Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review

Introduction and Design

We witnessed some serious demand of touch screen phones last year. Most of the manufacturers leaned towards this market share and released their own models. It may sound strange, but until recently, the biggest manufacturer, Nokia, stood aside from the trend. During the spring however, a photo of their first touch screen phone emerged on the Internet, by the codename of Tube. All kinds of rumors about the new product had set, but the Finnish company didn’t utter a word. Later, the same phone had been spotted in the latest Batman movie, creating even more underground buzz. Nokia said that the unit has been produced exclusively for the super hero, but didn’t deny that it may become a reality. After this, word spread that the device would be announced in October and this turned out to be true. At the Nokia Remix event in London, the Finns officially presented their first Symbian S60 touch screen phone, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. It finds its place in the higher-end of the manufacturer’s XpressMusic  series and is offered at an affordable price, which means that it’s targeted at a wider range of customers. This information attracted many people’s attention, but this was also due to the 3.2-inch widescreen with a resolution of 640x360 pixels, built-in Wi-Fi, GPS and HSDPA support. So, has the time come for the iPhone to have a worthy opponent and for Nokia to finally enter the big Touch game ?

We’ll begin with the content of the package. Here’s what you’ll find inside it:

  • Nokia 5800 XpressMusic + stylus
  • Hard carrying case
  • Wrist strap
  • Stand
  • Additional stylus
  • Stereo hands-free/headphones for a 3.5mm jack
  • microUSB cable
  • TV-out cable
  • Charger
  • 8 GB microSD card
  • Software and presentation DVD
  • Brochure
  • Quick guide
  • User Manual
We found the carrying case a bit strange, because it isn’t standard and the phone can be taken out from both ends. On the other hand, it’s going to provide better protection for the screen than a velveteen one. The included 8GB card is a nice extra, since you won’t need to go to the store to buy one. However, what caught our attention was the hand band. It’s elastic and has a piece of plastic attached to it, which looks very much like a plectrum. Actually, it can be used as a stylus, in case you want to do something quickly and you don’t fell like taking the stylus out.


At first glance, the only thing that gives you a hint that the 5800 belongs to Nokia’s music series is the inscription on the upper end of the front, which is dominated almost thoroughly by the screen, making it pretty different from previous XpressMusic phones. As we spent some time holding it however, the feeling reminded us of the Nokia 5220 XpressMusic. The body is made of plastic that’s glossy on the edges. We didn’t like the material very much, as it gives the impression of something cheap and fragile. Don’t get us wrong, it looks good, but we expected more from the first S60 touch screen phone.

You can compare the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The dimensions and the weight are well balanced and the phone feels handy to use. Compared to the iPhone, it’s thicker, but also narrower. The 5800 however, has a 3.2-inch display (the iPhone has a 3.5-inch one) with a 16:9 format, which is the standard for widescreen television and a resolution of 640x360 pixels (the Apple's offering has 480x320 pixels). Both competitors score equally when it comes to colors – 16 million. We have to note, that the image quality is higher on the Nokia phone – its display is brighter and has higher contrast. However, if you expose it to direct sunlight, the image gets almost totally washed away, which is a pity, having in mind that previous 16 million color Nokia phones didn’t suffer from the same issue. In addition, it becomes a real fingerprint mess when you use it for a longer period of time, and since a cloth for cleaning it up isn’t included in the box, we warmly recommend that you have one with you.

It’s important to tell you that the 5800’s screen utilizes the resistive technology. This means that you can use whatever object to press it, while the iPhone uses the capacitive technology, meaning that the only way to control it is by fingers. You can learn more about the different touch screen technologies from our article. We needed some time to become skilled enough in order to use it without making so many mistakes.  At first we had the impression that the screen isn’t very sensitive. The slight vibration when pressing it couldn’t help us a lot, because it’s too soft and cannot be adjusted. We eventually learned that we should tap, rather than just touch it, which reminds us of the BlackBerry Storm. We’ll talk more on it in the Interface section.

In spite of the touch screen, you’ll also need to use the keys of the 5800 XpressMusic. There are three of them on the front, right below the display. The left and right ones serve as send and end keys and the middle one grants you access to the main menu (on press) or to the task manager (on hold) and blinks when there’s a missed call or a received message. You won’t experience any trouble using them, as their pressing is felt very clear. There is a surprise waiting for you right below the camera for video conversations – a sensor key...  more on that later. Now let’s take a look at the top side. It houses the microUSB port, the 3.5mm jack, the charging port and the power button.

On the right are the camera shutter and the volume rocker, and between them you’ll find a slider for locking/unlocking the display. You’ll feel a strong vibration as you slide it. Our only remark is about the volume rocker is that it is nearly flush with the body and doesn’t feel distinct enough when you touch it. On the opposite side are the stereo speakers, the microSD card slot and the SIM card slot. No, there is no mistake here – the SIM card should be inserted on the side and you don’t need to remove the battery. However, if you decide to change it or take it out, you’ll have to remove the back panel and the battery. Then, you’ll need the stylus, which can be found in the lower right corner. It’s made of plastic and cannot be expanded. It’s highly unlikely to lose it, because it stays firmly fixed in its place with a lot. In case such an accident happens, don’t forget that there’s an additional one in the package.

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