Although the Nokia XpressMusic range has so far been playing lower down the bill to its Nseries smartphone lineup and its mid-tier chart-toppers, Nokia has started generating plenty of positive audience reaction to its recent music moves.
Following the launch of Nokia's Comes With Music unlimited download service and the announcement of Nokia's 5800 XpressMusic touchscreen smartphone, Nokia's mobile music profile is certainly on the up.
Currently offering only a handful of XpressMusic handsets compared to Sony Ericsson's cover-all-bases expanse of Walkman phones, Nokia has recently extended the line-up with a couple of new models, including the Nokia 5320 XpressMusic.
Say and Play
The 5320 XpressMusic is a candybar design handset, packing in Symbian S60 smartphone functionality as well as the promise of a hot music performance.
It makes the right noises for a music phone, with dedicated control keys ranged up the side in the trademark XpressMusic way, a 3.5mm headphone socket on the bottom for plugging in quality ear-gear, a dedicated audio chip under the bonnet for improving sound quality.
It also introduces a new 'Say and Play' function – press a button, say the name of the song, artist or other track details and it should start playing.
A 1GB MicroSD card is supplied in-box, to go with the 140MB of onboard user memory, although additional cards of up to 8GB can be slipped into its side slot.
The 5320 XpressMusic supports HSDPA data connectivity, for high speed downloading, browsing and streaming, and has a decent base level of multimedia and other smartphone-style applications. It supports N-Gage high quality gaming, too, with an 8-way gaming-optimised D-pad and additional controls for gamers.
Until the 5800 arrives, the 5320's the top-specced XpressMusic phone, but within Nokia's range it's more an affordable middle class option. Its camera is an average 2-megapixel shooter, and it doesn't do the high-end smartphone stuff like Wi-Fi and GPS location finding.
The 5320 follows the XpressMusic family look with a glossy black plastic casing, with high-contrast metallic red or blue edging and D-pad details. It's an otherwise plain looker, without the eye-catching asymmetrics or skinny-look of the 5220 or 5310 XpressMusic models.
A bit of curvy detailing on the numberpad separates the keys, while the controls flush around the D-pad are a little cramped for comfort and totally accurate pressing.
The bodywork is average candybar sized – 108(h) x 46(w) x 15(d) mm – and the screen is a standard 2-inch QVGA 16 million-colour job. It's OK– but not as big a display as we'd prefer for real smartphone multimedia action, and text info on certain functions can look small. A video call camera sits above the display.
The S60 user interface incorporates similar elements to more upmarket Nokia Nseries phones, albeit rearranged and squeezed into a smaller screen.
A row of five user-swappable shortcut icons is ranged at the bottom of the standby screen to take you into key features. When music's playing in the background, track details are displayed onscreen, making it easy to operate with the side panel music controls (pause/play, forward, rewind). These work equally straightforwardly with the radio too.
The menu system, accessed by pressing the 'squiggle' button, is typically Nokia S60; a grid of option icons, leading to more sub-menu grids or list options. There's plenty to get round, this being a smartphone, but you quickly work out where everything is.
The handset responds promptly as you select options or switch between open applications, and multi-tasking doesn't appear to impede its zippy performance.
(Review Page 1 of 1)