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Nokia 5700 XpressMusic review: Nokia 5700 XpressMusic

Although it's not brimming with features, Nokia's twisty 5700 is a decent enough music phone, but its poor quality headphones and other minor flaws let it down.

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Jeremy Roche
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Jeremy Roche

Hi, I look after product development for CBS Interactive in Sydney - which lets me develop a range of websites including CNET Australia, TV.com and ZDNet Australia.

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3 min read

While Sony Ericsson Walkman phones continue to dominate our list of best mobiles for music, Nokia has this year released a small handful of competitors which it brands XpressMusic, with dedicated music keys and bundled headphones.

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6.7

Nokia 5700 XpressMusic

The Good

Twisty design works well for music. Large, clear and bright screen. Big keypad buttons. Smooth, glossy case.

The Bad

Headphones lack bass. Delete key will drive you mad. Chunky. Laggy interface. Fiddly joystick. Windows software only.

The Bottom Line

Although it's not brimming with features, Nokia's twisty 5700 is a decent enough music phone, but its poor quality headphones let it down.

Design
When we saw the 5700's little brother earlier this year, the Nokia 5300 XpressMusic, we were impressed with its cute design. The 5700 has similar styling, with a wide black midsection around an otherwise glossy white case (it's also available in white and red as pictured above).

Unlike the 5300, which was a slider phone, the 5700 features a twist mechanism we first saw on the 3250 to swap between the phone, camera and music player modes. Basically the lower third of the phone can rotate through 270 degrees, clicking into place in four different positions. When spun 180 degrees the music controls become active; there are two massive buttons to skip and rewind tracks and a relatively small play/pause button in the middle. In any position the navigation keys on top still let you traverse menus, read messages and such, but you'll need to spin around back to the keypad for texting. With the lens uniquely on the left side of the handset, a quarter turn on the twisty lower-half puts the 5700 into camera/video mode. We had to hunt a little for the camera shutter button, which constantly moves due to the Rubik's Cube nature of the design.

The 5700 is slightly larger than the 5300, but its chunkiness didn't bother us too much as it provides ample room for a fairly large 2.2-inch screen and adequately sized keys. There are, however, much thinner and smaller phones on the market -- if this is what you seek, check out our favourite fashion phones. Tipping the scales at 115 grams, the 5700 could be considered in the "healthy" weight range as far as phones diversify; its smooth edges make it comfortable to hold and to slide into your pocket.

Features
As a music-focused handset it is not surprising that the 5700 supports a wide range of file formats, including perennial favourites such as MP3, WMA and AAC. A radio is onboard but as usual requires the headphones to be plugged in to act as an antenna. The upcoming Nokia Music Store is also supported, giving you access to a one million-track music library through a monthly subscription fee or for individual purchase over-the-air.

A hot-swappable microSD card slot, a mini-USB connector and the power jack are all tucked away by a small rubber flip-down panel on the right side of the 5700. Nokia included a 512MB card with our review model, but this might differ regionally. While Nokia provides a Windows application to help transfer your music, Mac users are left to drag-and-drop songs onto the handset. Windows Media Player can also be used to sync playlists.

Quadband GSM support and 3G puts the 5700 up there with the best in terms of network support; travellers should have no trouble finding a network on which to roam onto overseas.

Performance
Although pictured above with Nokia's Editors' Choice Award winning BH-501 Bluetooth headphones, a pair of white earbuds (sounds familiar) is what actually comes in the box. Unfortunately the sound wasn't as good as the default set of earbuds you get with any iPod, with the sound quality lacking in bass. Although the 5700 itself has a 2.5mm headphone jack, an adaptor is provided to plug in regular headphones. The Nokia bundled earbuds, however, do offer some passive noise cancelling, with rubberised squidgy bits on the end that sit snugly in your ear canals blocking at ambient noise.

Photos were about what we expected from a 2-megapixel camera phone with no autofocus: grainy and blurred. The LED flash did, however, seem slightly brighter than others we've seen and helped a bit in low light. Videos are not too shabby; the 320x240 resolution at 12fps is suitable for YouTube purposes.

Another irk we had was the USB connection -- it took us about 15 minutes to transfer two MP3 albums to the 5700's memory card.

Battery life connected to a 3G network with average use of calls, Web browsing and text messaging was good. We got between three and five days per charge. Nokia states standby times up to 12 days, talk time up to 3.5 hours and music playback time up to 10 hours.

Due soon are the next-generation of XpressMusic phones, the stylish looking 5610 and 5310.

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