The Nokia 5730 XpressMusic aims to be the Andrew Flintoff of mobile phones. This all-rounder packs in music and gaming features, alongside a slide-out Qwerty keyboard and on-board GPS. You can pick it up SIM-free for around £270. It's also available for free on many £30-per-month contracts.
The 5730 is quite a large and heavy handset. That's perhaps unsurprising, given that it's got a slide-out Qwerty keyboard hidden within its frame.
The front of the phone is decked out in a glossy black, plastic finish, with a red, blue or pink band running around the edge. Unfortunately, the face of the handset looks too busy, suffering from button overload. Along with the numerical keypad and four-way direction pad, there are six function keys sitting under the screen, three music-playback buttons running down the left-hand side of the display, and two gaming buttons tucked away at the top, just under the ear piece. The function keys are especially annoying, since they're packed too closely together, making some of them difficult to press accurately.
The phone's slide-out keyboard opens with a satisfying 'clunk'. While the keys are responsive, there's no space between them, so it's easy to accidentally hit a neighbouring key when you're typing at a fast pace. The screen automatically rotates from portrait to landscape view when you open up the keyboard, but there's an annoying one second pause while it does this. Nevertheless, the screen has a decent resolution of 320x240 pixels, and produces rich colours. It does, however, feel slightly cramped when you're using it for browsing the Web over Wi-Fi or HSDPA.
Tired operating system
The phone runs the S60 3rd Edition operating system, with the new Feature Pack 2 interface enhancements. They basically boil down to a few new animations when moving through menus, plus a new contacts bar that sits at the top of the home screen. These enhancements are welcome, but S60 needs a more radical overhaul, as it's starting to look tired and is much fiddlier to use than the iPhone's OS or Android.
Like the 5530 XpressMusic, the 5730 comes with the N-Gage application preloaded and some game demos installed on its memory card. The pair of gaming buttons underneath the ear piece mean that, when you hold the phone in landscape mode, it feels much more like a traditional handheld gaming console. The demo games supplied with the phone include Asphalt 4 (a Need for Speed knock-off), FIFA 09 and The Sims 2. While the games are enjoyable enough, the 3D graphics are nowhere near as detailed or fluid as those of games on the Sony PSP, Nintendo DSi and iPhone.
Clean, crisp audio
The phone's music player is the usual S60 offering. Its interface is quite basic, but it's reasonably speedy, and includes features like an eight-band equaliser and a stereo-widening setting. Audio is impressively clean and crisp, and there's a 3.5mm headphone jack so that you can use your own cans. The supplied in-ear headphones are pretty impressive, though, offering good bass and treble response. The phone only has 100MB of free on-board memory, so you need to use a microSD card to store your library of tunes. Thankfully, Nokia includes an 8GB memory card in the box. The handset can take cards of up to 16GB in size.
Rounding out the features are a decent 3.2-megapixel snapper with a Carl Zeiss lens and LED flash, and on-board GPS, which works well with both the Nokia Maps software that's preloaded on the device and the Google Maps application that you can download from the Internet.
Nokia claims a battery life of over 8 hours' talk time and 15 days' standby, but, in our experience, these figures are pretty optimistic. We found that we had to recharge the 5730 after about a day and a half of use.
The Nokia 5730 XpressMusic comes across as a phone that's trying too hard to be all things to all people. It seems like Nokia has taken a design it was working on for its Eseries handsets, tacked a few extra buttons on and stuck in support for N-Gage and XpressMusic. The end result is a feature-rich phone that's not very much fun to use, due to its bulky size and fiddly buttons.
Edited by Charles Kloet