The 5310 XpressMusic has a near twin in the lookalike 5610 XpressMusic. That is a bigger phone which takes a slider format and has a higher calibre set of specifications. It may yet get a separate review here. But right now my attention is fully on the 5310 XpressMusic.
With most mobiles making a stab at music playing, and some doing the job really well, to style a range as specifically about music seems a little bit like kicking other, sometimes pretty nifty, music playing mobiles in the teeth. To do so when some of the better music mobiles come from your own stable seems bizarre. With that in mind, I've generally formed a fairly ambivalent view of the XpressMusic range so far. Add to that the fact that the design of handsets in Nokia's XpressMusic range is a little, er, quirky at times, such as with the 5700 XpressMusic and I feel pretty justified in being nonplussed about the range.
Where the tri-band 5310 XpressMusic scores over its predecessors is not in being a better music player than any other mobile, or in having a superb set of features generally, but in being a really nice looking and well designed phone.
The black, slate grey and red livery of my sample handset is really striking, while the crimson coloured aluminium flashes down the left and right edges of the screen are very eye-catching. You could go for navy blue instead of crimson, but that is a much less flashy option and doesn't do the side bars justice in my view.
The left crimson edge houses music control buttons, which are marked out in sliver that dazzles against the red backing. This concept of a separate coloured panel for screenside mounted music buttons is one that runs through the XpressMusic range, but it has never been as neatly implemented as here, thanks to the metallic shine of the crimson flash, and to the fact that this is a thin mobile phone.