Nokia C5 review

Nokia's semi-smart candybar leaves a sweet taste

Nokia C5
The definitive Nokia C5 review

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The Nokia C5 sports the Symbian S60 OS, which you may be familiar with if you've ever seen or touched a mobile phone in the last nine years. In this case, we've got S60 3rd Version with Feature Pack 2.

The Home screen offers the time and date, along with shortcuts to some selected contacts, notifications for any calendar entries and a handy email widget-type display. Along the bottom are six shortcuts to important apps. We have Camera, Messaging, Clock, Ovi Maps, Chat and the Ovi Store.

Underneath that we have the softkey options, with the left taking you to the main menu and the right to your contacts list.

The D-pad's central key selects whichever option you've scrolled to on screen.

Nokia c5

Right from the start, you get an inkling that there's something more than a dumbphone here. The organisation of calendar and email along with a direct link to the Ovi store hints at a smarter purpose, but it isn't forced.

Entering the main menu brings up all the typical options, including Calendar, Contacts, Messaging and internet access. You can also open the Ovi Store and Ovi Maps application from here.

As you might expect, the Settings menu is here too. You can change this plain old grid layout into something more interesting if you like, but we don't recommend it. The somewhat-3D scrolling menus are pointlessly difficult to use.

Everything's standard so far. Delve into the Applications submenu (quietly hidden at the bottom-right) and things open up further. Here's the Music Player and the games, the Radio app, YouTube and the preloaded Facebook app.

Nokia c5

Nokia has picked out the Facebook integration on this phone, which goes beyond the simple app included. Contacts can be linked to your Facebook friends list, with images and status updates automatically updating and displaying in the contacts list.

There's one big downside to the way the C5 treads the line between smart and dumphone (maybe we should just be calling it averagephone?), and that's the lack of major integration of downloaded apps into the OS.

We picked up Opera Mini (as we'll touch on later), but while the default browser remains accessible from the main menu, reaching Opera requires delving into the first menu, then Applications, then Installations where you finally find your Ovi-downloaded apps, with their oddly pixelated logos.

Overall, there's few surprises in the Nokia C5's interface. One thing we'd recommend changing quite quickly is the length of time before the phone enters sleep mode.

15 seconds is just too short – that's barely time for Daydream Shakira to take off her shoes, let alone… well, anyway, if you drift off while writing a message, you'll almost certainly come back to a blank screen. Fortunately, this is easily changed with a slider in the settings menu.

These grids have been the face of Nokia handsets for a while, and they still function perfectly well this type of handset. The possibility of extra apps comes with a thumbs up from us.

Incidentally, the C5 does feature multitasking, but its use seems to be inconsistent, with Ovi apps the primary beneficiaries.

In any case, holding the Home button brings up a little app switcher, enabling you go straight to the browser or music player, for instance.

Nokia c5

We do have one request for Nokia, though: Please stop advertising Ovi Maps so heavily with the Ovi name, then giving maps a generic logo on the phone while big Ovi branding is reserved for the store.

Your advertising has ingrained the Ovi Maps name into us – well done – but opening the shop every time you want directions gets really old, really fast.