updated 04:40 pm EDT, Fri August 31, 2007
Nokia 5200 (Fido) hands-on
The Nokia 5200 was recently adopted by the Canadian carrier Fido, giving Electronista the rare opportunity to test it before it hits wider North American release. The phone is the latest in Nokia's XpressMusic series, and should not be confused with with the existing 5300; while superficially similar, the 5200 drops the camera rating from 1.3 megapixels to VGA, and also drops a band from its GSM receiver. More importantly, given its musical focus, the track skip buttons have been removed, leaving only a play/pause button.
Regardless, Nokia appears to want people listening to music almost as soon as they open the box, since the Quick Start guide concentrates not on making calls or sending MMS messages, but loading the phone with audio files. This is indeed very easy: users connect the phone to a PC via a bundled USB cable, and enter Data Storage mode; from there, they can drag MP3 files into the open folder, and then go into the phone's Media Library to make it sort tracks by their tags.
Actually playing the music as desired, however, can be problematic. The phone initially refused to add all music to its universal track list, instead forcing us to pick songs individually and go back to the Media Player to hear another. When this problem mysteriously solved itself, it still became apparent that the lack of skip buttons was going to be a problem. If we didn't feel like hearing a particular song, it meant navigating through several menus to reach the Player software.
Likewise, while the bundled earbuds produce very clean sound, they lack bass response and can slip out of the ear without much provocation. Size is also an issue with the phone's headphone jack, requiring use of a bundled adapter to equip more powerful headsets.
With this said, there's much to recommend the 5200 if it's treated merely as a regular phone with perks. Its plastic casing actually feels quite sturdy, and its sliding mechanism is natural and easy to use. It also comes with a 1GB microSD card, which if nothing else, can be used to hold large amounts of photos and video. Texting and MMS messaging have been made as good as can expected, meanwhile, in part because of the accuracy of Nokia's predictive text software.
Based on early impressions, the 5200 receives a cautious thumbs-up for the average cellphone buyer. For those who demand a substitute to an iPod, they may want to save for the 5300.
Closed and open views
Music Player software