Nokia C5 Review

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

Introduction and Design:

It was about month and a half ago when Nokia first announced its new name-giving policy – all models will come with a designation number from 1 to 9, with 1s reserved for handsets with the most basic functionality and 9s in the names of the most technologically advanced models. The new C series made its debut at the same time. All its members will be aimed at the wide audience and the C5, a Symbian S60 3rd Edition based cell phone, was the first to see the light of day. We have finally managed to get our hands on the handset, so let’s take a closer look and see how it fares against the competition and if has what it takes to win over customers.

Things appear quite nice at first glance, bcecause the cell phone comes boxed with all necessary accessories – stereo headset, microUSB cable, 2GB microSD expansion card, wall charger and user guide.

Moreover, the Nokia C5 is a beauty to behold. In the best tradition of the Finnish manufacturer, the design of the handset is simple, dainty and just radiates an aura of reliability, not last thanks to the great number of metal parts. Despite them, the device is not hefty and its weight is properly balanced.

You can compare the Nokia C5 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The display of the Nokia C5 features QVGA resolution that has become standard for handsets in this price category. All told, the image quality is mediocre and the C5 is useless in direct sunlight, even with the brightness to its maximum setting, not to mention the screen is almost unusable when used at an angle.

The screen is, however, the only disappointing aspect relating to the outer look of the device. All buttons are exceptionally well-made, large enough, have proper travel and provide pronounced feedback when pressed. Typing away on the keyboard of the Nokia C5 is as easy as ABC and frankly, the only thing that could have made us happier would have been the presence of QWERTY keyboard. The microSD slot, well hidden under a small plastic flap, takes up to 16GB expansion cards.

The 3.5mm headphone jack, charger and microUSB ports are on the top side of the device. The battery cover is made from metal and is extremely easy to remove, thanks to the small peg at the bottom.

We like the outer look and build-quality of the Nokia C5 quite a lot. We also happen to think that even if it doesn’t bring people out in droves, many will find it irresistibly appealing. If you want to find out more about the software of the Nokia C5, please turn to the next page and keep reading.

Nokia C5 360 Degrees View:

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Interface and Functionality:

The Nokia C5 is a Symbian S60 3rd Edition smartphone! Hm, you aren’t exactly impressed, are you? It’s true that the operating system needs a major overhaul that is due in the form of Symbian^3 later this year, but even in its present state of being, Symbian has its advantages – great personalization options, rapidly evolving online application store and happens to be really user-friendly even if it’s the first time you’ve had a smartphone.

The Nokia C5 comes with the latest version of the platform for handsets without touch-sensitive screens, i.e. S60 3rd Edition with Feature Pack 2. In other words, it is almost identical to the Nokia 5630 XpressMusic in software terms. We have already described the interface peculiarities in great detail in our review of said music-oriented sibling of the C5, like Contacts bar, chat function and web browser, so take a look at the article if you need to find out more on the topic. The only difference to the Nokia C5 is the latter lacks Wi-Fi.

The phone book has had a social-related facelift and you can now link contacts to their corresponding Facebook profiles. If your online buddies have shared their telephone numbers, the linking is fully automated. Otherwise you will have to do it manually, but we cannot say this takes much time really, because the Facebook application is really snappy. There are two major benefits from spending time to link contacts. First, linked phone book entries get updated with people’s profile pictures at the social website, although (and it’s a shame really) they will not get visualized in the large-sized icons of the Contacts bar. Second, you to gain quick access to the linked social networking profiles of your buddies. All told, the social functionality of the Nokia C5 cannot hold a candle to the famous HTC Sense interface, but it’s better than nothing.

The handset comes with integrated Nokia Messaging support – a super application that can handle multiple email accounts. We do like certain functions like the fast switching between (as of now, up to 10) email accounts directly from within the app, the option to sort messages by sender, title, priority, unread content, type and size of attached files etc. The program makes using more than one email account and piles of emails way faster and handier. You also get nicely implemented web search and not last, can actually read HTML emails with enclosed pictures being just a click away. Keeping in mind the keybord of the Nokia C5 is quite comfortable, the handset is a suitable solutuion to your email troubles.

Camera, Multimedia and GPS:

Similarly to the Nokia 5630 XpressMusic, the C5 integrates 3.2-megapixel „Full Focus” camera with flash. Full Focus is actually a fussier name for the otherwise well-known but less exciting term “fixed focus”. According to the manufacturer, the technology guarantees that objects will remain in focus. The camera interface offers a set of basic and a limited number of more appealing options like panorama shots, sequence mode etc. The camera flash also features red eye removal mode.

Pictures are actually quite decent. Their details arent halfway bad and colors appear realistically represented (despite the occasional purple fringing). The flash does not help much indoors and sometimes even makes things worse. All told, the Nokia C5 is an apt performer for a handset with unpretending photographic capabilities.

The cell phone captures video at VGA resolution and 15 frames per second. Colors are unnaturally bright, while moving objects appear halting.

Nokia C5 sample video at 640x480 pixels resolution

The music player and the built-in FM radio with RDS will help you to quench your thirst for music. The boxed headset delivers slightly quiet, but clear sound and the same applies to the loudspeaker. The presence of a 3.5mm jack means you can easily plug in a better earphones or compact speaker like the Nokia MD-9.

One of the major advantages of the Nokia C5 over its mainstream rivals is the handset is equipped with A-GPS and free navigation via Ovi Maps. Getting our locations pinpointed in assisted mode after hardware reset took about one and a half minutes and proved to be almost instantaneous after software restart. The maps available with Ovi Maps are quite detailed and brimming with information about interesting places. You can get extra tips on sightseeing spots on your journey via Lonely Planet and Michelin, services that also come with the phone.

Performance and Conclusion:

The Nokia C5 can fly indeed... when thrown out of the window. „Heh, that was a good one!” said the schizophrenic and went on playing belote all by himself. All joking aside, the Nokia C5 is equipped with 600MHz processor and 128MB RAM, i.e. more than enough resources that guarantee a smartphone like this will be running without any lagging.

We encountered some minor issues relating to the sound sharpness during calls, but all told, we were able to perfectly understand people on the other end of the line and they claimed the same. The Nokia C5 offers the whopping 12 hours of continuous talk time on 2G networks and decent 4.9 hours over 3G bands.

The Nokia C5 is exceptionally well-made, comfortable and snappy device. The in-call and audio playback quality is decent, the handset supports Nokia Messaging, the camera will do and the A-GPS coupled with free navigation is welcome indeed. Our only gripe relates to the mediocre display and lack of Wi-Fi.

What alternative options do you have?

-    The Nokia 5630 XpressMusic – we mentioned it on several occasions in this review, since the handset comes with quite similar specifications. It sports a different design (with more youthful look) and Wi-Fi, but its camera is worse.
-    The Nokia E52 – similarly to the C5, the model features really good build quality, and has larger display and Wi-Fi. It happens to be more expensive as well.
-    The Nokia 6700 classic – if a stylish overall look is your cup of tea and you don’t really care about smartphone functionality, the device does have a lot to offer. It is equipped with 5-megapixel camera, plus fussier customers would be thrilled to know a gilded version is currently available as well.
-    The Samsung Shark S5350 – yet another feature phone. It outrivals the Nokia C5 in terms of in-call quality.

Nokia 5630 XpressMusic Ревю
Nokia 5630 XpressMusic
Nokia E52 Ревю
Nokia E52
Nokia 6700 classic Ревю
Nokia 6700 classic
Samsung Shark S5350 Ревю
Samsung Shark S5350

Click on the images for in-depth reviews

If all models of the C-Series of the manufacturer prove to be more like the Nokia C5, well, we have to admit they do have their place on the market. We know there are many people out there, inclined to purchase a smartphone with stlish design, but unwilling to shell out for an overpriced Nokia’s E-series family member. The C5 might be just what they have been looking for.


  • Dainty design and proper materials
  • Really snappy
  • Nokia Messaging support
  • GPS and free navigation via Ovi Maps


  • Display that is almost unusable in direct sunlight and at an angle
  • Lacks Wi-Fi

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