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First look at Nokia 5730 XpressMusic
Editor’s note. This is not a complete review, but rather our first impressions of this device. In fact, we played around with one of the first prototypes, and this fact must be factored in as far as the phone’s build quality and software department are concerned – many features are still missing, even though we are going to refer to some of them throughout this review. Also, you won’t find any data on the 5730 XpressMusic’s size or display simply because this information is not all that relevant at this moment – the main
In 2009 Nokia will be trying to consolidate the success of the Nokia E71 and bring QWERTY-enabled devices into the mainstream with a wide array of offerings. While none of these phones will enjoy particularly good sales, it’s not their main goal – the key here will be to make the very idea of an affordable QWERTY-smartphone root on the market. And, naturally, this move will come as the most unwelcome present to Nokia’s competition, as it will take a good bit of their audiences, especially those of Windows Mobile phones that suddenly get much less attractive in terms of price/quality, retailing for almost twice as much. Although, the market of Windows Mobile solutions let the concept of QWERTY-enabled side-sliders die off a long time ago and that was largely due to how the phone makers themselves viewed these devices. Long story short, they thought that this form-factor had to be the attribute of the most expensive part of their portfolios, and that’s how they got the reputation of overpriced offerings that only few could afford. Needless to say, Nokia will have a hard time trying to change this stereotype, furthermore, most Windows Mobile aficionados have already bought themselves better priced alternatives running on this OS; so why would Nokia venture into these waters?
Being the market’s largest company with a 40 percent share, Nokia is challenged not only to maintain its sales on the same level but also increase them. Essentially this need pushes them into certain niches, which is quite an unseemly proposition from the R&D standpoint. So, instead they have opted to turn narrow niches into relatively wide market segments through aggressive marketing campaigns. And as you have already guessed, that’s exactly what they are going to pull off with the QWERTY-enabled side-sliders. What’s more they won’t have to pioneer this market – like we said, this field is already full of Windows Mobile offerings, but they won’t pose much of a threat to the 5730 XpressMusic and the likes in view of their overly hefty price tags. So, the idea is simple: Nokia have adopted a concept that some users are already familiar with and will render it sustainable (in other words – make these phones relatively popular). I, for one, can’t wait to see how this affair will turn out. On a side note, they will roll out some more offerings down the line, including the Nokia E75 that hasn’t been announced as yet, but is already well-known around the Web. By the way, it won’t be much different from the phone we are reviewing today, however it’ll be braded as an Eseries solution.
The only reason why they have thrown the Nokia 5730 into their music-minded line-up is that Nokia are trying to sell the same phone and form-factor in to two different flavors so as to win as big a share as possible. In fact, it wouldn’t be a mistake to say that they are forging a new segment of side-sliders with thumbboards, instead of assessing every Nokia-branded phone of this kind separately. So, if they’ll manage to reach some good numbers in terms of aggregated sales – the whole segment will get a green light.
They used to utilize a different method, though. A good example of that would be the Nokia 6800 when they introduced a new form-factor first and then attempted to take it into the mainstream; however it never really took off.
While the Nokia 5730 won’t face any sort of direct competition, this fact alone doesn’t guarantee it will be sell in droves. In fact, its predecessor, the Nokia 5320 didn’t have any rivals either, but it never became a particularly popular offering. On top of that, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic will be hard to compete with, given that they will be only 60 Euro away from each other price-wise. That’s why the 5730 XpressMusic’s main goal is to pad Nokia’s portfolio and maybe generate some sales, but that’s about it.
The phone will be available in two standard XpressMusic colors – blue and red. As you have already noticed, we got our hands on its blue edition. The top edge is metallic and really resembles that of the Nokia N810. But don’t let it deceive you – the rest of the phone is made of plastic. Its glossy front fascia sports a bog-standard keypad that is quite a fingerprint-magnet among all other things.
The 5730’s focus on music is emphasized by three player controls lined up on the right-hand side, plus it allows for one-touch access to Say and Play feature. Further down is the microSD memory card slot, whose flap sits flush with the casing and therefore is pretty hard to open. Also there is the microUSB socket.
Perched on the left is the volume rocker along with the dedicated camera key. Sitting on the bottom edge of the phone is the 3.5 mm audio jack, while the 3.2 MP camera lens (Carl Zeiss) and a LED flash are mounted on the back side of the phone.
The slider zips open with ease – all you need to do is slightly push the top half and it goes up effortlessly, while the display changes its layout to landscape.
The phone ships with a 2,4-inch QVGA display (240x320 pixels, 31x42 mm). This screen offers 16 million colors, along with a juicy and vibrant picture that is readable in various environments. All in all, it's a likable display that won't give you any trouble whatsoever. It accommodates up to 8 text and 3 service lines all written in a convenient font. Just like you'd expect, you can alter the font size in certain menus (like Messaging, where amplified fonts do much better) and reach 14 text lines as a result.
The 5730 XpressMusic sports a sizable navigation cluster with medium-sized, yet soft-to-press buttons. All in all, it is a breeze to work with. The keys here are lit in relatively dim white. Also, the navigation pad houses a touch-sensitive pad.
The bundled QWERTY keyboard is comfortable to use as well; the best thing about it is that you can type using both hands and your fingers won’t bump into each other, since it’s spacious enough even for people with big fingers. The only question that bothers me in regards to this phone’s thumbboard is how they are going to print local alphabets on these keys; but one thing is for sure – Nokia will offer localized versions of the 5730, so it’ll be interesting to see how they are going to do that.
I took my time to compare the typing speed with the Nokia E71 and 5730 XpressMusic – the latter won by quite a margin all thanks to its bigger keys. However, it’s worth mentioning that these two thumbboards deliver completely different experiences and those who are used to conventional QWERTY phones will find the 5730 more convenient to text with. By the way, here is a fun fact – we offered several people to type a message with the Nokia N97 and then E75 (since it’s no different from the 5730 XpressMusic on this front), and surprisingly those who already owned QWERTY-enabled phones claimed that the E75 felt easier to work with.
The handset utilizes a 1000 mAh Li-Ion battery (BL-4U), rated for 270 hours of standby, 4.55 hours of talk time, 26 hours of music, 150 minutes of video recording (top quality settings) and 180 minutes of video playback.
In Europe the 5730 XpressMusic lasted around 3 days with moderate use (1,5 hours of calls and up to an hour of music, a dozen of images and several minutes of video). It takes the battery just shy of 2 hours to charge from empty to full.
Below is our chart of battery times we managed to squeeze out of the 6260 Slide:
The device comes equipped with 128 Mb of RAM, after first launch you will get around 96 Mb of free memory at your disposal, which is enough for running a dozen applications and browsing “heavy” web-pages – the word “slow-down” is definitely not in the 5730’s vocabulary. The user also gets around 140 Mb of storage, where any data can be stored.
The 5730 deals with microSD memory cards (hot-swappable), the phone comes packaged with a 8 Gb unit. There are no restrictions as far as memory card’s size is concerned – our handset easily identified a 32Gb card.
USB. You pick one of these 3 connection modes in the USB settings of the 5730 XpressMusic:
Data transfer speeds top out at around 1 Mb/s.
Bluetooth. The phone comes with Bluetooth v2.0, with support for EDR. The following profiles are supported:
The top speed you can get with the 5730's Bluetooth connection is around 100 Kb/s. We also tested its A2DP profile in pair with the Sony Ericsson DS970 headset, which worked just fine - we managed our play list, skipped within tracks and adjusted volume seamlessly, however we couldn't make current track's title show up on the headset’s display.
WiFi. The phone supports 802.11 b/g, and also includes a network wizard.
Apparently, the 5730 XpressMusic player application has been carried over from the platform’s standard feature set – learn more about it in our dedicated article. What we’d like to make a special note of here is the 5730’s 8-band equalizers. Its speakerphone mode isn’t particularly loud. The handset doesn’t handle top volume settings very well, which is certainly a drawback. On top of that, the 57300’s standard earphones shouldn’t stay in your pocket for too long – actually, it’s better to replace them with a pair of custom headphones outright. The radio application here comes with RDS functionality, but that’s about it – learn more about it in our dedicated write-up.
While it’s good to see Say&Play functionality onboard, it’s not groundbreaking.
The 5730 XpressMusic’s image quality is little to no different from that of the Nokia N78 – you can learn more about it here.
For obvious reasons, we won’t post sample images here.
But you can take our word – it is identical to the Nokia N78 in every aspect.
Call quality was never an issue with the 5730 XpressMusic, as it easily lived up to our expectations of a Nokia-branded phone. Ring tones sounded quite loud; we also found the 5730’s vibro alert was average strength-wise.
The version of software we played around with didn’t have the Contact Bar like that found in the Nokia 5800, but the 5730 XpressMusic’s presentation hints at this functionality, so we’ll have to wait a while more to see how this feature will work here. Other than that, the phone comes packaged with the standard feature set of FP2 3rd edition, expect for Say & Play and the abovementioned screen mode. While its camera is not stellar, at the end of the day the 5730 XpressMusic is positioned towards the lower end of mid-tier, so it’s hard to expect some bells and whistles from it. Its sales will kick off in April at the price-point of around 220 Euro, which makes it a viable option for those who are in the market for a cheap QWERTY-enabled smartphone. But, again, it’s still a niche product, so don’t expect any breakthroughs from it.
P.S. Later this week you’ll see the official announcement of this phone – probably on Wednesday. Don’t forget to check back for our world’s first review of the Nokia 5730 XpressMusic!
Published 20 January 2009
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