Nokia 5610 XpressMusic in-depth review -

Look and feel

The Nokia 5610 XpressMusic phone is a slider that is available in either a red or blue trim. Unfortunately the manufacturer has opted for an acrylic-style plastic coating that gives the front fascia a somewhat tacky feel and proves a fine collector of grubby fingerprints. The sliding mechanism didn't fill us with confidence either, as the front of the handset feels a little loose.

Ease of use

The quirky slider switch can be used for quick access to both the music player and FM radio with dedicated media keys placed conventiently on the front of the handset.

Other than that, the user interface is Nokia Series 40, which is as simple as they come.

Features

The 5610 ticks all the boxes expected from a mid-range handset. 3G enabled with various surfing options and an impressive 3.2-megapixel camera, the media capabilities are cracking with the option of adding a 4GB MicroSD card.

Performance

Musically, the 5610 shines. The sound quality, even when played through the phone's loudspeaker is of a high standard and despite not having a 3.5mm jack port, the packaging does include an adaptor meaning you can enjoy your tunes through your own headphones. Surfing the net, whilst not as fast as the Nokia N-Series range is more than competent and once you have got to grips with the controls, the camera produces some impressive shots.

Battery life

With up to 22 hours of music playback, the 5610 provides enough juice to keep you entertained for a full day's music listening.

 Nokia 5610 XpressMusic Review -
3

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:51:01 PM

8

out of 10

Performance

4

out of 5

Look and feel

6

out of 5

Ease of use

6

out of 5

Features

6

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

A nice all-rounder with a quality media player and impressive 3.2-megapixel camera. There's a nice array of additional features to keep you entertained too.

Cons:

Maybe we're being harsh, but the plastic finish just doesn't make us swoon. The sliding mechanism feels a little flimsy too.

Unveiled in September at Nokia's lavish Go Play event, the new Nokia XpressMusic phones looked great. The 5310 is a candybar and the 5610 is a slider phone, available in either red or blue trim, with the front fascia dominated by an interesting slider switch.

Spec-wise, the Nokia 5610 XpressMusic blows its sibling out of the water (see the 5310 review on page 18). A 3.2-megapixel camera (compared with the 5310's two megapixels), all-important 3G capabilities, as well as the promise of impressive music qualities had us waiting in anticipation for the handset to land at Choice Towers. Unfortunately, when we got the 5610 in our hands we were slightly disappointed.

Slide away

As well as the slider switch, the front of the 5610 sports two soft keys, a call button and an end call button, which surround the phone's media controls. While not as clearly labelled as the 5310's dedicated media keys, the D-pad and soft keys illuminate when in use, which is a nice touch.

The slider switch on the front of the device also acts as a shortcut to the FM radio and media player. Slide it to the right for the radio or slide it to the left and you'll find the media player. While this works perfectly well, it's surprising that Nokia didn't choose to do more with this feature. For example, the slider switch could be used to navigate through playlists.

Plastic fantastic?

However, our real gripe lies with the fact that Nokia has opted for an acrylic-style plastic coating. As a result, the casing of the 5610 feels tacky and your thumb tends to slide off the keys which makes the sliding process tricky. And, although the sliding mechanism is smooth once you've got your grip, the front of the handset really doesn't feel that secure. To add to this, the plastic finish is a breeding ground for mucky fingerprints.

When you slide open the phone, you find that the keypad is made from the same plastic material as the keys on the front fascia, which only adds to the disappointing craftsmanship of the device.

QVGA colour screen

Despite these niggles, there is still plenty to like about the Nokia 5610. With a 2.2-inch QVGA screen that boasts 16.7-million colours, the display is fantastic. Its user interface operates on Series 40 3rd edition, which is a joy to navigate around, although users are unable able to access Nokia's OVI service. At the top of the screen is a series of user-definable icons that act as shortcuts to the handset's various functions.

Surfing the internet

By connecting the USB cable from your PC to the mini USB port on the 5610, Opera Mini will bookmark your favourite websites from your PC on your 5610. You can also view web content in landscape mode, use a virtual mouse on the page or choose what search engine you wish to use to search the web; Yahoo Go! is also preinstalled.

Unlike the 5310, the 5610 is 3G enabled, which means that, while internet speeds aren't as impressive as on Nokia's Nseries devices, you won't have wait too long for your favourite website to load.

An interesting, if somewhat dubious application is the Sensor software. Designed to encourage spontaneous communication via Bluetooth, Nokia Sensor allows random people to access profile pages that you set up. An interesting idea in theory, but the idea of befriending strangers would appear to come with obvious drawbacks and dangers.

Super sound

With the unveiling of its new Music Store, Nokia has made a conscious decision to join in the music phone revolution. Thankfully, the Nokia 5610 XpressMusic device doesn't fall short in this category (although tracks cannot be downloaded direct from the Nokia Music Store). With up to 22 hours of music playback and the option of using a 4GB microSD card, the 5610 should offer enough battery life for you to enjoy a collection of 3,000 songs. The media player supports a variety of formats including MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, M4A and WMA.

The quality of sound played through the 5610's loudspeaker is quite phenomenal. Sadly though, there is no 3.5mm jack port, although the device is bundled with a remote control (AD-56) and a 3.5mm connector, which means you can plug in your Sennheiser or Bose headphones for an enhanced sound. The remote control also lets you answer and end calls. Thankfully, we were able to pair our Bluetooth headphones first time round and the volume and quality of music was even better than when played through the loudspeaker.

3.2-megapixel camera

Where the Nokia 5610 XpressMusic phone really leaves the 5310 trailing in its wake is with the camera. Aside from the Nseries devices, it's not often that a music handset can also hold its own in the camera stakes - a fine example being Sony Ericsson's Walkman range. However, with a 3-2-megapixel camera complete with auto-focus and dual LED flash, the 5610 is capable of some pretty decent shots. Although the controls may take some getting used to.

There is a quick-access camera key found on the side of the handset, although this can only be used when the phone is in idle mode. In camera mode, the key doubles up as the snapper button, as does the media play button. However, whereas the camera key works in much the same way as on other camera phones, the media button must be pressed and then released to take the snap.