Nokia 5530 XpressMusic review

How does Nokia's budget touchscreen phone compare?

The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic
The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic

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The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic has the aforementioned contacts bar on the home screen, so we'll deal with that first before heading on to call quality and contact layout.

The bar worked well on the original 5800 XpressMusic, and that only had four contacts on offer, with call and messaging history as well as web feeds for things like blogs, Flickr picture feeds or Facebook updates.

The same is possible on the 5530 XpressMusic too, but there are 20 spaces rather than four, which we feel is a good deal. Adding web feeds is all well and good if you want to pop somebody's Facebook updates on there, but most people won't be able to work out how to save a web feed, let alone place it on their favourite contact, so we bet that element goes largely unused.

Nokia 5530 xpressmusic

When choosing a contact to link to the icon on the home screen, you have to make sure all your names and numbers are saved to the phone, otherwise you won't be able to pop the pictures and web feeds and whatever else on there.

The contacts list is laid out in a similar way to most other Nokia phones, namely with the default option being the list of all your buddies, and another tab letting you group together contacts and send out messages or emails to multiple people at once.

There are three methods of navigation through the list of names: you can either flick the touchscreen up and the list will move according to the speed of the input; you can use the scroll bar at the side or you can hit the search to look for a specific name.

Nokia 5530 xpressmusic contacts

The latter option is pretty convoluted, as you might as well either flick or drag your way through the list in a much shorter space of time. The touch interface offers some pretty 'graspable' scroll bars for each menu, so you won't need to mess about getting out the stylus simply to see the option below.

Each name has the usual stuff you can assign to it, and SO much more. You can obviously do pictures, ringtones, mobile number and name. So far, so standard.

But then you can add a fax number and email address. A company name. An assistant's number. The assistant's name. A carphone number. Yes, a carphone, those illegal to use on the move devices. Clearly Nokia forgot that a £130 phone wouldn't be used by anyone with an assistant, as they would be getting either a BlackBerry or an E-series handset if the Finns are lucky.

Nokia 5530 xpressmusic assistant

(By the way, we've named our assistant Doris).

Calling is rudimentary, with no 3G on board meaning a video call is out of the question (and we know that's going to be a deal breaker for so many). However, the 5530 XpressMusic also has the annoying 'slide to answer' calling function, meaning you have to slip and slid one way or the other to decide whether to take a call.

In practice, this was often hard to do, and we don't know whether it was just us having poor dexterity or something else, but pressing the call button to pick up the phone simply didn't work.

Call quality was slightly suspect at times as well, with the conversation often stuttering and juddering a lot, which happened a bit too often to be the other person each time.

And on a number of occasions the signal was lost altogether for some reason, and no amount of cajoling or restarting the phone could bring it back. It eventually re-connected each time, but it was a very annoying situation every time it didn't.

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.