Nokia 5310 Xpress Music review: Nokia 5310 Xpress Music

Though the 5310 is far from being a smartphone, it offers a few work-friendly features. There's full Bluetooth with a stereo profile, PC syncing, a voice recorder, a world clock, a unit converter, and instant messaging. E-mail is onboard as well, but only for POP3 accounts such as Yahoo and AOL. Also, you must log onto the Web browser to access your messages. It's not the slickest experience, but it works in a pinch.

Like other Xpress Music phones, the 5310 is all about its music player, and here again Nokia succeeds. As we've said before, the Xpress Music handsets offer everything you want in a music phone, including ergonomic controls, few restrictions, and satisfying audio quality. The interface is nothing special, but the controls are simple and intuitive, and the player supports album art. Features include an equalizer, shuffle and repeats modes, and an airplane mode for listening to tunes while you fly. What's more, you can create playlists and play music via Bluetooth. The player supports, MP3, MP4, AAC, AAC+, and WMA files, and you can use tracks as ringtones.

Getting music onto the 5310 is a breeze; you need only you connect the phone to your computer via a USB cable or transfer tracks on a mini SD card. When using the former method, your computer should recognize the phone immediately; you then can drag and drop music back and forth. Also, the music will sync with Windows Media Player 10. When listening to tracks, you can minimize the player so you can access other functions, and the player automatically pauses when you receive a call. And of course, you can activate play instantly by pressing the aforementioned play control on the 5310's left spine. If radio is your thing, the 5310 also offers an FM tuner with station presets.


The 5310's camera lacks a flash or a self-portrait mirror.

For your imaging needs, the 5310 offers a 2-megapixel camera that takes JPEG pictures in seven resolutions, from 1,600x1,200 down to 160x120. There's a variety of camera settings, including three quality modes, five color effects, a landscape mode, a self-timer, a sequence mode for shooting six photos in rapid succession, an adjustable white balance, and a 4x zoom. There's no brightness setting, nor is there a flash for dim lightning. Photo quality was disappointing. Colors weren't bad, but objects were blurry, and our shots were washed out.


The 5310's photo quality was rather disappointing.

The camcorder shoots videos in two resolutions (176x144 and 129x96) with sound. Other options are similar to those of the still camera, and you can mute the sound if you wish. The short mode lasts about 20 seconds, but you can also shoot longer clips, depending on the available memory. And speaking of which, the 5310 offers just 7.3MB, so we advise investing in a memory card. The 5310 can accommodate microSD cards up to 2GB.

You can personalize the 5310 with a wide variety of color themes, screensavers, and wallpaper. You can download more options from T-Mobile's t-zones service or you can create your own wallpaper using the 5310's integrated Wallpaper Composer application. Games include demo versions of AMF Bowling Deluxe, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Surviving High School, and World Series of Poker Pro Challenge. You can buy the full versions with the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser.

Performance
We tested the triband (GSM 850/1800/1900) 5310 in San Francisco using T-Mobile service. Unfortunately, the 5310 is not a quadband world phone. Call quality was very good with excellent clarity and more than enough volume. Voices sounded natural for the most part, and we had no issues with static or interference. Our only complaint was that on a couple of occasions, some of our friends sounded a bit metallic, but it wasn't prevalent enough to be distracting.

On their end, callers said we sounded fine. They could tell we were using a cell phone, but they could understand us the majority of the time. A few callers said they could hear a lot of background noise, but on the whole we didn't get many complaints. Automated calling systems could understand us as well, but it is best if you make your call when you're not in a noisy location. Speakerphone calls performed well. The volume loud, and there was decent clarity on both ends.

Music quality was quite good, particularly if you're using a headset or an accessory like the Nokia MD-7W Bluetooth stereo speakers. The phone's speakers external speakers are rather weak, and the music suffers somewhat at the highest volume level, but the experience was satisfying overall. As is typical with music phones, our tunes lacked bass, but on the other hand, the sound had a lot of warmth and it wasn't overly tinny.

The Nokia 5310 Xpress Music has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time and up to 18 days standby time. It had a talk time of 6 hours and 44 minutes in our tests. Additionally, the 5310 promises 18 hours of music playback time, but we got just 12 hours in our tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the 5310 has a digital SAR of 1.25 watts per kilogram.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Weight 2.5 oz
  • Technology GSM
  • Service Provider T-Mobile
  • Diagonal Size 2 in
  • Sensor Resolution 2 megapixels