Speaking strictly in terms of appearance, the first thing I noticed about the Nokia 5.3 when I took it out of the box was the cameras. Neatly arranged in an ever so slightly raised notch at the top middle of the phone, they gave me the feeling of power and performance without standing in the way, so that the phone lies comfortably on its back and one does not notice the notch at all.
The back of the phone is minimalistic in appearance. Just the cameras, the fingerprint scanner which is hardly noticeable, and a simple branding of the name Nokia. It is the name that is most obvious and that is quite fine and expected.
There is also some quick phone information right at the bottom but the writing is so well blended and well grayed out that it is hardly noticeable unless you’re looking for it. That is the information like country of manufacture, country of design, and the CE symbol of conformity. I love order and especially in something as every day as a phone and so this immediately warmed my heart.
The phone that I received is black in colour. Given a chance, I would have opted for Sand as a first priority, cyan as a second and black as something I could do without :-D. Sand is especially a unique light brownish colour that I feel has not been used a whole lot in phones. Otherwise as far as colour goes, a black phone is just a black phone and for me therefore a bland phone.
I know that a phone colour decision goes as deep as boardroom decisions and cost management, but I still harp about it and I feel that I have reason to. The most obvious one being that it is the year 2020 and the world deserves options.
This is not something I would dwell on so much all the same because it is the year 2020 and we have a lot more going on in life.
Even as I complain about the colour, can we just celebrate that the phone is not a fingerprint magnet? The frame and back cover are plastic and if one is keen enough, they will see it has an ever so slightly rough brushed feel to it. This also works pretty well for grip and as much as I don’t ever drop phones, there is a sense of assuredness for those who do that it will not just easily slip from their hands. I’m using the Nokia 5.3 alongside a high gloss primary phone from another company and this one carries half of my hair oils on it.
The phone comes with a free custom made and branded plastic cover for the back in the box. Really well cut to exclude the round camera encasement and fingerprint sensor. This plastic cover is what is a fingerprint magnet but that’s a small matter that one can live with for the sake of phone safety.
The phone has all the buttons on the sides that a user would need for operation and Nokia has managed to make their presence nicely subtle. So the phone feels smooth without too many bumps all over the place.
These? These are just wrong.
If there is one thing that Nokia keeps failing at it is these earplugs. I will usually generally understand manufacturer decisions about costs and such but I’m unable to understand Nokia’s need to keep selling themselves short with something that does not even belong in budget phone boxes. These earplugs are made of rigid plastic, sit poorly in the ears and you can expect ringing ears and a headache in just 1 hour of use.
In a world that has since moved on to soft flexible buds, who still manufactures these? Were they manufactured in the billions 10 years ago before more modern plugs came about? Are they laying in a warehouse somewhere? Don’t they ever deplete?
I’m speaking from a point of view of someone who has used more ergonomic earplugs in the higher end Nokia phones and other products like the Nokia Purity HD headphones and so I know that Nokia understands sound. And no. I’m not asking for Purity HD headphones to come packaged in budget phones.
End of rant.
This is certainly a smooth device and good value for money. As much as I have a complaint here and there, I also do acknowledge that for the price of Ksh.23,000/- there is only so much criticism that can be heaped on it.
This article is for appearance review purposes only and there is a lot about the phone that is coming up in subsequent articles as I continue interacting with the phone. Like the night light feature here for example.