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Nokia 5530 XpressMusic review



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It would be nice to say Nokia's XpressMusic line of music oriented phones has enjoyed steady improvement since being introduced in 2006 but, to be frank, it's gone in all sorts of odd directions over the years with some handsets being more successful than others. A reasonable attempt was the all touchscreen 5800 that arrived at the start of this year but it certainly had room for improvement. Today, then, we're looking at another all touchscreen affair, the 5530, so let's see if it can finally hit the nail on the head.

To look at, there's a degree of improvement from the 5800 to the 5530 with a less pronounced lip round the edge of the screen and a generally slimmer and smoother look throughout. However, with a plethora of buttons all round its edges and rather unattractive grills above and below the screen, it's certainly no fashion phone.

In particular, we fail to see the necessity in this day and age to have separate power, lock, and call end buttons. A well designed operating system should allow for all of these to be incorporated into one button or replaced by touchscreen gestures, both making the phone neater to look at and simpler to use. Likewise, the XpressMusic button, which drops down a list of shortcuts to the phone's media features (music, pictures, online services, video, and web browser), seems a bit pointless, especially as it isn't accompanied by hardware multimedia playback controls.

Build quality is also a concern as the back is an absolute pig to get off and is so thin that it bends very unnervingly as you force it off. Thankfully you shouldn't have to remove it all that often as the microSD memory card is accessible from the side. Seemingly you can also get at the SIM slot from this side flap except you actually have to remove the back and battery to push the SIM out – it's a very odd arrangement. The screen also has a soft flexible surface so will be very prone to scratches.

As you may have guessed from that last fact, this uses a resistive rather than capacitive touchscreen so requires a good prod to elicit a response. This makes typing on the onscreen keyboards (QWERTY when held in landscape, numpad when held in portrait) rather slow, something that wasn't helped by the rather clunky layout of said keyboards. At least we never felt the need to resort to using the 5530's stylus.

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December 22, 2009, 6:56 pm

Looks almost identical to the 5800 XM. I don't think the value rating reflects the price; this (like the 5800) has got to be one of the few powerful touchscreen smartphones you can get without a contract without breaking the bank. Too bad S60v5 is sooo clunky and slow.


December 22, 2009, 8:26 pm

crap like this makes me hanker back to the days when i had my beloved 6310i, to a time when nokia at least had a bloody clue as to what it was doing.

Nokia just drop both symbian and maemo, buy out palm and incorporate their webos into your devices. With just those two strokes youll be in a strong position to challenge apple on their particular turf


December 22, 2009, 11:04 pm

You get a badge for having Bolt Thrower on the device...


December 23, 2009, 4:22 am

The 5530 can be had for £129, so I think its pretty good value, despite the limitations of the touchscreen and Symbian. Not to be compared to the high-end phones of course, but pretty good for the cost.


December 23, 2009, 5:16 am

Looks ok but does anybody know when there will be a review of the Nokia x6, pretty desperate to see that one

Alan Edwards47c

January 4, 2010, 6:43 pm

The screen is 640x360, it's widescreen. The grilles at the top and bottom are for the speakers, which are not bad for what they are.

I don't find the OS slow, but it is flaky. Bits of it randomly stop working, and it needs a bounce to get it going again. I liked Symbian/UIQ on the W950i, but I'm disappointed by how unreliable S60 is.

The other difference with the 5800 is that the 5530 doesn't have GPS, but it does work with a Bluetooth GPS.

I got mine just before Christmas, it was £120 on Voda prepay at Carphone Warehouse but the hardware is unlocked.


February 23, 2010, 2:42 pm

For the price the 5530 represents good value for money. Something worth noting though is that the handset is well known to have various faults eg random reboots, sluggish interface, shortcuts vanishing after resets, internet browser crashing. Although it does have its niggly faults overall it is not bad at all. Well worth a look for those on a tight budget.

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