Nokia C5 review: Nokia C5

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Typical Price: $399.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars 3 user reviews

The Good Excellent keypad Good set of connectivity features Free real-time navigation with Ovi Maps Good battery life Snappy performance.

The Bad A few minor design flaws Doesn't support Wi-Fi Camera doesn't have autofocus.

The Bottom Line The Nokia C5 offers a simple candybar design and good range of features without being too costly. It won't blow you away, but it shouldn't disappoint either.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.7 Overall


Nokia is good at making simple candybar phones and the C5 is a good example. The handset is made from a combination of plastic and aluminium, which feels pretty light in the hands. Our review unit came in the white version with a metallic silver band that runs along the sides of the device. The C5 is also available in a warm-grey shade.

The build quality is generally solid, although we were marginally put off by the matte-silver battery cover, which was slightly loose at the bottom. The implementation of the microSD card slot and volume buttons is also questionable. The microSD card, when inserted, goes too deep into the slot, which makes it a painful experience trying to pry out the card with our fingernails. The volume buttons are also thin, stiff and sunk into the chassis. We had to press down hard before the buttons registered the command. Now try doing that while the phone is next to your ear.

Happily, the numeric keypad is a joy to use and the 2.2-inch QVGA display adequate for a device of this size. The TFT panel is capable of displaying 16.7 million colours, but legibility of the screen under the sun is only average. We had to squint a little while framing our pictures using the camera. Indoors, the display appeared sharp and vibrant. Elsewhere on the C5, there's a 3.5mm audio jack, micro-USB port and 2mm charging connector at the top, while a 3.2-megapixel camera with LED flash is around back.


The C5 runs on the Symbian S60 3rd edition operating system with Feature Pack 2, which is practically on every other non-touchscreen Nokia smartphone. Smart dialling, conference calling (up to three participants), voice commands and video calling are all supported. The latter uses the secondary, front-facing VGA camera. The latter has a focus range of 20cm to infinity and is also capable of recording 144x176-pixel videos at 15fps.

(Credit: CNET Asia)

The home screen features a shortcut carousel of your favourite contacts in the address book. Up to four people are displayed at any one time, although the sides of the two contacts at the edge are chopped off due to the limitation of the display (see our screenshot for illustration). Still, chances are you'd be able to identify who these friends are by their pictures. Clicking on each of these contacts brings you to an aggregator, which displays your recent history with this particular person. Below this contact carousel are active standby applications for calendar appointments, emails and statuses of your Ovi contacts. Further down at the bottom edge of the home screen are six application shortcuts that are configurable, as well as the left/right customisable keys. If you've used a recent Nokia smartphone, none of these should be new to you.

Most of the applications that the average user would need are pre-installed. There's QuickOffice for document viewing (although you'll need to register for the paid version in order to create new documents), an Adobe PDF reader, dictionary, ZIP manager, notepad, RealPlayer, voice recorder and Ovi Maps for navigation. Real-time walk and drive navigation are free on the C5. In Ovi Maps, you'll also find Lonely Planet and an events guide, as well as a weather update application. The C5 comes with 128MB of built-in memory, of which about 50MB are available to the user.

Aside from Ovi Contacts and Maps, the C5 also supports application downloads via the Ovi Store directly from the device and Files on Ovi. One thing we've griped about time and again is the lack of applications and the dreadful user interface on the Ovi Store. What's fortunate is that there's a robust amount of third-party apps written for the S60 platform. The only problem is you may not be able to find them on Ovi Store and instead will have to search on the web for it.

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