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Review: Out and About with the Nokia 5500 Sport

Review by Samuel Chan on Friday November 17, 2006.

nokia 5500 sport · cell phone reviews · nokia news · cell phone news · samuel chan

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The Nokia 5500 Sport is the follow up of the one year old 5140i. It's been a while since Nokia's last "tough" phone, and a lot has changed. Apart from the dust-proof, splash-proof, and shock-proof features, you now have a higher-resolution camera, and to most people's surprise, the Symbian smartphone operating system. The most interesting new feature would be the inclusion of a 3D motion sensor, which lets you track your jogging and also allows you to control music and play games by tapping the handset itself. Today we will examine whether these additions are genuinely functional or mere gimmicks.

Physical Aspects

The Nokia 5500 derives its basic styling and concept from its predecessors. Speaking of design, I found that the people around me were polarized in their opinion of the phone - they either loved it or hated it. The phone has a bar style with a slightly trimmed waist, and while this looks a bit funny, it actually helps to give you a firmer grip. The silver/yellow color scheme matches well with the metallic finishing on the battery cover, making the phone look like a piece of diving equipment. Nokia has also managed to trim the 5500's size a little from its predecessors, making it not much bulkier than other "normal" phones, measuring 107mm x 45mm x 18mm (4.21" x 1.77" x 0.71") and weighing 107g (3.77oz).

On the top of the phone you can find the flashlight and the power button, but this flashlight is only as bright as the LED-flashes found on other Nokia phones. The Pop-Port and power port are found on the bottom of the phone behind a piece of rubber. Opening the battery compartment requires a coin to screw open the lock on the cover, similar to Casio's water proof phones. Underneath the battery you will find the microSD and SIM card slots.

The PTT key and volume controls are found on the left side, whereas the Infrared port, instant swap key, and edit key are found on the right side. The instant swap key gives you one button access to sports, music, and phone functions, and the edit key allows you to change your input method when you enter text.

Just like the older 5000 series handsets, the screen is square. Surrounding the screen is a rubber protection strip with the hang-up and dial buttons hidden at the tip of both ends. The rubber keypad is completely smooth, but the indentation along each row makes it easier for differentiation between keys. However, the buttons are quite hard to press, and using the phone non-stop for five minutes is likely to start to hurt your thumb. The bottom line of the alphanumeric keypad is the worst at this. In the dark the phone looks quite cool when the whole yellow frame gets lit up with the numbers glowing in white. Notice that the d-pad color changes with respect to the function mode: white for normal, red for sports, and yellow for music.

If yellow/grey is too sharp for you, you can still choose a more conservative black color scheme that makes the phone look more professional, and the design less awkward. Nokia claim that the body is strengthened by stainless steel, and while I did not have the chance to perform a drop test, I can say that this device is solid.

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About the author

Samuel Chan
Sam Chan is MobileBurn's roving reporter and reviewer in Hong Kong, where he has access to all sorts of toys the rest of us just can't have.

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