Nokia 5530 XpressMusic Review

Introduction and Design
This is a global GSM phone. It can be used with AT&T and T-Mobile USA.


There was quite a fuss surrounding the release of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, because this was the first device of the manufacturer featuring touch sensitive display. And until recently, it was the only one as well. With its affordable price tag and good overall functionality, the 5800 turned out to be a success, which must have tipped off the manufacturer that they could bite off a larger chunk of the lucrative market. Today we are introducing the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic, the second touch screen model of the company’s music series. We can definitely call it a younger sibling of the 5800 or its lighter version if you will. The 5530 also runs Symbian S60 5th Edition, but sports a smaller display, 4GB microSD card (the 5800 comes with 8GB), has no GPS and doesn’t support 3G.

What´s in the box?

•    The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic
•    Charger
•    Short microUSB cable
•    Nokia WH-205 stereo headset
•    4GB microSD expansion card
•    Software MiniDVD
•    User manual


The quality of workmanship of the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic is definitely higher than with the 5800 and the phone doesn’t feel cheap when you hold it, but nice and solid. Of course, the metal edging also contributes to the overall feel about the handset, although it doesn’t look as appealing as the transparent plastic of the 5800. Still, we like it better anyway.

You can compare the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic measures a smaller overall size, but is not much lighter. Compared to its elder, it´s definitely more compact and comfy to carry around in your pocket. Well, everything comes at a price in life and although its display features the same resolution of 360x640 pixels, it is physically smaller, just 2.9 inches alongside the 3.2 inches of the 5800. The color support remains the same (16mln) and image quality in artificial light is decent. However, things get quite bad the minute you take out in direct sunlight. You can´t see almost anything no matter the viewing angle. Throw its love for fingerprints into the deal and things cease to be as appealing as they might seem initially. At least display sensitivity has been seriously improved alongside of the Nokia 5800. The manufacturer has incorporated resistive technology again, but we got used to handling the phone really fast. You still need to press firmly, but this feels much easier now and doesn’t require much pressure.

Just like with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, both the microSD and SIM card slots are on the left hand side. The volume rocker and the slider that locks and unlocks the phone screen and touch sensitive keys are on the opposite side, along with the camera shutter. We do not have any complaints about any of them. The 3.5mm jack that´s mandatory for all music-oriented devices these days is on the bottom side, with the microUSB and charger ports on either side. Finally, the bottom left corner hides the plastic stylus that is not telescopic, but is long enough.

Nokia 5530 XpressMusic 360 Degrees View:

Interface and Functionality:

The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic runs Symbian S60 5th Edition, that´s designed especially for handsets with touch sensitive screens like the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia N97, Nokia 5230, Samsung Omnia HD i8910 etc. We have already examined the OS in great details in our review of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, so we will only tell you what the differences are. The most significant changes affect the home screen. The Contacts bar theme has been changed to resemble more closely the one found on latest music-oriented devices without touch sensitive screens like the 5630 XpressMusic and 5730 XpressMusic. The maximum number of contacts with pictures on the home screen is now 20 and not just 4 and switching between them is as easy as sliding a finger against the screen. On choosing any of them, a pane will pop up, showing call and messages history. Moreover, the same function can be used for following RSS broadcasts. Say, you can create a contact called PhoneArena and add a web feed, which will allow you to find our latest news, reviews and phone specification really fast.

There is a pane below the contacts that notifies you of new emails and another one pops up on screen if the audio player is running in the background. You have a row of icons at the bottom that allows access to 4 applications of your choice.

Searching in contacts is comfy and easy by entering separate letters. A screen keyboard appears when you get to the search pane and it layout is just like on navigational systems (A, B, C, D, E, F…), so finding contacts is fast and logical.

The phone messaging is exactly the same and comes with the standard OS interface. You won´t be able to take advantage of Nokia Messaging to follow email correspondence, but we hope the 5530 will soon make it to the list of supported devices.

Aside from the standard, virtual numeric keypad, there is a full QWERTY keyboard of course. Despite the size of the 2.9-inch screen, typing away is not a problem and we felt at home in just a few minutes. Well, we did several typing mistakes, but not too many, so we are pleased with the QWERTY. You also have handwriting recognition, but would need a few drills to finally get used to it. Not that it allows for fast entry anyway.

The internet browser is not any different from the one that comes on the 5800 XpressMusic and the N97. The app visualizes pages properly and navigation is relatively fast, but unlike the Nokia flagship device, the phone doesn’t feature kinetic scrolling. It supports Page Overview that allows you to find what you need, navigate around and zoom in and out on large pages and do it fast. The browser is as good as ever and we didn’t have any problems watching videos on the computer version of YouTube, but this doesn’t mean you get full Flash support. It´s just not here yet.

Camera and Multimedia:

The Nokia 5530 is equipped with 3.2-megapixel camera with LED flash. There is not much to tell about its interface, because it´s the same as the versions on the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and N97. As a whole it´s passable, although switching between options is somewhat unhandy and the thing is they are many. You can share pictures over Ovi and Vox, but adding other services like Facebook, Picasa, Flickr etc. is not supported. The snapshot quality is nothing to write home about. Details are blurry and virtually non-existent at times, plus colors look rather unrealistic now and then. All told, the snapshot quality the camera delivers is almost identical to what you get with the 5800. The LED flash didn’t manage to surprise us with a great performance either and is mediocre – snapshots taken when there´s not enough light or in the dark are really bad indeed. Image quality of captured videos is the same, but still good enough for sharing on the Internet.

Nokia 5530 XpressMusic sample video at 640x480 pixels resolution.

Themusic player doesn’t deliver anything new to surprise you with either. Tracks can be filtered by artist, album, playlists, genre, composer, Podcasts or you can just see a list of all available content. It´s a good thing you can choose between equalizer presets and audio effects and as a whole, the app is easy to handle.

Sound quality during audio playback and through the stereo loudspeakers is good, but they are less powerful than the 5800´s. Our 5530 XpressMusic handset came without a headset, but we put the 3.5mm jack to good use and were pleased with what we heard. Audio turned out to be loud and clear. You can watch videos using either the Video centre menu or Real Player that both come with the operating system. They handle high bit rate MPEG4 videos with resolution of 640x360 pixels at 30 fps flawlessly. Still, we like Video Centre better, since it sports cooler interface and delivers better looking, more saturated colors. 


The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic is a really snappy Symbian S60 5th Edition smartphone. There is no visible interface lagging when switching between menus and the barely noticeable one on starting applications is well disguised with cool transition effects. The phone seems even faster than the Nokia flagship, the N97, despite the fact it´s equipped with the same ARM-11 processor running at 434 MHz., 128MB RAM and 256MB ROM.

In-call quality is quite good. Voices tend to sound unrealistic and overly sharp at times, but still, everything is loud and we didn’t encounter any problems. The 5800 performs a bit better at this, but the difference is negligible. The battery of the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic has lower capacity (1,000 mAh battery as compared to the 1,320 mAh of the 5800). Still, it managed to keep our unit alive for 3 days and we have to say that during our tests we not only talked a lot, but heavily abused the Wi-Fi as well. Admirable performance indeed.


The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic is not only a capable Symbian S60 5th Edition based smartphone, but a pretty good multimedia-oriented handset as well. The thing is we don´t believe it´s worth the money Nokia´s asking for it. It comes with a steep price tag, especially considering that its elder sibling, the 5800 XpressMusic, is available at virtually the same price, while delivering larger screen, GPS functionality and 3G connectivity. That´s why we would rather advice you to hold up on your purchase and wait until its price gets more reasonable. Alternatively, just get the 5800 XpressMusic. It offers superior functionality and better bang for your hard-earner buck.

Nokia 5530 XpressMusic Video Review:


  • Compact size
  • Good touch screen sensitivity
  • Good in-call and audio quality
  • Robust battery


  • Display is unusable in direct sunlight
  • No GPS and 3G
  • Available with a price tag that´s simply unreasonable

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