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Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

Posted: , posted by Ray S.



As the first touchscreen S60 phone we were eagerly anticipating what Nokia had done with the UI. Was it a new, unknown interface that’s going to catch your breath for at least five minutes? No! Although the operating system is the latest version (Symbian v9.4 S60 5th Edition), it’s not very different from the previous ones but has went through the necessary optimization for easier use with a touch screen. This, to some extent, has its pros as you’ll quickly get used to it if you have used another Nokia smartphone. New users also shouldn’t experience any difficulties either.

We hold the power key and 20 seconds later we’re in the Symbian S60 realm. The home screen has undergone some changes, compared to the previous version. The indicators for battery life and signal strength, the clock and date are located on the upper part of the display. Tapping the clock will take you to another screen with a larger clock and options for a new alarm, a list with the current alarms and a world clock. We go back to the home screen and this time tap on the date. This triggers a drop-down menu, which gives you access to the calendar and a number of phone profiles. The Widgets that we saw during the N97’s presentation aren’t present here, but they may be added with some of the future software updates.

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review

Downwards you’ll see an icon that lets you take up to four contacts directly to the home screen. However, you’ll need to set a picture ID for each of them, in case you still haven’t done it. When you choose some of these contacts, a menu appears with options for calling, messaging, settings and a history log.

Contacts bar - Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review

Contacts bar

Actually, the Contacts Bar feature is one of the three variants of the Home screen theme, which has obviously succeeded the Homescreen app from the previous versions of the operating system. The alternatives are Basic, which actually has the theme turned off, and Shortcuts bar, which grants you quick access to four applications of your choice. The last one shows the name of the currently played song under the icons, as well as a bar for quick access to the Search application and the nearest event in the calendar (if you have added any). We’re a bit disappointed with the last alternative, since it leaves a lot of free space on the screen, which could be taken up by another row of shortcut icons for example.

The bottom part of the screen features only two icons: the left one brings up the dialpad, and the right one – the contacts list. As we mentioned in the Design section, you can only get to the main menu by clicking the central physical key. So we press it, and a 3x4 grid of icons appears. The icons are big enough so even a person with thicker fingers would easily press them. If you wish, you can also arrange the icons in a vertical list. We gave it a try, and immediately felt a similarity with the BlackBerry Storm, because you have to tap the desired icon twice – the first tap is to select your choice, and the second one to confirm it. Actually, this applies to all submenus that visualize as a vertical list, without any exceptions. Some of you may not like it, but we find it handy. We sometimes made mistakes when only a single tap was required in order to start a program or to choose an option, but with the double tap rule this issue is no more. Unfortunately even if you don’t like the idea, you’ll have to get used to it, because this feature cannot be turned off.

Main menu - Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review
Main menu - Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review

Main menu


In the phonebook, selecting a contact also requires a double click. You can save as many as you like, with an option for multiple numbers per contact. In addition, you can set different ring IDs, picture IDs, spouse names, birthdays and so on. Your only limitation is the phone’s memory. You can search for a contact either by flipping your finger up and down, or with the bar for text input. It sounds completely ordinary, but a brand new technology has been used for the second option. An on-screen keyboard appears, arranged as in navigation systems (A, B, C, D, E…). On start, the first letters of the names are displayed and after you choose the desired one, what remains are only the letters that you need. It’s like the phone is thinking one step ahead of you and knows what you are after. We got used to the new method very quickly and have to admit that searching gets done fast and easy.

Phonebook - Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review
Phonebook - Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review
Phonebook - Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review
Phonebook - Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Review


There’s nothing ground-breaking when it comes to dialing a number. The on-screen numeric keypad can be brought up from its icon on the home screen and is completely standard, with large keys, which should be easy to press for people with thicker fingers. It’s a useful feature that you can mute the sound by turning the phone face down (when someone’s calling you or the alarm’s ringing). This is due to the built-in accelerometer feature and reminds us of the Nokia 8800 Arte, where we met such functionality for the first time.

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PhoneArena rating:
Display3.2 inches, 360 x 640 pixels (229 ppi) TFT
Camera3.2 megapixels
Single core, 434 MHz, ARM11 processor
0.1 GB RAM
Size4.37 x 2.04 x 0.61 inches
(111 x 51.7 x 15.5 mm)
3.84 oz  (109 g)
Battery1320 mAh, 8.8 hours talk time

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