Nokia’s tri-band 5300 XpressMusic is, as its name implies, slanted towards those who like a bit of music while they are out and about. Now, there are plenty of Nokia handsets that can play music, but the company seems to think that in order to take on the mighty Sony Ericsson and its Walkman phones it needs to drop an indication of a mobile’s musicality in its name.
Nokia may have a point but fancy naming alone does not make a music-capable handset. To that end, the Nokia 5300 XpressMusic has some dedicated music keys, lets you use your own 3.5mm jacked headphones, and sports, says the Nokia online store ‘brilliant stereo sound, plenty of memory for tracks and loads of smart features for serious music fans’. Let’s see.
Plenty of memory - well, it is true that if you splash out on a 2GB micro SD card to pop into the slot under the battery cover on the left edge of the casing you do have a fair amount of storage. Out of the box you get a rather less generous 256MB card to augment the paltry 5MB of internal memory.
You can indeed use your own headphones with their 3.5mm jack. But instead of providing a two-piece headset enabling you to plug in past the inline controls and microphone, you get an L shaped 2.5mm to 3.5mm adaptor. This creates a bit of a bulge on the edge of the handset and sat awkwardly in my pocket. Give me a two-piece headset or a 3.5mm connection into the handset any day over these fiddly, easy to lose, adaptors.
On the sound quality front I am not convinced this phone is better than other Nokia handsets, and it is certainly not ‘brilliant’. Through the phone’s speaker on the back of the casing there is plenty of volume but at the higher ranges sound quality disintegrates.
Through the provided headset again there is plenty of volume, but music quality is still lacking. My trusty Sennheiser PX 200 headset sent music quality up a notch, but I still wouldn’t want to write home about it.
There is an equaliser with several presets and two settings you can make for yourself, but even tweaking this the quality of output doesn’t approach what you’ll get from a good dedicated music player.
Locating the speaker on the back of the handset, incidentally, means that when you put the phone down face up the sound volume falls, and its quality can be muffled and distorted.
So far, then, this is an average music phone. What I do like very much indeed are the hardware music control buttons, and the general ease with which you manage tunes, though here too all is not perfect.
You can use the provided PC Suite to get tracks onto the phone or just copy them onto a microSD card using a reader attached to your computer. Sadly Nokia doesn’t provide an adaptor for microSD to SD card and most readers will need one of these.
You don’t need to put tunes in a particular folder on your microSD card or manually import them into the phone’s music library. When you insert the microSD card into its slot on the phone, its music library is automatically updated with every supported file it finds. The phone plays MP3, Midi, AAC, AAC+, enhanced AAC+, and WMA formats.