with artifact and grain.
What I did like, were the reproduction of colors which was quite decent as you can see in the image.
Macro images also looked pretty good.
A disappointing factor with the 5800 XpressMusic was the battery life that gave me no more than a talktime of around 4 hours and 20 minutes and I honestly expected a lot more. It’s not bad, but it could have been better. On a full charge it’ll run for about a little over a day and a half with average use of audio, pictures, calls, messages and web browsing, but add GPS and video into the mix and you’ll be down to just a little over a day.
The Bottom Line
With a price tag of just Rs. 19,990 the 5800 XpressMusic is worth a consideration not purely for some sort of novelty value as being a potential i-Killer or some device in Bat-Man’s arsenal, but for some great technology that’s quite well designed. Sure it has a few flaws - the UI could be little faster, the camera a bit better and of course the battery life could have been a little better too. On the whole though, it’s a great device with plenty to offer. So it didn’t revolutionize touchscreen technology like the iPhone did but hey, it’s still a worthy competitor.
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G, EDGE
|Physical||111 x 51.7 x 15.5 mm, 109g|
|Display||360 x 640, 16m colors, Touchscreen with haptic feedback, 3.2-inches|
|Memory||81MB internal, microSD external (8GB included) |
|Media||MP3, AAC, WMA, 3GP, MPEG4, Voice Recorder, FM radio, Video and image editors |
|Camera||3.2 megapixel AF, Dual LED flash |
|Connectivity||USB v2.0, Bluetooth with A2DP, Wi-Fi|
|Battery||380 hrs standby, 4 hrs 20 mins talktime |