Chris’ preview on the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

3. November 2008 at 08:00

Although I haven’t played around with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic yet, I want to bring you a little preview of it in this article.

One month ago Nokia announced their first touchscreen phone with Symbian S60. The touchscreen-version of the S60 OS is called S60 5th Edition.

On the web there are many videos, reviews and pictures of the device, but they all have one thing in common: The devices aren’t the final products that’ll be on sale in a few weeks.

In this article I want to bring you my impressions of this device so far. One thing I need to mention is that I haven’t used the device by myself, thus this preview is based on videos and hands-on’s of other people which already had the chance to play around with the 5800.


The front of the device is dominated by the huge touchscreen and the backside features a 3.2 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss Optics and a dual-LED flash. The front of the device is completely kept in black as well as the sides of the device. The backside seems to be some kind of dark brown and on the sides there is a colored line. The 5800 has also some mechanical keys: camera-, volume- and scroll-key on the right handside and three keys under the display.
The call- and the end-key are mechanical keys, which was a very wise choice from Nokia – I think nobody likes if he accepts or ends a call, or sends a message by accident.

All in all the design seems to be nothing special, just another black Nokia after all this black Nseries-devices, which all looked almost the same.


The 5800 XpressMusic is a little bit smaller than the Nokia N73 and it is just about 15mm thick. With a thickness of just 15mm Nokia has done a great job. Unfortunately the device seems to be very high. For future touchscreen-devices I would like to see a more wide device, more like the N96 – not too much like the N73.


The 3.2 inch touchscreen has a resolution of 640 * 360 pixels and it can show 16.7 million colors. The screen has a 16:9 widescreen-format which is pretty good for watching videos on it. To rotate pictures you just need to turn the device, thanks to its built-in accelerometer the device recognizes if it has to display a picture in portrait- or in landscape-mode. The 5800 also features a TV-out which enables the user to connect the device to a huge TV-screen.

The auto-rotation of the screen is a great feature, no doubt, but it doesn’t look „sexy”, it just turns. The rotation should look „smooth” like on the iPhone.


With a 3.5mm headphone-jack, microUSB, TV-out, Bluetooth 2.0, W-Lan, GPS and HSDPA the device features every kind of connectivity-possibilities to communicate with the world around you.

The 3.5mm headphone-jack, as well as the microUSB-connector, are placed on top of the device – a place where they won’t annoy somebody.


The usage of the touchscreen is very versatile. You can either use your finger, a spectrum or the stylus to use the screen. The stylus is included on the right side of the device. The spectrum comes on a strap which can be attached to the device.

In many demonstration-videos the usage of the touchscreen is not very smooth, which means that you have to press very hard on the screen to get it working. Hopefully this problem will be solved before the device hits the stores. A smooth and fast touchscreen as in the iPhone would be great, but unfortunately I haven’t seen any manufacturer that managed such a great touchscreen as in the iPhone.

Operating System

With the 5800 Nokia introduced a new kind of its very popular Symbian S60 OS. The OS running on the 5800 is called S60 5th Edition and it’s based on the 3rd Edition of S60. This means that you have the comfort of S60 on a touchscreen-device. Many of the applications for S60 3rd Edition can be used on this 5th also. As we are used from S60 the device is customizable in many ways.

The user interface of this OS mostly looks good, but there are too few animations like on the iPhone, what I mean is „eye-candy”. The symbols in the menu are some kind of boring and there are almost no transitions in the menus.

Nokia 5800 – an iPhone competitor?

On many websites the 5800 is seen as Nokia’s answer on the iPhone, but that’s not true. In some points the 5800 is definitely better than the iPhone, e.g. the OS, the camera, the price and the screen. But it is no competitor for the iPhone, it’s just Nokia’s product to test how qualified the touchscreen-phones are for the mass-markets. The real iPhone competitor by Nokia will be announced later this year and it is a Nseries touchscreen-phone.

> This preview contains only my personal impressions and thoughts on the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic – It is based on pre-sale devices tested by other people and it isn’t thought as a review.