This review of Nokia 5 was originally published on Team Android.
Nokia 5 from HMD Global has been with us for some time now, read ahead to find out what we think about it. HMD Global, the company eligible to use the Nokia name has come up with an amazing 2017 Android smartphone lineup. The lineup, till now, consists of 4 phones. The budget focused Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6. Whereas, the Nokia 8 competes directly in the flagship race. We previously reviewed the Nokia 3 which you can read here: Nokia 3 Review. In this article, we will be looking at whether the Nokia 5 is a great jump from the Nokia 3 and whether it gives some serious competition to other established manufacturers.
Our Nokia 5 arrived in Tempered Blue color which is a dark blue shade. Personally, this color truly stood out. It works well in all light conditions. Further, the Nokia 5 has a very minimal design which is absolutely good to see. There is an elongated camera module cutout on the back which gives it a unique characteristic for easy identification from other phones. Does the Nokia 5 offer the best value available right now? Let’s see in our detailed break down of the phone below.
Nokia 5: Design and Hardware
The Nokia 5 carries a distinct style. You can notice it easily from afar. This in itself speaks a lot for the Nokia design team. Carrying the same philosophy over to other phones in the lineup, Nokia has setup its own space in this saturated Android smartphone market. Taking a look at the Nokia 5 from the front side, you would see that the phone carries Nokia branding on the top-right. It adds to the whole phone and fits nicely, doesn’t intrude. The phone has rather large chins and bezels but this phone isn’t competing to be the next bezel-less phone. The front is black so it all fades away when you are viewing content on the phone.
There is a fingerprint sensor on the bottom of the display. Apart from Nokia 3, all phones in the 2017 Nokia lineup ship with a fingerprint sensor. Nokia has stuck with the front sensor placement. Also, the fingerprint sensor isn’t a button however you can touch it and long press it to do all the actions as with a home button. The back and recents button flag the sensor in the traditional orientation. Moving to the display, it is a 5.2 inch IPS LCD panel with a 720p resolution. This is one of the more weaker points of the phone. It misses out on a full HD display and on such a large screen, the difference is exaggerated. The colors, however, are quite good. Further upwards, you would see the camera sensor and the mentioned Nokia logo on the right side, parallel to the speaker-piece.
On the backside, you would see the design characters we were talking about. The long camera bump represents Nokia quite well. The camera itself is a 13MP shooter. Apart from that, there is the Nokia logo and nothing else. The color of our unit comes through quite well. Antenna lines have also been hidden. The left side is where you find all your buttons. The volume controls are assigned to a single elongated button and the power button falls beneath it. There is no texture difference for easy identification but you get used to it after few minutes of usage.
Right hand side carries the dual slots. One slot is for your SIM and microSD card whereas the other slot is for your second SIM card. Thankfully, the dual SIM functionality is not sacrificed when you are using a microSD card slot. Top is where you will find the headphone jack and on the bottom, you will see the speaker cutouts and the microUSB connector.
Taking a loot at the all important internal hardware, the phone is powered by the Snapdragon 430 processor. This processor works well for daily usage apps along with handling some heavy duty as well. The performance is snappy thanks to the clean UI. The RAM is limited to 2GB which is somewhat low but, again, the basic UI is very optimized and doesn’t carry bloat so you don’t feel any lag. Further, the storage that the phone ships with is 16GB. Thankfully, there is microSD card support for upto 128GB and as mentioned, the slot is dedicated. We have attached few benchmarks below:
Nokia 5: Camera
Nokia hasn’t established itself in the camera sector nor has it marketed it as a strong suit but fortunately, the main camera on the Nokia 5 is quite adequate. The phone shines in daylight conditions but, as with every camera module, low light is a struggle. The camera itself counts out at 13 MP with a good f/2 aperture. The flash is dual-tone as well. We have attached a few pictures from the camera right below:
The front camera is a 8MP module with, again, a good f/2 aperture. The camera is quite good for video conferencing and calls. Also, the field of view is at 84 degrees giving it a wide frame of shot. Concluding, the camera modules are good enough for the price. Not competing with flagships but on the higher end of budget phone cameras.
Nokia 5: Connectivity, Memory and Battery
The Nokia 5 has support for 4G LTE on both SIMs which is a good plus as regions where the phone will be sold, 4G is becoming more and more popular. Further, most users would use one slot for data services SIM and the other for voice calling and messaging. The memory, as mentioned, is a limited 16GB. In 2017, where videos are being saved continuously, 16GB is quite small. However, to solve the storage problem, Nokia 5 ships with a microSD card slot which reads up-to 128GB cards.
On the battery side of things, the Nokia 5 endures quite well. Providing easy day’s worth of usage. You can squeeze few hours of the next day as well. The capacity is at 3,000mAh which is a good balance for the components the Nokia 5 is using. The 720p display and low powered CPU help the Nokia 5 provide you with some amazing battery life.
Nokia 5: Software
It is a trend with all 2017 HMD Global Nokia phones, the software remains to be the direct selling point. HMD Global has stuck to stock Android and has included the Pixel launcher on all of its phones. The Nokia 5 provides the same experience as a Pixel or Nexus phone from Google running Android Nougat. Nothing major has changed with UI when it was carried over to the Nokia 5. The Camera app is from Nokia as it is optimized for Nokia’s modules.
If Nokia did one thing perfectly, it would be the software. There is no bloat, no skin slowing down the processor and no gimmicky extras, just a pure Android experience. For few, this might be concerning as it doesn’t carry some extra functionality now being provided on most Android phones like multi-window etc. However, I would give those features up for the extra bit of smoothness and efficient battery performance any day of the week.
The bloat is parctically non-existent. All the bundled apps are stock Google ones and they follow the Play Store updates. We have seen manufacturers come out with their own app stores but thankfully, it isn’t the case with the Nokia 5 smartphone.
Here are some key apps that come bundled in with the Nokia 5:
Default bundled Nokia 3 Apps:
- Wallpapers: Nokia has added a Wallpapers app which you can use to get perfect resolution wallpapers for your device. These get updated regularly giving you a wide variety of choices.
- Google Duo: Duo is Google’s video call solution. It is bundled stock with Nokia 3. You can configure it directly with your Google account. It will automatically sync your contacts and allow you to contact them through video call.
- Camera: The camera app is a modified version suited for the Nokia 3. It includes different modes along with HDR capability for even better shots through the lens.
- Google Keep: Google Keep is also pre-installed on the device. Keep is a note taking app which supports sync directly with your Google account. This works best when you have multiple devices or you want to view your notes directly on your computer.