Music to Your Ears
In 2006, the cell phone rage
included more than the telephone-with-little-more style of just five years
earlier. Not only are phones of 2006 full of great looks, they are packed with
musical features to make them more like Walkman's than a way to phone home.
The Nokia N91 has everything except the kitchen sink, much more than most users
would ever need. Nokia answered the call of the casual user that wanted
integrated music features without being able to beam satalites in space when
they introduced the 5300 Xpress Music phone.
When you first set your eyes upon the Nokia 5300, you won't necessarily say
"WOW!" The outer design is a little more boxy and bulky than the average
top-of-the-line mobile phone. The 5300 measures 3.6 by 1.9 by 0.8 inches thick,
but it is lighter than it looks, weighing in at just over 3.5 ounces.
While the closed device is not terribly remarkable, try to open up the little
gem and you'll find it's not the clamshell design of last year. This is a slider
phone, one of the first put out by Nokia, though you wouldn't know it when you
feel the ease of the slide. You won't get that baby-in-your-hand cradle feel of
the clamshell but that's the nature of a slider phone.
The display is a full 2 inches and supports over 250K colors. Graphics and texts
pop off the 320 x 240 pixel screen. You can adjust the font size and backlight
time, though you can't adjust the brightness. Not to worry, the screen is plenty
bright in the dark and shaded areas outside. Nokia took advantage of the color
perfection with their eye catching, but not gaudy, menus.
Speaking of menus, Nokia really got it right on this phone. They provided clear,
concise descriptions of new applications users of yesteryear aren't familiar
with when you place the cursor over the menu icon.
The navigation controls are covered in a rubber film that provides some traction
for fingertips. There is a five-way button that makes navigating the menus a
breeze in addition to providing a shortcut to any four functions you program.
Additional shortcuts are available on the standby screen, too. The two familiar
soft keys are programmable and the standard Talk and End buttons are in the same
place as other Nokia phones.
Looks aren't everything, however, and at some point you'll probably do much more
than stare at your new mobile phone. This is where this cell really shines. To
the left of the display are dedicated music buttons for playing your favorite
tunes. You'll pause, play, fast-forward and rewind your tracks effortlessly.
Adjust the volume with the dedicated rocker on the right side of the phone.
The music player is far superior to other mid-range priced devices. The stereo
Bluetooth makes for easy music file transfer from computer to phone. The
speakers are much better than other Nokia models and most other music phones.
Support for MP3, AAC, AAC+, and WMA files are all included.
While you're playing music tracks, the display will present to you the name of
the song, artist, album and song length. It will additionally show you how to
use the musical navigation buttons that are along the side of the screen. Play
modes include shuffle and repeat. If you like to personalize your listening
experience, you'll love the Nokia 5300. The equalizer has five preset modes and
two that are customizable. You can effortlessly save your tracks to ringtones as
Sound quality is second to none. The speakers will please you at any volume
level. The headphone volume is just as clear and crisp as your home stereo.
More than a phone and a music device, the 5300 has a lot of additional
applications to offer. The phone book is large capacity, allowing for up to one
thousand contacts, complete with information like email addresses, web URLs, up
to five numbers each, birth date, company, job title, notes and address. The SIM
card is capable of storing an additional 250 contacts. Organize contacts by
groups or add a photo to the caller ID so you can keep everyone straight. You
can also assign a ringtone to each and every contact or a group.
The text and multimedia messaging features meet and exceed the expectations of
most users. With T9 data recognition, this Nokia will complete your words for
you. Other integrated standard features included in this phone are the timer,
alarm clock, calendar, to-do list, notepad and calculator.
If you need even more space for music, photos or contacts, the SD card will
expand your storage by 2 GB. Nokia didn't consider that some users would be
swapping SD cards, apparently, because it's located beneath the battery. If you
don't take your cards in and out often, you won't find this to be problematic.
If you are change cards often, though, you might want to keep a thin screwdriver
I can't tell you about the Nokia 5300 without spending a few words on the
Bluetooth feature. The infrared port is convienantly located on the side of the
phone, making synching simple. Check and send email, surf the net and download
tunes whenever you like.
Snapping pictures with the camera feature won't leave you disappointed. The 1.3
megapixels will capture shots in one of six resolutions. Ranging from 1290 x 960
to 160 x 120, you'll find the jpg pictures will be crisp and colorful. There are
three camera modes, color effects, the ability to add notes to the pictures, a
10-second timer, sequence shooting for taking three pictures in rapid-fire, an
8x digital zoom and the ability to adjust contrast. You can't adjust the
brightness and there is no flash but those are the only real places this camera
comes up short.
Shoot video in 3GPP in one of two resolutions – 176 x 144 or 129 x 96. The
quality is nothing worth writing home about but is pretty standard for a 1.3
With the price tag hovering around $300 when it was released in early 2006, this
phone is music to your ears without blowing out your wallet.