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Nokia 5300 XpressMusic review: Nokia 5300 XpressMusic

Nokia's 5300 XpressMusic handset has a cheeky, funky look and is sure to appeal to the younger generation. Menus are easy to use and so is the music applet, which also produced good sound quality. It's well connected with Bluetooth and has good call quality

Frank Lewis
3 min read

The Nokia 5300 XpressMusic looks almost identical to the 5200 from the outside, but under the bonnet it's a significantly different beast with a much crisper screen, more advanced menu system and better music playback features.


Nokia 5300 XpressMusic

The Good

Funky design; easy to use; good music features.

The Bad

Poor camera; below par battery life; awful headphones.

The Bottom Line

The Nokia 5300 XpressMusic may look quite funky and have decent music features, but it's let down by a relatively poor camera and short battery life. If you want a phone that lets you listen to tunes on the go there are much better options out there

It's free on selected contracts or costs around £120 SIM-free or £60 on pay as you go tariffs.

The 5300 is not one of Nokia's slimmest handsets, but its bulbous design and brash colour scheme give it a certain cheeky charm. We had the red and white version, but you can also pick it up in a blue and white or all black colour scheme. It's definitely a phone that's designed to appeal to young 'uns rather than the over 35s, as whipping it out in the boardroom would be the equivalent of turning up to work in a Daffy Duck tie.

The handset looks plasticky, but the sliding mechanism is smooth and sturdy and when you push it open it reveals a decent sized keypad with large buttons that make texting a breeze.

The phone runs on the Series 40 operating system, so it features the Active Standby screen. This means that you can quickly access lots of commonly used functions from a carousel style menu without having to enter the main menu. It also shows other useful info, such as the current calendar entry and the name of the track playing on the music player.

As this is an XpressMusic handset, you'll find a row of dedicated music buttons on the left hand edge of the screen that can be used to quickly start and stop playback or skip forward and backwards through tracks and playlists. The music applet is not quite on a par with Sony Ericsson's Walkman handsets, but it's still easy to use as it sorts tracks into the usual artist, album and song title categories. The sound quality is pretty good once you bin the supplied headphones.

When it comes to connectivity, you get infrared as well as Bluetooth and there's even a dedicated menu option in the music player to beam music to a Bluetooth headset or wireless speaker system. The phone is nothing if not tenacious in the way it hangs on to signals and the call quality was very crisp and clear.

As the phone only has 5MB of onboard memory, Nokia supplied it with a 256MB microSD card for storing tunes. This provides enough space for around 50 tracks, which is rather low in this day and age. Most people will want to upgrade this card to one with the maximum 2GB that the phone can support. However, microSD cards are relative cheap at the moment so this is not such a big deal.

What's less forgivable is the quality of the headphones. They're absolutely dire, as music sounds distinctly hollow and lifeless through them. Nokia does supply a small stubby headphone adaptor in the box so you can use your own cans instead, but if you do this you'll lose the inline hands-free module present on the supplied headphones.

The phone's camera is also pretty lacklustre. It only has a 1.3-megapixel resolution. This is a big improvement on the VGA camera featured on the 5200, but it's still not wonderful, especially as it also lacks a flash for shooting in low light.

We also weren't particularly impressed by the battery life. It managed just three hours of talk time and around nine days on standby, which is pretty poor by modern standards.

The 5300's brash styling has a certain charm and its music features are decent, but the low quality camera and short battery life are disappointing. It's available for free on contract, for around £120 SIM-free or for £60 on pay as you go.

At the end of the day, it's a pretty average music phone and with so much quality competition about, that's not really good enough.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire