Nokia 5310 Review: XpressMusic Slimline: Keypad, Display, Telephony, User Interface

By 12:25 Sun, 08 Aug 2021 Comments

Keypad scores decently

The keypad of Nokia 5310 has ample terraced buttons. It is easy to distinguish between keys on different rows but virtually impossible to do so for buttons within the same row. This renders some problems to orientation if you rely on touch solely. However, the size of the keys does assist here so probably some training will greatly improve the situation.

The keypad of Nokia 5310

The backlighting is very uneven but still fine enough in m

ost cases. In blackenvironments it will cautilize no problems to usability but we somewhat feel disappointed with how the handset looks in the dark.

Backlighting is very uneven and somewhat spoils the phone looks in the dark

A very fine display but too small

The display of Nokia 5310 is a 2" with QVideo Graphics Array (VGA) resolution, capable of showing up to 16M colors. It excels in picture quality and legibility under direct sunlight. On the other hand, we would have liked it if it was bit larger.

The Nokia 5310 display in the dark

Neither backlighting, nor contrast is user-configurable. In the menu you can only set the phone's behavior in power-saving mode. An animated screen-saver can be set to appear on the display and, consequently, convert into a screen-saver showing a digital clock, the current date, and icons indicating missed events, if any.

All these readings are perfectly legible in any light condition. In the menu you will also find a sleeping mode option, with which the display goes out completely.


As you might have guessed, signal reception and call clarity have not been compromised in Nokia 5310. The calls are loud and clear on both ends and you will have no problems communicating with this phone. The vibration of the phone is at moderate level.

Making a phone call on Nokia 5310

The loudspeaker loudness test results of Nokia 5310 are not among the best. It is definitely on the quieter side as is visible from the results table. Still, on most cases you are unlikely to miss a call but don't count on your hearing only in very noisy environments. You can find more details about our test, as well as the results of all other tested mobiles here.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOveral score

Nokia 531064.8 62.075.9Average

Nokia 6500 classic74.775.783.8Excellent

Nokia 6500 slide74.272.878.2Very Good

Samsung U60066.766.275.3Good

Sony Ericsson W89069.6 78.272.7Very good

Sony Ericsson W91077.570.782.7Excellent

User interface is quick and comparatively easy to use

Nokia 5310 employs the Series 40 5th edition user interface. As you might know Nokia decided to skip the 4th edition and went straight to 5th from the 3rd. But leaving the name aside, we have to say navigating and controlling the phone are almost the same as with the previous UI edition and identical to Nokia 6500 classic. The phone offers a vast number of configurable options but at the price of somehow complicated menu structure and navigation.

S40 user interface

When in stand-by, the display as usually visualizes the pre-selected wallpaper plus signal strength, battery status and time in the top bar. Beneath the top bar are the operator logo and the date. The bottom bar is reserved for the descriptions of the functions assigned to the center of the navigation key and the two context keys. The center of the navigation key opens the main menu, while the context keys can be assigned a function of your choice. The font on the main display can be of any color.

If needed, active standby mode can be activated. It consists of several parts that can be edited or relocated according to the user's preferences. In the most common case, the top area is reserved for instant access to favorite functions denoted by their respective icons. The central area provides instant access to the music player. At the very bottom events from the calendar are displayed set for the current day. A cool S40 feature, that even Nokia smartphones lack, is the possibility to add a note to the active stand-by. The two soft keys' functionality can also be altered if necessary.

The main menu in Nokia 5310 classic can be visualized in four different ways: a grid of icons with or without captions, a list of items, and tabs. While each of them has its pros and cons, our personal choice remains the typical grid view with legends, showing a matrix of 3 x 3 icons. If you prefer more icons to appear on screen, you can go for the grid view without text, as it displays a 4 x 3 icons grid.

Different main menu views

The icons themselves haven't been changed at all, keeping the well known stylish design with animation of the selected icon. They can also be freely reordered within the grid.

The submenus follow no consistent pattern. Some items have captions, others do not. In certain cases, you will even be able to see the selected item described in small font, so you will not need to step further into another menu level.

As usual, the menu items are intuitively accessible through keyboard shortcuts. The color background of the entire menu, as well as the wallpaper on the display, can be easily modified by changing the active theme.

The menu responds quickly, without lagging or holdups. Also, none of the frequently discussed halts or unexpected restarts in our Opinions section were experienced for the time we reviewed the handset.

"...The display of Nokia 5310 is a 2" with QVideo Graphics Array (VGA) resolution, capable of showing up to 16M colors. It excels in picture quality and legibility under direct sunlight. On the other hand, we would have liked it if it was bit larger..."


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