Nokia C5 review

Nokia's semi-smart candybar leaves a sweet taste

Nokia C5
The definitive Nokia C5 review

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Nokia c5

The Nokia C5 not a smartphone. It's too small, too limited and too awkward with apps.

The Nokia C5 is not a dumbphone. It's got social network integration, feature expansion through the Ovi Store and free turn-by-turn navigation.

No, the C5 insists on another moniker than the two above. Or maybe it doesn't need to branded.

What we have here is a simple phone with a classic design that offers room to grow. It's easy to use for those just want a phone that makes calls, while offering the increasingly important lure of an app store.

We liked

The C5 is a beautifully made bit of kit. It may not have the cutting-edge style expected from certain ends of the phone market, but it's obvious Nokia have been keeping an eye on the more expensive phones and nicking bits of flair they like.

Not only is it good-looking, but it's solid. We wouldn't worry about dropping it, and we'd be surprised if there were ever any mechanical issues throughout the life of the phone.

The maturity of Symbian S60 as a platform is what give the C5 its headroom. The Ovi Store offers apps, themes and tweaks galore, meaning that this phone can stay as the factory intended, or become very personalised.

Ovi Maps is a great addition to the featureset. Yes, the screen is too small the be a proper satnav. No, the speaker isn't loud enough on its own. None of that matters when the actual software just works so well. Oh, and is totally free. With a Surfer Dude voice option.

We disliked

At times (quite a few times, in fact), the C5 flies too close to the smartphone sun and the limited software and hardware combination comes a cropper.

Every app and every option seems to be web connected, which is great, except for the damn lack of Wi-Fi. We found the Ovi Store itself quite forgiving when it came to slow connections speeds, but the updates it needed would flake out constantly.

Even games and similar apps seemed to be always wanting to go online. It's just bizarre to have such an online-focussed software set and rely on the dodgy 3G coverage in this country.

Add to that the stunted Facebook integration, and come to realize that the smartphone parts are just a little too rough around the edges.

The media options are awfully barebones, when we're not convinced they need to be so cheap. Music players can be nice and sexy, but someone should tell Nokia this.

When using the drag-and-drop interface for adding media, it's a bit hit-and-miss as to whether the C5 will decide to recognise it or not. Sometimes it just appears to be sluggishness, sometimes it seems to just be stubborn.


You can't not like the C5. Nokia has known how to make a perfectly good mobile phone since 1998. From the perspective that this device is for making calls, there's very little to fault.

If you're a Nokia user considering an upgrade, and this falls within the right price bracket for you, we've no qualms recommending it.

If you less familiar with Nokia and want something fairly simple, but might like to do a bit of Facebooking, then you should also consider this a recommendation.

If you're looking for a great web-connected social handset, then we'd advise you to slow down. The functionality is here, but you might be better served at the lower-end of the Android market.

Ultimately, the people who'll get the most out the C5 are long-time mobile users who want to ease into the new world of apps and online integration. You may not want a smartphone yet, but you probably will after a length of time with the Ovi Store. Make no mistake – this is a gateway drug.