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Nokia 5800 XpressMusic - Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

By Sandra Vogel



Our Score:


The Nokia 5800's screen locks out after a few seconds of non-use preventing accidental presses. To get things running again you have to slide the side mounted lock button. You'll either appreciate this or loathe it and I certainly found it more amenable than the more usual double front button press.

There is often a short wait while the phone works out what to do when you press a key. This seemed particularly long when running apps from the main menu and over time I found it somewhat frustrating.

Nokia hasn't pushed the boat out on physical design. This is a fat phone at 15.5mm, but otherwise typical at 111mm tall, 51.7mm wide and 109g in weight. Its plastic casing feels a little low grade. The screen measures 3.2in diagonally and has a 640 x 360 pixel resolution. The accelerometer is one of the most responsive I've used and it works very well indeed.

The button arrangement is pretty standard. Beneath the screen are Call, End and Menu keys. Both the SIM and microSD card slots sit on the left edge of the casing under protective flaps. The phone comes with an 8GB card which boosts its somewhat paltry 81MB of internal memory.

The main screen looks a little different to the usual Nokia S60 style, offering large fingertouch buttons for shortcuts to applications, but the design is recognisably S60 and shouldn't put off upgrading users.

Above the screen an XpressMusic touch-button brings up a ‘media bar' offering instant access to music, the picture gallery, online sharing, the video centre and web browser. It felt a bit pointless, to be frank, as all it does is double-up on functions available from the main menu. The phone supports the Nokia Music Store with its unlimited music downloads lure.

There are stereo speakers on board that turn out a reasonable volume and quality of music and the (sensibly) top-mounted 3.5mm headset jack is welcome. The phone supports TV-out via the 3.5mm connector, too, and you get the necessary cable.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Rohit 1

February 13, 2009, 11:33 am

Nokia has finally boarded the touchscreen wagon!! Very credible effort though.. But being an Music phone, does the sound quality match with that of the Sony-Ericcson walkman brand phones?

Trevor Totten

February 13, 2009, 2:15 pm

I'm sold. I'm due an upgrade on my contract, and I've been waiting for a review from you guys. My brother has one, and recommended it, but I don't trust him as much as TrustedReviews! I've always had Nokias, but changed to Sony Ericsson and their W850i, which isn't bad, but I just prefer Nokias. I'm sure they'll be delighted to hear i'm coming back to them!


February 13, 2009, 7:40 pm

Um, a bit of a light review I thought?

I've had one for a week now and can say that i'm 50/50 on it. It does require a lot of personalisation of the menu system for it to flow better and there are more bugs with the software than you can shake a stick at. I've lost count of the number of hard and soft resets and firmware / software installs i've done!

Browsers (opera & S60 one) crash all the time with intensive use, I have so many niggles with the UI that I literally can't write them all down here because i'd be here until 5pm! Needless to say - it ain't no iPhone killer! Browsing busy web pages is a pain since scrolling is sooo difficult to do without accidentally selecting a hyperlink by mistake...Aghhhh!

The build quality is generally good, but mine is falling apart after only 6 days of 7 days of use, the front raised bit of plastic around the edge of the front of the phone has started to come off at one corner. It has had no damage done to it, it just appears that the manufacture was faulty. I hope Nokia will fix this FOC.

Also this front lip, the raise plastic edge around the screen, is a nightmare for trapping dust and grit, as are the buttons at the bottom. I can see this causing problems after a while.

The camera is diabolical. End of.

The speakers and music side of things are very good.

Screen sensitivity is poor - you need to have long nails and tiny fingers for this handset to make sense. If you have sausages for fingers, you'll be throwing this against the wall in no time. I have to use the Stylus all the time, which I don't mind but as Sandra points out this sort of defeats the point of having a touch interface.

The inconsistency of 1 click or 2 click is driving me mad. I may blend it one day, just because of this annoyance.

And the battery life, i'm finding in real life, isn't as good as reported. It will just about show a full 100min movie in mp4 format at 3/4 light with headphones, before it dies.

Battery life on the music front does appear a lot better, only using a couple of bars in 5 hours playing to external speakers. Sound quality is very good for a phone. On standby, i'm sure it will last for 10 days easily...if you don't touch it, or breath on it. Seems like a silly, pointless, commonly quoted measure.

As for it being a phone, well it's good! Call quality is very good, signal and sound wise, in fact I get a better signal from this that I do with my E51 in the same areas.

Using the phone for writing lengthy emails, is a pain...mainly due to the various text input methods being too small for me. Either you have big letter keys and a tiny window to see the text you're inputting or the direct opposite problem. Also I really miss the momentum scrolling (where it continues to scroll depending on the speed of your swipe) from the iPhone. (Although i'm not an iPhone fan, I do appreciate the good aspects)

It does play .flv files directly without any conversion required...however, recently i'm finding this to be a poor gimmick since it is always crashing, dropping frames and generally misbehaving. More software issues.

MP4 playback is very good, use mediacoder to convert your files to the native format and films look great. However, every 10 minutes or so the screen freezes and it takes a few seconds for everything to catch up. Again, more software issues.

Basically, I think that this could be an excellent handset in about 6 months time when Nokia have finished using people like me as guinea pigs for their (poor) firmware and software. They have had long enough to test this in-house, and I feel they should have done a much better job on the first FW releases.

None of the hardware or software is new technology, but as a package it is still very compelling because you know that when nokia finally get the software right and iron out all these bugs, it'll be a corker of a handset.

A heavily upgraded new version of software has just been release on the NSU to owners of the blue handsets in various EU countries and, in spite of reports of new issues precipitated by this, it does sound promising. Owners of UK Red non-branded handsets will have to wait for this FW (V 20.0.012), maybe a few weeks...check the forums.

Also, i'm happy to report that the aGPS is actually worth having in this handset and is more responsive than my stand alone tomtom unit, which amazed me. I have managed to install TomTom software on to my 5800, but you need a BT keyboard to work it! I hope this is updated and available legitimately, soon.

Until then, i've gone back to using my E51 as my main phone, when I get the new FW uploaded, i'll try again.

Any questions, feel free...


February 14, 2009, 12:10 am

@lifethroughalens - your post was almost as long as TR's review - shame they don't have user reviews on this site.


February 15, 2009, 2:52 am

I say do video review as it is an important pivotal product in nokias history.


February 15, 2009, 4:06 am

This is a little off topic but can you say in your opinion which are the three best quality camera phones of the time are? just I am looking for a really deacent camera phone


February 18, 2009, 1:27 pm


I requested this handset a while back and was obviously not first on their list. I'll check back and hopefully get a video done in the next couple of weeks.

As for camera phones, well there's the Samsung Pixon, Samsung Innov8, Sony Ericsson C905, and LG Renoir. The Renoir is a pretty slick handset with full touch screen interface and has a cool manual focus feature where you just press the part of the touch screen that you want it to focus on and it does so. Otherwise I quite like the C905. Build quality is definitely a cut above the rest, the keypad is really nice to type on and its on a par with the rest in most respects.


February 24, 2009, 8:32 pm

I agree that the review could have been better. I like to know the problems are before I buy - thank you lifethroughalens!

I ordered one today, but before I read this review. I'm now having my doubts!

I read on the s60 forum that you only need a bluetooth keyboard to install Tomtom sw. I didn't realise that you need the keyboard the whole time! I'm sure some clever person will sort this issue out though.


March 12, 2009, 3:51 am

P1J2H3, the review by lifethroughalens is only one experience. I have had this phone for several weeks now and have suffered none of the crashes needs to reset or video glitches that he/she has. I have to say that battery life is excellent too. Areas that are not so good are the radio which isn't too sensitive, the camera (but as a photographer I would use a dedicated camera for anything serious anyway) and the one click or two clicks thing. Physically there have been no problems, though I agree that sometimes bits of dust get stuck under the edge of the display.

At the end of the day this was never meant to be an 'iPhone killer', the pricing shows that apart from anything else, the N97 will be the first serious attempt at iPhone killing. Several friends have the 5800 and are very pleased with it.

Paul T 1

March 13, 2009, 3:11 pm

Like most reviews on most phones the reviewers bang on about all the goodies but never mention how the thing works as a phone which, surely, is the main reason for having one!


March 17, 2009, 5:33 pm

i think this phone is brilliant, apart from the camera. (which there is a newly released software patch that can cure some of the niggles like the cameras fuzziness and the touch screen response) the phone overall is fun, feels different and keeps me amused with being able to use wifi, changing the themes and the virtual qwerty keyboard for those who are used to typing this way. in my eyes its is the closest you will find right now to an iphone killer. this phone is far more appealing to me than the must have samsung pixon and the iphone etc. plus the sound and display quality beat both of those phones and some of the apps do.


March 31, 2009, 5:09 am

A good start for Nokia touch screens. Not necessarily an i-phone killer as no touch screen yet compares to an iphone and no way near the number of apps as on an iphone, I guess it's early days. However, I'd recommend the phone as the touch screen is responsive (much better than my other half's Samsung Omnia), it's great for people who love Nokia's easy-to-use menu system, screen resolution is good, speaker sound quality is reasonable, and it's free on most networks. Agree with comments re poor camera unfortunately.

Paul Churchley

April 23, 2009, 2:33 pm

I have had the 5800 now for about 2 months and I thought the video review was quite misleading in some respects.

The criticisms of the screen having no multi-touch and so being difficult to type on is a problem with resistive screens in general and not just the 5800. The same is true of the softer screen feel as resistive screens work by pressing together two layers. Capacitative screens, such as on the iPhone, are glass and do not require any pressure at all providing for a much smoother and more gentle feel. This means that ANY phone with a resistive screen, not just the 5800, will display these properties. However, resistive screen do allow you to use any kind pointer and will even work with gloves. It sounds to me that the reviewer just didn't like resistive screens but I don't think that should be a critisicm in the review as he should really be reviewing in the context of the equipment. If you want a capacitative screen then don't get the 5800!

He said it was not at all thin and seemed to consider that a point against but this phone is great to use with one hand and its extra thickness makes it very stable in the hand and so much easier. It also allows quite a hefty battery to be used giving it excellent battery life for a phone of this type. I see the extra thickness as nothing but a benefit!

Again, regarding the screen, I would guess that the reviewer hasn't used the phone for long because he talked about the soft screen possibly getting scratches. In normal use I cannot imagine this being so. Although slightly soft to allow for the touch it is incedibly scratch resistant. I use a sharp pointed propelling pencil (with the lead retracted) as a pointer and it hasn't shown any signs of scratching at all. Clearly, Nokia have done their homework on that one IMO.

He talked of the ridge around the screen as getting in the way of typing. I certainly have not found that at all and to be honest I find that unlikely for most people.

He talked about the one touch vs 2 touches in lists and grids. The problem here is that he doesn't know how to use the operating system. In lists the first touch selects the item in the list allowing you to use the options menu to do something with that item such as delete, edit etc. If you want to action that item then it requires the second touch. This is not unlike when using Windows on a PC. Once you understand the reason for it then it starts to make sense and stops being a problem because you know what is happening and can choose to use the options menu on an item of action it. To call these smartphones "phones" isn't really true... they are computers and so, as more and more of the functionality moves towards the computer aspects so the interface will start to have some characteristics of a computer in the more traditional sense and I think that the one touch vs two touches is a result of that. Is it ia problem? Not for me and once you know about it then it is just how it works.

So, on to my impressions of the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.

This is a great phone is so many ways. The touch interface is not as smooth as the iPhone as it has a resistive screen, but it is very effective and for me certainly acceptable. The display is very bright and sharp. As an N95 user I have found changing over to the 5800 a doddle. The 5th Edition of Symbian S60 operating system has retained many of the same ways of working as the 3rd edition and so although there are many improvements, particularly in connection and access point management, it still seems familar and easy to learn.

Battery life in excellent. I have been using mine very regularly for podcasts and video streaming over wifi and I have only had to charge once during the day. If you are using the multimedia or GPS all the time then I am sure you might need an additional charge during the day but for most users, even active multimedia ones, I am sure that a charge overnight would be sufficient.

Sound is very good although a little quite at times for a phone billed specifically towards multimedia but video playback is nothing short of stunning. I subscribe to several video podcasts and view programs on BBC iPlayer and YouTube and all are quite excellent. You can even view live BBC TV now over wifi.

Connection management is much improved over the N95. The 5800 allows you to define different access points, some GPRS, some 3G, some wifi and to list them in a class of connnection. When you use a program that requires connection you just specify the class of connection, not the specific access point, you want it to use and it will then use the access point that is nearest the top of the list that is available. This saves you having to change access points when moving out of your home/office, where you would use wifi, into the street where you would use 3G. It changes the active access point automatically. On returning home where wifi is available again it knows and will use the wifi automatically. If you want a particular program to always use wifi or 3G you can just set up new classes containing just those access points.

This makes using the online services much easier and to be honest, it was one my biggest complaints about the N95. This is truly a phone for online use and I use it as my main way of reading and sending emails now.

All in all the 5800 is a super phone. It has a resistive screen and the S60 5th edition O/S and so it isn't perfect. But for the price I think it is great value for money and I think that with this phone Nokia has come up with a winner.

adam thomas

September 6, 2009, 2:42 am

The review was fair ... but more then once he did show his true love for the iphone this is disapointing because this is not a iphone just a touch screen phone, theres not much they could of done to change the touch looks

and as for the scroling .. there is also a bar on the right hand side to use so there is a better way to do it he just didnt show it.

i now have this phone and i safley say ' get it if you are looking for a touch screen phone and not a iphone' because this should not be seen as a iphone replacement, but as a touch screen phone made by nokia.

Great phone all round :)


September 7, 2009, 9:40 pm

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but can anybody tell me whether it will play native MP3s - in other words, can I just drag files onto the phone without having to go through barrier software?



September 21, 2009, 5:08 am

Just to answer my own question, yes if you copy MP3 files across direct they play just fine.



September 30, 2009, 1:31 am

After 7 days of extensive testing I can sum up pros and cons of 5800XM handset:

+ stable software - crashed only 3-4 times when using certain Symbian 3rd party applications (so it might be those apps fault)

+ beautiful screen (bright, clear, very good viewing angles, scratch resistant)

+ very decent built-in stereo speakers

+ lots of 3rd party Java and Symbian games (Bejeweled Twist!) and applications

+ sat-nav works perfectly (Garmin XT)

+ good web browsing capability (esp. with new Opera Mini 5 Beta)

+ better GSM signal reception than my older 6120c

+ FM radio with RDS, very good reception

+ handwriting recognition works well (but full QWERTY keyboard is faster)

+ touch clock and you can set up an alarm, touch date and link to the Calendar pops up, touch near the battery indicator and you can manage BT and WiFi connections

+ fast (Class 4) 8GB microSD card supplied

+ supplied plectrum good for text input and attached to the wrist strap

+ side-mounted sliding key lock

+ very light (compared with N97)

+ low price

= good battery life with 3G/BT/WiFi off and no background running apps, but when IM Symbian app is activated battery runs dry after 12-14 hours; Java games/apps and web browsing drains the battery even quicker - 5-7 hours...

= photos quality quite good in decent light but in darker situations photos look like taken with 2 Mpix camera (fuzzy, grainy, with green bands)

- you can either put only 4 contact shortcuts OR only 4 application shortcuts on your home screen (despite there is a lot of free space for more icons)

- XpressMusic touch-button brings up a "media bar" which content is NOT customisable

- double-click/single click issue mentioned above is a little bit irritating

- mini-QWERTY keyboard usable only with stylus (which is not attached and can be lost)

- vibrating touch feedback could be a little bit stronger

- silver element around the camera lens is wobbly and scratches easily

- no Office-compatible/no PDF reader software onboard

- very short USB cable supplied

After those 7 days I have switched back to my old 6120c and I'm already missing 5800's experience... In short words - if you want to use your phone for music & videos, heavy texting, sat-nav and web browsing - 5800 is a good choice. If you want to take good pictures - buy a proper digital camera ;)

If you want to ask me questions - please feel free -> spider.jacek@wp.pl

Roger Pyke

October 7, 2009, 11:44 am

Just got this phone and for me it works very well. I found the touch screen to be good and I soon got used to the double tapping. Inputting messages with the qwerty keys is a complete doddle and this is from someone with large digits. All in all a very good phone.


January 8, 2010, 4:03 pm

I am thinking of getting this phone, would you recommend it? Also, would you say that it is easy to use and text on? I text quite a lot so it needs to be easy. Around how many songs, pictures and that woulx you say it can hold?? Thanks


February 1, 2010, 3:00 pm

I have owned this phone for about 1 year. Still a great value considering all of its features. With FREE turn by turn NAVIGATION it is now even more compelling. Firmware is very stable over last three versions (now version 40). CPU speed OK with 424 MHZ. Newer firmware very efficient with RAM, so multi-tasking is fine. I often read that the build quality is plasticky and cheap...but since I first installed both protective film and silicon cover, the phone continues to look new after 1 year. Yes, it is comparitively thick but feels good in my hand and is light. I keep 150 apps and 4 Gig of music on this phone...runs like a charm. I could imagine Nokia discontinuing this phone soon simply because it presents a pricing issue with its higher end offering (X6 16GB).

Philippa C

February 12, 2010, 10:26 pm

Don't ever buy a Nokia phone! Had this phone for just under 3 months and the charging port just broke on us and were charged £30 to fix it - said it wasn't covered under warranty - was totally disgusted - the warranty isn't worth the paper it's printed on.


March 18, 2010, 6:07 pm

I have had this phone a year now and still love it. I hated the red stripe down the side and have put a new purple silicon cover on it which stops it falling out of my pocket (got fed up sliding it in and out of the one provided with the phone), plus I have put a new screen protector on it. I use it to surf the net when I am out and about, listen to music, receive orders by email from my website, play games, visit facebook when I am away from home, I also use SportsTracker. I love the QWERTY keyboard. I must admit I lost both styluses (styli?) no long after I first had it but managed to get cheap replacements from Ebay. The camera quality is not very good but I didn't buy it for the camera, it is still useful for the occasional shots of my grandson when my digital camera is not handy. With O2 I can usually receive a signal when other networks can't, also a copy of my texts are stored in my Blue Book on the O2 website. Battery life is good too. All in all this phone is brilliant for the average user and it still looks good too.

Gavin Scott

May 12, 2010, 4:41 pm

I was always a Sony man, I went to Nokia due to reliability, I love phones that play music, take good pictures and simple to use. This phone is awful. I have had it just less that a year now. The nokia OVI software is very fustrating to use, the music player is so hard to get in to, so many menu's then it jumps and freezes. The stylus falls out the side of the phone, the screen is unresponsive, the texting is diobolical, i have big hands, so texting is very hard! I would rather have a sony that broke down than have this which is very hard to like in anyway! Already had a repair to the phine too as the shop told me it needs regular sortware updates, all I need is a simple phone, that plays music and is not really hard to use. I really hope nokia have a better one next time round!

Adrian Welch

June 26, 2010, 12:21 pm

I have had the phone for ten days and can no longer use it.

The screen has broken with no external assistance. I watched it happen the start effect slowly spreading form the end of the screen.

The phone has never been drpped or bumped neither Virgin nor Nokia will accept that I may have been supplied with a faulty phone.

That is until I looked at Nikias own forum and found that many people had suffered similar problems.

Customer service, don't expect any from either.

One thin g for sure it's back to Sony for my next phone and back to Tescos for service.


September 20, 2010, 11:11 pm

If your just using it for texting and calling, it's an alright phone, but when it comes to multitasking, the phone is an absolute bobhole. I've had my nokia now for 18 months, it's been in for repairs 4 times and am at the point where I'm throwing it against the wall! It's indestructable and when it's on a two year contract with insurance, the best thing you can do is wait. O2 assured me that if I had any more problems after the second time it had been in for repairs, the phone would be swapped and my contract would be renewed.. Here I am, 7 months on.. With the same phone! I cannot wait til I get my email come through telling me that I can change and upgrade my contract. If not, I'm going to write a very formal and despicable email to the head of Nokia/O2 and tell them I need a new phone! I would suggest do NOT get this phone unless you are prepared for a failure of a 'phone' and alot of running around to get it prepared! Roll on march 2011!

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