The anti-iPhone

Ever since it was announced back in April, I’ve wanted to try the Nokia C5 and thanks to Nokia’s PR people in Dubai I now have.

By Magnus Nystedt

Published: Sat 2 Oct 2010, 9:08 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:52 AM

You can get Nokia C5 in the local market for about Dh660. It’s certainly not the cheapest Nokia phone but for the functionality you get it represents very good value.

It’s a candybar phone, meaning it has a display covering the upper part of the front and a physical keypad covering the rest. This is a format we’ve come to know over the years and although I really like the prevailing all-touchscreen form factor that seems so common right now, the candybar represents a true and tested model.

There’s 3G data connection but no Wi-Fi which for most users is not much of an issue. Connection speed on du has been very good as has voice call quality. In fact I’ve been able to get voice calls with the C5 in locations where my iPhone 3GS usually struggles and the quality of the calls is also generally superior on the C5.

The camera is very basic at 3.15 megapixel and fixed-focus lens. Video is also not something to brag about with 640x480 at 15 fps. Basically, photos and video are good enough in a pinch but don’t expect miracles. And don’t expect to enjoy them on the C5. The display is 2.2-inch with 320x240 pixels. Unfortunately visibility outside in the sunshine is really poor.

In terms of the typical smartphone functionality like email, web, chat, Facebook, Twitter etc. you can do all of that on the C5 and install apps for what’s not built in. Not having a full keyboard is limiting for sure but you can work with it.

Installing apps from the Ovi Store is a cinch but don’t expect to install that many on the built-on 50MB memory. For your data, thankfully there’s a MicroSD card slot, which takes up to a 16GB card. In contrast to Apple, Nokia also has music and more in their Middle Eastern stores so it’ll be easy for you to fill up your C5 with media.

The killer feature is the free Ovi Maps, which comes with more up-to-date maps than you’ll find on an iPhone and it works very smoothly even on this relatively low-powered device.

I’ve really not had any problems with the C5 so far other than secure web pages don’t seem to load (the ones with “https” first). I’m sure there’s something that I’m doing wrong there though and it’s probably not the C5’s fault.

Build quality is as you would expect. The C5 is made out of plastic and you get the usual creaking sound when you press and bend it. Worst is the flimsy aluminum back cover though, which should clearly be redesigned.

Battery life is great and has really made me appreciate the C5. I don’t think you should expect to reach Nokia’s numbers, especially not if you do connect to the Internet a lot, but you can safely assume you can do days in between charging. That’s certainly one of the main attractions of the C5 as is the small format and light weight. That you can do most of your smartphone tasks on this small device at a fraction of the cost of a typical smartphone is icing on the cake.

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