Nokia 5310 XpressMusic Mobile Phone - Review

Nokia 5310 XpressMusic Mobile Phone - Review

The thing about ultraslim phones (read: Less than 10mm thick) is that they usually come with some tradeoffs either in terms of features, functionality or in some cases, usability. However, that doesn't seem to be the issue with the 5310 XpressMusic. When we saw it showcased the first time at Nokia's GoPlay event earlier this year, it caught our attention with its slim form factor, bright colors and solid build quality. But what impressed us most was its extensive range of music features. From onboard 3.5mm audio jack and Bluetooth stereo to a memory expansion card slot and dedicated music playback buttons, you'd be hard-pressed to find a music-phone as slim and feature-packed as the 5310 XpressMusic.


There's something about the 5310 that makes you want to pick it up to use. It may not be the most attractive-looking or the thinnest handset you can find in the market today. But the combination of a 9.9mm-slim profile, bright color lines (red or blue) and a rather simple yet trendy design somehow makes the phone likeable for most people on first impressions. It also helps that once you pick it up, it's got comfortable and solid feel.

Even though the exterior casing is predominantly plastic, there are no creaky parts or plasticky-feeling keys on the phone. In fact, most of the buttons are responsive except for the "+" side of the volume toggle on the left edge. Those with larger digits may also take a while to get used to the five-way navigation key. We found the dedicated music buttons on the left panel of the screen very convenient for quick access to song playback.

Many thin phones these days use a single port for charging, headset and data transfer. This usually means you cannot do more than one task at anytime. The 5310, however, comes with three individual ports onboard for each of the functions, including one for data transfer via microUSB. We were pleasantly surprised to find a port for a 3.5mm audio jack, especially on a sub-10mm slim phone. This must surely be one feature that will win the hearts of music junkies who like the freedom of using their own earphones.

On the back of the handset, you can find the 2-megapixel camera and two tiny speaker slits. The camera lens juts out slightly, so extra care will have to be taken to avoid scratches and cracks. There are no LED lights or self-portrait mirrors, so it's a pretty basic feature-set for the camera.

The microSD card slot is located under the battery cover. This means you have to remove the battery cover in order to access the card. Fortunately, the slot itself is located beside the SIM card slot and not underneath the battery, so there is no need to remove the battery as well.


The Nokia 5310 may not be the most feature-packed cellular in the XpressMusic series, but not many handsets out there can claim to offer a more complete music-phone package. In addition to the 3.5mm audio jack, the 5310 also offers A2DP Bluetooth stereo for wireless connectivity to compatible stereo speakers and headsets.

An onboard microSD card slot accepts up to 4GB capacities, ensuring you won't run out of storage space for your music, videos and photos. (Nokia bundles a 512MB card with the 5310.) Even if you run out of songs to listen, there's always the FM stereo radio.

The onboard music player supports various song formats and can display album art, too. It synchronizes with Windows Media Player 10 and 11. The presence of Windows Media Digital Rights Management (WMDRM) encryption means users can play songs purchased from the Nokia Music Store when it is launched here next year.

We found the 2-inch QVGA TFT display to be crisp in its image quality with realistic colors, thanks to a 16 million-color support. Activating the flight mode allows the phone to be used without its cellular functions.

Performance And Battery Life

We didn't experience any dropped calls or poor reception when testing the 5310 in the downtown area in Singapore. The speakerphone volume was sufficiently loud and clear. Music playback quality was excellent, whether it was via the onboard speakers or the supplied earphones, though it's our fervent wish that Nokia had thought to bundle a more comfortable pair of earbuds. According to the company's fact sheet, the 5310 is equipped with a dedicated audio chip, which may be one of the reasons for the better sound quality.

The new Series 40 3rd Edition user interface may look a little more complicated at first, especially when you compare it to earlier Series 40 phones. But it is really not too difficult to master. Once you get the hang of it, it actually makes it easy to access commonly used features on the handset.

The 5310 is rated for 5 hours of talktime and 12.5 days on standby. During tests, our review unit lasted an average of two days with moderate usage, including occasional music playback during the daily commute and playing games.

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