It hardly needs saying that music playing is one of the chief selling points of any XpressMusic handset. The dedicated music player controls running down the side of the display (play/pause, forward and rewind) make the point, although in practice these are not strictly necessary to operate the tune player, as the D-pad can do similar duties (unless it's playing in the background).
Nokia hasn't radically altered the user interface from the standard S60 player template. The UI is a straightforward one, with none of the slick or snazzy graphical touches that the new generation of touchscreen devices, including the iPhone and other Android smartphones, employ.
It has a simple list of tune-playing library categories – artists, albums, playlists, all songs, podcasts, genres and composers – into which any new tunes you sideload or download to the phone are automatically filed.
The phone supports MP3, AAC, AAC+ eAAC+ and WMA file formats, which can be transferred over from a PC using the supplied USB cable with Nokia Music Software or by syncing with Windows Media Player. Alternatively, users can simply drag and drop tracks in mass storage mode, or receive files via Bluetooth.
With its 100MB of user memory boosted by an in-box 8GB memory card, you can get plenty of tunes onto the handset. Nokia provides a link to Nokia Music Store, its own paid-for music download service should that take your fancy, though you can also investigate other download and streaming options from your network or elsewhere.
The music player control interface doesn't break much new ground; it's also typical Nokia S60 – nothing too fancy, with cover art supported, and various shuffle and equaliser and stereo widening settings within the options menus.
What it sounds like should always make or break a music device, and the Nokia 5730 XpressMusic puts in a chart-topping audio performance. It comes with a 3.5mm headphone socket in the top, so you can upgrade easily to your own preferred headphones.
But it also supplies an impressive set of in-ear 'phones, boxed with a set of additional silicon earbuds to get the right fit.
Sound quality is terrific for a mobile phone, with a tremendous depth to the soundscape, great balance across the range of frequencies and thumping bass to round it off. We were impressed, even before upgrading our ear-wear to our trusty Sennheisers.
The loudspeaker on this handset is loud, though it doesn't have much finesse in terms of frequency range, and like almost all mobiles, low end is lacking.
The music package isn't restricted to the music player – there's an easy-to-use FM radio plus an internet radio option that enables you to browse, search for, access and listen to streamed online radio stations quickly and easily.
We'd recommend keeping an eye on data charges if you've not got an inclusive deal, although it will work via Wi-Fi as well as mobile networks.
A podcasting app similarly enables you to find and enjoy your favourite podcasts.
Nokia also includes its Say and Play music search technology we first encountered on the 5320 XpressMusic. Unlike song-ID services like Shazam or TrackID, it hunts through the music stored on your phone.
You press and say the name of the track, artist, album and so on and it suggests the track. It was pretty hit and miss in our tests, but has a random-song-generator quirkiness to it, if you're not too bothered by its accuracy.
RealPlayer software is included for video playback. As well as clips transferred from a PC or downloaded to the phone, the 5730 XpressMusic supports Nokia's Video Centre app (under the video section in the Gallery).
This enables users to find and view video clips from a range of internet video services, which can be streamed or downloaded to the phone via Wi-Fi or mobile network data. MPEG4 and H.263 video file formats are supported.
Video plays back smoothly and looks tidy on the full screen 2.4-inch landscape display.