Nokia 5530 XpressMusic review

How does Nokia's budget touchscreen phone compare?

The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic
The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic

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Nokia should be applauded for taking the focus off the super expensive phones in these times of economic crisis, and the 5530 XpressMusic is clearly going to be a big draw for consumers if the runaway success of the 5800 XpressMusic is anything to go by.

We liked

The diminutive size means it fits well in the hand and pocket, and the SIM card placement is novel and easy to use.

There's a range of decent software on board already, and the menu transitions, which might sound insignificant, were actually a very nice touch indeed.

The music player, with its watered down home-screen player, also worked well, and the screen, while not as high res as other offerings, stood up well.

The improved number of contact options for the home screen was also a nice touch, and shows that Nokia is listening to what people like in their phones.

We disliked

There are a few things to dislike about the 5530 XpressMusic - the camera is poor for starters. It's functional, and for £130 you can't expect the world, but we were disappointed it didn't at least match the 5800 XpressMusic, which has a dual LED flash and Carl Zeiss optics.

The resistive screen was far too inaccurate at times (such as scrolling through the home screen contacts bar or the internet) and the screen was a little small as well. The fact the video player didn't work all the time also annoyed us greatly, mostly because it flaunts the promise of playing back MP4s when it doesn't for many files.

We would also have liked to see Ovi Store on the phone from the start, but at least you can download that and fix it easily.

But one of our biggest problems was with the reception - it kept dropping out on us for no reason and then took an age to re-connect. With no option to scan for networks (the usual method of prompting the phone to re-connect) we were stuck waiting. We don't know whether this was poor reception from the antenna or a glitch in the phone, but we're willing to give the 5530 XpressMusic the benefit of the doubt and assume it was a one-off problem with our handset.

However, we'd suggest checking the warranty on your 5530 XpressMusic if you decide to buy one, and if you see coverage dropping out for minutes at a time you might want to consider another option.


The 5530 XpressMusic wouldn't be out of place against the heavyweight smartphones, although it would be among the worst on show. However, take into account the Nokia N97, the iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre all cost around £350 more than the 5530 XpressMusic, and you can see why we like it a lot.

The overall feeling was that the phone impressed beyond the sum of its parts, as although there were times when the 5530 XpressMusic frustrated us, it also performed well a lot of the time and will almost certainly be a big hit around Christmas time.

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Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.