Simplicity is always in style, which is aptly represented by Nokia's core C-series. The new Nokia C5 isn't a show-off, preferring to keep a basic and simple candybar form factor. Made mostly out of plastic, with a hint of metal on its borders, the C5 comes with a 12-key numeric keypad. What's great about the keypad is the relative ease of use with its large and raised keys, and with it, faster and more accurate typing speeds.
Yet, the C5's design consideration isn't fully thought out. For instance, its microSD slot has a plastic, hinged cover, but we had difficulty pressing and releasing the microSD from its holder.
The C5 might look simple on the outside, but it's nothing like that within. Underneath its 2.2-inch screen, lies Symbian S60 version 3.2, a mobile platform that's seen deployment on Nokia's various smartphones such as the Nokia E72. Similarities are aplenty, and thankfully so. This includes Nokia's Ovi Maps with a lifetime navigation license (which should be the case for all future Nokia smartphone series) and the full suite of Ovi services. As such, you can also browse the Ovi Store and download music off the Nokia Music Store. Downloading apps and music would rely on the C5's inherent HSDPA connection of up to 10.2Mbps as the unit doesn't come with a Wi-Fi connectivity option.
Some might balk at the petite nature of its 2.2-inch display, and though quite rare, bemoan the absence of a touchscreen. For sure, video viewing on the C5 was a painful affair for the eyes, but not so for the ears with its above average audio playback. Another trade-off would be its imaging capabilities, capped with a 3.2-megapixel sensor. Images did not turn out sharp and crisp - a factor that could deter shutterbugs from getting this phone. The C5 does have a slight advantage with its LED flash, a useful feature that's missing from some of the top tier smartphones.
The Nokia C5 has a decent number of features that's usually found in high-end smartphones, so it's surprising to see that it carries a $358 (without GST) price tag. In a time when we're flooded with bigger, faster and stronger mobile devices, it's good to see that there's still some consideration given for consumers seeking an affordable alternative with the basic smartphone features.