Nokia 5.3 first impressions

HMD Global unveiled the Nokia 5.3 in March this year as part of the company’s 2020 portfolio. It was an insipid announcement via a press release instead of the scheduled launch event at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which got canceled due to the pandemic.

The Nokia 5.3 has finally launched in India, and I spent some time with it before the launch. Here are my first impressions of this mid-range device.

Nokia 5.3 Specifications

  • Operating System: Android 10
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
  • RAM: 4/6GB LPPDDR4x
  • Storage: 64GB eMMC 5.1; expandable up to 512GB via microSD card
  • Display: 6.55” HD+ (1600 x 720) LCD | 20:9 aspect ratio | 2.5D Gorilla Glass 3 | 270ppi
  • Front Camera: 8MP | f/2 aperture
  • Rear Camera: 13MP f/1.8 + 5MP ultra wide-angle (118°) + 2MP macro + 2MP depth
  • Battery: 4000mAh | 5V/2A charging
  • Dimensions: 164.28 x 76.62 x 8.5mm | 180g

Design

The Nokia 5.3 sports the classic Nordic-inspired design. It fits snugly in the hand and offers a nice grip. It comes with a 2.5D glass front and a scratch-resistant composite polycarbonate back that gives a sense of durability.

The power button has a neat notification light that lights up the button – it is visually appealing and well thought out. At the back too, the camera setup is nicely done. It’s clean and symmetrical and the slight protrusion is not a bother.

The Nokia 5.3 packs a 6.55-inch display, but the resolution is limited to HD+. It is also not the sharpest or the brightest display out there.

Camera

The Nokia 5.3 boasts of a quad camera setup. The 13MP camera works in tandem with a 5MP ultra-wide lens, a 2MP depth sensor for those portrait shots, and a 2MP macro lens for the close-up shots.

HMD Global pitches the AI imaging experiences on the Nokia 5.3 like the Portrait Mode and the Night mode as the standout features. You can play around with six different bokeh styles to capture bokeh portraits as well as click photos in challenging light conditions - the image fusion and exposure stacking doing its low-light magic. You can also use Night mode with the ultra-wide-angle camera. Then there are additional beautification and powerful de-noise capabilities.

Software

Like any other Nokia phone, Nokia 5.3 is an Android One smartphone. It ships with pure Android 10 with no bloatware and is ready for Android 11 and beyond - the company promises 2 years of Android upgrades and 3 years of monthly security updates.

The smartphone also features a dedicated Google Assistant button as well as the Google Assistant Ambient mode which offers AI-powered suggestions like upcoming calendar entries, commute times, etc. on the always-on-display when your device is charging.

Again, like always, the Nokia 5.3 is also an Android Enterprise Recommended smartphone.

Hardware

The Nokia 5.3 is the first Nokia smartphone to be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 mobile platform. It comes in two memory variants - 4GB or 6GB - while the storage remains the same at 64GB.

There’s a large 4000mAh battery and HMD Global claims that it offers a ‘two-day battery life’. Unfortunately, there is no fast charging capability.

Summary

The Nokia 5.3 comes in three color variants - Cyan, Sand, and Charcoal – and is available in India at a price of ₹13,999 ($188) for the 4GB variant and ₹15,499 ($208) for the 6GB variant.

The Nokia 5.3 has a minimalist, yet striking, design and offers a well-rounded specifications sheet with pure and up-to-date Android experience. As is always the case, HMD Global aims to fight it out in the competitive budget and mid-range smartphone market in India on the basis of the experience it offers rather than the price-to-specs ratio.

I'll take a deeper dive in the next few days and publish a comprehensive review soon. Stay tuned!

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