Nokia… just a mention of the name brings up a sea of emotions. It was perhaps the first phone you ever owned and without a doubt, the durability of its offerings are the stuff of legends. Over the years, the brand outed many phones, but like all things that don’t change with time, the company went into oblivion. But we won’t bore you with history, because the brand is now making a comeback. Granted – it’s not the same Nokia we knew and loved, but HMD Global, “the home of Nokia phones” promises to uphold what the Nokia name has always been known for.
At its pre-MWC event in Barcelona, the company unveiled a slew of offerings right from the affordable Nokia 3 to the global variant of its debut smartphone, the Nokia 6 (first impressions). The brand is also playing up the nostalgia factor with the launch of the iconic Nokia 3310 feature phone (first impressions). We got a chance to play with the Nokia 5, a mid-ranger (both in terms of price and its positioning) in the Android-based trio of devices launched by the company, and here’s what we thought.
The Nokia 5 borrows a lot of design elements from its elder sibling, the Nokia 6. It’s a unibody smartphone built with a single slab of series 6000 aluminium. This lends it a solid and sturdy build that scores full marks in terms of style too. The button and port placement is also the same – power toggle and volume buttons on the right, an ejectable SIM tray towards the left, a 3.5mm audio socket at the top and a micro-USB port at the bottom. Interestingly enough, the Nokia 5 has a dedicated dual-SIM slot (supports FDD and TDD bands in 4G) along with an expansion slot, unlike the hybrid secondary slot on the Nokia 6.
The home button at the front also doubles up as a fingerprint reader, and is sandwiched between capacitive buttons on either side.
Unfortunately with the use of metal body, the phone is quite slippery. At the rear, you’ll find a vertical protruding strip holding the primary camera and an LED flash unit along with the Nokia branding. The phone is available in multiple colour options like blue, black, silver and copper. The Nokia 5 is also the world’s first smartphone with antenna at the top and the bottom of the smartphone – ensuring that the uniform look isn’t spoiled.
The Nokia 5 is built around a 5.2-inch screen in contrast to the phablet-grade 5.5-inch panel on the Nokia 6 – making it an ideal device for those who want one-hand usage. The resolution has also reduced to 1,280 x 720 pixels, which translates to pixel density of 282ppi. While the sharpness and colour reproduction of the IPS display seemed fine, it was quite reflective. Thanks to the polarising layer, it offers sunlight legibility. It also features sculpted 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass for added effect.
The similarities with the Nokia 6 continue in the hardware section as well, as the Nokia 5 also draws power from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset, which offers eight cores humming at 1.4GHz. The RAM capacity however is 2GB. The combination should be fine for usual tasks and casual games, but it might not be able to bear the load of heavy titles such as Ashpalt 8 or multiple apps running in the background. The 16GB flash memory can be expanded further up to 128GB with the use of a microSD card.
The Nokia 5 comes with the latest iteration of Android 7.1.1 Nougat in a pure avatar. There’s no bloatware at all, and you can also enjoy Google’s AI in the form of the Assistant by simply saying Okay Google or long-pressing the home button. In fact, Nokia is promising that the pure and timely software updates as one of the biggest selling points for its devices.
Just like the Nokia 6, the Nokia 5 also gets a 3,000mAh battery, which should be able to give it a day’s worth of backup.
The differences between the Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 also arise in the camera department. The Nokia 6 sports a 13-megapixel sensor at the back, which is supplemented by a dual-LED flash. It also comes with PDAF technology allowing you to quickly lock focus on the subject. For selfies, it gets an 8MP snapper with a wide-angle lens.
Going by specs alone, the Nokia 5 doesn’t seem impressive by any extent. More notably, it’s priced in the hyper-competitive mid-tier segment with a price tag of €189, roughly Rs 13,000. However, the brand name, rock-solid build and pure iteration of Android certainly make it worthy of a second look. We expect HMD to launch the entire portfolio of Nokia phones in India sometime in Q2 this year. What are your thoughts about the Nokia 5, and other phones unveiled by the brand today? Let us know in the comments below.
Photos by Ketaki Bhojnagarwala