The Nokia 5300 belongs to the XpressMusic series, which is at the tip of Nokia's sword for battling Sony Ericsson's Walkman brand. The most notable features on the 5300 are the new 2.5mm earphone jack and dedicated music keys. Today we will see if the 5300 can really substitute your music player.
At first glance, the Nokia 5300 looks like a sports version of 6111. From the color to the material used, you can tell that this device is targeted at the youth market. The main colors used here are chalk white, silver grey, and scarlet red, and they match well with the built in themes. This not a particularly small device, measuring 92.4mm x 48.2mm x 21mm (3.64" x 1.90" x 0.81"). The device is not especially light either, but the 107g (3.76oz) mass does not counteract the toy-like and plastic feeling during use. The whole body is made of hard plastic and the red band is anti-slip, which will make it more stable when you slide open the phone. The build is not particularly good though, and the slider does wiggle around, even when closed.
The 2.5mm headset jack is found on the left side, together with three dedicated music keys. The Infrared port, camera, and volume buttons are found on the right. The power button, power jack, and USB port are found on the top, whereas the camera and speaker grille holes are found on the back. Notice that the music keys slightly protrude, making it easier to skip tracks in your pocket, though they can be a bit hard to press. All in all, the Nokia 5300 has a well thought-out design. It would have been better if there was some protection to cover up the USB and power ports, though.
I have not mentioned the microSD slot thus far, as it is not visible from the outside of the handset. To swap your cards, you must open the battery cover. You do not have to switch the phone off and remove the battery, but it is still a hassle.
The keypad on the 5300 is one of the best out there. The keys are large and the tactile feedback is excellent. My only complaint actually arises from the built quality, and it is the obvious when you are text messaging. When you reach up for the d-pad, the slide will wobble, making your grip unstable. Apart from that, the whole keypad is extremely ergonomic, and even the lowest row of keys is very usable, as they are not that close to the edge of the device.
The half auto-open sliding mechanism works fine on the 5300. The only trouble would be the build, as we mentioned earlier, since it will not lock itself when slid up.
In terms of physical design, I am really happy with the 5300. It is a good-looking and ergonomic phone. The build problem and hidden microSD slot are relatively minor.
The main display on the 5300 is a 262k color TFT LCD measuring 2.0" diagonally. Color is vivid and visibility under the sun is excellent. It is funny that brightness cannot be adjusted, though the screen is already bright enough in most conditions.
The music player interface is completely revamped from older S40 devices, making it easier to skip tracks with just the d-pad. One thing that I miss from the older interface is the display of the song list under the on screen controls. In any event, you can still sort your music by artist, album, genre, and even composer. You can add files to your track list on the go, and the phone supports memory card hot-swapping. The built in memory is only 5MB, but the phone can take microSD cards up to 2GB. Formats supported are MP3, M4A, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, and WMA. This should be enough for most people. Nokia claim that the 5300 can last for 12 hours for music playback.
Music can thankfully be played in the background, and I have not noticed significant slowing of the phone while doing so.
Sound quality is decent, but not the best out there. There tends to be a hiss in the background, treble is a bit harsh, and the bass is not thumping.
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