Nokia 5.3 review: Should you buy it?

WION New Delhi Sep 16, 2020, 04.39 PM(IST) Written By: Ankit Tuteja

Nokia 5.3 review: Should you buy it? Photograph:( WION )

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The dual-SIM phone comes in two variants - 64 GB storage with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB storage with 6 GB of RAM. The former is priced at INR 13,999, while the latter costs INR 15,499.

When it comes to budget phones, the market is crowded. There are so many options to choose from and this makes it difficult to pick a phone that aligns well with our needs. And now joining the crowd is a new contender - the Nokia 5.3 

I got my hands on the new phone and put it to different tests. I will share with you what’s good and what’s bad in HMD's latest Android smartphone, so that you can make an informed buying decision.

Design

I will begin with the design. Like many other Nokia phones from HMD, the Nokia 5.3 is aesthetically designed. The phone has a nice build quality. The gradient design and the circular camera module at the back are likely to draw your attention.

The scratch-resistant back is another highlight of the phone. It hasn’t got even a single scratch in around 15 days that I have spent with it.

Though it’s made of polycarbonate, it has a metallic finish, and that adds to the overall appeal of the phone. Most importantly, it's slim and pretty lightweight, which makes it easy to handle and operate, even for long hours. And a dedicated button gives users faster access to Google Assistant.

I have the Cyan colour with me, but it comes in two more colours - Charcoal and Sand. Overall, the design is nice.

Display

Next comes the display.

The slim bezels and a waterdrop notch add to the overall look of the phone.

 

The 6.5-inch display with the HD+ resolution is pleasing to the eyes, but note that it’s not the best screen resolution that you would get in this price range. There are sharper displays available on phones in the mid-range category.

I am fine with the display’s brightness, but some of you may find it a little dull.

The absence of 90Hz refresh rate is what I can’t ignore - something which competitors have started to offer on budget phones. Understand that a higher refresh rate results in a smoother and more fluid display experience. I wonder, why HMD decided to not include it.

All in all, the display is of acceptable quality if not the best in class.

Camera

Next comes the camera, something that’s really important for me in a phone. I can still compromise here and there on the design front, but not with the camera.

It has four camera lenses (13 MP + 2 MP + 5 MP + 2 MP) with a flash at the back and an 8 MP camera at the front. But how well does this quad-camera setup fare?

In daylight, and for that matter, even in room-light environments, the camera generates decently bright results, but they lack sharpness and detailing. The Macro mode is a disappointment in most of the conditions.

In Night mode, it captures a good amount of light, but the results are grainy.

Talking about the front camera, it’s satisfactory in daylight, but in low-light, it’s a letdown.

Overall, for me, the cameras of the Nokia 5.3 are below-average performers.

Performance

We have talked about design, display and camera, but how does it perform?

I must admit that the phone got along with me quite well. Mostly, I was doing usual things on the phone - calling, messaging, watching videos, browsing and managing social networks. It was smooth to multitask. The phone neither slowed down nor it had heating issues. I am not very impressed with its speaker; it’s fairly loud, but the audio quality is underwhelming.

The 4000 mAh battery is one of its strongest pillars. It easily lasts for a day, and if the usage isn’t heavy, it can survive for around half-a-day more.

The software is what could make it desirable for some people. The phone runs stock Android 10, meaning no bloatware, a clean interface, and regular software and security updates. The company also promises that it will be upgraded to Android 11.

Also, the Nokia 5.3 comes with a pair of earphones, which is usually not bundled with budget phones.

The dual-SIM phone comes in two variants - 64 GB storage with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB storage with 6 GB of RAM. The former is priced at INR 13,999, while the latter costs INR 15,499.

Verdict

Now comes the most important question - should you buy it? I would say, if the camera isn’t your priority, you can go for it, but if you’re looking for a complete package at INR 15,000, you should give this phone a miss.