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A smart choice for a touchscreen!


Easy to use, great battery life, great introduction to smartphones !

Very rare occasions of battery charge failure .

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Look & Feel

Durability & Robustness

Battery standby time

Value for money

Range of features

Battery talktimeExcellent

Camera Quality

73 Ciao members have rated this review on average: exceptional See ratings
exceptional by (61%):
  1. lights84
  2. Graygirl
  3. Gingerkitty
and 44 other members
very helpful by (39%):
  1. gingelou
  2. Ailran
  3. swindoniansteve
and 27 other members

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I first found out about this phone as a possibility when I returned a review rate, and read a review of it on Ciao. It sounded ideal for me, so I also checked the ratings and comments on Revoo which bore out what I'd already read. It's a fairly straightforward touchscreen smartphone, with a reputation of having a longer battery life than many of the others that were options for me when I was thinking of changing my phone. This is my first smartphone and first touchscreen, so it was a bit daunting but I was allowed to try it in the shop and I reckoned I'd get on with it ok with a bit of perseverance. These are some of the things that I've found so far after five months of daily usage!

I have this phone on a £20 a month 24 month contract with Orange. This is what I got:

In the box : The phone, the sim, the charger, various manuals, a hands-free mountable bracket, wrist strap with plectrum stylus attached, 2GB micro SD card, earplugs.
Not in the box : USB data cable, easy and cheap to obtain from eBay (I got a genuine Nokia cable for £1.50 post-free). There is also a vastly expanded version of the instruction manual available online, I've looked once so far and it was mind-boggling!


It measures 4cm x 7cm. It has great responsiveness, which was a great relief as I had all sorts of worries about over- or under-sensitivity. It is adjustable but I've found that the factory setting so far is perfect for me. The only downside is that as I tend to use my nails to type, if I cut them short I have to use something else to poke the screen with. I have tried attaching the wrist strap so that I could use the stylus but I found that it got in the way far too much & took it off again. I have resolved to keep my nails slightly longer than usual! I haven't bothered with a screen protector as it lives in a sock and this has kept it undamaged so far.

This is on-screen, not a slide-out one. You hold the phone vertically for the conventional phone dialler layout, horizontally for the qwerty keyboard. This has been my favourite feature of the phone by far as I have never really settled with texting by pressing keys repeatedly for the required letter or worse, predictive text, even after years of mobile use. I love my qwerty keyboard and I hope that I'll now always be able to have a phone that features one! There's also a handwriting option, which works remarkably well (another case for decent nails!) - it recognises letters one at a time, and on the whole if you're careful to make sure that they're fully formed it works. My 'H' seems to cause it problems though, must work on that..
There's a full symbol menu; smilies are not included though so you still have to construct them, but I don't mind that, as I don't use them a lot anyway.

Receiving a text - it only rings once, then the centre button lights up and flashes on & off for an hour. This is a disadvantage of the phone sock as it hides the light very effectively, but then so would a pocket or a handbag. A repeater as an option would have been a great advantage here, as I've missed important messages several times due to the single text tone being drowned out by normal daily noises.

Receiving a call - this took some practice. The phone locks itself after a set time-period (adaptable from 5 seconds to 60 in increments), so inevitably the phone will ring while the screen is locked, meaning that you need to unlock the screen to answer, this message does indeed flash up on screen. To unlock, you slide the switch on the right hand of the screen downwards. Initially, in my panic at having new technology, I thought that you also had to press 'answer call' on the screen as well. However, after annoying a couple of friends and relatives by cutting them off just as I'd answered, I discovered that all that is needed is to slide the switch and you've answered the call. This is just as well as it only rings four times (if using a conventional ringing tone) and then goes to voicemail, I haven't yet found any way to lengthen this interval. Another issue was 'where's the dialler to press 3 for customer services?' - problem solved by opening options, and open dialler is top of the list, with it then replacing your screensaver for the duration of the call.


The camera is an adequate 2MP, but is a big step-up for me from the paltry VGA ones on previous phones. I use a DSLR for any serious photography, but I've found this to be very handy for quick snaps in good light. It doesn't have a flash. The quality is probably better than the old 110 film cameras, but it fills a similar role - simple, small lens, pocket-sized and convenient. There are a few different filters and modes to play with, and the video mode is quite handy - although strangely it films in mp4, only compatible with iTunes or Quick Time. Still, It doesn't look bad in iTunes. Obviously again it's best in good light.
Sound recorder

This is pretty good, and how long you can record for depends entirely on the storage available in the memory, and the battery life (obviously this is also true of the camera/video).

The phone syncs with Windows Media Player, I've done this using the data cable, but it will probably also work via Bluetooth. You can download whole albums or playlists to the phone fairly instantly this way. The phone organises your music by album, artist etc automatically. The sound through the phone is adequate, as are the supplied earphones, which have a standard jack plug.

My phone came with a few pre-installed applications - mainly internet-related ones, such as Facebook, and maybe a little out of date, MySpace and Bebo. The most efficient way of getting more apps onto this phone seems to be to use Nokia's Ovi Store, which has plenty of free apps available as well as the large number of ones that are for sale. I can also get into the Orange store but most of those are payable and the range is much smaller. There's also Ovi Music Store, and Ovi Maps - this is the most useful one so far for us as it functions with the phone's GPS as a proper GPS device, and can be mounted on a car dashboard, or even used when you're on foot, as I had to a couple of weeks ago. I was extremely grateful to find that it accurately pinpointed my location and I was able to quickly see where I'd gone wrong and get to where I needed to be. The running speed of the applications is good, but a quick note about..

I know that a lot of the problem with this for me will be the Orange network availability at any given time, but I do have connection problems even when it's showing full reception and 3G - despite this, it often tells me that there is no network connection, and it takes another attempt to connect to actually get online, which is a pain when you're in a hurry. When it's working ok it's fairly quick, I'd say it was fair to adequate, although in its favour, when I needed to find the number of the local dog warden recently, it did me proud by connecting to Google and searching very quickly when I was out walking our own dog.
Memory & memory card

It has an internal memory of 70MB, and the ability to take a 16GB microSD card.
Battery life

This is one of the things that drew me to this phone. When I was researching, so many companies seemed to be developing their smartphone's functions ahead of their battery capacity, and many had a reputation for going flat far too fast for my liking. This one had a good reputation for holding its charge, and it has lived up to this so far. I charge it every few days, and on the whole it has moderate use, but I do have fairly regular long conversations with an Aunt who could talk for Britain, and use the internet fairly regularly (despite the intermittent connection!).

The main one is that it does go spontaneously flat occasionally, but I think it's updating itself in the background. This is the only logical explanation I can think of. It's happened three times so far in the five months that I've had it, but after charging it's fine again for weeks.

If you want a phone with a webcam/front camera for chat, this hasn't got one (just been on a mobile forum and this seems to be the main gripe).

I can't figure out how to turn off the alarm. This is probably a failing on my part but other than cancelling the alarm completely (you're meant to be able to set up a daily one), I can't seem to achieve anything other than snooze. This sounds great, but isn't helpful for my kids on a schoolday!

For full tech-specs, here's the Nokia site page:

To be honest, for what I need, this phone is brilliant. I'm not the sort of person whose mobile is the centre of my universe - it is still basically a phone with a few handy extras, but I enjoy using it, and having a little camera and a mini computer in my pocket at all times still hasn't lost its novelty. I thoroughly recommend this as a more than satisfactory entry-level smartphone, it's been fairly idiot proof so far, the battery lasts well, and it's reliable, say, 95% of the time (roughly :-) )
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Comments about this review »

lights84 01.08.2013 12:21

Well reviewed.

Graygirl 25.05.2013 14:32

Great review x

Gingerkitty 12.09.2012 21:13

Excellently reviewed

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Product Information »

Manufacturer's product description

The eye-catching Nokia 5230 brings together innovative design and cutting-edge technology with its vibrant colors, ...


MPN 5230, 002R8P9, 5230 White/Dark Silver, 002S6G2, 002S5P5, 002R1X5
Product Type Smartphone
Form Factor Touch


Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
Band WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM 850/900/1800/1900
Mobile Broadband Generation 3G

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Review Ratings »

This review of Nokia 5230 has been rated:

"exceptional" by (61%):

  1. lights84
  2. Graygirl
  3. Gingerkitty

and 44 other members

"very helpful" by (39%):

  1. gingelou
  2. Ailran
  3. swindoniansteve

and 27 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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