The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic was a big hit when it was released earlier this year, and with good reason – it was a decent first stab at mixing the safe and comfy Symbian Series 60 OS with a touchscreen.
Even so, it wasn’t cheap, so the Finnish phone maestros have addressed the budget market with the 5530 XpressMusic. It has a slightly smaller screen at 2.9in, and is missing two important toys from its predecessor – GPS and 3G.
Since a 3G receiver is pretty sizable, Nokia was able to slim the 5530 – it’s much flatter than the chunky Mars bar-shaped 5800. As a result this is a phone that fits the hand very comfortably. The styling – black with a red outline on the edge – is familiar and snazzy enough.
The 5530’s screen is particularly impressive. The high resolution disguises the fact that this is a resistive screen, and it’s bright, colourful and highly pleasing on the eye.
Then there’s the S60 operating system, which includes a configurable home screen that displays your favourite contacts in a filmstrip of pictures and names.
You can also put email in the middle of the screen with the latest message header on display – this works well though the default white text on black background of the messages themselves can be hard to read. Since there’s also a Facebook shortcut on the home screen, there’s plenty of information at your disposal.
The touchscreen operation is less successful. Sometimes you need to press a menu item once to activate it, sometimes twice, and working out which is which can be frustrating.
You can at least use the built-in stylus to poke the screen and use the handwriting recognition, which is surprisingly successful.
Other features include a reasonable 3.2MP camera with flash, Wi-Fi to partly make up for the lack of 3G, a decent FM radio and the distinctive media button pioneered on the 5800.
This is a touch-sensitive panel at the top of the screen which launches shortcuts to music, video clips, internet browser and more.
Music fans will be pleased to note the 3.5mm headphone jack and speakers, which adorn the front of phone at either end and go surprisingly loud. Storage is via memory cards, and a 4GB-capacity one is included.
It may not be the ultimate all-rounder, but Nokia fans who want a strong, easily usable touchscreen phone with a pleasing price tag should certainly audition the 5530 XpressMusic.