My thoughts about the Nokia 5800 Xpress Music

5800 XpressMusic_front.jpgFleishman-Hillard sent me a Nokia 5800 Xpress Music phone to review a couple weeks ago (thanks Lisa, Olga and Co.). I am uncharacteristically late with this review and I think it is partly because I am not as enthusiastic about this device as I am about other Nokia devices. There are a couple reasons for this and I’ll tell you about them before I tell you what I do like about the 5800.

Thumbs down

For starters I was disappointed in the build quality of the device compared to my E71. Granted they are in completely different classes and intended for very different target markets but I was expecting the 5800 to be a little more substantial and not as plasticky. It is a pretty lightweight device and seems to be about as big as a Nokia N73 Music Edition. In fact, when I first saw the device at the launch a while ago (Nokia’s General Manager, Mathia Nalappan, showed it to me and Saul Kropman before the event began), I thought it was an N73 from the back. When you turn it around you quickly realise this is like no other Nokia device you’ve used. As you have read (and noticed from the image to the right), this is a touchscreen device. Saul is ambivalent about the touchscreen (read his excellent review) but I like touchscreen devices. My wife as an iPod Touch and it is a pleasure to use (that being said, you can’t compare the 5800 to an iPod Touch or even an iPhone for that matter, Apple trumps Nokia when it comes to the 5800).

Another aspect of the device I don’t like is the battery cover. It is a flexible piece of plastic that extends over the whole of the back of the phone. Unlike other Nokia devices that have a release of some kind, you have to pull the battery cover away from the phone. The stylus is recessed inside the battery cover and that gives it some rigidity but I still felt like I was going to break the cover just pulling it away from the phone to get to the battery.

I watched a video (embedded below) the other day with footage from the phone’s launch in London about a month ago and roughly halfway through the video a Nokia store employee demonstrates the phone and comments that you can access the SIM card through a slot in the side of the phone. That isn’t really true. You can insert a SIM card through the slot on the side of the phone but you can’t remove it without opening the back of the phone and removing the battery like usual (there is a gap to use the stylus or similarly shaped device to push the SIM card out the slot). That being said, you probably won’t remove the SIM card very often so this isn’t a significant issue.

Thumbs up

For starters, here is the video from the London launch. The demonstration begins about halfway through the video and shows off some of the cool features of this phone:


Nokia 5800 ‘Tube’ Launch at Nokia’s Regent St flagship store from Ben Smith on Vimeo.

I like the touchscreen because I like the possibilities for touchscreens as input interfaces. The 5800 makes use of the touchscreen in a number of ways include a variety of input options (mini-qwerty, full sized qwerty, handwriting recognition and the stylus/plectrum). Unlike the button press sensation on some devices and the lack of any feedback on the iPod Touch/iPhone, the device vibrates when you access the touchscreen on the 5800. I’d rather have a localised sensation where I touch the device but some kind of feedback is better than none. At least I know when the device is registering something.

Web browsing on the device is more pleasant that on my E71. Being able to switch to landscape mode means more screen space for web browsing and less squinting. On that subject, the phone switches pretty smoothly between landscape and portrait modes when you turn the device around. I do a fair amount of web browsing on my E71 so using the 5800 for this was a pleasure.

I didn’t use the 5800 as my day to day device (I only had it for a week and couldn’t bring myself to stop using my E71) so I can’t comment on its utility day to day. I do have a strong sense that is not a device designed for people like me who use their phones for a lot of messaging and business stuff. This is a fun device, not a business and messaging device even though it supports pretty much the same services I use on my E71.

As its name suggests, this is a music device. It has a decent camera (3.2 megapixels with autofocus and Carl Zeiss optics) which is much better than my E71’s. Below are two images I took to give you an idea how the two cameras compare:

5800 test photo 1

Nokia 5800 Xpress

and

E71 test photo 1

Nokia E71

I also shot video clips using both devices to compare their relative qualities. The first you will notice is that their aspect ratios are different:

Nokia 5800 Xpress

and

Nokia E71

The E71 has this terrible blue tinge to imagery taken with its camera and that makes it a distant 2nd choice when I need to take photos or shoot video. The 5800 at least takes decent photos and video which makes it a viable option for casual stuff. There are a couple photos of the E71 alone and with my E71 for comparison purposes here.

Where the 5800 does well is its music player. The player itself is pretty basic but the sound quality is fantastic, especially for such a small device. Its little speakers put out quite a bit of sound and it barely distorts when you turn up the volume.

The 8GB card it comes with places it on a par with an iPod nano in terms of storage space and I thought about taking the phone along to gym with me instead of my iPod a couple times (I didn’t because I was a little nervous about losing/damaging it. The 3.5mm headphone jack it has should be in every Nokia device that has a music player. The half-assed 2.5mm headphone jack in my E71 rules it out as an optional podcast/music player when I am out and about. This isn’t a problem with the 5800 and I can easily see the 5800 becoming its users’ all-in-one choice largely for this reason.

I haven’t gone into a lot of detail here so I recommend that you read Saul’s review too. If I were a casual user who saw his phone as a phone and likes the idea of having a decent music player built into it, this device would be an excellent choice. It is light, flexible, has pretty good media capability and is a pretty funky looking device.

This is not a device for me, however. I was a better built device that feels solid in my hands and which will be better suited for messaging (a keyboard is a good start). I would like to have a bigger screen than my E71 gives me for all my Web-based activities and I see the N97 as being closer to what I ideally would like to have in a mobile device. At the same time Nokia never said the 5800 is for someone like me but it may well be the device for you.


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Paul
Enthusiast, marketing strategist, writer, and photographer. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad. Allergic to stupid

16 Comments

  1. I have had the Nokia 5800 Express music for 5 days and I think it is amazing.
    It replaces your ipod/ camera/ notebook & pen, etc…etc..
    and you can make calls on it too!!

    ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!

  2. I have had the Nokia 5800 Express music for 5 days and I think it is amazing.
    It replaces your ipod/ camera/ notebook & pen, etc…etc..
    and you can make calls on it too!!

    ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!

  3. Hi Debra

    Thanks for commenting. I have been hearing rave reviews recently and I hope to have a second chance to try the phone out. I must be missing something. My plan is to use it exclusively while I have it and post a follow-up.

  4. Hi Debra

    Thanks for commenting. I have been hearing rave reviews recently and I hope to have a second chance to try the phone out. I must be missing something. My plan is to use it exclusively while I have it and post a follow-up.

  5. I think this little piece of equipment has it all, sure, it hasnt got flash graphic features as the iphone or ominia, etc. Infact, I find the graphical interface quite bland (you can kind of fix this issue with a decent theme installation) However, with this little beauty, its rescue is the 3.5mm jack which can be used with any standard set of earphones/headphones, the simpleness of use with this mobile is fantastic, it is SO user friendly!!…the music sounds out of this world for a mobile device! video conversion is amazing easy and reasonably quick (i find the best quility settings for video conversion are: bitrate 768; audio bitrate 96 with a sample rate of 22050 (channel 2)). with a closer look at this device (and a few third party apps) this baby can replace MOST of the mobile devices out there! (and yes the video quality is that good!,although it does not have Nseries feature it is Nseries compatible and Nokia are soon to release more Nseries touch games (with the release of the N97 – and are fully compatible with the N5800 XM.)- in the mean time there are now plenty of java games desinged for this device. The camera is not good indoors due to size and light mesurement, flash helps a little bit, however, outdoors it has amazing photo quality for a 3.2mp!…comparing the pics to a Sony Ericson K800i (which has a 3.2mp) and the nokia kills it in quality! Also with the right video conversion, (movies,home movies etc.) to be extreme the quality is good enough to use as a video player on your home tv if you dont have one!! but take a look at this baby!!! she really has potential!!!

  6. I think this little piece of equipment has it all, sure, it hasnt got flash graphic features as the iphone or ominia, etc. Infact, I find the graphical interface quite bland (you can kind of fix this issue with a decent theme installation) However, with this little beauty, its rescue is the 3.5mm jack which can be used with any standard set of earphones/headphones, the simpleness of use with this mobile is fantastic, it is SO user friendly!!…the music sounds out of this world for a mobile device! video conversion is amazing easy and reasonably quick (i find the best quility settings for video conversion are: bitrate 768; audio bitrate 96 with a sample rate of 22050 (channel 2)). with a closer look at this device (and a few third party apps) this baby can replace MOST of the mobile devices out there! (and yes the video quality is that good!,although it does not have Nseries feature it is Nseries compatible and Nokia are soon to release more Nseries touch games (with the release of the N97 – and are fully compatible with the N5800 XM.)- in the mean time there are now plenty of java games desinged for this device. The camera is not good indoors due to size and light mesurement, flash helps a little bit, however, outdoors it has amazing photo quality for a 3.2mp!…comparing the pics to a Sony Ericson K800i (which has a 3.2mp) and the nokia kills it in quality! Also with the right video conversion, (movies,home movies etc.) to be extreme the quality is good enough to use as a video player on your home tv if you dont have one!! but take a look at this baby!!! she really has potential!!!

  7. Also (on a hush hush note) Nokia is using this little beauty as a platform for beta apps/games for the N97 so unlike most of the mobile smartphones out there this amazing device has an EXTENDED future!!! And with the right third party apps it can do Anything most leading devices can do, however, with the qwerty keyboard it can sometimes be easy to type a mistake if you use your finger (this due to size of the device – although if you get use to numeric keypad with t9 dictionary – you are away! even the trainable handwriting feature is amazing!)

    And sure the phone isnt flash metal casing as smartphone devices on the market now have, but because metal casing is solid that makes those devices vulnerable to sovere damage if they are dropped which gives the N5800XM, and with the protecting boarder around the edge of the sceen it gives it thumbs up for shock resistance!! Even the screen is rather scratch resistant! My personal rating -7/10!!! i could even go 8 hehehe.

  8. Also (on a hush hush note) Nokia is using this little beauty as a platform for beta apps/games for the N97 so unlike most of the mobile smartphones out there this amazing device has an EXTENDED future!!! And with the right third party apps it can do Anything most leading devices can do, however, with the qwerty keyboard it can sometimes be easy to type a mistake if you use your finger (this due to size of the device – although if you get use to numeric keypad with t9 dictionary – you are away! even the trainable handwriting feature is amazing!)

    And sure the phone isnt flash metal casing as smartphone devices on the market now have, but because metal casing is solid that makes those devices vulnerable to sovere damage if they are dropped which gives the N5800XM, and with the protecting boarder around the edge of the sceen it gives it thumbs up for shock resistance!! Even the screen is rather scratch resistant! My personal rating -7/10!!! i could even go 8 hehehe.

  9. ALthough this is a good phone i can’t seem to connect to nokia pc suite. When i try to connect through usb it says my phone is in file transfer mode? Any suggestions on how to get out of it as i dont know how to?

  10. ALthough this is a good phone i can’t seem to connect to nokia pc suite. When i try to connect through usb it says my phone is in file transfer mode? Any suggestions on how to get out of it as i dont know how to?

  11. Hi Paul good review. you looked into practical side of things.. Like in another post i see you commenting that 5800 Screen is a bit too narrow. which is very very true and hampers a good web browsing experience.

  12. Hi Paul good review. you looked into practical side of things.. Like in another post i see you commenting that 5800 Screen is a bit too narrow. which is very very true and hampers a good web browsing experience.

What do you think?

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