Nokia 5310 XpressMusic Phone

So I put the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic through its paces for the past couple of weeks to really get a feel for this razor-thin, low-end T-mobile exclusive phone. Inside, everything you wanted to know and probably a lot more than you care to hear.
Down and dirty with the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic.
Down and dirty with the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic.

(I’m going to try something new with review pictures this time around: they’re uploaded onto Ovi, so you can view the slideshow or click on the slideshow to see the rest of the full resolution shots. Let’s see how this works out)
As usual, I must express my sincere thanks to the folks at WOMWorld for providing the trial device. And without further ado:
Up until this year, Nokia’s XpressMusic series was pretty lackluster. The original XpressMusic phones were low/mid-range handsets meant to be score with the younger crowd, but failed miserably because, let’s be honest – no one wants to be seen rockin’ out to something akin to a Fisher Price toy.
Nokia’s designers took the original look and threw it in the garbage, and eventually ended up with the 5310: a budget-priced handset that happens to be one of the slimmest phones around. Oh yeah, and it’s a pretty decent music player, too.
The Outside
The first thing you’ll notice about the 5310 XpressMusic is that it’s small. Really small. It’s official measurements are 4.09 by 1.76 by 0.39 inches (103.8 x 44.7 x 9.9 mm), and to give you some kind of perspective, here’s the dimensions of a couple popular Nokia phones:
Nokia N95: 3.9 x 2.09 x 0.83 inches (99 x 53 x 21 mm)
Nokia N81: 4.05 x 1.97 x 0.70 inches (102 x 50 x 17.9 mm)
Nokia 6010: 4.64 x 1.95 x 0.87 inches (119 x 50 x 23 mm)
If you’ve ever encountered an N81, the 5310 is about half as thick. And probably a quarter of the weight. It’s so light that you won’t even notice that you’re carrying it around.
The front houses the display, keypad buttons, and the dedicated music keys. Nothing too out of hte ordinary here – buttons are about average size (very similar to the N95), and are slightly raised. There’s a firm tactile response when pressing keys, and for the most part they should be fine – although there might be issues with absurdly large fingered people and the 5-way directional key.
I like the unobtrusive look of the dedicated music keys. They’re only very slightly raised and they blend in nicely with the red.
Other features of note on the outside: top-mounted 3.5mm audio jack, power button, and USB port (complete with flimsy port cover), left side charger port, right side volume controls, and rear 2 megapixel camera.
Build quality is what I’d call average. There’s no creaking going on and it isn’t hollow, but the feel is still rather…plasticky. Given its price point ($25-50 with contract), I can’t say I’m too surprised by this.
Not a whole lot to mention about the display. It’s a 2 inch 240×320 pixel TFT. It’s quite bad in direct sunlight. For all other purposes, it does its job.
The Nokia 5310 houses a no-frills 2 megapixel camera with basic functions. It’s not impressive. Colors are noticeably faded/washed out. See pictures below for more. And video, if you can believe it, is far, far worse. Youch!

I warned you!
Voice sound quality was typical Nokia, and that means very good in both directions. The loudspeaker, unfortunately, could be better – the maximum speaker volume is way too low, and using it in any kind of outside environment is pretty rough. Part of the reason for this is poor placement of the speaker – it’s situated on the back of the phone, so typically holding the phone in your hand will muffle the sound somewhat.
Even though it’s meant to be a music phone, the 5310 doesn’t come equipped with stereo speakers. That isn’t to say the onboard speaker isn’t good, because it’s actually rather decent. The addition of the 3.5mm audio jack is a nice touch, although the included headset is cumbersome and there’s just way too many wires to deal with.
The retail package also includes a 1 gigabyte microSD card, compliments of Nokia (and falling memory prices).
There’s also a lot of Panic! at the Disco-related paraphernalia preloaded on the phone. Okay, by a lot I mean one song (Nine in the Afternoon) and a couple videos. I cannot stress how bad the videos look on the phone. They are horrendous.
Battery Life
The 860 mAh lithium-ion is definitely one of the 5310′s stronger points. It’s rated for up to 5.5 hours of talk time, and I was able to get a good couple days usage out of it that included a mixture of phone calls, taking pictures, listening to music, and generally messing around with the phone.
User Interface
Finally, a word about the user interface. I like it. A lot. It’s faster and more responsive than previous UI’s, looks 100x better (now looks very similar to S60 counterparts) and the active standby is great. And going through menus while listening to music is actually a pleasant experience. Hurrah, S40 UI’s are no longer an embarassment!
The Good: small and thin, lightweight, cheap price, battery life, nice interface, overall good value for the money
The Bad: small and thin, horrible camera + video, no stereo anything