Nokia 5800 XpressMusic review: Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good

Average User Rating

3.5 stars 13 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Wi-Fi; HSDPA; GPS.

The Bad Sometimes unresponsive touchscreen; mundane design.

The Bottom Line Given the current selection of touchscreen phones, we expected a lot from the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. Sadly, it didn't deliver the experience we'd hoped for. The 5800's screen isn't the worst we've ever used but it lacks the responsiveness of the iPhone's and, at times, requires a stylus. That said, the music experience isn't bad, so hopefully Nokia's next touchscreen phone will do it justice

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After Apple unveiled the iPhone, many people wondered how long it would take Nokia to release a touchscreen phone. The answer was: "Much later than expected", with punters having to wait over a year to get their hands on one. But is Nokia's first touchscreen phone, the 5800 XpressMusic, a match for the iPhone? We tested it out to find out.

You can get the 5800 for free on a monthly contract or for around £350 SIM-free.

Note: This review has been updated. See the update section on page 2.

Design
The 5800 looks and feels like most Nokia candybar handsets, with the exception of the touchscreen on the front. While its plastic casing is solid, there isn't much to catch the eye. Everything is laid out in a relatively mundane fashion and lacks pizzazz. A glass screen or ultra-slim casing wouldn't have gone amiss.

Unlike the iPhone's capacitive screen, the 5800's resistive display -- meaning you have to apply pressure in order for it to register what you're doing -- isn't as responsive as we'd hoped for and, at times, requires a stylus for added accuracy, which we really don't like. In addition to the less-than-perfect screen, a clunky-looking raised border detracts from what could have been a more elegant handset.

You may find you need to use the stylus to make accurate selections on the touchscreen

Another thing we disliked about the 5800's screen is the fact you need to unlock it using an unlock key on the side, which gets frustrating if you want to make a quick call. But it's not all bad -- the 5800 does have some redeeming design features, such as a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top and an easy-to-access microSD slot.

Comparing this to other phones from the Finnish manufacturer, we can't say this is Nokia at its best and are sure that its future touchscreen phones will be better. If we could change anything on the 5800, we would replace its resistive screen with a capacitive one, to offer a smoother, more finger-friendly experience.

Features
It's obvious that we weren't enamoured with the 5800's design, but its features did get our hearts racing. It lives up to its XpressMusic title by offering a usable music player that displays album art and lets you search through tracks using a search bar, or by flicking your finger up and down the screen through a list of tracks.

You can download music straight to the 5800 via the Nokia Music Store, which we found easy enough to do and, best of all, you can listen to all your music using normal headphones, plugged straight in. The 5800 also comes with a useful, in-wire remote that you can use to control your music when the phone is in your pocket.

Wi-Fi and HSDPA make Web access satisfactory, and the 5800's browser performs well enough, displaying full-sized Web pages and giving you the option to zoom in and out of them and swipe the screen to move around. It's not as impressive as the iPhone's browser, but it works well enough for accessing Facebook, for example.

Other Web-based features include an iPlayer app that gives you access to the BBC's service. We found this app easy to use and a great addition to Nokia's arsenal. You can also watch YouTube via YouTube's mobile site, though we couldn't always get it to work, but that might have been due to external connectivity issues.

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Where to Buy

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

Part Number: CNETNokia 5800 XpressMusic

Typical Price: £350.00

See manufacturer website for availability.