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Nokia C5-03 - Screen and touchscreen

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



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The Nokia C5-03 uses a 3.2-inch 360x640 pixel screen. It's not an AMOLED model, as seen in the Nokia C7, but it's sharp, has decent viewing angles and good contrast. As far as budget mobile phone displays go, it's a winner.

The same can't be said about the touchscreen. The Nokia C5-03 uses a resistive touchscreen, which senses contact through pressure rather than conduction. This means a stronger prodding action is needed here than on phones equipped with capacitive touchscreens, such as the similarly-priced Sony Ericsson Xperia X8. The result is a less responsive feel, leading to navigation that seems sluggish.

Partner the Nokia C5-03 with a stylus, or even a biro, and the resistive touchscreen performs better, but such a thing isn't included here. A good resistive screen is more accurate than a finger-operated capacitive model when used with a stylus, but resistive touchscreens aren't used to their strengths anymore - they're used simply as a cheaper alternative to a capacitive model. Taste the compromise, readers. Bitter, isn't it?

In order to combat the effects of the clunky touchscreen, the Nokia C5-03 limits text input to a T9 pad, rather than a full Qwerty, when used in portrait mode. Handwriting recognition is also on offer, but as a gimmicky "mobile innovation" of almost half a decade ago, we can't imagine many will use it.

Although slower than using a decent portrait Qwerty keyboard, such as that of the 3.2-inch screen HTC Legend, the large T9 buttons make input accurate, if slow. Switching to landscape and using the full virtual Qwerty is preferable though.

Resistive screens were once the staple of the budget touchscreen phone, but with devices like the Samsung Galaxy Europa and HTC Wildfire having brought quality capacitive touch panels to the same price point, the Nokia C5-03 once again looks behind the times. Although responsive and accurate for a screen of its type, it slows down everyday navigation and web browsing significantly.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


February 22, 2011, 5:37 pm

"Does Symbian offer any advantages when put up against more up-to-date rivals? For power users, the answer's no."

WRONG WRONG WRONG. Please stop pedalling this claptrap. Symbian remains the only smartphone OS that can both easily tether by USB and bluetooth and also download email attachments from secure servers. What is the definition of 'power users'? I use those features of my Symbian every single day and would be lost without them. Properly useful stuff like this is what makes a smartphone a smartphone, not silly webapps and flashy OSs.


February 22, 2011, 9:55 pm

Looking at this in terms of value, It is alughable compared to my San Fransisco...How was this even released

Brian ONeill

February 22, 2011, 10:24 pm

I got the wife two nokia phones in the past year an e63 and a c3.

All i can say is die Symbian die. Symbian is a shocking OS, its like something from the 90's.

I swear I must have speaks weeks in total tying to make those phones usable.

At the weekend I cracked a bought her an orange san Francisco, only £90 from argos. Within an hour I had it unlocked and filled to the brim with all the apps she needs. Android is light years ahead of Symbian.

Nokia are a mess, they should have just gone with android.


February 22, 2011, 11:27 pm

@ J4cK - depends entirely on what you want to use it for. I would take this one every time.

@ Brian - it doesn't look like something from the 90s - it is in colour for starters! The OS has been 'usable' for years and is still 'usable' now. It just doesn't treat you like an idiot. In accordance with what I wrote above, Android seems to be slowly catching up with Symbian, but the problem is that it is catering for, and written by, a large influx of customers who are traditionally 'feature phone' buyers and therefore only the LCD features will be looked after. Long time smartphone users still find weaknesses and gaping holes in the basic functionality. Please don't shout about things you know nothing of.


February 23, 2011, 11:18 am

I agree with scamevoli. Symbian is far less polished compared with Android and iOS, but in terms of sheer versatility it is still ahead. I can do much more with Symbian than with Android right now.


February 24, 2011, 1:42 am

i have a 5230 which i bought as a stopgap and basically just use as a satnav now because i have a galaxy s. the 5230 only cost £60 and this c5 doesnt appear any better to me other than adding wifi, doesnt seem worth the extra £100 to me. i never found s60 that bad to use anyway, if it got rid of the double tap to select and changed to a capacitive screen i wouldnt have too many complaints about it

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