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Nokia 5228 X-Factor review: Nokia 5228 X-Factor

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We might have our quibbles about Nokia's performance in the high-end smart phone market, but one thing the crazy Finnish company knows how to do is bring affordable, easy-to-use mobiles to the masses. Well masses, get ready to celebrate, because we're here to review the Nokia 5228 -- a Symbian S60 5th edition mobile that's yours for around £70 on pay as you go. It also comes in a talented X Factor-themed version exclusively from Carphone Warehouse, who provided our sample, so we're giving this review an X Factor theme, too.

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5.5

Nokia 5228 X-Factor

The Good

Decent, speedy camera.

The Bad

Tacky appearance;. Sluggish interface;. Not even very X Factor-themed.

The Bottom Line

You can blame it on stage fright, but when the lights go up, the Nokia 5228 pales in comparison to rival budget phones. Despite its self-proclaimed star quality, it just doesn't have the X factor to win our vote.

Enter stage right

Hello and welcome to the CNET UK tech auditions. We've gathered the world's cruellest, most heartless tech judges together to shatter the dreams of aspiring gadgets from all over the country. Without further ado, let's meet our first performer: the Nokia 5228 mobile telephone.

The Nokia 5228 hails from a little-known European country, and has travelled to the UK with the dream of bringing happiness to mobile-hungry Brits with its 3.2-inch resistive touchscreen, built-in accelerometer and 2-megapixel camera. Life hasn't always dealt the Nokia family a fair hand -- their business is struggling thanks to increased competition from big scary corporations like Apple and HTC, but the 5228 tells us its parent corporation has always given it "all the support in the world." Will that support be enough to impress our judges?

FIND OUT AFTER THE BREAK.

Fat lip

Stood trembling before us on stage, we have to say the 5228 isn't much of a looker. Rather chunky at 111 by 51.7 by 15.5mm, this mobile doesn't have the rockstar chic of more slender handsets, and it's liable to bulk out your pocket somewhat if you stuff it in your jeans. With a dull, silvery sheen covering the front and back of the handset, there's not a great deal of glamour to go around, either. The sourest note is an ugly plastic lip that surrounds the 5228's faceplate, and really breaks up what could have been a smooth, sleek design.

Around the edges of this frumpy phone you'll find mechanical volume keys, a camera button, power switch, 3.5mm socket for headphones, micro-USB port and two covered ports for your SIM and microSD card.

If there's anything reality TV has taught us, it's not to judge a book by its cover. The 5228 is certainly no stunner, but will its performance wow the crowds?

So, not much of a looker then -- our judges' fingers are poised over the buzzers. But looks can be deceiving, so we're going to give the 5228 a chance to Susan Boyle us. (Yeah, yeah, we know. That was Britain's Got Talent. They're all the same to us).

Sadly, unlocking the 3.2-inch screen and revealing the display doesn't give us too much cause for celebration. When this mobile opens its mouth we can see that the display is set quite far back from the actual screen. It's a little disappointing because, although the display is quite bright and offers a decent resolution (640x360 pixels), that extra distance makes it look a little dull. Needless to say, photos and video on this phone won't look great. As far as the display goes, Nokia 5228, it's a 'no' from us.

The interface itself will be familiar fare to anyone who's owned or used a Nokia Symbian phone before. The layout is pretty simple and intuitive, which definitely works in this phone's favour. Even though it's a resistive rather than capacitive touchscreen, we found tapping out texts and navigating the phonebook was reasonably straightforward.

On the other hand, this phone falls flat as soon as you try and do anything a little more complicated with it. The Web applications aren't very intuitive, and they're so loaded with security pop-ups that doing anything in a hurry quickly becomes a real pain. The only thing that stopped this mobile from being escorted from the stage was a generous smattering of pre-loaded software, such as Facebook, MySpace and Amazon apps. The 5228 definitely shows potential here, as we can see these apps coming in handy.

What about the 5228's 2-megapixel camera? Will it wow the judges? Or is this a national embarassment of Jedwardian proportions? We'll tell you. AFTER THE BREAK. Ba bum bum. 

Paparazzi

Welcome back. Before the break, we saw the Nokia 5228's Web capabilities failing to impress the judges. It's dying on stage. Can the 5228's camera tech save it from elimination?

Actually, yes! The 2-megapixel snapper on the rear of this bad boy might not be stage-stealing hardware on its own, but the camera software on offer here is impressively swift. Affordable mobiles like this often pack fruit-throwingly terrible software, creating a sluggish snapshot experience that prevents you from capturing the moment. Not this shutterbug. We were equally impressed with the speed of the camcorder app and the frame rate of recorded footage during playback.

The 5228's 2-megapixel camera and smooth photo software is where this mobile phone contestant really shines.

The nifty camera might have distracted our judges momentarily, but the disappointing lack of 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity is a dealbreaker. The final, unforgivable flaw of this phone is that the only X Factor content included is a pre-installed app, which shows you a few videos from the show before crashing spectacularly. That's it, though -- no wallpapers, no images and no sign of Cheryl Cole's personal phone number. Since there's obviously been so little effort made to theme this phone, we sort of wish we hadn't gone to so much trouble to write this tortuous themed review. Security, escort this phone from the stage.

Conclusion

The Nokia 5228 poured its heart and soul into this performance, but despite its best efforts, it was simply drowned out by the horde of competing mobiles that offer more features at the same price point. With the X Factor branding offering only a broken app, there's no reason to opt for this phone over rivals such as the LG Cookie Fresh GS290.

Edited by Emma Bayly