HMD Global, the Finnish startup that is marketing the iconic Nokia brand now, has extensively used the power of nostalgia to sell new devices. Its latest phone using this strategy is the Nokia 5310, the rebranded version of the original Nokia 5310 XpressMusic which came out in 2007. Priced at Rs 3399, the new Nokia 5310 costs slightly more than other basic Nokia phones, a small premium to pay for the retro appeal.
The 2020 version of the Nokia 5310 is heavily inspired by the original model I once owned, but it’s not an exact copy. The new model retains a standard candy-bar form as expected for a classic Nokia phone. The phone is made of plastic materials like the original, but somehow I felt the Nokia 5310 XpressMusic had better built.
The front is dominated by a 2.4-inch 240×320p colour screen. The display is colorful, but this low-resolution screen does not support touch. Below the screen is a D-pad flanked by two action keys, a call, and a back button. You will also notice a standard 12-button dial pad. Given the size of the phone and the traditional keypad layout, I had a rather tough time typing out a simple text message. No, nostalgia does not come to your aid here and maybe this is no longer the phone for people like me.
On top of the Nokia 5310 is a micro USB port for charging along with a trusty 3.5mm headphone jack. The back of the phone easily comes off, which hides a removable battery and a microSD card slot for up to 32GB of extra storage. If you are wondering why a feature phone comes with a microSD card slot. Well, the reason is simple. The Nokia 5310 comes with a 16MB of built-in storage. If you are someone who plans to store a lot of music on this phone, an SD card might be needed.
Just like the original model, the new Nokia 5310 comes with the control buttons for the media player. I still remember how popular the original Nokia 5310 XpressMusic was during its time and the main reason for its success was a dedicated audio chipset that brought Hi-Fi quality audio to phones. I don’t think the re-envisioned model has a dedicated audio chip (DAC-33), except for the bright red keys that control the music player on the side and stereo speakers.
Still, Nokia 5310 does seem to impress in audio quality. The front dual speakers get really loud and they seem to deliver balanced audio. I also liked how the external dedicated music keys make the phone easy to handle the music player or when listening to FM. Older adults will especially love these physical audio controls on the phone. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack too, which means you can use any wired headphones with the phone. By the way, Nokia 5310 ships with a pair of earphones in the box.
Using the Nokia 5310 is like using any other low-end Nokia-branded feature phone. The phone runs Nokia’s Series 30+ software and comes with a Mediatek 6260A chip with 8MB of RAM. This is a 2G phone with no access to 4G LTE or Wi-Fi (although Bluetooth is present). Do not get confused between the Nokia 8110 4G and Nokia 3310 4G. Those phones ran KaiOS and they behaved like a smartphone, thanks to access to apps like YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook and Google Assistant.
Who should buy the new Nokia 5310?
The Nokia 5310 is designed for those who want to stay away from social media and the negativity it brings with it. This is a phone made for simple calling and sending text messages. There is no Wi-Fi, access to apps, or even a selfie camera. Yes, it does feature a 2MP camera but the quality is subpar.
The device can be a good backup phone, especially when traveling. Battery life is about four to five days – at least, that’s what I observed in my testing. Do keep in mind that the battery can last for weeks when the phone is on standby, according to HMD Global.
For many, the new Nokia 5310 is a mere 2G feature phone. But for others, especially hardcore Nokia fans, the HMD Global-made Nokia 5310 is seen as a tribute to the original Nokia 5310 XpressMusic. If you ask me, even the ultra-basic Nokia 105, which costs a mere Rs 1199 gets you all the features you will find in the Nokia 5310 — except for side-mounted audio controls and dual frontal speakers.
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