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Nokia 5 review: Great for everyday essentials

This Android phone’s got a fingerprint reader and a battery that'll get you through the day.

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Andrew Lanxon
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Andrew Lanxon

Lead Editor, CNET Advice, Europe; Lead Photographer, Europe

Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.

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There's a lot to like about Nokia's midrange Nokia 5 handset. Its slim, metal design is very comfortable to hold and looks smart. There's not much of a bezel around the display either, which means the body hasn't had to balloon out too much to accommodate its 5.2-inch display.

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Nokia 5

The Good

The Nokia 5 is affordable, looks good and has a battery that won't quit on you before the day's done.

The Bad

It's only powerful enough for the essentials and the camera doesn't take brilliant shots.

The Bottom Line

With a neat design, a low price and power enough for the essentials, the Nokia 5 is budget Android done well.

That display is bright and bold and while the 720p resolution isn't sharp enough to make details pop, it's fine for reading stories online and chatting with your friends. The fingerprint scanner below the screen works well and doubles as a home button too.

The phone runs Android Nougat, which Nokia has left completely untouched. It results in a clean, fuss-free interface that's easy to use and nippy to navigate thanks to the phone's octa-core processor. The Nokia 5 falls a little below the Moto G5 Plus in benchmark terms, but apps like Gmail load quickly and games like Asphalt: Xtreme are handled well enough for casual mobile gamers.

The 13-megapixel rear camera takes sharp shots, with a good exposure balance. Colours aren't very bold and the white balance can be hit and miss, but for quick snaps for Facebook, it'll suit fine. There's quite a lot of image noise in low-light shots, so wait until you're outside in the daylight to take your best shots. There's an 8-megapixel front camera, too, with an HDR mode that gives sharp, well-balanced selfies.

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Nokia 5 camera test

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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Nokia 5 outdoor camera test

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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Nokia 5 front-facing camera test

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

There's no waterproofing on the Nokia 5, so keep it strictly away from all drinks. It charges using Micro-USB, rather than the more up-to-date USB-C, but at this price I can't criticise for that too much.

The 3,000mAh battery puts up a good fight, lasting an excellent 15 hours on our rundown tests. You won't struggle too much to get a whole day of use from the phone, but as with all smartphones, you'll want to give it a full charge every night.

It costs £180 in the UK, which converts to AU$301 in Australia. Nokia has no plans currently to bring the phone to the US, but it converts to $235. That price puts it below the superb Motorola Moto G5 Plus in the UK. Both phones have fingerprint scanners and metal designs, both have near-stock versions of Android, both have NFC and both accept microSD cards up to 128GB in size.

The Moto G5 Plus is a bit more powerful, with 32GB, rather than 16GB of storage as standard, a screen that packs in more pixels in the same space and a camera that performs a little -- although not dramatically -- better.

If you want a decent all-round phone to tackle all your everyday essentials and you want some cash left over then the Nokia 5 is well worth your time. Go with the Moto G5 Plus if you're looking for a few more tricks, like a home button that lets you navigate around with your thumb.

Nokia 5 specs comparison chart


Nokia 5Motorola Moto G5 PlusNokia 6OnePlus 5
Display size, resolution 5.2-inch; 1,280x720 pixels5.2-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels
Pixel density 282ppi424ppi403ppi401ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 5.89x2.85x0.34 in5.9x2.9x0.3 in6.06x2.98x0.33 in6.1x2.92x0.29 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 149.7x72.5x8.55 mm150.2x74x7.7 mm154x75.8x8.4 mm154.2x74.1x7.3 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) TBA5.5 oz, 155gTBA5.4 oz; 153 g
Mobile software Android 7.1.1 NougatAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 7.1.1 NougatAndroid 7.1.1 Nougat
Camera 13-megapixel12-megapixel16-megapixel16-megapixel standard, 20-megapixel telephoto
Front-facing camera 8-megapixel5-megapixel8-megapixel16-megapixel
Video capture TBA1080pTBA4K
Processor Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 4302GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 4302.45GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Storage 16GB32GB (UK & US), 64GB (US only)32GB, 64GB64GB, 128GB
RAM 2GB2GB on 32 GB (US model), 3GB on 32GB (UK model) or 4GB on 64GB (US model)3GB6GB, 8GB
Expandable storage 128GB128GB128GBNone
Battery 3,000mAh3,000mAh3,000mAh3,300mAh
Fingerprint sensor Below screenBelow screenYesHome button
Connector Micro-USBMicro-USBMicro-USBUSB-C
Special features
Dual-SIM, splash-proof
Portrait mode, notifications toggle, dual-SIM, Dash Charging
Price off-contract (USD) Converts to $235$229 (32GB); $299 (64GB)Converts to $240$479 (64GB), $539 (128GB)
Price (GBP) £180£249 (32GB)Converts to £195£449 (64GB), £499 (128GB)
Price (AUD) Converts to AU$301Converts to AU$300 (32GB) and AU$390 (64GB)Converts to AU$315Converts to AU$636 (64GB), AU$715 (128GB)
nokia-5-mwc.jpg
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Nokia 5

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 6Camera 7Battery 9