The Nokia 5.3 is located in the entry-level segment with a price of almost 200 dollars. On paper, however, it offers good features – especially the quadruple rear camera. In addition, the smartphone wants to score with a large display and a long-lasting battery. In the test, we clarify whether this also works in practice.
Design & Quality
The Nokia 5.3 is available in three color options. Our charcoal variant is almost completely black-gray and therefore certainly the most reserved of the three options. If, on the other hand, you want something more eye-catching and colorful, you can opt for cyan or sand. The device leaves a good impression in terms of appearance. Nokia does without embellishments or the like, but relies on clear forms. The camera ring on the upper half of the back stands out a bit, of course, but it is only minimally separated from the rest of the case and does not look bulky. The corners are strongly rounded, which is why the 5.3 lies comfortably in the hand.
The back is made of plastic, but the matte finish skillfully overcomes this fact, which also contributes to the chic, restrained overall look. The display is covered with glass and slightly rounded to the side. Applying a screen protector should still not be a problem. Overall, the processing quality is in a good range. The various components are neatly connected to one another. We only feel a slight burr on the back, but that’s not a problem. The case is also quite stable. When pressure is applied to the front and back, the smartphone hardly bends, and the user does not have to fear damage to the body or display. We don’t hear any cracking or crunching during our stress tests.
The front camera sits in a rather wide water drop notch. More would definitely have been possible here. The edge under the camera lens in particular is quite large. On the other hand, the rest of the frame is clearly visible, but is still moderate overall. The lower edge houses the subtle Nokia logo. With dimensions of 164 millimeters in height, 76.5 millimeters in width and 8.5 millimeters in depth, the Nokia 5.3 is not exactly compact, but this is primarily due to the large display. Nevertheless, it is not a heavyweight with a weight of 180 grams. There is no IP certification for water and dust protection.
The 20:9 screen is very large with a diagonal of 6.55 inches. The HD + resolution of 1600 x 720 pixels cannot keep up with that. A pixel density of 267 ppi already suggests that content is not displayed crystal clear. The display is far from pixelated and it looks sharp at normal viewing distance, but when we look closely, we quickly see individual pixels.
We don’t have much to complain about in terms of color reproduction, and the black value is also convincing, especially for the entry-level class, even if it sometimes turns slightly gray. The brightness is also okay, but it should have been a bit more, especially when reading in direct sunlight. In addition, the screen is not completely evenly illuminated. On the other hand, there is nothing to complain about in terms of viewing angle stability. Even when viewed from the side, the content can still be easily recognized and the color distortions are limited to a minimum. Thanks to Gorilla Glass 3, the screen is secured against bumps and scratches.
The Qualcomm 655 processor works inside. In combination with the 4 gigabyte RAM, this delivers good performance – especially for the entry-level area. Accordingly, most users should get through everyday life with it. Applications start quickly, navigating through the menus is easy, just like surfing the Internet. The smartphone is also capable of multitasking.
Gaming is also possible, but the user naturally has to make significant compromises. Hardware-hungry games like Asphalt 9 Legends sometimes stutter heavily despite the reduced graphics. However, if a completely smooth gameplay is not so important to you, you can also have fun with these titles. The currently very popular Call of Duty Mobile, on the other hand, runs pleasantly smoothly – albeit with reduced graphics. The 3DMark benchmark test also shows that the gaming performance does not meet the highest demands. In the Sling Shot Extreme demo, the Nokia secured 1,143 points and was clearly in the lower third.
The internal memory is quite generous for an entry-level smartphone with 64 gigabytes. In addition, the storage space can be expanded by up to 512 gigabytes using microSD cards. Very nice: the microSD is separated from the second SIM card slot. The user does not have to make any compromises and can use both slots in parallel.
The operation of the Nokia 5.3 presents no problems. The power button and the volume rocker are on the right. Commendable: The Google Assistant has its own button, so the power button is not used twice, as is the case with many other devices, and the smartphone can also be switched off with a longer press, which is unfortunately no longer a matter of course. The fingerprint sensor is on the back under the camera, it reacts quickly, but not always reliably. We have to wait for a blocking period more often in the test because we need too many attempts. If you want, you can unlock the phone with your face, but that doesn’t always work.
Android One is used as the operating system. Nokia does not use its own user interface, but the unchanged Google OS. Purists get their money’s worth. The operation is easy to use, and the menus are largely sensible and intuitive. The user can choose between gesture control and the classic three on-screen buttons. The gestures work, but we find the classic key variant a bit more catchy. Most of the direct settings such as Bluetooth, WiFi and mobile data can be controlled via the screen menu at the top of the screen. However, we are missing the NFC button here.
The big advantage of Android One: Google delivers guaranteed system updates for two years and security updates for three years. Our test device already comes with the current Android version 10. An update to Android 11 and probably also to Android 12 is also secured.
Nokia brought a quadruple camera directly to the Nokia 5.3, following the current trend. In terms of quality, the camera unit naturally does not achieve the performance of higher-priced devices. The main camera has a resolution of 13 megapixels and has an f / 1.8 aperture. It receives support from a 2-megapixel depth sensor, which is supposed to ensure blurring in the background. The picture quality in daylight leaves a good impression. Despite the relatively low resolution, the Nokia scores with good detail and natural color reproduction. In poor light, however, the image quality drops significantly. There is color distortion and image noise, which increases with even less light.
In addition to the main camera, the smartphone also has a 5 megapixel wide-angle camera. Here, however, the detail drawing decreases significantly and the colors no longer appear quite as natural. The same goes for the macro lens with a resolution of 2 megapixels that allows close-ups. The front camera offers 8 megapixels and delivers solid selfie quality.
Battery & Connections
The battery capacity of 4,000 mAh reads more than decent on paper. The Nokia 5.3’s battery also leaves a solid impression in practice. In our YouTube endurance test at full brightness, the smartphone had to be plugged in again after almost 7 hours. With this, the user should get through the day without any problems with normal use. The smartphone is charged via a modern USB-C interface. It takes almost 2 hours until the battery is full again. A quick charge function is not integrated, as is the possibility of wireless charging.
Conveniently, Nokia has given the 5.3 a 3.5 millimeter jack connector on the top. Far from being a matter of course nowadays. Headphones can also be connected to the smartphone by cable. Of course, Bluetooth headphones can also be connected wirelessly. Nokia uses the outdated Bluetooth version 4.2 here. The integrated speaker delivers a decent sound, even if you shouldn’t expect too much. They sound quite scratchy, especially at high volume.
Conclusion: Nokia 5.3
If you don’t want to spend too much on your next smartphone, you can take a closer look at the Nokia 5.3. The design is pleasantly restrained, at least in the black version we tested. But the other two color options also appeal. The processing quality also leaves a good impression. The display is nice and large, but the resolution cannot keep up, which results in a very low pixel density. In terms of hardware, however, we don’t have much to complain about. It is absolutely solid for this price segment. The quadruple camera takes good pictures within its capabilities and the battery lasts quite a long time.
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Last product update on 2021-10-23 | Source: Amazon Affiliate