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Nokia C5-03 – an initial thoughts review

Nokia took a little longer than most to break into the regular smartphone arena, as they did so, a plethora of touch screen models arrived. The C5-03 derived its attributes from the original C5 handset, which has all the familiarity of the N8 and the C7 – only without the Symbian^3 OS.

The phone’s 3.2-inch resistive TFT touch screen supports up to 16 million colours with a resolution of 360x640 pixels, but natural sunlight soon becomes its own nemesis when trying to focus on a less than direct viewing angle. The C5-03 weighs in at just ninety-three grams and appears as alluring and elegant as it is compact with a slim-line design. Overall the handset is a well-sized phone, with a smooth feel that fits nicely in the palm of your hand.

The Nokia C5-03 runs on Series 60 Symbian OS 5th edition and comes with a user friendly touch interface that supports a home screen with customisable icons, menus, themes and shortcuts. When the user is inputting text the handset’s touch screen displays a virtual keypad, for numeric input or a full keyboard for alphabetic input. This is nothing new, but the text entry is embarrassingly slow and cumbersome on this Nokia phone. The vibration instantly confirms your touch, where the characters selected only moments ago simply do not arrive on the screen within time. As a result, it is all too easy to overtype characters without realising that the CPU hasn’t ‘caught up’ yet. This lack of synergy becomes increasingly frustrating within time, with the smoke and mirrors soon fading as you consider the irrevocable cost of your new ‘smart’ phone.

The C5-03 provides decent connectivity in the form of 3G HSDPA and WIFI capabilities, whilst catering for all messaging needs with SMS, MMS and built-in email. Features also include an integrated navigation system and a 5 megapixel camera, which doesn’t compare well against the likes of HTC’s and Sony Ericsson’s. A complete lack of flash and the constraints of a fixed focus grants you a ‘bit of fun’, but nothing more than that. The media player, as Symbian users know, is more than capable of making playlists easy to create and arrange, along with supporting a wide range of digital formats including MP3, AAC, WMA, MP4 and WMV. Nokia completes the set with a 3.5mm audio jack and Bluetooth 2.0, with A2DP for wireless media streaming.

Naturally, it is always reassuring to assume full navigational control of a device, but not without a ‘back’ button. A hugely underestimated component of UI design is to let the user ‘undo’ any task they have just performed – wherever possible. This has proved costly, as you find yourself constantly using the ‘End Call’ button to return to the home screen and retrace your steps manually. To make matters worse, the development of Android really makes Symbian look and feel really outdated, but not quite entirely useless.

To summarize, the Nokia C5-03 is a great looking, stylish phone with some brilliant features. It’s sleek and chic appearance suggests the developers have considered a younger target audience with the Nokia handset. Regardless of the touch screen functionality issues, the ease of access to such applications as Facebook, Youtube and Email and a dizzying array of available colours and textures should be enough to satisfy the demands of the 16-25 age group. A SIM-free phone will cost around one hundred and ninety of your precious pounds, placing it firmly within the intermediate pricing bracket. However, the C5-03 has been labelled as a ‘budget’ Smartphone. The HTC Desire ‘S’ is advertised at just a little more, where it's hard to see why anyone would choose the Nokia. The C5-03 carries an incredibly powerful brand in Nokia, something that people show exceptional loyalty towards where One Mobile Ring is sure this will be reflected in sales.

– B

Originally published at