Nokia’s first proper touchscreen phone has been a long time coming. The 5800 XpressMusic is being pitched as an affordable alternative to the iPhone, yet still packs in Wi-Fi, GPS and HSDPA (3.5G). Plus, if you buy it on Orange, it includes Nokia’s Comes With Music unlimited music service.
What we like
If you’ve always used Nokia phones, you’ll feel at home with the 5800. Nokia has done a good job of making it feel familiar to use, although there’s a downside, which we’ll come to later. The touchscreen is great for web browsing and while the 5800’s web browser doesn’t quite stand up to the Safari browser on Apple’s iPhone – there’s no multi-touch pinch’n’zooming here – it still does a good job of surfing regular websites.
The GPS works really well with Nokia’s own Maps service, making the 5800 a decent phone for finding your way around. But most of all, we love the music features. The 5800 is a great handset for playing music, and also for browsing and buying it from Nokia’s own store. Meanwhile, it works really well with the Comes With Music service, allowing you to download unlimited music tracks to the 5800 or your PC.
What we don’t like
We’re not convinced by the touchscreen on the 5800 in terms of its responsiveness, which is probably because we’ve got used to the super-slick one on the iPhone. It’s not quite as snappy. Meanwhile, the on-screen keyboard feels a bit awkward, although it does get better with practice. The fact that Nokia bundles a stylus with the 5800, rather than being an extra feature, perhaps indicating that the company realised thumbs might not be enough.
The 5800’s 3.2-megapixel camera is okay, but we were hoping for better, given the impressive 5-megapixel snappers inside older models like the N95 8GB. And about that interface. Unlike – sorry – the iPhone, the 5800 XpressMusic’s interface doesn’t feel like it’s been designed for touch from the ground up. Mainly because it hasn’t – it’s an adapted version of the Series 60 OS that’s on previous smartphones. Familiarity is good, but we’d rather see a new rocket-powered edition designed for your fingers.
The 5800 XpressMusic is by no means a bad phone. It works well, and Comes With Music remains a seductive offer for music fans. But Nokia hasn’t quite nailed the touchscreen thing with its first attempt. The 5800 may be more affordable than an iPhone, but future models will surely make a better fist of the oh-so-important tactile elements.