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Nokia 5230 - Maps, Music, Camera and Verdict

Niall Magennis

By Niall Magennis



Our Score:


User Score:

Like all of Nokia’s recent mid-range handsets the phone features onboard GPS and comes with the company’s free Ovi Maps service, which provides voice-guided navigation instructions. The Ovi Maps interface has improved a good deal over the last year or so and is now relatively easy to use. There’s still some lag here and there, which is hardly surprising as it fetches maps on demand from Nokia’s central servers, but on the whole it now provides reliable navigation and it certainly worked well with the phone’s GPS chip.

When it comes to storage, the handset has just 70MB of onboard memory, which obviously isn’t a great deal of space if you’re planning on loading it up with a bunch of music tracks. However, there is a microSD card slot that accepts cards of up to 16GB in size, and with 8GB cards now available for just over a tenner online, it won’t cost you much to boost the phone’s storage capacity.

Nokia 5230 front

If you do use the phone for music playback (and who wouldn’t), you’ll find that the standard Series 60 music player is rather good. Its interface is straightforward to navigate and not only does it neatly sort your music tracks into the usual artist and album categories, but it also shows album art when tracks are playing. The sound output from the headphone jack is punchy too, although the supplied headphones are merely average as they lack a bit of oomph in the bass department. Still, thanks to the standard headphone jack at the top of the phone, swapping them for a decent pair of cans is no hassle.

The phone’s camera is rather basic, though. It’s a 2-megapixel shooter so its resolution is quite low and it also lacks a flash. Snaps taken outdoors don’t look too bad as the sensor does a reasonably good job of accurately reproducing colours, but indoor shots are less impressive as they suffer from the lack of flash and tend to come out quite grainy. On the positive side, there’s very little shutter lag and the phone can also shoot video at resolutions of up to 640 x 480 pixels. In the highest quality 'TV mode', videos actually look rather good and hold up well even when there’s a fair bit of fast motion in the frame.

As we’ve come to expect from Nokia handsets, the 5230 isn’t found wanting when it comes to call quality. Both the earpiece and microphone deliver crisp and clean speech and the handset tends to do a good job even when working in weaker signal areas. Its battery life is also reasonably impressive as we got around two and half days from it before it needed a recharge.


The 5320 certainly has its issues. Its user interface can take a bit of getting used to and the build quality is a little below par for a Nokia handset. However, we think it still offers great value for money as its line-up of features is highly impressive for a phone in this price range.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


September 8, 2010, 12:39 pm

I bought this on the Bank Holiday weekend from Carphonewarehouse for just £69 (half the review price), upgrading for an old 6300. As usual from this store, the handset was effectively unlocked, even though I had to buy a £10 top up on 3. The review is representative of the phone, except I would point out that the screen (excellent in low level light) is real awful in direct sunlight, not helped by the themes all being white letters on black background. I bought this for its Ovi mapping capability (reviewed 30th August on TR) and GPS. This really is outstanding and very flexible. I use this in travelling all around Asia on business, with pre-loaded maps. On the 6300 there was no GPS so I used as a portable map, but with the 5320 I am looking forward to seeing how the GPS works with pre-loaded maps in future trips. Using a whole bunch of local SIM cards, I don't always have data enabled, so Nokia's USP of pre-loadable maps is a great freebie. I like the side slider switch for activating the phone from standby. I find this better than the usual tap/swipe screen fiddly business of low end touch screens. In UK I use a Lebara SIM - and nicely they are offering free data up to 10MB/day until end of Sept - so great for setting and testing the phone's data capability. But (naughty Lebara) this offer is apparently only for 2G. I was using 3G (and 3.5G) and got charged for all my data usage. Anyway, excellent phone (apart from poor screen in strong outdoor light) with Nokia's unbeatable Ovi maps app.


September 8, 2010, 3:30 pm

Isn't this just a Nokia 5800 without wi-fi?


September 8, 2010, 5:18 pm

@hottea - Not exactly. The 5800 also has a 3.2 Mpix camera with dual LED flash (vs 2.0 Mpix without flash). I'm sure there are other differences too, but the camera was the one that stuck out the most (besides wi-fi).

Have a good one!

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