Nokia 5630 XpressMusic Review

Introduction and Design
This is a global GSM phone. It can be used with AT&T and T-Mobile USA but without 3G.


We believe contemporary, music smart phones need to deliver proper audio quality, be powerful performers, measure compact size and offer great Internet connectivity.  Apparently, quite many people feel the same way, so Nokia has decided to give them joy releasing the 5630 XpressMusic. It runs Symbian S60 3rd Edition with Feature Pack 2 and sports 600 MHz ARM11 processor. It’s slim and compact and features N-Gage support. Sounds quite promising, isn’t it?

In the box you will also find a wall charger, phone purse (made of fabric), 4GB microSD card, pair of earphones, audio player wired remote, microUSB cable (too short), software mini DVD and user guide. We also happen to have great news for all fans of the nature – box itself is made from recycled materials only and the charger is of highest energy efficiency class.


On the outside, the Nokia 5630 XpressMusic looks like a blend of the two devices in the same lineup that we like best – the 5320 and 5310. The 5630 is only 2 mm thicker than the latter or in other words is really thin, especially for a smart phone.

You can compare the Nokia 5630 XpressMusic with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

We would have liked it far better if the screen was a bit larger, but we will have to make do with the current one that measures 2.2 inches and delivers QVGA resolution. Still, it comes with 16 mln colors and remains totally usable in direct sunlight, despite the fact screen gets slightly dim.

All buttons on the front side feel very comfy. The navigational ones are a bit small, but are prominent and make up for the size with enough travel. The keyboard sports large keys, aligned in distinct rows that are easy to feel with your fingers. Those on either side of the phone, volume rocker and camera shutter on the right and audio player controls on the left are all somewhat hard to press, because their travel is not pronounced enough. The microSD card slot is well hidden under a small flap and is also on the right hand side of the phone, while both microUSB and 3.5 mm jack are on the top.

The back side of the Nokia 5630 XpressMusic features a rugged pattern that feels like rubber to your touch and feels quite pleasing. The 3.2-megapixel, double LED flash camera is here as well. Just like most makes in the same lineup, the phone looks youthful, but not flighty and light as both the 5320 and 5220. Aside from the red and black variety that you see in the pictures, the phone also comes with grey or blue trim.

Nokia 5630 XpressMusic 360 Degrees View

Interface and Functionality:

As we mentioned at the beginning, the Nokia 5630 XpressMusic is a smart phone powered by Symbian S60 3rd Edition with Feature Pack 2. We can think of at least a dozen other phones running the same operating system, but it’s the first time we have seen a new home screen, aside from the standard vertical and horizontal icon rows. It’s called “contact bar” and looks quite similar to the one on the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic that runs Symbian S60 5th Edition. As its name suggests, up to 20 contacts can be visualized on the screen and appear there with their assigned pictures. Selecting any turns call history and any messages you may have exchanged on screen. The same function is used to follow RSS broadcasts. Say, you create an entry, name it phoneArena then you can assign it a web-feed so as to see news updates right away.

There is an info field below the contacts that, by default, notifies you of new emails. A shortcut to the Ovi chat service that you can, logically, get on through your Ovi account is to be found right below. You can replace the latter with a Wi-Fi scanner or a function that shows timeslots of your daily schedule, provided you have filled in your Calendar. Unfortunately, all three cannot be visualized at the same time. There is the option to place a row of icons at the bottom to gain quick access to audio player, radio, internet browser, Internet searches, N-Gage web portal and phone gallery.

As you can see, most of the apps on the home screen are to do with the Internet. This is pretty normal, given the Nokia 5630 XpressMusic is much more than a music device. A quick look at the menus should be enough to convince you this is a device that can be easily used on social networks plus you will be able to feast your eyes on the new, pleasing icons, much in character of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. Shortcuts to Facebook, MySpace and Hi5 in the phone are located in the internet menu along with options to share files through YouTube and Ovi Share. You can connect to the Web via 3G (HSDPA 10.2Mbit/s) or Wi-Fi. The Symbian browser is really good and opens even heavy pages without any issues but it cannot play general Flash content, despite the fact YouTube videos are supported.

If you can’t find anything amusing enough on the Internet, you can always chance your luck on the N-Gage portal. Games are purchased and downloaded from there and you can share your best scores with other players.

Camera and Multimedia:

The Nokia 5630 XpressMusic features a “Full Focus” camera that, according to the manufacturer, should be able to take pictures really fast, thanks to a technology that improves on focus field depth, called “enhanced depth of field”. This also means all objects are supposed to be always in focus, no matter their relative position depth. In reality pictures are taken almost instantaneously, although the end result is similar to what standard fixed focus length cameras deliver. Its interface is simple, but there is this nice option to choose what shortcuts appear on the band on your right hand side, so you don’t end up with icons brimming all over. Interface also allows taking of panoramic pictures, picking one of the presets, shooting in sequence mode, adding color effects, changing white balance or exposure etc. and the flash features red eye removal.

Snapshots taken outdoors are passable in terms of overall quality, although details tend to be a bit blurrier than in pictures taken with the Sony Ericsson C510 that features autofocus camera. Colors look unrealistic though (violet sky). Indoor pictures are much noisier, but if you come to use the flash you will see almost no difference between snaps taken in bright or dim light conditions. Unfortunately, quality of pictures taken in places without enough light plummets to a rather low level.

Video is captured at 640x480 pixels and 15 frames per second and the device seems to catch environmental noise pretty well too. If you are about to take a video of someone who is speaking, we do recommend you get as close as you can and not more than a meter away, otherwise the voice may be intelligible.

Nokia 5630 XpressMusic sample video at 640x480 pixels resolution

Gallery unifies all videos and snapshots. If you have a picture on the whole screen and want to browse to the next one, a reduced preview window pops up and when you select the other one it will smoothly go to full screen again.

The audio player on Symbian devices is not something to brag about in front of your fiends, that’s for sure. If the album art gets recognized eventually, it will appear magnified on screen. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. There is an equalizer and you can fiddle with its settings, plus you have the options to enhance basses and expand stereo output.

It’s a shame, but despite the manufacturer’s promise, the Nokia 5630 XpressMusic has failed to impress us with audio quality. The loudspeaker doesn’t pack much punch and music coming out of it is sharp and unpleasant. The boxed pair of earphones won’t wow you with unsurpassed quality either. Loudness cannot be compared to what a second generation iPod nano delivers and sound gets displeasingly sharp if you turn the volume up or switch on the equalizer. It’s good that sound quality gets substantially better the minute you plug in a pair of decent headphones, so you may come to want to make good use of the 3.5 mm jack indeed.

The preloaded Real Player delivers MPEG4/H.264 and H.263 video playback, but the thing is videos with resolution width of over 320 pixels stutter heavily and the 2.2-inch screen is not really fit for watching videos anyway.


The Nokia 5630 XpressMusic sports an ARM11 processor running at 600MHz, which is a lot for a phone in this class. The device is really snappy and you will evidence slowdowns quite rarely, say, while opening your gallery if you happen to have many pictures there. The same goes for almost all Symbian powered devices that have come out in the last year, so in reality you don’t really feel much difference using the handset despite the faster CPU.

You have already found out that the Nokia 5630 XpressMusic is smart, powerful, elegant and offers great functionality, but still, it cannot be considered the perfect mate if it fails to deliver ease of communication. Unfortunately, quality of voices turned out to be pretty bad on our end with sound tending to be monotonous, surreal and not loud enough. Our interlocutors didn’t seem affected by similar issues and claimed everything was just fine, although they also said voices got somewhat irritatingly sharp when at full blast.

Aside from all mentioned qualities and shortcomings, the 5630 XpressMusic also features a battery that does last. Manufacturer claims it provides up to 7 hrs of continuous talk time, over 400 hrs in standby or about 24 hrs listening to music. You wouldn’t need to worry if you forget your phone while it´s being charger up either – the charger (Nokia High Efficiency Charger AC-10) gets turned off by itself to save on energy.


We are pleased with what the Nokia 5630 XpressMusic brings out. It meets almost all of our requirements – it’s compact, fast, delivers rich internet and surfing experience, the new home screen feels comfy to use and N-Gage support may provide quite some fun. The features we are disappointed with are its feeble loudspeaker and low quality sound through the boxed earphones. The latter issue can be easily fixed though – you just need to get a proper pair, so this is not a crucial problem really.

Still, there are some nice alternative options you need to look at before going for the 5630 XpressMusic. The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic sports a touch sensitive screen and fairly powerful loudspeakers. If you happen to be a heavy texter or fan of social networks, we would recommend you wait until the 5730 comes out, since it will feature a full QWERTY keyboard. Please, take a look at our review of the Sony Ercisson W705 as well – it’s not a smart phone, but offers pretty much the same options as the 5630 XpressMusic.

Nokia 5630 XpressMusic Video Review:


  • Slim and elegant
  • Really comfy buttons
  • Internet friendly (Wi-Fi, HSDPA 3.6Mbit/s)
  • The new home screen is both comfy and functional
  • Robust battery
  • N-Gage support


  • Both audio playback and in-call quality is mediocre
  • Snapshots lack enough details and have unreal colors

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

9 Reviews

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