Nokia 5800 XpressMusic mobile phone - First Look

After years of waiting, Nokia has finally entered the touchscreen arena, but is it worth the wait? We get touchy feely to find out.

The Nokia 5800, as it is now called (it used to be referred to as the Tube), is the first consumer-focused touchscreen handset from the Finnish company. Compact in size, the phone sports a 3.2-inch widescreen that is encased by a thick heavyset covering. Aside from the screen, unlike the iPhone, the 5800 is adorned with buttons on the front of the unit and elsewhere.

Beneath the screen is a menu button as well as a hang-up and dial button while the sides offer the usual volume controls and dedicated camera buttons. There is a further touch button at the top of the handset that gives you access to images, music, browsing, and sharing.

From a technical specifications point of view, the 5800 phones offers the usual array of goodies: HSDPA, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, GPS, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a 3.2-megapixel camera. Beyond that, the system runs S60 but the new 5th edition.

Tech specs aside what's the touch feel like? With haptics included it’s very touchy feely with the emphasis on the feely. The interface is very N95/N96 although you can see touch as been a deciding factor in some of the thought processes. Rather than opt for a menu interface from the get go, the home page gives you four icons, which you assign to your friends. From there you can then phone or message them at a press of a button, rather than having to search your contacts book every time and it's a nicely thought-out idea.

Inputing commands is all via the touchscreen and when it comes to entering text you get a number of options. Like the HTC Diamond there is a full QWERTY keyboard option, a mini QWERTY keyboard option and alphanumeric keypad. But there is also a handwriting mode where you can use the included stylus or, in a nod to the cool, the included plectrum.

The full QWERTY keyboard was easy to use, mainly because the phone automatically goes in to landscape mode (it also has an accelerometer), and because of the haptics you get a real sense of feedback. Best of all you can copy and paste, giving it an edge over the iPhone for text fans.

Elsewhere you get the standard web browser from Nokia, complete with Flash support (another one up over the iPhone) and although our play was brief it was nippy on the Orange SIM card we slipped in when the Nokia agents weren't looking...

Admittedly we were playing with a preproduction sample, but flipping through images wasn't as nice and responsive as we would have liked. There was a slight delay too long, something that is likely to be fixed, but one to check out when the phone officially launches.

Other features of note are the share options, whereby Nokia has used the ShareThis icon (green one at the top of this page) which is very clever - it's a small detail, but we liked it.

Verdict

Think Samsung Tocco rather than iPhone and you are on the right lines. The Nokia 5800 is very much a consumer touchscreen, but not in the same way as the Apple iPhone.

That said the Nokia fan club will most likely love it. It's a good evolution from the S60 interface bringing some nice touches.

We didn't have long with the handset, but the time we had was promising if you’re in to Nokia and touch.



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