ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 9, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 41

Super cool music phone

Boy Toys by Ding

After a short break, BoyToys is back with a new mobile. Readers might remember the Nokia 5610 and the N81 that I looked at a couple of weeks back. So here I am, with a spanking new, Nokia 5310. This was something I was eyeing for a while now. And a friend of mine bought one for me last week, and I'm loving it!

At a glance, it's a candybar design phone from the XpressMusic family. Has EDGE, GPRS, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, a radio, 2MP camera, and dedicated music keys. It's incredibly slim for a music phone, measuring in just under 1cm in thickness.

The cons first: There seems to be a couple of software issues with the phone. Nothing big, but things like the phone randomly restarting on its own, and the fact that I still can't get the GPRS connection hooked up onto my laptop. A bit distressing since I'm writing this from a remote part of Hambantota, and I can't check my email. I need to call my trusted friend Brickster for that. Hope he doesn't read the "private" mail.

Camera quality is nothing to party about, but delivers what is expected of a fixed focus 2 megapixel. The lack of a dedicated camera key however, is a bit of a letdown. It manages to record images at 1600x1200 resolution, but video only at 176x144. And video playback is also limited to 3GP format. No MP4, DiVX or FLV here.

Once you've overlooked these (minor) issues, the phone really starts to deliver. The phone is very solidly built, and the aluminium-finished keys are a joy to use. If you remember the Nokia 5300 XpressMusic that I purchased last October, you might remember one of my biggest complaints was the music player interface which was a nightmare. This has been addressed almost to perfection with the 5310. Creating and modifying play lists is a snap, and the music player comes with interchangeable skins.
The screen is a almost a dream come true, with everything from photos to videos rendered in vivid and sharp 16-million color detail. It also comes with an ambient light sensor which adjusts the screen brightness depending on the amount of light; more light for brighter situations such as direct sunlight, and lesser brightness for darker places, managing to conserve the battery.

In terms of the "music phone" factor, it delivers by the bucket-load. Sound quality is excellent, and because it comes with the standard 3.5mm headphone jack, you can plug it into your stereo, or if you're a sound-snob like me, you can buy a super-expensive pair of headphones to enjoy your music (I'm currently looking at a Sennheiser PCX 250, and my birthday is coming up. So, hint hint). The packaged earbud-type earphones provide decent sound quality, and the headset is "transformed" into a handsfree kit via the provided microphone cum extension cord.

So, how would I score it? I've decided to move away from the out-of-five scoring system, and give a more qualitative scoring. It's a brilliant piece of engineering. It's a dream to use, looks quite cool, and has performance to match. Go ahead and buy one.

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