Riyad and I are both suckers for kit designed with athletes in mind. Neither of us breaks any records with our sporting endeavours, but we are both keen and, being geeky and proud, we both like to track progress (or lack of it) using different bits of technology. We were both intrigued by the Nokia 5500 Sport because of its claims to assist with monitoring and recording sporting activity.
The 5500 Sport is not the first handset Nokia has produced for the more actively inclined. You may remember the 53413 00.html 5140, which was also designed with the outdoor user’s needs in mind. Nor is Nokia the only company to see a market in this sector. We are waiting for Sony Ericsson to send us its new W710i, which also has its eye on sporty types.
The Nokia 5500 Sport hardware has been designed to be impact, water and dust resistant and the casing is a mix of metal edging and rubber with no holes into which dust or water could get.
This means that the number pad on the front of the casing is flat. I’m not the biggest fan of flat number pads as they can make it difficult to know if you’ve actually hit the keys you want, but ridging in the design and definite audible and tactile responses when you press keys means that it’s not a problem here.
The Call and End keys are the left and right ends of a raised band that frames the left, right and top edges of the screen. The band is coloured white on my ‘dark/grey’ version of the handset though there is also a ‘light/yellow’ version where it is, well, yellow.
Buttons on the edges of the handset are kept to a minimum – on the left there are Push to Talk and volume buttons, while on the right there’s an ‘instant swap’ button, the Nokia edit key and an infrared port.
At the top is probably the smallest power key I have ever seen and a bright LED torch that’s activated with a simple press of the * key from the main screen.
The battery cover is one of worst I have ever seen. It incorporates a flap that protects the Pop-Port and headphones connectors on the bottom edge of the screen. This is fair enough as these are holes through which dust and water could get in, but it locks in place via one of those horrid slotted screws that you need a coin to get at. Several sized coins will do the job, but I couldn’t twist the thing with a fingernail.
The Nokia 5500 Sport is tri-band and features Bluetooth and infrared built in. It is small and light – 103g and 107 x 45 x 18mm. The standard version, which I had, comes with a rather measly 64MB microSD card which, in the interests of dust and water resistance lives under the battery. Inserting it is a must as it has some good extra software on board. There is a Music version of this handset which ships with a 512MB card.