Nokia branded handsets from HMD Global always manage to provide a great dollop of value for discerning smartphone buyers, particularly in the midrange and entry-level price ranges. The Nokia 5.3 is no different in this regards, as this midrange maestro boasts an attractive design (especially in the cyan colour of our long term review unit) that might be a little big for some users, particularly those turned off by proper phablet-sized handsets, measuring in at 164.3 x 76.6 x 8.5 mm and tipping the smartphone scales at 180 g.
The big benefit to that hefty size is a sizeable display that at 6.55 inch (full HD+) screen is big enough to comfortably watch Netflix, Showmax or Prime Video episodes of your favourite new show on your commute to work or Gautrain trip. Here it is especially apt to note the still available 3.5 mm audio jack that allows you to employ your favourite over the head headphones with this smartphone to fully enjoy your entertainment on the go (the smartphone’s bottom-firing speaker is easy to block if you do not use headphone FYI). The screen gets bright enough for outdoor usage and the one box on our wish list might be that it is not as vibrant as competitor displays making use of AMOLED, courtesy of its LCD screen.
Under the bonnet of the stylish phablet resides a snappy Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 mobile processor that is paired with 4 GB of this Android 10 powered smartphone. We love the fact that Nokia usage a pretty stock standard version of Android without the heavy customisation type skins like Samsung smartphone for instance. Performance whilst navigating the OS, opening and closing apps, multitasking and even playing mobile games is brisk and smooth.
The dual-SIM smartphone boasts a 4000 mAh that will get even power users through a day of usage and casual users through to a day and a half. Also onboard is 64 GB worth of internal storage that is expandable via microSD card slot and a fingerprint sensor on the back of the device (thank you LG for that inspiring placement that many Android OEMs are using – a legacy worth noting especially at this time when it’s leaving the smartphone business). On the front is an 8 MP shelfie shooter whilst the back sports a quad-camera array that consists of a 13 MP main camera, 2 MP depth sensor, 2 MP macro snapper for up-close shots and 5 MP ultrawide camera. The camera (and its great AI mode) works a treat and offers lots of detail, vibrant colours and excellent dynamic range.
All of this value is available for the recommended retail price of R4999 from local retailers like takealot. In this midrange class, there is a lot of competition, particularly from Chinese firms like Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi, but if you want good performance, style, snapper capability and a large display to consume content on, you cannot go wrong with the Nokia 5.3.