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Review of Nokia C5-03

Live photos of Nokia C5-03


  1. Package
  2. Positioning
  3. Design, Size, Controls
  4. Display
  5. Key Pad, Input
  6. Battery
  7. Memory
  8. USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  9. Camera
  10. Software features
  11. Bottom Line


  • Nokia C5-03
  • Battery Li-Ion BL-4U
  • Charger AC-8 or AC-15
  • Wired headset WH-102
  • USB cable CA-101D
  • microSD 2 GB memory card
  • Manual


Nokia has lost the battle for the touchscreen market and the company still has not got an adequate budget phone below 100 euro. It is difficult for Nokia to produce inexpensive touchscreen phones since the cost of Symbian phones is rather high and it sets certain limits to the retail prices. In 2009 we saw that the release of Nokia 5530 XpressMusic spurred the sales of touchscreen phones as well as the release of Nokia 5228. The strategy was clear Ц to produce cheaper phones to raise the sales. But Nokia failed to fulfill this plan. And as a result the company was stuck with producing innumerous variations of Nokia 5800 making it cheaper and cheaper.

In Nokia C5-03 we see the usual S60 5th platform that has not been significantly modified as compared to the previous phones. This model looks as a visitor form the past Ц it does not live up to the 2011 level and, moreover, it is overpriced. The target audience is the people who trust the Nokia brand and prefer it to others, and they are also not very sure what a smartphone is. People will choose it because it is a touchscreen. Of course, there is a tiny group of young people who will consciously buy it as a smartphone Ц but there are not many of the latter.

Nokia positions this phone for the youth from the start Ц the company topped itself and offered 11 colors for this phone. It will attract someone Ц may be not with its price/quality ratio but with its colors. That was probably their plan.

The phone does not have a clear target audience and it is not attractive on its own Ц it is more of an unpopular item that is offered in stores as an inexpensive touchscreen Nokia.

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Design, Size, Controls

The phone looks quite ordinary: glossy plastic, three buttons at the bottom and an unusual color. It is uncommon for a phone to be available in 11 colors, of course, not all of them are available in certain countries.

The back panel is made of glossy plastic, if you open it you will see that there is now a piece of rubber foam glued to it. This is Nokia solving the problem of the play between the panel and the battery Ц before, the battery could wobble and the phone could turn off or restart.

Unfortunately, the phone is well put together only at first glance. Trying to add as much colors as possible Nokia produced a defective batch and all the phones manufactured until April 2011 are defective Ц the plastic of the body splits and cracks. Till mid March Nokia did not admit the production defect but starting from March the 15th the service centers are obliged to admit such phones for a free repair. The thing is, the body can only be replaced with the same defective body Ц there are no other yet available in the service centers.

The phones dimensions - 105.8х51х13.8 mm / 4.17x2x0.54 in, weight 93 g / 3.28 oz. The phone feels nice in hand Ц it is not very big. On the right side there is the lock button and another fatuous solution Ц you can lock the screen by pressing the button but to unlock it you have to press it and then confirm the action on the screen Ц a rather dubious struggle with accidental key pressing.

Also on the right side we find the volume rocker. At the bottom there is a 2mm charger jack. At the top there is a microUSB slot and a 3.5mm audio jack.

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The screen is exactly the same used in Nokia 5800 and other models. I will remind you its specs: size Ц 3.2", aspect ratio Ц 16:9, resolution Ц 640x360 (39x69 mm). The screen displays up to 16 million colors, the picture is good but not up to 2011 level. The view angles are rather limited but it is not really a drawback.

The screen automatically rotates depending on the position of the phone. It takes about a second or less for screen to change orientation. The display is a bit buried in the body and it has edges. When you use scrolling on the right side of the screen your digit is touching the edge Ц some will not like it but generally it does not cause any inconveniences.

Under sunlight the screen remains readable Ц no problems here. However, under direct sunlight it sometimes goes blind. The screen fits up to 14 lines of text and up to 3 system tray lines. The screen is good foe watching videos, pictures and reading long texts.

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Key Pad, Input

There are three hard buttons on the front side Ц the call button, end call and the menu key. In all menus pressing the end call button gets us one level back. You can input text using two different ways or, more precisely, using two different key pads.

Firstly, you can use the digital key pad where you need to press one key several times to get the necessary character. It is only available in the portrait orientation Ц it is easily operated with one hand.

The second type is the regular QWERTY key pad. It is only available in the landscape orientation. The key are convenient, you can type with two hands. I do not have much to add about these two ways of typing Ц the phone offers the maximum capabilities on the market: you can type both with your digits and with a stylus, it is up to you.

If the predictive typing is on a click on an underlined word brings the word variants.

Handwriting recognition is, in my opinion, is just a toy but it actually works if you use a stylus Ц you won't have a lot of difficulties. I do not think that many people need this feature but it is certainly popular in Asia.

The tactic confirmation is realized similarly to VibeZ by Samsung. The phone vibrates confirming an action Ц the strength of the vibration is adequate Ц and gives you the feedback. You cannot feel that a certain key was presses Ц you just receive a confirmation of a click.

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The phone uses a Li-Ion battery BL-4U with the capacity of 1000mAh (the capacity of Nokia 5800 is 1320mAh). The manufacturer claims that the battery can last for up to 4.5 hours of voice calls and up to 350 hours of stand-by. Music playback Ц up to 27 hours, video recording in best quality Ц up to 140 minutes, video playback Ц up to 3.5 hours.

The phone could work for about 2 days within Moscow networks including: up to 1 hour of voice calls, a few pictures taken, a couple of minutes of video recorded and up to one hour of radio or music playback. If you are an active user and use e-mail and Twitter the life span drops to just one day. My phone was always dead by the evening.

Maximum battery life in different modes:

  • Video playback – 1 hour 40 minutes (H.264 in the loudspeaker mod)
  • Web surfing (via EDGE) – 3 hours
  • Wi-Fi (constant data transfer) – 4 hours
  • Music playback via the headset – 24 hours
  • Radio – 21.5 hours

If the battery capacity is down by 30% the time remaining is also down the same period of time.

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The phone's system memory size is 128MB, after booting there is 70 to 74MB left. There is also about 40MB available of inbuilt storage space. We have tested a 16GB memory card the phone recognized it without problems. The phone supports hot swapping but the slot is under he back panel.

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USB, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

USB. You can choose one of the four USB modes in the settings:

  • Data Transfer (Mass Storage USB) – You can see both the phone’s memory and the memory card, no drivers needed your OS will recognize the device automatically.
  • PC Suite –Nokia PC Suite mode, access to all the functions of the phone, back-ups and so on.
  • Image Transfer.
  • Media Transfer – multimedia files transfer (MTP).

The data transfer rate is about 5Mb/s. The phone cannot charge the battery when connected via a USB cable.

Bluetooth. Bluetooth version Ц 2.0 EDR supported. The following profiles are supported:

  • Dial Up Networking Profile (Gateway)
  • Object Push Profile (Server and Client)
  • File Transfer Profile (Server)
  • Hands Free Profile (Audio Gateway)
  • Headset Profile (Audio Gateway)
  • Basic Imaging Profile (Image Push Responder and Initiator)
  • Remote SIM Access Profile (Server)
  • Device Identification Profile
  • Phone Book Access Profile (Server)
  • Stereo Audio Streaming:
  • Generic Audio/Video Distribution Profile
  • Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (A/V Remote Control Target)
  • Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (Audio Source)

The average data transfer rate via Bluetooth is about 100Kb/s. we have tested Sony Ericsson DS970 headset Ц the track controls, REW/FF and skipping work fine, however, the track title could not be displayed.

Wi-Fi. The phone uses Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11g). it supports all the security standards (WEP, WPA, WPA2), the settings are at maximum. There is a Wi-Fi network master that can help you search and connect of necessary to networks in the background mode.

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The camera's resolution is 5Mpix; it does not have an autofocus (fixed focus from 30 cm to infinity). A very basic budget camera. Its drawback is that it does not have a shutter button Ц you have to click on the screen. Snapshot saving takes about two seconds and you should be holding the phone steadily while the picture is being saved. You can see sample pictures bel.

Video sample (mp4, 9 MB) >>>

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Software features

All the standard features including the music player are reviewed in the separate article and I invite you to have a look at it. Here I will review the preinstalled applications.

S60 5th edition software

There is a game on the ecology topic Climate Mission.

Business applications as usual are the dictionary and QuickOffice for viewing MS Office documents.

The Social Networks folder contains not clients of social networks as you could guess but merely URLs to them.

All in all, there are practically no apps in the phone Ц a stress on its budget nature.

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Bottom Line

The reception quality is good, no issues detected. The ring volume is loud Ц you can hear it in any situation. At its maximum volume the loudspeaker becomes noisy. The vibration alert is also good Ц you almost always can feel it.

The phone is frankly bizarre. As compared to Nokia 5530 the package is poorer and the most features are the same. As of the beginning of sales Nokia C5-05 cost about $300 (and it still does in the official store), but you can actually buy it starting from about $250 from any major retailer. In Europe the price fell from И170 to И130. A very significant fall for just a few months of sales.

Unfortunately, this phone completely fails to compete with modern phones. Its official price tag equals the price of LG Optimus One or LG Optimus Me P350 but all its specs are poorer (including the camera despite higher resolution). On the Nokia you cannot even have your widgets on the home screen Цthere is no such feature. Anyway, as well as many others the OS looks absolutely obsolete Ц a Hello from 2009.

Taking into account that the price in the online and retail stores is lower we may say that it competes with cheaper phones but even in the lower price range it does not look attractive. Remember that model is defective and Nokia only admitted it in March 2011 and if you purchase it you will have to visit a service center at some point to replace the plastic body. It is up to you to decide whether this phone is worth gambling and visiting the service center routinely but the phone does not have any notable advantages Ц there are a lot of much more interesting phones on the market.

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion be known to the author and everybody else.

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Related links

S60 5th edition software

Review of Sony Ericsson Xperia X8 (E15i) GSM/UMTS Phone

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal
Translated by Robert Mugattarov (mugattarov@gmail.com)

Published — 22 March 2011

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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