Music and mobile phones go together like, well, like salt and pepper actually. There are good reasons why you’d want to keep them well away from each other, but somehow they are pulled close by forces seemingly beyond human control.
I say this because I’ve seen lots of mobiles that purport to play music at you, but none that have done the job as well as a standalone portable music player. The Nokia 5300 Xpress Music does not, I am afraid, change my view.
It does have some very good points. As a phone it is small and neat. The slider format helps it stay a pocket-friendly 92mm tall, 48.2mm wide and 20mm thick when the number pad is hidden, and it weighs just 106g.
It has a good screen which offers 320 x 240 pixels of bright, clear information, and it runs Symbian S60 and so comes with a full suite of Smartphone applications as well as software for connecting to and synchronising with your PC, and a cable if you don’t want to make the connection required via Bluetooth.
It is Tri-band and it sports a camera, though this is limited to a maximum image resolution of 1.3-megapixels, which is a bit below par these days. And there is an FM radio too. The plastic casing feels a little flimsy in the hand, but the two-tone red and white design of the review sample was rather pleasing.
But what about its capabilities as a music player? Here you have to evaluate criteria like ease of use, battery life and storage capacity.
Battery life was actually pretty good. From a full charge and forcing the screen to stay on I got eight full hours of music. Providing you don’t need to have headphones glued to your ears every waking hour, it should get you through the day.
Storage capacity is less impressive. There is a mere 5MB of storage built in, and a 256MB microSD card to augment this. You will need to spend more money on a card with greater capacity if you are a serious about mobile music.
Ease of use. I like the music control software and find it easy enough to get on with, so no problems there. I also rather like the buttons on the left side of the phone for play control when the music player isn’t on screen. Playback stops when a call comes in, but then doesn’t resume automatically. You have to restart a tune manually, and it picks up where it left off.
A 3.5mm headset connector is a must and sad to say the connector on this handset is 2.5mm to the provided headset, with a rather unwieldy converter provided in case you want to use your own headphones. I found this did improve music quality somewhat, as did playing around with the internal equaliser, which has two user-defined settings as well as its own pre-sets.
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