Product Type: Nokia Smartphone
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Capable touchscreen on a budget
Member Name: icetsunami
Advantages: Simple interface, A-GPS, nice screen
Disadvantages: Poor camera, no Wi-Fi
Recently I have a had a few discussions about mobile phones and eventually we got around to one simple thing, what are they for? Sounds obvious I know and slightly odd too but essentially we make calls and send texts most frequently. Perhaps you may argue that point somewhat if you are a smartphone user and strangely I am. I love my iPhone. I mean I absolutely love it but I can't get the damn thing out of my hand for more than two minutes before I grab it back again resulting in a dead battery far quicker than need be.
The problem is that whilst converging technology means your phone can do almost anything it's no longer 'just a phone'. So when we come across handsets with more limited features we immediately write them off as being unworthy when this is not the case.
Nokia have a long established history in this field and were industry leaders as well as innovators. Simple and logical interfaces meant they were easy to use which was important when mobiles were relatively rare. Remember those days? The 5230 is the smaller sibling to the 5800 which was, and still is, a great phone. So how does the 5230 compare directly to the 5800?
The 5230 is essentially a 'cut down' budget version of the 5800, very similar in design and using the same operating system. I think it's the same anyway, the 5800 used the open source Symbian S60 and it looks identical on this handset. I'll Wiki it later.
Using the same 3.2" screen and with an identical resolution of 640*360 the screen is capable. I have to say though I seem to remember the 5800 being better despite the same spec. Perhaps my fond memories of that particular phone? The front has three familiar buttons, the typical green/red call make/end and a centrally placed menu button. The side houses a volume adjuster, manual lock slider and a camera hotkey.
Speaking of the camera the 5230 has a well below par 2Mp sensor with no flash or focus option. Really I would consider 3Mp to be the bare minimum for a phone unless additional features are there to support it but that is my personal choice. (My iPhone has a very average 3Mp camera but is saved by the many photoshop type apps available). Predictably there is also no front facing camera either. Shots tend to be overly grainy and lacking definition and the video capture ability is only slightly better though both depend on perfect conditions.
Unlike the branded Xpress Music 5800 the media player on this phone is very average indeed with hollow tones and some harsh distortion at volume. Being a budget phone this is not entirely unexpected but I think users tend to expect a certain level of quality in the end result.
Another omission is the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity which given our network operators (Three) patchy signal in our area would have been useful for social networking and mail requirements. HSDPA is present and supports speeds up to 3.6Mbps though it never actually feels that fast in reality.
A welcome inclusion however is A-GPS which comes in useful now that Nokia's Ovi store has made its Maps application free which means turn by turn navigation with free updates. Not a permanent replacement for a dedicated sat nav device but still a handy supporting feature.
I have criticized some of the phones main features which I initially said were not that important but I do this only in the interest of a balanced, informative review. So lets look at the performance in terms of calls and texts.
Calls are generally well handled and I have found there to be less earpiece background noise than on some handsets I have used. They have been of a consistent quality and any dropped calls have been the result of poor reception. Adding and accessing contacts is quick and easy and the resistive touch screen is quite responsive. Due to the large display the on screen keyboard is a reasonable size and easy to use making dialing and texting very easy. Personally I tend to like most touch screen keyboards and this one is no different.
Resistive screens are generally considered to be inferior to capacitive screens but I don't always find this to be the case. Wikipedia will explain the difference for those in the dark. The use of a stylus is sometimes advised and the 5800 indeed came with one inserted in the body of the phone as well a a ridiculous 'guitar pick' type affair in the box. Unfortunately no integrated stylus is present on this phone though in some regions it is apparently there? The pick stylus was included in the box but it is frankly rubbish and a bit of a gimmick.
The phone feels very light and plasticky which is a shame as it does detract from its abilities. It does however feel quite solid so I suspect it will bounce the first time you drop it if not the second time!
Contents of the box also included a hands free kit integrated in the headphones and a basic car mount. I suppose no-one ever opens the user guides these days but it is present. Apparently the battery is an improved version of an older model which has higher efficiency which is reflected in the standby and talk times.
This phone is available free on many monthly contracts and for about £80 on PAYG. It generally comes in black or white but there are several colours available if you shop directly at a Nokia shop or the website.
A cheap and simple to use touchscreen phone which is nicely styled. The good display and inclusion of A-GPS are good selling points though the poor camera may possibly dissuade some from buying this model. I found it highly capable and at the low price it is a bargain.
Technical Specification (http://www.mobile-phones-uk.org.uk/nokia-5230.htm )
Symbian S60 5th edition smartphone
2 megapixel camera with 3x digital zoom
Video recording at up to VGA resolution and up to 30 fps, 4x digital video zoom
Display: Touchscreen, 16.7 million colours, 640 x 360 pixels (3.2 inches) with automatic display rotation and proximity sensor
Nokia Ovi player (MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA formats)
Ringtones: MP3 & video ringtones, 64-voice polyphonic ringtones, vibration alert
A-GPS with Ovi Maps 3.0
Voice commands: speaker independent dialling and voice commands
Integrated handsfree speaker
Messaging: SMS, MMS, email (support for IMAP, POP, SMTP) plus attachments, Audio messaging
Internet: HSCSD, GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA (3.6 Mbps), XHTML web browser
Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.0, micro USB 2.0, 3.5 mm audio jack, 2.5 mm Nokia AV connector
Memory: 70 Mbytes plus microSD memory card slot (up to 16 GB supported)
3G plus quadband GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
Size: 111 x 52 x 16 mm
Talktime: up to 7 hours
Battery standby: 450 hours
Music playback: up to 33 hours
Summary: Worthy phone hits above its entry level rivals
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