Nokia 5800 "Tube" First Impressions

Posted by Minnaar Pieters 27 May 2009
Well I received the 5800 yesterday morning. First off, I should make clear that I have been pretty spoiled when it comes to phones in the last few months – I have been using an iPhone, and despite its shortcomings it is a revolutionary device.

Out of box experience of the 5800 is similar to any Nokia device – there is decent documentation, nice earphones, and of course the phone. A rubberized sleeve bag is included with the phone which is very nice. It protects the phone well enough and I doubt too many people will replace it. Have to say I appreciate that Nokia is starting to supply cases with some of its phones (Are you listening, Apple?).

On first impression you realize how light the phone is compared to other smartphones. This is perhaps attributed to its very plasticky build, but it seems solid enough. The screen is a traditional plastic one, not glass. While this is fine, I would like to know how this screen lasts againsts scratches. Maybe long time users of the phone can maybe give some feedback? The phone feels a little fat in your hand, but not overly so. It should be noted that the phone is quite small in hand, and actually a bit more comfortable in your hand than the iPhone.

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

The rear of the device is rubberized, which I like, but again, how will it stand over time? The dark red details around the casing is also classy. The top of the device houses the power button, earphone adaptor, charging port and mini USB port. However, it is not a standard mini-USB, but rather micro-USB (thanks @perelson), which is the supposed new standard for mobile phone, but only time will tell. I don’t like using the phone while the power is plugged into the top of the device however. Also, the device is supplied with a rather oversized charger, something the E-series Nokias have left behind a while ago.

Unlike the iPhone, the 5800 has dedicated keys for phone operation. The funny part however, is that it is really not necessary. At the end of the day I kept using the red button as simple way to get to the home screen. But I guess some people might want it. My biggest compliment that I have is that I really appreciate the haptic feedback which give a slight buzz every time you click a button on screen. Excellent!

Overall I think it is nice enough, but it definitely does not beam quality like the Nokia E-Series and iPhone. The plastic build is not quite up to scruff. But lets not write it off quite yet. I will spend the next two weeks with the phone as my primary phone, so I will be able to give an accurate report on what features are appreciated and which ones not.

Here’s hoping I don’t miss my iPhone too much, and I hope the Nokia will suprise me...

PS: After spending my second day with the device I realised that constantly comparing it to the iPhone is going to frustrate me terribly. It is clearly a different class of device - it is much cheaper, and caters for a different market in my opinion. So in the next parts of my review I will move away from the iPhone referrals. (Might also make me sound less like a rabbid Apple fanboy, which I am honestly NOT.)

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I am a R&D Analyst in Stellenbosch South Africa who has a immense passion for all things tech related. I embrace technology, open source and web standards, and I participate and contribute to the social web.