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Nokia 5 hands-on review

Nokia 5 hands-on review: There’s a new Nokia in town (again) and this one is pushing out Android phones that offer attractive designs and the features that people really care about at a reasonable price. Of the brand’s three newly launched smartphones two made their debut at MWC 2017 with the Nokia 5 being the (far from awkward) middle child.

Nokia 5: Specs at a glance

Screen size 5.2-inches
Screen resolution 720p HD (1280×720)
OS Android 7.1.1
Front camera 8-megapixels
Rear camera 13-megapixels w/ PDAF + dual-tone LED flash
Processor 1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
Memory 2GB RAM
Storage 16GB. Expandable via microSD up to 128GB
Battery 3000mAh w/ Quick Charge 3.0

Nokia 5: Hands-on review

As its name suggests, the 5 shares more in common with the company’s most powerful 2017 handset, the Nokia 6, than the more affordable Nokia 3. You get a smooth, sandblasted 6000 series aluminium unibody encompassing the sides and the back with a subtle curvature that offers a pleasing feel in the hand. There’s pillowed 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5 protecting the phone’s nicely proportioned 5.2-inch screen, whilst the narrow camera surround is detailed by chrome banding.

The display itself is a strong 720p HD IPS LCD offering with pleasingly accurate colours head on and strong overall brightness, but colour distortion at more extreme viewing angles is unmistakable, making this better suited to enjoying media solo, rather than with friends. Aside from its size, the most obvious external difference to the Nokia 3 is the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor, which doubles as a capacitive home button. It doesn’t feel as snappy as Huawei’s class-leading efforts, but it’s another great premium feature on an otherwise affordable mid-ranger.

Nokia 5 hands-on review: Hardware controls

One of the big draws that fans of the brand will no doubt appreciate is Nokia’s long-awaited adoption of Android and HMD Global (the latest owners the Nokia’s mobile arm) have ensured that the new Nokia smartphone family run a near pure form of Google’s mobile OS to ensure swift updates worldwide.

The user experience is strongly reminiscent of the launcher found on Google’s Pixel phones, most obviously denoted by the swipe up apps drawer. It’s a clean, near-stock take on the experience that those coming from most other Android phones will easily be able to get to grips with.

Above the display is the same 8-megapixel front-facer that you’ll find on Nokia’s other new Android phones, packing an f/2.0 aperture and an 84-degree wide-angle lens. On the back, things get a little more serious, however, with a 13-megapixel sensor with phase detection autofocus (PDAF), just as you’d find on the new Moto G5, and a dual-tone LED flash.

Nokia 5 hands-on review: Back

Lift the lid and another key differentiator between the Nokia 3 and 5 is the latter’s beefier chipset. The Snapdragon 430 won’t be breaking any benchmark records, but it’s a smart choice for an affordable mid-ranger, bringing reliably snappy usability and solid graphics performance to the table. Nokia’s also stuck with a relatively restrictive 16GB of storage, but microSD expandability means media junkies shouldn’t feel too hard done by.

As for battery life, there’s a 3000mAh cell inside the 5, which we’re expecting to dole out up to two days of use per charge if you take into account the sub-Full HD resolution display, and should you want to power your new Nokia back up in a jiffy, the Snapdragon chipset also gives the phone access to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 technology.

Nokia’s new Android handsets are all aiming to offer the much sought after combination of affordability without compromising on quality and the Nokia 5 looks like an enticing offering for the newly rejuvenated brand. The phone is expected to launch this side of summer, priced at €189.

Read next: Nokia 6 vs Nokia 5 vs Nokia 3: What’s the difference?


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