The 5800 is my fifth Nokia phone in eleven years, and while it's easily the best of the lot, it's not perfect. I'm running it on 7-11 Speakout (a Rogers MNVO), which is GSM only, and doesn't support smartphones, so I can't report on the social networking features, or any networking features outside...
The 5800 is my fifth Nokia phone in eleven years, and while it's easily the best of the lot, it's not perfect. I'm running it on 7-11 Speakout (a Rogers MNVO), which is GSM only, and doesn't support smartphones, so I can't report on the social networking features, or any networking features outside of web browsing, actually. 7-11 doesn't sell or support this phone, but it has no problems. I have the quad band version of the phone, and I discovered that 7-11 supports GSM mode only, so once I set the phone to use GSM only, everything was fine.
- great as a music phone: strong, clear audio
- standard 3.5" audio jacks rather than 2.5"
- very good call quality
- makes an excellent PDA
- camera is very good (but not excellent) with flash
- integrated GPS with free OVI maps works quite well
- S60 operating system is feature rich and stable
- excellent PC integration
- screen is high resolution, bright, and high contrast
- S60 operating system is sloooow
- this is Nokia's first attempt at touchscreen, and it shows
- touch screen is non capacitive
- battery life (depending on usage)
- don't install a lot of apps on it
- side "on/off" slider takes getting used to
- screen is utterly hopeless in sunlight
I don't have a data plan, and I don't make a lot of calls on it. So why did I get a smart phone? Because it's a terrific PDA, great MP3 player, good camera, and good GPS. It also happens to make phone calls. And with WiFi, it's a decent web browser too. With some free S60 apps, it's also a good flashlight and magnifying glass. Of course, I got mine second hand for about $125; I don't think I'd pay $400 list for it. But since it's now a two year old phone, the prices are dropping on it anyway.
As a PDA, it's quite an improvement over my previous 5130. The actual capabilities aren't that different, but it really makes use of the extra screen real estate. The MP3 player is easily as good as any standalone MP3 player I've used over the past decade. It supports MP3 tagging, playlists, and the usual features. There's also a Nokia music store to compete with iTunes, but I've not tried it; I just rip my own CDs and put the MP3s on the 8GB memory card. The audio output is on a 3.5" jack, so standard headphones can be used. When you plug something in, you get asked whether to use headphone or lineout settings. The camera works quite well for a convenience camera, but I certainly wouldn't use it to replace a standalone camera when going on a trip or anything like that.
Using WiFi, I can browse web pages. I have poor eyesight, so I wouldn't do this too much, but if you're into that sort of thing, the supplied browser is very responsive, with a lot of pan and zoom features to help with web pages that are not scaled for portable devices (ie. most of them).
PC connectivity is a major reason I keep going with Nokia phones. Their existing PC Suite is currently better (more stable) than the OVI suite that's supposed to replace it, but I think that will change over time. Phone backups can be made as images, and it can also hotsynch with Outlook and Lotus Notes. Given the number of people I know who've lost their phones, freaked out and wailed "oh no, my entire life is in my phone", I'm amazed that phone backups aren't common. With Nokias, I never worry. For those that aren't interested in using the BlueTooth or USB backup options, you can also set up a free OVI store account, and backup your phone to an account on the net. Of course, that's slower, and requires a data plan, or at least web access. But it's nice to have the option.
The PC Suite is also terrific at doing phone migration. I did a complete backup of my 5130, moved the sim card into the 5800, restored the backup to the 5800, and was good to go. Outside of some minor things with phone differences (screen size differences mean you can't use the same wallpaper, stuff like that), it was trivial. Thumbs up for that.
Touch screen support seems to be an afterthought; there is a stylus supplied with the phone for a reason (although your finger will work fine). If you're expecting an iPhone like experience, you will be disappointed. And if you install a lot of applications, the system bogs down tremendously, and battery life suffers. I installed about 20 apps to play around, and the phone felt like it was running through mud. It also killed the battery in under 18 hours, where it normally gets 3-4 days. I uninstalled 18 of those apps, and battery life and responsiveness have returned. I've read reviews that contradict my experience, so maybe it's a firmware revision thing, or something in one or more of the specific applications (all from the OVI store), or maybe it was just my unit.
As for the screen itself, I put a $5 screen protector film on it, and I'm glad I did. After messing about for a month with the supplied stylus, I was amazed at how much the film was marked up. It cleaned up well, but I'm glad I had used the protector. Using a different stylus (from an old Palm Pilot) that's not as sharp a point seems to make a difference. And, of course, so does using just a finger, though that's not as precise when trying to type something.
For a music phone, it's surprising that there are no music controls on the unit (like on the 5130), but that's a minor annoyance.
I don't really run video on such small devices, but when I have, it was perfectly acceptable. The screen is 16:9 aspect ratio, so widescreen movies fit on it perfectly.
I don't have a data plan, so the fact that the GPS is standalone (unlike the iPhone or the Google Maps on Android) is very nice. It's not TomTom or Garmin, but it's very usable. Just make sure you have a car charger; using the GPS for an hour or two drains the battery something fierce. In order to save space, the maps are much more compressed than with a standalone GPS, by about a factor of six. This means that it gets the streets right, but the street addresses wrong. It seems to determine street numbers based on the address at the start of the street, the address at the end, and the physical position you are between them. But that's a minor annoyance only; it gets the major functions correct. It gives turn by turn directions, and you can preprogram routes on their website and download them to the phone. There is voice support and traffic reports, but those aren't free, so I didn't bother with them.
Overall, I've extremely happy with the phone. I'd like to see improved performance, sunlight readability, and music control buttons (like the 5130), but none of those are deal breakers for me. I know that capacitive screens are going into newer phones, and that will be an improvement. Sunlight readability is terrible, and something that really needs to be addressed in subsequent phones. Less