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    Reviewed: Nokia 5310 (2020)

    I have been in this business for a long time now, and while new products are always exciting, I do miss the days when Nokia was at the top of the mobile phone market and releasing devices that were designed to be nothing if not different. While those days are now gone, we’re starting to see signs of the renewed Nokia, and that old fire that put them on top. Nokia sent over the 2020 edition of the 5310, a popular device in its day, so we got to see if there’s room for a device like this more than a decade after the original hit the market.

    DESIGN: 4/5

    The new 5310 is almost a straight throwback to the classic 5310 design. It’s not a 1:1 rehash, as the new one has a few aesthetic updates to make it a little more current, but it’s clearly cut from the same cloth. It has the same candybar form factor of the original, with a keypad for input, and audio controls on either side of the screen. Our demo unit came in a fetching black and red color scheme, though it is also available in a gorgeous white and red if that’s more your jam. The phone is curvy and slightly matte, with a little weight to it. It’s done entirely in plastic, but the heft keeps it from feeling like a toy.

    HARDWARE: 4.5/5

    The Nokia 5310 is a feature phone with a few extra tricks. This is reflected in the hardware the phone has. The screen is a 2.4-inch TFT with a pixel density of about 167 ppi, it has an astounding 8 MB of RAM, and 16 MB of storage, and GSM + Bluetooth connectivity. The battery is a hefty (for its size) 1200 mAh deal, and it has a VGA main camera with an LED flash. It might seem like a throwback—and it is, but it does have an ace up its sleeve.

    USER EXPERIENCE: 5/5

    It wouldn’t be fair to go into a review of a phone like this thinking to compare it with current smartphones, so we’re going to look at it for what it is: a feature phone that’s a little extra. To be fair, I did actually plop my SIM card in it to use it for a few days as a daily driver.

    I have to admit, there are some really solid reasons to pick a feature phone, not the least of which is how little space it takes up in a pocket. Seriously. I have forgotten just how small and light phones can be. It’s always a trade-off between functionality and size, but there are times you just need a device you can rely on despite having very limited space. It was a great companion to have in the small cash pocket of my jogging pants, where my usual phone just can’t fit. Bluetooth connectivity allowed me to use it with true wireless headphones for a particularly effective workout tool—I had music to work out to, and unlike a dedicated music player, I could still easily be reached with a quick SMS or phone call. Listening to music is made even simpler thanks to the sidemounted music controls that are very tactile and easy to activate even through the fabric of a pocket.

    The music player is a little rudimentary, and if you fill a 32 GB memory card with music, you’re better off just shuffling through. You can have a playlist of favorites within the music player, so if you have the patience, you can make a nice mix of tracks
    beforehand to save yourself the trouble of going through all the saved audio tracks on the phone.

    I wasn’t expecting all that much from the built-in speakers, but when I played a few tracks, the music that the 5310 was able to produce was astounding in both its volume and clarity. It easily beats what even my regular flagship-level personal phone can
    deliver. This could easily provide music for a little party, or for some extended-play background music at a beach somewhere. You wouldn’t even need an internet connection or a separate Bluetooth speaker to make that happen.

    There are some things I missed while using this as my daily device. Internet connectivity is possible, though it’s via a 2G connection, and since you won’t be able to install apps anyway, aside from being able to look things up online, its usefulness
    is rather limited. There’s no WiFi either, so you will unfortunately not be able to use any internet-based messaging apps on this. The camera is also quite basic, and feels similar in performance with phones from the original; 5310’s era. It’s still better than
    nothing though.

    It does make for a rather more capable secondary phone, and lets you enjoy music in quite a usable way, as long as you don’t mind shuffling through tracks now and again. Personally, I think I’ll put a sim card in here, and use it when exercising, or keep it in a go bag, so I have a simple, functional phone ready to go at any time. If you need a basic phone, but want something with a little more capability than just a generic feature phone, this also fits the bill.

    VALUE: 4/5

    At a price of a hair over PHP 2,000, this is actually pretty great value. Whether you’re in it for the retro feel, a need for a reliable second phone, or a handy workout buddy that can also call and text, it’ll do the job and give you some nice background music to boot.

    SPECIFICATIONS:

    • Dimensions: 4.87 x 2.06 x 0.52 in
    • Weight: 88.2 g
    • Display: TFT, 2.4 inches
    • Storage: 16MB, expandable via microSD
    • Bluetooth 3.0
    • Battery: 1200 mAh

    What’s Hot:

    • Battery life
    • Super nostalgic
    • Superb speakers

    What’s Not:

    • Only 2G Connectivity
    • Rudimentary music player

    BOTTOMLINE:

    It’s a music player that lets you communicate.

    Reviewed by Ren Alcantara
    Also published in Gadgets Magazine July 2020

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