Techcraver Review: Nokia 5530 XpressMusic

Nokia 5530 ExpressMusic


Nokia’s ExpressMusic series is a line of phones centered around music and entertainment. The 5800 XpressMusic was released in 2008 and has seen very positive sales figures. The 5800 was revolutionary because it was the first Series 60 phone that was fully touch-enabled.

The 5530 XpressMusic appears at first glance to be a less expensive, stripped down version of the 5800. The 5530 is definitely easier on the eye with its white casing and slimmed-down form factor, making it a beautiful and attractive phone

But, when it comes down to it – is the 5530 XpressMusic a usable phone for day-to-day usage? Lets dig in and break it down.

Hardware Capabilities

Back in 2008, Nokia introduced the 5800 Xpress music, equipped with a a 3.2″ touch-sensitive screen, 3.2 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens, onboard GPS and 3G chip for ultra-fast data connection.

To make the 5530 more affordable, this handset features:

  • Quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900) with EDGE data support
  • S60 5th Edition
  • 802.11 b/g WiFi
  • BL-4U 1000 mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • 2.9 inch 640 x 360 pixels touchscreen display
  • microSD card slot (4GB card included)
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • 3.2 megapixel camera with 15 fps video support
  • Dimensions: 4.09 x 1.92 x 0.51 inches and 3.77 ounce

In summary, the 5530 strips out the 3G chipset, onboard GPS, and awesome Carl Zeiss lens and excellent video capture capabilities.

While the 5530’s screen may be slightly smaller than the 5800, it is of higher resolution, so overall the 5530’s screen makes images and text appear brighter and clearer than the 5800 model. I have seen a lot of mobile phone screens in my time, and the 5530’s stands out as a winner.

In terms of aesthetics, the 5530 shines. It’s all white plastic exterior is very well designed. As for buttons, on the top you only have a solitary power button. The right side features a volume rocker, slide lock (for locking the touch screen), and camera button which is also used to snap photos. On the left hand side of the device, you only see the compartment for the SIM card and external MicroSD slot. The bottom of the 5530 is where you plug in USB cord, 3.5 mm headphone jack, and power.

There is a stylus included that is on the back – it integrates very nicely and is similar to the 5800 XM’s stylus, except for the fact that the stylus is round.

Speaking of the battery cover, it is a piece of white flimsy plastic that appears to be very weak in design. I’d imagine that after years of use, this plastic piece could be a problem and might break easily.

Software and Applications

One new change with the 5530 over the 5800 is that you main contact bar on the phone’s home screen. With the 5800, you could choose 4 contacts to have a photo of them with one-click access to recent calls, text messages, and other points of information. You could even assign an RSS feed to keep up with your contact’s online activity as well.

With the 5530, you can have many contacts and scroll through them as needed. I have more than just 4 contacts to keep on my home screen, so I appreciate Nokia enabling the new functionality with the Contact Bar on the 5530.

At the bottom of the 5530’s home screen, you can set up to 4 applications to have shortcuts to. I wish they allowed for more than 4 as in the contact bar, but this is a personal preference.

Clicking on the menu button, you’ll find the standard array of Symbian applications including media player, FM Radio, and games such as Bounce and a racing game. Overall I think with Symbian S60 5th edition, Nokia has enhanced the menu system to make Symbian easier to navigate and manage through the touch interface.

With the 5530, like the 5800, the touch interface features haptic feedback. This is important as it makes the user aware that a touch or click has been registered by the system.

Call Quality and General Performance

I used the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic on the T-Mobile network in the United States, and I was amazed again with Nokia’s call quality. Callers said I sounded great and to me, I could hear voices very well. I liked the on-screen keyboard for composing text messages and emails.

I found the performance of the 5530 to be superb. Response time when going through menus and options was quick and didn’t present any issues. I liked the fancy transitions when going between screens – a very nice UI touch.


If you are looking for a touch screen phone that is unlocked and ready for use anywhere in the world and on any GSM carrier, take a look at the 5530 XpressMusic. It may not have the best camera and may lack 3G, but this phone is a budget-conscience success waiting to land in your hand. I recently saw this phone for $250 in a local retailer and it is well worth the price.

For those looking for even more features, check out the 5800 or even the N97. But overall, Nokia packed a lot of features and fun into a sub $300 mobile phone in the 5530 XpressMusic.