A Month with Nokia 5230

Nokia 5230

I can’t believe it is a month since I started using two phones. I bought my new phone on May 24th from a small shop in Jayanagar after much waiting and debating. I finally decided on Nokia 5230.

My previous phone, Sony Ericsson W910i, lasted only about year and half. It came back from a Sony Ericsson authorized service centre as irreparable. I tried one more place but no luck. I would talk about how it got damaged (all by itself) and how I tried to get it repaired but that will be a huge post.

I didn’t immediately want to buy a high-end phone again; so, after using my dad’s old phone for a month, I bought a cheap Nokia 2330 Classic (which is my other phone right now). I was more than happy with this phone and it fulfilled my requirement of GPRS. I could check mail and browse Internet on it; however, the screen is too small for decent browsing and lack of memory card makes it impossible for me to listen to music. There was FM, true, but I wasn’t interested in that. It is a great phone for its price but I wanted more.

I was quite impressed by the Nokia 5233 I bought as a gift recently. I would actually have gone for 5230 at that time itself but they stopped it due to technical issues as they wanted to sell 5233 in that season. I knew 5230 would come back but I couldn’t wait that long. Anyway, when I needed a phone again for work, I started looking at various handsets with a requirement of GPRS (obviously) and 3G. I was still debating whether to go for a basic phone or a high-end one. The cheapest phone I found was Nokia 2730 Classic and there was no limit to the high-end options: Sony Ericsson Aino, Vivaz, X10, HTC HD2, etc… I did not want to buy a phone in the mid-segment. As it turned out, I did.

Nokia 5230

The box contains a handset, battery, charger, earphones, a tiny micro-USB to USB cable and the regular stuff such as manuals and CD’s. As an offer, I also got a car stand and access to Nokia Ovi Maps free for lifetime. I was quite impressed with Ovi Maps and I am really happy to have got it free for lifetime.

In design and looks, 5230 is a replica of Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. Most of the components such as the display panel, processor and OS are borrowed from 5800. Nokia seems to have launched this handset to counter Samsung’s Corby series of handsets in the low-price touch-screen segment and did not want to design a new one. This is good news since the specifications nearly match 5800. In fact, the only differences apart from weight and internal memory are lack of Wi-Fi and lower resolution camera in 5230. Personally, I have never cared about the megapixel counts of cameras (as long as they are above a decent value) and on a cell phone, this was least of my concerns. Loss of Wi-Fi was harder to not care about but I had to let go of it for the price.

Display and Sound

The phone has a nice 3.2 inch resistive touch-screen with a resolution of 360×640 pixels. It has a sensor to auto-rotate the UI but only in one direction. The auto-rotate works for menus and almost all the applications I tried except in the home screen and camera; which does not really bother me. If home screen would have auto-rotated, you would have just got frustrated with the shifting buttons whenever you move your phone around.

The included earphones were very painful to use. The sound is not that good on the loudspeaker, but I just couldn’t bear the pain in my ears. The sound from the loudspeaker is not very audible in a busy room or street; however, I found that if you place the handset in an open-box with speaker facing inwards, the sound reverberates and is quite audible. The music player organizes the music based on Albums, Artists, Genres, Composers and supports Playlists and Podcasts. The music app does not give any option for folder based view. You can use the file manager to find the music but it only plays the selected file. Take a look at the specifications page for details on image and sound specifications.

Applications

This phone uses Symbian^1 (which is Symbian S60 5th Edition) which is the first step to open-source the Symbian OS. In my experience, the OS runs smoothly with a few crashes and restarts. Unfortunately, we are used to restarts even on phones now. Luckily, I only ever need to restart the phone if I have to use Waze. After the phone is in use for some time, Waze does not start in which case you have to restart; however, this feels more like an issue with Waze.

Most of the applications that come with the phone are sufficient. The only other application I had to install was Opera Mini. Even though Ovi Store says that the latest version of Opera Mini won’t work on this phone, it actually does. I installed some other applications like Here and Now, Socially, Fring, HappyNap, etc…

Next, I configured all my Gmail accounts to the phone’s messaging application. This worked well enough but I was not very happy with update duration. I did a bit more searching and found Google Sync. I just had to download Mail for Exchange application for my phone and I could use my Gmail through Google’s exchange server. It is amazingly quick. I could define peak and non-peak times for the application to connect to the server. In peak times when it is always connected, the phone would retrieve the mail even before my desktop apps could tell me about it. Moreover, it also synchronizes Google calendar and contacts to the phone which has been very useful.

GPS

I found the first real use of maps the same weekend I bought the phone when I was trying to get to a meetup a good distance away. I had used and knew only one route thoroughly and that was blocked for some construction. I had to take a detour and while I had a general idea of where I was going, I thought this would be a nice time to try the GPS and map.

It worked great. It found my position quickly and calculated the route to my destination. I put in my earphones (the painful ones) and started driving. Ovi Maps also includes turn-by-turn navigation and I would hear it tell me when and where I should take turns. It went a little haywire as I approached my destination and kept on telling me to ‘take a right’ when there was actually a divider in between; however, the maps software will keep recalculating the route based on the new position and give you updated directions. Actually, these recalculating messages get irritating over time. Good thing is they only happen rarely and usually when you are close to your destination at which point you can as well turn off navigation.

Battery

The battery on the phone lasts about two days with normal usage on data, calls and music; however, when using navigation, the battery drains out in a matter of few hours. If I want to go somewhere where I need to use navigation, usually, it is going to be a drive lasting at least an hour. Using navigation throughout the journey would completely discharge the battery. This is the reason I also bought an in-car phone charger. I thought it would be expensive but I was pleasantly surprised to find a Nokia original charger for Rs. 240. Of course, I would have got a local make much cheaper but I was quite happy to hear the price and bought it immediately. Even if I am not using Navigation, it is quite useful to charge other Nokia phones I use while driving.

Conclusion

I wanted to touch up on various topics here with screenshots for each topic, application and menu; however, I am too lazy. Also, this post would have been called “Three months with Nokia 5230” if I started doing all that. This is why I kept this post short and only wrote about my experiences. I am immensely enjoying this phone – especially connection to my email with Exchange. There are problems like Waze shutting down randomly and battery going down when using GPS but I can live with that for now.

If you want to read more about the phone, look here:

  • Husain

    Any idea how Ovi maps compares with Gmaps?

  • Deepak

    An impressive and honest blog.

  • hey evn i have 5230 but it is restarting without any reason. what to do?

  • sathya

    what is the cost of this mobile?