Nokia 5800 review

Barry de la Rosa
20 Mar 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
per month, 18-month contract



Symbian Series 60 5th Edition, 3.2in 640x320 display

Whenever a new touch-screen phone comes along, a comparison is made with Apple's excellent iPhone.

Nokia's 5800 is nowhere near as pretty, though. It's brick-shaped, with the sides and bottom slightly tapered towards the rear. The front has a rim around the edge that protects the screen if you place it face-down, and the rear, where the camera lens is located, has a subtle pin-stripe design. It won't win any design awards, but it fits snugly in the hand. More importantly, it's thinner and lighter than recent Nokia smartphones, such as the N96.

The touch screen has problems, and certainly doesn't come up to the iPhone's standard. The Symbian operating system isn't fully optimised for touch input, as shown by various text entry boxes that assume you have a keypad. Input requires more brute force compared with the iPhone's feathery sensitivity, and the software QWERTY keyboard is prone to miss-hits. When a stylus is included with a phone, as with the 5800, it immediately calls into question the interface's suitability for touch-sensitive control.

There's haptic feedback in the form of a light buzz when you press a button, and there's also an accelerometer, which changes the orientation of the display from portrait to landscape depending on how you hold the phone. Apart from the screen, the only controls are the three buttons underneath it: a volume rocker, camera button and screen lock switch. The latter is great as it essentially puts the phone to sleep, but the downside is that Nokia hasn't implemented a screensaver - not even a simple clock.

The 5800 has all the features you've come to expect from a modern smartphone: 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, email, web browsing, FM radio and a 3.2-megapixel camera. It also has features you won't find on rival phones, such as a dedicated BBC iPlayer application, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack (via Nokia's remote control) and connection to Nokia's excellent music service. Unlike the N96 phone, our review sample had no support for iPlayer programme downloads, which are great for watching on the move, although this feature may be added later via a firmware update.

The 3.2in screen may not be as large as the iPhone's but it has a higher resolution at 320x640 pixels. The detailed display makes watching video content a pleasure. A MicroSD card slot is provided for storage, and an 8GB card is supplied.

The 5800 is a decent multimedia phone that also handles web browsing and email. Considering its low price, the 5800 is excellent value. The touch screen makes it frustrating to use for writing documents or emails, but in all other respects it's pretty good. It's not as slick as the iPhone, but it's a better choice for watching video on the move.




Main display size3.2in
Native resolution640x320
Second DisplayNo
CCD effective megapixels3.2-megapixel
Video recording formatMP4, 3GP
ConnectivityBluetooth, WiFi
Internal memory81MB
Memory card supportmicroSD
Memory card included8192MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless dataHSDPA


Operating systemSymbian Series 60 5th Edition
Microsoft Office compatibilityWord/Excel/PowerPoint viewers
Email clientPOP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format supportMP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA
Video playback formatsMP4, 3GP, H.264, Flash, H.263, Real Player
FM Radioyes
Web BrowserNokia Web Browser
Accessoriesheadset, remote control, pouch, strap, data cable, AV cable, extra stylus, stand
Talk time8.8 hours
Standby time16.9 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback)18h 45m

Buying Information

SIM-free price£250
Price on contract0

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