An Express Fix
By Seow Tein Hee
For all the audio junkies out there, there's a new phone in town that should give you more reasons to jack in and enjoy your tunes during your daily commute. That's right, we're talking about the Nokia 5320 XpressMusic, the direct successor to the previously launched Nokia 5310 XpressMusic. Parking ourselves in our comfy chair, we plugged into this new music device and prepared to give ourselves a musical treat.
The First Movement
Lest anyone thinks that the 5320 XpressMusic is merely a rehash of its predecessor, there are quite a few changes on this device. The 5320 XpressMusic sees a slight increase in its weight and dimensions, raised up to 90g and with a slightly thicker profile of 15mm (71g and 9.9mm previously). The distinct multimedia keys are now situated dead smack (and less accessible) on the left side, unlike the 5310 XpressMusic's positioning of those keys just to the left of your screen.
Navigation-wise, the 5320 XpressMusic also suffers a slight dip in performance. Without the slightly raised design as seen on the 5310 XpressMusic, key input tends to get a little frustrating. The Call and End buttons aren't as well placed too, being sandwiched in between the Menu, Clear and the five-way navigation keypad.
The Second Movement
The 5320 XpressMusic gets an interface overhaul and is now powered by the S60 OS instead of the 5310 XpressMusic's earlier S40 interface. Interface flexibility is apparent, since you are able to switch amongst four different styles: the default minimalist interface with just four main shortcuts placed at the bottom, a vertical-esque sidebar, the standard interface that is on most S60 devices and finally a clean and clear interface.
As with our previous review on the 5310 XpressMusic, our main focus is again on the audio fidelity of the 5320 XpressMusic. We made a visit to Nokia Music Store and helped ourselves to a jazz number from Diana Krall's "The Look of Love" and another fast rock track from Guns 'N Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" for our testing purposes. And this phone definitely perked up our day with its strong audio delivery.
Vocals were crystal clear when we listened to Diana Krall's seductively deep voice, and when it comes to the highs, we definitely liked the strong presence on the Guns 'N Roses' track that came with copious amount of guitars and drums. Bass delivery got some mixed reactions from us though. While the run-of-the-mill earphones won't be able to unlock the full bass potential of the 5320 XpressMusic, there are decent options available such as the Nokia BH-604 Bluetoooth Stereo Headset, which was paired to the 5320 XpressMusic and gave us some pleasing results on the lows.
As for users with an existing mobile data plan, HSDPA is also present on the 5320 XpressMusic. More importantly, with minimal calls and messaging, the 5320 XpressMusic went strong for more than a day as we grooved to our own tunes with the BH-604 paired to it via Bluetooth.
An Ending Note
Aesthetically speaking, the 5320 XpressMusic won't be an attention grabbing device with its bland candybar form factor. And to top it off, the less than appealing numeric keypad and the slightly larger profile might throw some consumers off its scent. Nonetheless, if one were to listen to the 5320 XpressMusic's excellent audio capability, its recommended retail pricing of S$528 (not to mention a heavily slashed pricing with a 2-year contract) for a decent host of features will definitely be key factors in your purchasing decision.