Monday, February 16, 2009

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Preview

I was in Manhattan this past weekend and dropped by the New York City Nokia Flagship Store just to see what was new. Inside they had the stylish 7610 Supernova powered by S40 on display. Nokia was also showcasing one of their key products to compete in the touch screen cell phone market, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic:

My initial impressions of the 5800 XpressMusic were "this is a really nice screen and I really like the simplistic icons". The phone fits my hand comfortably.

Quick facts:
Name: Nokia 5800 XpressMusic
CPU: Freescale MXC300, 369 MHz ARM1136JF-S RISC + StarCore SC140 DSP
RAM: 256 MB (user accessible: 81 MB)
Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 WCDMA 850/1900
Weight: 109 g
Dimensions: 51.7 x 111 x 15.5 mm

Follow the jump to find out if the 5800 XpressMusic is worth buying.

Navigation & Touchscreen
Scrolling throw lists and menus works like any other S60 phone so you have to scroll with the scroll bar and you can't just flick your finger as you do on the iPhone. As most people have mentioned, it's annoying that some buttons require a single click while others require a double tap. This was my thought process when the menu didn't respond: the phone wasn't responsive, didn't catch my click, or I needed to double tap. That left me with an overall impression that the UI was very slow and needed a lot of work. It also incorrectly determined where my finger hit the screen a few times. To be fair, the 5800 on display was still running on initial firmware. Nokia has better get it's phones updated as first impressions are very important and firmware upgrades make a big difference.

The 5800's CPU is either not up to the task or its firmware needs a lot of work. Rotating photos took more than a second to perform, opening up the Batman Darknight trailer took a few seconds to load, and scrolling through Nokia Maps was horrendously slow. I felt like I was using a S60 phone from 3 years ago. Nokia Maps annoyed me so much with it's slow response times and incorrect gesture sensing that I turned it off after a few minutes of use. Clicking on the top right Media Bar button took a while to pull up the media bar. I came away feeling this phone wasn't ready for prime time.

The 5800 sports a 3.2 inch TFT display. It's narrow and wide. A little more narrow than the 16:9 widescreen format used by most movies so playing the Batman Darknight looks really small on the screen. To me it wasn't much better than watching movies on my E71. Although it's a resistive screen (requiring you to push the screen as opposed to just touching like the iPhone), it's fairly strong so it doesn't distort too much when you push on it.

The 5800's 3.2 MP camera produces better photos than the E71 but doesn't compare to the N82 I used to take the photo above. It's a decent camera but it's not going to win any awards. One of its strength is its video capture capability that records up to 640 x 480 pixels at 30 fps.

I was fairly disappointed by the performance of the 5800 XpressMusic. Using the touch screen was frustrating as it was either slow or unresponsive. Rotating a photo required more than a second and playing a video required a fairly annoying loading time. I would never consider this phone a replacement for either of my N82 or E71. After trying out the 5800 XpressMusic, I would never consider recommending this phone to anyone and would likely recommend people to avoid this phone. I just hope the N97 improves a lot over this first S60 5th edition phone.


Anonymous said...

I found the phone to be a decent one but certainly not an "iphone killer".
Does this phone really have a Freescale processor? Freescale no longer seems to mention Nokia as one of its customers.

Eric said...

Hi, it's a freescale based on a reference design Freescale and Nokia put together: Freescale, Nokia and Symbian Collaborate to Develop First-Ever 3G Single Core Reference Design

A great site i use for CPU references that is usually accurate is: PDAdb