With the Nokia 5, HMD Global attempts to bring an upper-class look and feel to the more affordable midrange. The smartphone is constructed out of 6000-series aluminium, making more durable than the normal assortment of plastic contenders in the R3000-R3500 pricerange, while also making it punch above the R2999 pricetag of the handset in terms of feel in hand.
The Nokia 5 boasts a laminated 5.2″ IPS HD display with sculpted Corning Gorilla Glass, which is bright and colourful, but thanks to its 720p resolution is not as detailed at 5.5″ FHD (1920 x 1080, 443 pixels per inch) IPS LCD of the Huawei nova for instance. However, the Huawei is a lot more expensive so a 1080p panel will probably have pushed up the price of the Nokia as well. Right beneath the display, you will find the fingerprint scanner, which is not a normal inclusion at this pricerange and works very well which is doubly good.
Performance is smooth thanks to the smartphone being powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 mobile platform and virtually vanilla Android Nougat, but it is definitely not as snappy as we’d like, especially while multitasking or booting up the device.
Camera performance on a Nokia smartphone is usually a standout feature, but unfortunately the 13 MP autofocus camera on the back takes adequate shots in good lighting conditions, though these are a little dull in terms of colour. In bad lighting conditions, and especially at night, be prepared for a lot of noise on shots. The 8 MP, 84-degree wide-angle front facing camera does a good job when it comes to selfies and groupies.
In terms of battery life, the Nokia 5’s 3000 mAh battery will let you put in a full day, if you are not relying too heavily on Google Maps or Waze to get you to meetings on time. One thing to note is that the phone uses the old-school micro-USB standard instead of USB-C, so there is no fast-charging provided.
Ultimately, Nokia has delivered a reasonably competitive mid-range handset that offers quality build and design plus vanilla Android at an affordable price. So if you value look and feel, over aspects such as blistering performance, enhanced camera performance and quick charging, than this is the one to get in the sub-R3k category.