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Nokia 5310 review: Another classic phone from the past returns

Nokia 5310 XpressMusic was revived this year in a new avatar. Here's our review of the feature phone.

Nokia 5310 2020 review.
Nokia 5310 2020 review. (HT Tech)

Brand: Nokia

Product: Nokia 5310

Key specs: 2.4-inch QVGA display, Nokia Series 30+, 8MB RAM, 16MB internal storage, 1,200mAh battery.

Price: 3,399

Rating: 3.5/5

HMD Global now has a series of “Classic Phones” which features rebranded versions of the popular Nokia phones from yesteryears. From the iconic Nokia 3310 to Nokia 8110 banana, HMD Global has successfully cashed in on the nostalgia of the 90s and early 2000s. This year, the Finnish company revived another popular phone from the past, Nokia 5310 XpressMusic phone.

In its new avatar, Nokia 5310 retains the look and feel of the classic phone with the same name. It even keeps the iconic music buttons. Even the unboxing and setting up the phone is a typical old school Nokia experience as you have to manually insert the battery to power it up. And then you see the familiar Nokia logo on the tiny display.

The Nokia 5310 XpressMusic successfully evokes nostalgia but is that enough for you to buy? We do not expect it to swap places with a smartphone but even as a feature phone, how good is it? We have spent considerable time with the phone and here are our key takeaways.

Design and build quality

As said earlier, the 2020 5310 does resemble the OG 5310 XpressMusic, but it’s deceptive, kind of.

The iconic music buttons that faced the front are now flipped and pushed to the side. The phone feels considerably cheaper to touch, the rear panel is now plain, the buttons are rubberier, and the keypad is also flattened out. I would still prefer the older 5310 XpressMusic with its flat design.

Nokia 5310 2020 retains the music buttons.
Nokia 5310 2020 retains the music buttons. (HT Tech)

Nonetheless, Nokia 5310 successfully ports you back to the 2000s, when times were much simpler.

Camera

The new 5310 has a 0.4MP VGA camera, which is actually a step down from the 2MP camera present on the original 5310 XpressMusic. You can’t expect much from a camera of this calibre. No matter how much light you throw at it, it is still going to give you a dull picture, but that’s the fault of the hardware.

Hardware, software, and experience

The Nokia 5310 is powered by an unnamed processor paired with a blistering 16MB of storage and a whopping 8MB of RAM. Its storage can be expanded to 32GB using a microSD card. The onboard storage capacity seems pretty low considering the phone’s highlight is music. It is backed by a 1200mAh removable battery which can power the phone for at least five days straight.

On the software front, the Nokia 5310 runs the very old Symbian Series 30+, which made its first appearance in 2014. There is no way to download or install any sort of apps. Yes, there is an app store, but that doesn’t work half the time, and it is severely limited. It also doesn’t have WhatsApp or any form of standalone social media app. It does have a web browser, but it only supports WAP on 2G.

Since it is so barebones, if you are coming from an Android smartphone or iPhone, you’ll notice that there’s no way to port your contacts in a straightforward way. In earlier Nokia feature phones, including the original 5310 XpressMusic, there used to be a way to import contacts from a .vcf file on a memory card, but that’s missing from this one.

Also, since there’s only 16 MB of internal storage, you’ll need to have a memory card for photos and music. We recommend dumping your old MP3 collection for best results.

Other ways to entertain yourself include wireless FM, which is actually pretty good and games like Snake, which is free, or Assassin’s creed or Asphalt, which aren’t.

Verdict

The Nokia 5310 is not for anybody looking to use a ‘smart feature phone’. However, it’s definitely great for people who are trying to go for a digital detox. But for anybody else, who is looking for a new feature phone, this one is a tough sell. There are some really good feature phones in the market now that offer better cameras, WhatsApp and even 4G connectivity.

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