The already noted ‘instant swap’ button lets you cycle between music player, training software and the front screen of the handset. The screens are colour coded – green, red and blue respectively and as you swap, a light behind the navigation button glows green red and cool white respectively. This is a feature I like, though given that you will be wearing the 5500 on your belt while training you’ll have to do some clever contortions to see the colour changes.
In addition to all this sporty stuff the 5500 is a also serious smartphone. It runs Symbian S60 third edition, which means you can do all the usual smartphone things, such as synchronising Outlook. PC Suite does not come bundled with the handset so you’ll have to download it. At least you get a PC connection cable. There is also a PC application for analysing data you capture on the handset – Nokia Sports Manager, but you have to download that too.
However, for serious smartphone use the Nokia 5500 Sport falls short of expectations due to its small screen. At just 208 x 208 pixels and about 1.7in it is a bit squeezed for diary viewing. Also if you are a fan of mobile web browsing, pages are going to be seriously small. Setting the font size down to its smallest helped, but the tiny text is not easily readable.
Additionally, there’s an FM radio and of course a camera. Its flash-less and lacks a self portrait mirror. It coped better outdoors than in, with indoor shots decidedly lacklustre. In the two images of flowers, the orange, blue, white and pink are all reproduced well, though my reference shot of the coloured tray taken indoors is grainy.
Battery life was quite good. Forcing the screen to stay on I got six hours 43 minute of continuous music played from a memory card, and the volume output was very, very loud.
The bottom line has to be that if you want to get fit and would like some tech to monitor progress, look elsewhere. The Nokia 5500 simply isn’t accurate enough to help you train seriously and this is why it has scored so low.
On the other hand, it is a small and neat phone with S60 third edition smartphone capability, and so is very capable. It will appeal though to tradespeople such as painters and decorators, where a waterproof, dustproof handset will be just the ticket.
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