Nokia 5.3 review
The market for budget-to-mid-range smartphones is annoyingly crowded these days – even Apple is working with the iPhone SE,
which makes it difficult for phones like the Nokia 5.3 to grab its own niche, especially with the Pixel 4a expected to be announced anytime. At the time of writing.
The main selling point here is the price: at £ 149 / AU $ 349 (roughly $ 190, although no word yet about US availability),
this is one of those phones that will make your shortlist if you’re looking to spend as little as possible on The new phone. It’s less than half the price of the aforementioned iPhone SE.
That’s a low and low price tag – you’ll be struggling to have a smartphone that works at the lowest cost, so expect that there will be some compromises along the way as we look at what the Nokia 5.3 has to offer.
In fact, we’re happily surprised at what you’re getting for your money, although features like waterproofing,
and HDR support on display (understandable) are being reduced to keep costs down.
Price and availability
Specifications and performance
Should I buy it?
While the specs, display, and camera hardly change the needle as far as the smartphone industry is concerned,
they are all better than what you’d expect for a very affordable phone. The 6.55-inch screen gives you plenty of room to watch movies and surf the web,
while the quad-lens camera surprised us with the quality of its shots (although if you want very good photos you’ll need to look elsewhere).
Besides its price, the other major point in Nokia 5.3’s favor is that it is part of the Android One program, like many Nokias before it.
This means you get a stock version of Android 10 that is free of bloating,
as well as regular updates for the next two years, so you don’t have to worry about being late in terms of software.
It also helps the phone get the maximum performance out of the Snapdragon 665 processor and 4GB of RAM onboard.
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Price and availability
Nokia has been one of our favorite mid-range phone makers since its reboot under HMD Global’s stewardship, and until now at least,
it also used numbering systems that were more reasonable and easier to follow than those of a lot of brands – as a successor to the Nokia 5.1, we’re confused.
A little bit about why this phone was named Nokia 5.3 instead of Nokia 5.2.
However, it is easy to understand that this phone falls below the Nokia 6 range and above the Nokia 4 range in terms of this important balance between price and performance. You can get the Nokia 5.3 now for £ 149 / AU $ 349 at a very reasonable price, with no word yet on the US version (currencies convert quickly from GBP at around $ 190).
- Reasonably durable design
A good selection of color options
The large array of the back camera
Modern Nokia phones aren’t glamorous – they’re stylish but reasonably cute, and discreet. They definitely aren’t ugly, but they’re not all creative either
You get a fairly typical smartphone design when you buy a Nokia phone,
and it’s true for the Nokia 5.3, which has some nice curves, but nothing that will turn heads when you take it out of your pocket.
We’re not all keen on the large circular rear camera array, which seems to have restored some of the flashiness of the Nokia 9 PureView.
We’d rather see a horizontal or vertical strip of lenses on the back of our phones, but of course, your aesthetic mileage might vary.
The power button doubles as an LED notification light, which is a touch we love.
The bezels of the screen are nice and thin,
with just a hint of shine at the top and bottom,
and the screen is crisscrossed by a small, teardrop-shaped notch. In general, we don’t prefer any larger notch and bezel,
but again it’s down to personal taste,
so we’re not going to knock down the Nokia 5.3 much here.
The fingerprint sensor is located in the middle of the back of the phone – you won’t get the built-in sensor on a budget,
but the face unlock feature is available as well,
it’s reasonably fast.
The phone feels reassuringly solid and well built in the hand, with a matte plastic back that is a pleasure to handle.
Despite the low price, the phone itself doesn’t look cheap – may be lightweight,
but it isn’t cheap. Cyan (more turquoise), sand (beige/gold), and charcoal (dark gray) are your three color options, and it’s a celestial pattern we test here.
Not as bright as OLED
The aspect ratio of 20: 9
Nokia 5.3’s 6.55-inch IPS LCD display, 720 x 1600 pixels, won’t make any eyes pop, but it’s a decent enough spec at this price point,
and it actually looks better than what you’d expect up close.
While the deep blacks and vibrant colors of OLED are missing,
the screen does a good job of rendering images, web pages, movies, and more.
This very long aspect ratio, 20: 9 makes the video less than the widescreen,
watching is a little difficult, and the teardrop camera notch is a distraction when watching something full screen, but it is not a big problem for us;
Overall, this is a screen that is bright and sharp enough to please most people.
There is a slider for controlling white balance included in Android 10’s settings if you need it,
but it’s not something we used.
Bringing a phone to this price point means some compromises have to be made, the screen is one of them – that’s a long way from high-resolution HDR screens.