• Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Nokia 5 Review - Middle class metal beauty


Can Nokia take the throne in the middle class with the Nokia 5? Stay with us so we can find out together!

Nokia devices made of metal are very fashionable this year! There is a reason for it! After great Nokia 3 and Nokia 6, today we’re reviewing a device which found its spot in the middle – the Nokia 5. Great build quality, pure Android environment and affordable price are all here! What makes the Nokia 5 better than the Nokia 3, and just below the Nokia 6, we’ll see together.

The Nokia 5 looks like an excellent mix of the Nokias 3 and 6 – taken from the stronger one is the Qualcomm chipset, while a somewhat bigger display has the resolution we could find on the Nokia 3. Obviously, Nokia have no problems that some other manufacturers have regarding differentiating their devices among different classes – the Nokia 5 definitely aims for the middle class with very precisely defined pros and cons compared to the lower and higher class devices. Some would say that all Nokia devices look quite similar, and we have to agree, since we’ve tested the Nokias 5 and 8 at the same time, and we could only see the difference between the two when we flip them over and see the double main camera setup on the Nokia 8. Inside the factory box of the Nokia 5 we can find: Nokia charging adapter, microUSB charging and data transfer cable and 3.5mm headphones. We’re testing the Tempered Blue color version that looks quite “manly”, and next to this color also available are: Silver, Matte Black and Copper.

Let’s now see together how the Nokia 5 competes with the Samsung’s “J” series and the ever better Huawei Lite series.

Video review


As we have said, the Nokia 5 places itself right in the middle, between the lower and higher class devices, so we accordingly see a display right between the ones on the Nokia 3 and the Nokia 6. The screen covers 68.7% of the front panel, and this is a 720p HD (1280 x 720 pixels) display with the diagonal of 5.2”. The aspect ratio is 16:9, and all this translates to 282 pixels per inch, which is on par with the competitors and brings pretty sharp views. Just as the other Nokia devices, the Nokia 5 uses the IPS LCD display that can show up to 16.7 million colors. Colors are a bit “colder” and not oversaturated as we could see on some AMOLED displays, and something that we could notice is that yellow shades are somewhat more noticeable on a white background. Black colors are very nicely reproduced, while the contrast could be a little bit better. Brightness of the display is great, and on manual and auto modes the brightness can go beyond 600 nits.

The auto mode adjusts the brightness of the panel according to information it gets from the ambience light sensor that is located on the front side of the device, just to the right of the front speaker. Visibility on the sunlight is great, especially while using the Sunlight Mode, however, not as good as we could see on some middle class Samsung devices. The display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Something that is missing compared to some better devices are the Double Tap to Wake Up and Always On Display functions, but the latter we couldn’t see on the stronger Nokia 6 neither. A nice addition is definitely the preinstalled Wallpaper application that brings a lot of different wallpapers which will show the full potential of the Nokia 5’s display.

Hardware and OS

In order to compete with the competitors, the Nokia 5 needs to have both good hardware and software. The Nokia 5 runs on a Qualcomm chipset we could see in the Nokia 6. It is the Snapdragon 430, which is very well known since it found its use in many other devices. This is an octa core CPU with Cortex A-53 cores clocked at 1.4 GHz. Adreno 505 GPU is in charge of the graphics performance, which is a great choice for the HD resolution of the Nokia 5’s display. Multitasking is made possible with 2GB or RAM, while the internal storage is limited to 16GB. There is also a version with 3GB of RAM, and only 16GB of internal storage will most probably be a chocking point in the near future, however, this device does supports expansions via microSD cards up to 256GB. 16GB of storage expanded by a 16GB microSD card should to the job pretty well, taking into consideration that today the prices of microSD cards are not that high.

The system runs perfectly fluently, but when running more demanding applications, some drops in performance are noticeable, however, everything is within normal limits. Also, heavier multitasking with only 2GB of RAM isn’t the best of ideas, and the 3GB version should perform much better. 3D games run pretty smoothly and don’t show weak performances, while the overheating is noticeable which after some time leads to a drop in performances. Nothing to significant, but it’s visible. Device scored 38 355 on AnTuTu Benchmark.

Another option that the Nokia 5 has borrowed from its “big brothers”, and that the Nokia 3 doesn’t have is the fingerprint scanner. It is located inside the capacitive Home button, and it is very quick and precise. An excellent touch, indeed!

The software side of this Nokia as well is great! Just as on all the other devices from the Nokia lineup we come across almost stock Android environment which means that it has great performances and intuitive design. At the moment it runs of Android 7.1.2 Nougat with security patches dated to December, but the Oreo BETA is already active, so the final version of the Android 8.0 Oreo OS is just ahead of us. The hardware built into this device handles all OP tasks excellently, and the general impression is very good. Something that the Nokia 6 has, but it is not included in the Nokia 5 are the stereo speakers, so unfortunately we only have mono sound that is reproduced by a speaker located on the bottom of the device, to the right of the microUSB port.


Little by little we come to the section in which we’ll take a closer look at the camera built into the Nokia 5. Let’s just say flat out – everything is as it should be on a middle class device. The main camera sensor brings very good resolution of 13MP. Sensor parameters are as follows: aperture is f/2.0, pixel size 1.12µm, and the auto focus system is implemented through Phase Detection Auto Focus. Just below the main camera sensor, a two tone double LED flash is located. Other camera options are: Geo-Tagging, Touch Focus, Face Detection and HDR.

General impression is pretty good. Details are very nice thanks to not too aggressive post-processing system, the color reproduction is also very good, and the only downside goes to the levels of noise which are pretty high even when the light is abundant. The shutter speed is great, and once again we have to say that the camera interface itself is very good, since it is the same great interface we could see in other Nokia Android devices. Focusing speeds are only average, but still, we couldn’t find any problems that the Nokia 5 might have with focusing.

The Nokia 5 also has the PRO mode, however, this “PRO” should be taken with a grain of salt since it is still weaker compared to stronger devices. This time, the PRO mode is activated through the Settings menu, and it brings the following parameters: focus type, photo aspect ratio, white balance and expositions settings.

Available resolutions are:
  • 13MP (4:3 aspect ratio)
  • 5MP (4:3 aspect ratio)
  • 3MP (4:3 aspect ratio)
  • 8MP (16:9 aspect ratio)
  • 4MP (16:9 aspect ratio)
  • 2MP (16:9 aspect ratio)
Of course, it is possible to record videos, and this time they are taken in FullHD resolution at 30fps, and stored in .mp4 format. Stereo sound is also here, while sadly there is no any kind stabilization. Videos are of decent quality, but you should not expect any wonders from the Nokia 5. Details are solid, as is the color reproduction, however, there is too much digital noise. Next to the FullHD 1080p video recording, the following resolutions are also available:
  • HD 720p
  • VGA 480p
On the front side of the device there is the same sensor we could see in the Nokia 3, but this time it is capable of recording 1080p FullHD videos. The auto focus system is still here, and photos made by the front facing camera are pretty good. As far as social networks are concerned, the photos are excellent. Next to the 8MP resolution, also available are:
  • 5MP (4:3 aspect ratio)
  • 3MP (4:3 aspect ratio)
  • 6MP (16:9 aspect ratio)
  • 4MP (16:9 aspect ratio)
  • 2MP (16:9 aspect ratio)
The front facing camera, next to full HD video resolution, can also take HD and SD videos.


The Nokia 5 comes in two variants- as a SingleSIM (SS) and a DualSIM (DS) device. The one that we have for our review is the TA-1024, which means that this is a SingleSIM device which means that this device has two ports – one for a nanoSIM card, and one just below it for a microSD memory card. A microUSB connector is used for charging and data transfer.
When it comes to wireless connections, we have:
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth 4.1 (A2DP, LE)
  • A-GPS
  • NFC
Supported network frequencies on the Nokia 5 TA-1024 are:
  • 2G GSM: 850, 900, 1800,1900 MHz
  • 3G WCDMA: 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz
  • 4G LTE: 700, 800, 850, 900, 1800, 2100, 2600 MHz
Maximum download speeds in 4G networks reach up to 150Mbps, while the upload speeds can go up to 5.76Mbps.


The lithium-ion battery is this time as well non-removable, and it has the capacity of 3000 mAh. It does not support fast charging, so the full charge will take around 2 and a half hours. With one full charge we had about 9 hours of SoT (Screen on Time), and around 3 days in standby with WiFi connections turned on.

Final words

The Nokia 5 is a serious piece of hardware! The middle class was up to now reserved only for amazing Samsung J, and Huawei Lite devices, but this has changed with the Nokia 5. What definitely bought us was the build quality and the design itself, and the pure Android environment only added to this impression. Some additions such as fast charging, waterproofing or a version with 32GB of internal storage would launch the Nokia 5 to the very top of the class easily, but as it is, it is still a more than just good piece of hardware! The market price of the Nokia 5 is about 20% cheaper compared to, for example, the competition form Samsung, and we think that this makes the Nokia 5 a great choice – we honestly recommend it!

Do you like the Nokia 5? We’d love to see your opinion in the comment section below. If you have any suggestions or you would like to see a specific device being reviewed, feel free to write to us either here on our Facebook page. If you liked our review, please subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook, and sit comfortably as we’re working hard on new material for you!

Nokia 5 Specifications

Advantages and disadvantages

Reasons for and against it

Great design and build quality
Pure Android environment
The chipset offers good performances
MicroSD card expansion
No waterproofing
Only 16GB of internal storage
No fast charging