Nokia C5-03 review: Nokia C5-03

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The Good Ovi Maps is useful; compact design.

The Bad Resistive touchscreen; S60 software is hopelessly outdated; unnecessarily difficult to use; no LED flash on the camera.

The Bottom Line The Nokia C5-03 is an ill-advised combination of outdated software and under-performing hardware. There are much better mid-range phones available, for less money.

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3.5 Overall

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Nokia's recent headline-grabbing shift to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform might have come as a shock to hard-core fans of the Finnish manufacturer. But, after spending a few days with the clunky and disappointing C5-03, it's obvious that change can't come soon enough.

The C5-03 is available for £190 direct from Nokia's Web store. Contract prices hover around the £15-per-month mark.

Symbian siblings

Although it shares a similar name, the C5-03 is vastly different to last year's likeable C5 in terms of physical appearance. The alphanumeric keypad has been ditched in favour of a 3.2-inch touchscreen, and the casing is noticeably more compact. Unfortunately, the C5-03's glossy plastic case makes it feel rather cheap and nasty. The slippery battery cover offers little in the way of grip either.

The charging port and 3.5mm headphone jack reside on the top of the phone.

Physical controls are limited to the usual call and end-call buttons, and a menu key sits between them. On the side, there's a volume rocker and lock button, but no dedicated camera key. The lack of physical input options draws attention to the phone's pleasingly large screen.

Touchscreen blues

The 3.2-inch, 360x640-pixel touchscreen uses resistive technology rather than capacitive. It's the cheaper option from a manufacturing perspective, but it requires you to exert slight pressure. Phones like the iPhone 4 and Google Nexus S use the more expensive capacitive type, and, as a result, offer a more accurate and responsive user experience.

A resistive touchscreen just doesn't cut it these days, even at the mid-to-low end of the market. Any argument that the C5-03's touchscreen is acceptable because it's a fairly affordable phone simply doesn't hold water -- we've seen several sub-£100 smart phones with capacitive displays recently, such as the Orange San Francisco.

Ready for the scrapheap

The C5-03's dismal touchscreen has a partner in crime: Nokia's aging Symbian Series 60 operating system. Nokia's recent decision to adopt the Windows Phone 7 operating system has effectively put the final nail in the once-proud S60's coffin. After wrestling with this outdated and infuriating software, you'll be unlikely to shed a tear at the memorial service.

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