Nokia 5230 review

Bargain-priced smartphone with some advanced features

Nokia 5230
The definitive Nokia 5230 review

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

A light smartphone usually has one drawback: the battery is just not big enough to hold a charge.

Fortunately, the Nokia 5230 lasted all day (about 8 hours) playing music and video occasionally, making frequent calls – but otherwise having the device on standby – without seeing the battery die.

The Nokia 5230 battery life benefits from the slide lock button that prevent accidental power-ups, which can even occur on an iPhone.

Nokia 5230

Nokia says the Nokia 5230 will last for several days if you just use it for music and disable all of the other connections, such as 3G and Bluetooth.

Battery time over GSM is much longer – a rated 7 hours – compared to WCDMA, which lasts about four hours.

The tricky trade-off here is that it depends greatly on how many calls you make, whether you have music and video playing on the device, and if you use Bluetooth.

On the plus side, since there is no Wi-Fi, you won't drain the battery that way.


The Nokia 5230 falls short when it comes to keeping you organised, for several reasons.

One is just the phone speed – there is often a delay when you pull up a contact or view your Google Calendar as the phone struggles to keep pixels moving on the screen.

There were times when it was easier to pop open a laptop and look up a web contact or check a task list on Plaxo than to try to visit these sites on the phone.

And, there are precious few apps available for business users who are serious about staying in contact, on schedule, and on task at all times. The Nokia 5230 is an ideal calling phone, has good media options, and lasts all day on one charge, but lacks business features.

Nokia 5230

There is an alarm clock that enables you to set up multiple alarms through the day, and an app for recording memos to yourself, but not the wealth of built-in apps for jotting down notes or managing voice mail like there is on other phones.


The Nokia Nokia 5230 connects to 3G and Bluetooth devices as expected. We were impressed with how the device connected easily to both Mac and PC laptops to upload and download files over a Bluetooth connection, a feature that the iPhone lacks.

We tested the Nokia 5230 with multiple Bluetooth adaptors and even in a car with Ford Sync technology and the Nokia 5230 paired quickly and efficiently.

The lack of Wi-Fi is an important issue, though, for those who need a speedier connection to download larger files, send images to an online photo service, grab large file attachments or stream audio with an app such as Pandora.

One of the great strengths of the Nokia 5230, however, is that it supports GPS navigation (with turn-by-turn spoken instructions) and Ovi maps.

Nokia 5230

Nokia calls this "lifetime GPS" because you never have to pay for the turn-by-turn instructions. The Nokia 5230 also has a free TeleNav app with voice nav, but only as a 30-day trial.


It is also worth mentioning that the Nokia 5230 is a capable, if underpowered, gaming device. Our model included several commercial titles, including Guitar Hero 5 for mobile and Need for Speed Shift.

Nokia 5230

These games are colourful, control well, and have some entertaining gameplay features, but tend to run a bit slow on the Nokia 5230 compared to the N97 and other Nokia models.

John Brandon

John Brandon has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.