First Look: Nokia 5610 XpressMusic review

Nokia has announced three new handsets at it's Nokia: Go Play event in London, England. We were invited to have a first hand look at the new models. So will these be the handsets we all crave in the coming months or ones that fade into the background? We get playing to find out.

The Nokia 5610 XpressMusic phone is the company's music slider, and like the 5310, also announced at the same event, sits beneath the company's multimedia N series handsets.

Packing 3G connectivity, the Series 40 interface and a bump in digital camera specs from 2 as found in the 5310 to 3 megapixels, the idea behind the phone seems to offer music with a little extra.

The package makes sense and in our brief play was easy to use performing well.

Central to the design is a slider switch that sits beneath the 2.2-inch bright and crisp QVGA screen and above the menu keys on the top half of the slider.

The idea is that you slide the switch from side to side to access the next screen in a very similar way to how the HTC Touch and Apple's iPhone works, but without the touchscreen.

It's like the poor man's alternative and no doubt anyone down the pub with either in a couple of months time will make sure you know it.

According to Nokia the new interface is all about allowing the user the chance to see other features of the phone they might not be aware of, while at the same time being keen to point out that the interface is as easy to use as ever.

Playing on this further, the phone has a quick application launch button that allows you to scroll through applications, like you do with alt-tab on a PC, quickly from the home screen. You can also type in a URL straight from the home page without having to visit the browser first - a nice touch.

As for that music focus, the phone supports up to 4GB microSD cards via its expandable memory slot, enough for around 3000 tracks and like the 5310 it's got dedicated music buttons, although not as clearly marked.

There is also an FM radio and stereo Bluetooth to complete the package.

Build quality on the units that we played with came across as a bit on the plastic side, especially the keypad, although it was easy to use and well spaced out making texting easy to do. Strangely the build quality wasn't as good as the cheaper 5310 model also launched at the same event.

However real music fans, will be disappointed, as the 5610 isn't one of the new handsets capable of accessing Nokia's new dedicated music download store also launched at the same event.

Because the 5610 uses the Series 40 operating system rather than Series 60, it won't be able to benefit from the Ovi feature set and that means no maps, no games and no music.

Users will be able to "sideload" music bought from the Nokia Music Store via their PC, however they won't be able to download them directly to the phone.

It's a strange omission considering the company is now supposedly all about "Music".

Verdict

With a greater feature set than just music the Nokia 5610 XpressMusic phone will offer you something more after you've finished listening to your favourite tracks.

The build quality might be a bit suspect, but that doesn't detract from what is a good "breaking no boundaries" mobile phone from the Finns.

The Nokia 5610 XpressMusic mobile phone will be available later this year.