Nokia 5800 Long Term Review

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic is a smartphone and portable entertainment device by Nokia. It was introduced on October 2, 2008 and released on November 27, 2008. Code-named “Tube”, it is the first touchscreen-equipped S60 device by Nokia. The version being s60v5. It’s part of the XpressMusic series of phones, which emphasizes music and multimedia playback. The touchscreen features tactile feedback. (Wikipedia)

I’ve had a Nokia 5800 for almost a year now. I was really excited when I bought this phone last year. My first touchscreen smartphone! It took some getting used to, having mostly been a Nokia S40 user. It didn’t take long, and in fact now I try to press the screen when I use older phones!

The phone itself does all the usual things and frankly, there are many in-depth reviews out there. Here are a few:

I love this phone. It’s the best phone I’ve ever owned. It’s not perfect by any means but the pros outweigh the cons!

  1. I love the on-screen keyboard for entering texts. It will switch from portait to landscape mode when you turn the phone on it’s side. When I first bought the phone I could use predictive text in both portrait and landscape mode but the latest firmware upgrade changed that. In landscape mode I can’t use predictive text now. That sucks.
  2. The GPS works reasonably well though. Using Windows or Mac OS X software you can download maps for your area to the phone. Unfortunately the GPS chip in the phone is Assisted GPS. It makes a network connection almost every time it needs to find it’s location. I actually bought a data add-on simply because the phone seemed to “leak” data for no apparent reason but it was probably because I had loaded Nokia Maps.
  3. Nokia recently made their navigation system free of charge and it works, sometimes well, sometimes not. Unfortunately it sends us driving in round about ways on occasion. Our journey may be directly down a road but the map told us to cross the river, drive for a bit and then drive across a bridge further up!
  4. The camera is decent enough. It has a flash too. There’s a plastic cover over the lens on the back and unfortunately it cracked. I bought a cheap cover on Amazon but now the light leaks from the flash so I usually disable it when I can.
  5. Reception is very good. Phone calls don’t drop very often, and texts go through all the time. Data calls drop occasionally, and will drop back to Edge if required. No “grip of death”! (har har, bet you’re all sick of that now aren’t you?)
  6. My favourite apps would have to be Gravity, a Twitter application, and Opera Mini for browsing. Opera Mini loads the mobile version of Gmail and Google Reader quickly and display them with little lag. There’s also the free Youtube app which is excellent but I prefer to use a computer for watching videos. I also have numerous free apps and games installed, almost all from the Ovi store.
  7. The Ovi store is Nokia’s application store. It’s basic, but it’s quite good. You can search for apps, and sort and display by different criteria. Only want free apps? There ya go! Installing is a sinch, but it would be nice if they made reviews more accessible. You have to click through to them.
  8. Battery life is pretty good too. If you’re browsing the net and making phone calls it’ll last well over a day but add GPS and suddenly battery life drops like a bomb. If it has to hunt for a signal that hurts too unfortunately.

So, there it is. The Nokia 5800 is an excellent phone. It’s not perfect but I can heartily recommend it.

My next phone? I already bought it. It’s the Samsung Galaxy S, an Android powered smartphone. While the 5800 is an excellent phone it’s showing it’s age. Using the new phone is like moving from Windows 3.11 on a 486 to Windows 95 on a Pentium. Hmm, time to update my analogies?

Author: Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Google+ and Twitter.

6 thoughts on “Nokia 5800 Long Term Review”

  1. “Using the new phone is like moving from Windows 3.11 on a 486 to Windows 95 on a Pentium.”

    oh yeah. i`m sure you`ll enjoy your new galaxy s droid-powered cellphone 😉

  2. Very nice. Congrats on not selling your soul to Steve! 😉

    Have been looking at the Galaxy S and HTC Desire but can’t decide which one to get so might hold off for another bit to see what is coming out before Christmas. Dell Streak, Desire HD, something else? I’m hoping to get an android phone running vanilla android or one which is easy to root and install vanilla android. I don’t like manufacturer installed crapware, labelled as UI, on phones the same way I don’t like manufacturer installed crapware on computers.

    1. Well, the price of the Galaxy was right. It was only 106 Euro, 29.99 Euro a month (4.99 for 250MB data) for 12 months. Knock 5 Euro a month off and it’s an 18 month contract.

  3. @Donncha, it is a great phone. I actually owned it successor (Navigation Version) for a while before sending it back for the N900. I love my N900 but I do want to add the Navigation one to my collection. IMHO, Nokia makes some of the best smart phones out there for people who are not Apple fans.

  4. He he, exactly as I moved from Nokia 5800 to Samsung Galaxy S. Used 5800 for nearly a year (but been in the Nokia family for over 6 years before) and only last week I purchased Galaxy S.
    After getting used with Galaxy S’s amazing touch screen for a week, if I now use 5800 (I gave this to my dad, 🙂 ) it seems like I’ve to hit hard to select an option 😀
    But, one thing I dreadfully miss is the Navigation. God knows when Google will introduce Navigation in India. And the GPS catching itself was WAY better in 5800 (I’m on Eclair).
    Not to mention, the PC Suite and the Ovi suite softwares which are light year ahead of Samsung Kies which doesn’t Sync anything, terrible.

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