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Nokia 5310 (2020) Feature Phone Review: Strictly For Nokia Fans
Feature phones in the age of smartphones might sound awkward to most of us but you will be surprised to hear that feature phones user base is still higher than the smartphones user base in India. As per reports, India has over 500 million smartphone users at present, whereas 550 million Indians still use feature phones.
- Long-Lasting Battery
- Dual-SIM Card Support
- Bluetooth Support
- Loud And Clear Dual-Speakers
- FM Radio (Wired & Wireless)
- Physical Music Controls
- Disappointing VGA Camera
- Low Pixel Density Screen
- No 4G Support
- Better Alternatives At Similar Price
Despite a steep 24% decline in the feature phone demand in the last two quarters, there's a huge user base that's still dependent on low-cost non-smart handsets for daily use. Leading brands like Samsung, Lava, Micromax, Nokia, etc. cater to feature phone users in India. Samsung is leading the feature phone market in India with 22% market share. The second and third spot is reserved by itel and Lava respectively with 16% market share each.
Nokia, one of the major feature phone makers in India has registered positive annual growth. The company recently announced the 2020 version of the Nokia 5310 feature phone. The dual-SIM (Mini) Nokia 5310 features a 2.4-inch QVGA (240x320 pixels) display, offers support for microSD card (up to 32GB) and has a claimed battery life of 20-days on one full charge. Who is it for and how it performs? Let's find out.
Design- Nostalgia! Yes, But fails To Match Classic Nolia 5310 Design Standards
Nokia hasn't officially advertized the new 5310 as the successor of the iconic 5310 XpressMusic but the name says otherwise. The new phone also has the side-mounted music controls suggesting that it has been designed by keeping in mind the interests of music lovers and also to bring back the nostalgia of good old Nokia days. That said, it was quite natural to compare the new 5310 to the original XpressMusic and when I did that, I was just disappointed.
The renewed Nokia 5310 miserably fails to match the gold design standards of the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic that was introduced in 2006. It surely resembles the old device but lacks the essence of the original phone.. The original Nokia 5310 XpressMusic was the thinnest Nokia feature phone at that time. It was also one of the best looking feature phones of the feature phone era. The renewed Nokia 5310 is just a good looking feature phone that tries to mimic the classic design with the dual-tone color scheme, physical music controls and the NOKIA branding.
Plastic Body, T9 Keypad, microUSB Charging Port
Comparisons aside, the renewed 5310 works just fine as a feature phone. It is made out of good quality plastic and comes in dual-colour variants- Red and Black and White and Red. The latter looks really good and aesthetically very clean. The phone has a matte finish coating and it feels extremely lightweight in hands. It measures 123.7x52.4x13.1mm and weighs 88.2 grams. The clean numeric keypad (T9) offers a great response.
The five-way navigation button makes it easy to navigate throughout the UI with just a few clicks. The keypad and the entire feature phone user-experience makes the Nokia 5310 a great phone for elders at home and for anyone who still hasn't been adapted to the smartphone ecosystem. The microUSB charging port and the 3.5mm audio jack is placed at the top. The removable rear panel has Nokia branding and a VGA camera with LED flashlight.
2.4” QVGA Display With 167 PPI Serves Well For Feature Phone Tasks
The renewed Nokia 5310 features a 2.4-inch QVGA display that gets fairly bright to offer a comfortable viewing experience both indoors and in outdoor light. The screen serves well for reading text, accessing basic functions and even scrolling through the Facebook timeline. In short, it's a good display for all feature phone tasks.
It is worth mentioning that you can easily make out the individual pixels in icons and images, thanks to the low pixel density of 167 PPI. In comparison, the original Nokia 5310 XpressMusic offered a smaller but crisper QVGA display with 190 PPI.
Software Interface And Hardware
The Nokia 5310 runs on the familiar feature phone OS- Nokia Series 30+ which requires a very basic level of hardware. The phone is powered by MT62060A chipset and has 8MB RAM. There's 16MP internal memory which can be expanded to up to 32GB via microSD card. The Reliance Jio 4G feature phones offer far better hardware than the Nokia 5310.
Nevertheless, I did not face any performance-related issues with the Nokia 5310 during my review duration. I am using the Nokia 5310 with a 16GB microSD card and the phone does not lag while opening apps and loading the music player with about 10GB of audio files.
Gaming On Nokia 5310 (2020)
The subhead is not misleading because you can play games on this feature phone. There are a couple of good pre-loaded titles such as Assassin's Creed Unity, Asphalt 6, Doodle Jump and the good old Snake game in its modern avatar. The gameplay is lag-free and will give you a trip down the memory lane if you are using the Nokia 5310 as a secondary device. You must purchase the full version of the Assassin's Creed as it's really an engaging feature phone game and runs wonderfully on the tiny QVGA display.
Dedicated Music Controls, Audio Performance And FM Player
The renewed Nokia 5310 is a feature phone for users who love streaming music. The phone has dedicated music buttons on either side of the display to let you control the volume and to control the audio playback functions. The phone has a 3.5mm audio jack which means you can use any standard 3.5mm headphones to listen to your favorite tracks. Moreover, you can also pair wireless headphones as the feature phone offers Bluetooth 3.0 support; however, the experience will not be very good.
I paired the Oppo's latest true wireless earphones with the feature phone to stream audio and experienced an intermittent connection where audio kept stopping. But it doesn't come as a surprise so I don't have any complaints in the wireless audio streaming department. The audio player also offers an equalizer with eight presets. The physical buttons come handy in controlling the music playback and volume levels.
Importantly, the Nokia 5310 also has wireless FM radio support. It might not be a big feature for millennials but comes as a saviour for the targeted user base. As far as the sound quality is concerned, the dual speakers at front generate loud and clear audio. To my surprise, the audio produced is louder and cleaner than some of the best selling mid-range smartphones in 2020. I had a good time streaming music on the Nokia 5310. It is a tiny music player with a SIM card for calling functionality.
Barely Usable VGA Camera
A VGA camera in the year 2020 is a sheer disappointment even on a feature phone. The targeted audience of this device is also fond of clicking pictures and Nokia should have at least provided a bigger camera sensor on the renewed Nokia 5310. The VGA camera is mostly a showpiece and captures barely usable pictures. You will hardly ever use images captured on the Nokia 5310 (2020). Above is a collage of all the pictures I clicked on the Nokia 5310.
Battery Life, SIM-Card Support And Connectivity
I mostly used the Nokia 5310 (2020) as a music player and to browse the internet on the tiny QVGA screen because why not. I also made a couple of calls daily to evaluate the call quality and as expected, the voice clarity is excellent. There were no connection drops on the Airtel network in Delhi NCR while using the new Nokia 5310.
As far as battery life is concerned, this feature phone can easily last for 5 to 6 days on one full charge depending upon your usage. And I am pretty sure that the removable 1,200mAh battery will last for up to 20 days on standby mode. The typical BL-series (BL-4UL 3.7V) battery has limited cycles.
The Nokia 5310 (2020) is a 2G phone and the market offers 4G feature phones at lower price-point. The Reliance Jio 4G feature phone at half the price offers a 2,000mAh battery, 2MP camera, 512MB RAM and 4GB external storage with an expandable memory of up to 128 GB. It even offers a 0.3MP selfie camera. It kills the Nokia 5310 (2020) with its on-paper specifications. You can also check out the new Jio Phone 2. Priced at Rs. 2,999, the 4G feature phone offers a QWERTY keypad and is loaded with amazing features.
The Nokia 5310 (2020) is a modern feature phone with some big compromises. The design could have been more premium and the camera could have been a lot better at an asking price of Rs. 3,399. The company could have also provided a better screen for consumers as the original Nokia 5310 had a better overall display back in 2006.
On the good side, the battery lasts really long and the phone also works wonderfully as an affordable music player. The excellent call quality is another highlight feature of the new Nokia 5310. It's a great phone for elder people who are still in love with the Nokia brand. But for consumers who are solely relying on the feature phone ecosystem, the Indian feature market has far better options than the Nokia 5310 (2020).