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Nokia C5-03 - Symbian OS and apps

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



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The Nokia C5-03 uses a vanilla version of the S60 Symbian OS. This affords you a single home screen, which can only be lightly customised. There are four user-defined shortcuts at the bottom, a contacts bar, clock, email notification bar and a Wi-Fi control bar. These can be chopped-out if you want to give the Nokia C5-03 a minimalist look, but customisation comes in the form of checking and unchecking tick boxes, not dragging these elements around freely.

The limitations of Symbian S60's home screen means the main apps menu is where you'll be heading most of the time, unless you're only going to use the Nokia C5-03 for the most basic of functions. This three icon-wide menu houses core features like the Settings menu and all your apps, with downloaded apps dumped into a separate Applications folder.

The Nokia C5-03 comes with Ovi Maps navigation software pre-installed, along with uninspiring app standards like a unit converter, calculator and Dictionary, but for any serious app action a trip to the Ovi Store is required. The Ovi Store supplies apps for Nokia's smart and dumb phones, and can be accessed using the Nokia C5-03's web browser or the built-in Ovi app.

A smattering of Symbian S60 apps match the quality of Android and iPhone equivalents, but a great many are java ports. The vast majority of games in particular are re-workings of feature phone games, characterised by simplistic 2D graphics that have been designed with less high-resolution screens than the C5-03's in mind. The Symbian apps scene may have been ticking away since before the first iPhone was released, but if you care about apps you'd be much better served by an Android phone - or an iPod Touch partnered with a £25 ultra-budget handset.

As far as it lags behind in apps, Symbian S60 is still a smartphone OS. It has a full web browser, compatible with Flash lite 3.0, and with both Wi-Fi and high-speed HSPA connectivity built in. The browser offers a decent bookmarks system and a "back" function that offers previews of recently-visited pages in thumbnail form, which sounds better than it actually is.

Thanks to the non multi-touch resistive touchscreen of the Nokia C5-03, there's no pinch-to-zoom feature - a double tap switches between zoomed-in and non-zoom views - and in-page navigation is nowhere near as breezy as on an iPhone or mid-range Android. Like being driven around by an aged cataract-ridden relative, Symbian demands a little patience, but it gets there in the end.

Does Symbian offer any advantages when put up against more up-to-date rivals? For power users, the answer's no. But the simple home screen structure will appeal to some - but even that crowd's thinning rapidly.

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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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