Looking back, the touchscreen device which took the markets world-over by storm is the Apple iPhone. This dainty device was followed by a plethora of touch-enabled mobile phones which were attached to outrageous price tags. However, in recent times, several manufacturers have introduced the touch-enabled feature to the masses at an affordable price. Nokia also puts its best foot forward to deal with the competition by making available touchscreen handsets at a pocket-friendly price. The recent offerings, the Nokia 5230 and 5233 have cut down on a few specs to bring in the touch feature. The 5230 emerged as one of the low priced touch phones that came minus several functions and the 5233 claims to be Nokia’s cheapest touch phone as it further bids goodbye to GPS and 3G. The Nokia 5233 now hops onto our desks housed in a bright package, and here’s a detailed review as we unfold the device to know what it holds within.
As we unboxed the device, a black unit with a slightly extruding grey border settled in our palms. We don’t say that the device is sleek but it managed to slip into our pocket. The front part of the device is dominated by the screen, occupying about 3.2-inches with a 16:9 widescreen display. Above the screen, Nokia has integrated display light sensor and proximity sensor while it has extended the touch feature to a shortcut that let us access a few commonly used functions. On the other hand, below the screen are three horizontally elongated buttons to answer calls, reach the Menu and end calls. Besides, the right edge adorns a dedicated camera button, a switch to lock/unlock the phone and volume control while the left edge has been embedded with slots for the memory card and the SIM. The memory card slot can support up to 16GB.
Well, the SIM slot placed on the edge seems to add convenience to the users. However, the User Guide points out that it is recommended to slip off the battery before inserting or detaching the SIM. Absurdly, while detaching the SIM, one has to use the stylus to slide out the SIM through a small gap visible only on removing the battery. In addition, the phone does not recognize the SIM if the phone is already switched on while inserting the card. Quite a task, we say. The easily removable backflap of the 5233 houses the stylus on its left side while the integrated 2MP camera is evident on the upper backside.
The 5233 sports a fairly decent design but the overall built quality seems disappointing. The grey border looks unsteady and easily breakable/removable, while the plastic quality is mediocre (including the stylus). Seemingly, the device looks as though it has been crafted out of cheap plastic. On the other hand, the three elongated main buttons on the front side are slightly uncomfortable and not much responsive either. The lower edge does not carry any port or switch while the upper edge is crowded with a USB port, a 3.5mm jack, a charging port and the main power switch. Nokia has integrated the microUSB port but plainly decides not to ship a USB cord. Moreover, the phone cannot be charged using the microUSB port and the budget probably didn’t allow them to pack in a microSD card as well.
The UI seemed quite neat and the device shows off a one-page Menu with essential icons, Calendar, Contacts, Log, Internet, Messaging, Gallery, Calculator, Music, Maps, Settings, Help and Applications. Running on Symbian S60 fifth Edition OS, the 5233 let us install Java apps, games and fairly multitask as well. On prolonged pressing of the integrated Menu button, all applications running in the background will be display. Thus, one can easily multitask and switch between apps, almost like a smartphone. Well, another factor that we expected to bring in some change is the 434MHz ARM 11 processor. However, the device’s speed seemed just moderate.
The 3.2-inch display packs in 360 x 640 pixel resolution, 16M TFT LCD display. The resistive type screen offered average touch response while the display quality was decent. But while watching a few YouTube videos, we weren’t pleased with the display performance. Otherwise, the viewing experience was better while surfing the Web. Talking about Internet, it did take considerable amount of time to load pages. Without the support for Wi-Fi or 3G, this is something expected. Moreover, the screen is considerably small and viewing huge pages gets difficult due to the small font size. With a high resolution offered, Nokia could have integrated a bigger screen. However, this could have possibly increased the price. But on comparing with the Corby touchscreen phone at a similar price range, the 5233 does a much better job.
Typing messages and emails was comfortable as well. The phone provides alphanumeric keypad, QWERTY keypad as well as handwriting recognition. We used the stylus for most of the typing. Those who love to take those quick snapshots of fun-filled moments from their phone will be disappointed as this device has a mediocre 2MP camera minus flash and auto-focus. The image quality is mediocre. The camera further loses its capability with low light conditions. However, it does pack in some features like Scene modes, allows geo-tagging and enables tweaking the sharpness, contrast, Sharpness and more. The video recording isn’t impressive either.
The 5233 offers decent music quality, one can use the earphones provided while the integrated 3.5mm jack enables to plug-in other compatible headphones. The loudspeaker also offers decent music experience but it’s much better with the earphones. Another aspect is its built-in FM that supports RDS which does its job quite well. With a single charge, the battery life enabled us to use the device for a day and half with average usage. The phone bundles just one game played using the built-in accelerometer, Rollercoaster Revolution, which is engaging to some extent.
Evidently, Nokia has tried to slip in this phone under a constraint budget whist delivering a touchscreen experience to users. Several features have been omitted to offer a touch enabled phone with a reasonable price tag. However, several phones have appeared on similar lines in the past few months, said that, the Nokia 5233 is worth the deal for those looking to grab a touch device and ready to compromise on a few essentials.
In its awe to bring an affordable touchscreen phone, Nokia has dropped several features. As aforesaid, in the likes of similar phones, the Nokia 5233 could make a good option. It has managed to gain a rating of 7 on 10 from us and is available in India for Rs. 7800.