Nokia 5610 XpressMusic (T-Mobile) Review

The recent phones i've been reviewing have been fairly thin so the Nokia 5610 XpressMusic initially shocked me with its girth. But comparing it to the n82, the 5610 doesn't look so fat any more. Similar to the other XpressMusic phone sold on T-Mobile, the Nokia 5310, the 5610 runs S40 5th edition. The firmware on my 5610b is V 05.92 14-03-08 (the initial production firmware). The box contains the phone, Nokia Battery BP-5M 900 mAh, AC-4U charger, CA-101 USB data cable, Nokia Stereo Headset HS-45 with AD-56 (remote control), 2GB microSD memory card, and Nokia CD with utilities and programs

There are no keys on the left of the phone. The right side has a very recessed volume rocker which is hard to push since it's so thin and a 2 level camera shutter.

Quick facts:
Name: Nokia 5610 (RM-359)
Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900
Weight: 111 g
Dimensions: 99 x 48 x 17 mm
Battery life (stand by): 312 hours
Battery life (talk): 360 minutes

My phone was manufactured in: (your phone's country of manufacture could vary) China.

The 5610 closed

The 5610 opened

Continuing the XpressMusic theme of the 5310, the 5610 is mostly black except for the ring of red around the phone and the two large blocks of red to the left and right of the display. A key differentiator of the Nokia 5610 from the 5310 is that the 5610 is in a slider format.

Coming from recent reviews of the E71 and 5310, I had high expectations of the feel quality on the 5610.

The sides of the phone feel solid but the battery cover feels hollow.

The sides of the phone have a faint amount of grip that is just enough to push your thumb against to open the slider. It's easier to push the slider from the bottom to open it.

Opening the slider will automatically unlock the keyboard while closing the slider will display the lock option for the center, after a couple seconds of being closed the phone will auto key lock (change this at menu > settings >phone > automatic keyguard). Auto keyguard does not apply when the slider is open.

Nokia 5610 to the E71

Nokia 5610 to the N82

The memory card holder is really nice and very similar to the sim card holders on most n-series phones like the n95 and n82. But its small size makes it hard to use.

The sim card holder is not as good with just a slot

The screen is a good size and resolution is standard Nokia at 240 x 320 pixels (2 inches) and can display up to 16.7 million (24-bit) colors. There is a light sensor to vary the brightness of the screen.

The screen is similar to the one found on the 5310.

Nokia 5610 in the dark:

The display is flush with the buttom soft keys but separated by the horizontal switch. The soft keys and call keys are finished in grossy plastic with the same feel as the plastic protecting the display. the soft keys and call keys provide good loud clicky feedback but overall feel cheap. The dpad is stiff so pushing left/right/up/down requires effort. The inside keys are also finish in the same slippery plastic as the softkeys. The is enough texture on the slightly bevelled number keys to feel each key as they as flush with each other. The keys at the bottom of the phone are still easy to hit in one handed operation.

As you may have noticed from the front of the phone, the 5610 features a switch just above the soft keys. This switch is spring loaded so it always returns to the center position. At any screen, sliding the switch to the left will switch you to the music player. Sliding it left again will reveal the radio. Sliding it one more time left will return you to the standyby screen. Switching between the 3 screens is accompanied with a nice sliding animation that would be nice to see in the rest of the OS.

As i mentioned before, the 5610 runs S40 5th edition. There are the usual tmobile customizations like tmobile icons, the right softkey can't be changed so it's stuck as t-zones, t-mobile's own IM & E-mail app, help,

The phone feels slow within the menus but the music/video player was more smooth and faster than the 5310.

As with other Nokia phones sold under T-Mobile, the right soft key cannot be changed from t-zones.

Although the Nokia 5610 support Flash 2.1 for animated screen savers, it cannot play FLV files from YouTube.

Not much is different between the 5310 and 5610 so you can refer to my Nokia 5310 review for details on the software.

The Nokia 5610 has no support for T-Mobile's 3G network. It's odd this phone doesn't have it but the lowly Nokia 3555 has T-mobile 3G support.

Sound Quality
With no support for T-mobile's 1700 network, the Nokia 5610 still managed to pull as much reception as possible in the NYC area. I experienced no problems with voice during calls and none of my calls were dropped.

You can set your own MP3 as a ring tone too.

The 5610 has weak speakers with no bass. The audio quality is worst than the E61 and N82. It also only plays mono through the speakers.

Headset use
The 2.5mm headset. The 5610 also supports Bluetooth stereo headsets through A2DP but I wasn't able to test this.

Multimedia Features

The 5610 has a 3.2MP (2048 x 1536 pixels) camera with dual LED flash

The is no cover over the lense and is fully exposed. I wish Nokia put a plastic cover for the camera in the battery cover so if it got scratched it could be as easy as changing the battery cover to get rid of the scratches.

The photos produced by the 5610 are sharp. A slow shutter forces you to hold still for a split second when taking photos. The phone takes a picture a split second after pressing down on the shutter button but it's a lot faster than the 5310. Saving photos is slow taking about 6 seconds from after pressing down on the shutter so you can't take many photos in succession.

The small shutter key makes it hard to hold half way to autofocus so I ended up losing the focus a few times.

Macro photo (N82, E71, 5610)

Outside (E71, 5610)

Darkness (N82, E71, 5610)

5610 grimlock no flash (N82, E71, 5610)

The 5610 camera produces amazing results with its 3.2MP autofocus camera that resemble the 5MP N82 than the 3.2MP E71. Macro photos and non-macro photos turned out very sharp even without a dedicated macro setting. The dual LED flash did light up the room better than a single LED of the E71 but no where close to the Xenon of the N82.

You can connect the 5610 to your computer using Bluetooth or USB data cable. You can install Nokia PC Suite to synchronize the 5610 with your computer.

You can pair devices, you can send images/music files/video clips/themes and virtually any content via Bluetooth to another device. Each time you want to connect to another device, the 5610 needs to scan for devices even if you've previously connected with the device (this gets annoying if you Bluetooth a lot as you need to wait for the search to finish). If your BT is off you can still send media, the phone prompts you to turn on BT and will automatically turn off BT when the transfer is done. So if S40 can automatically turn off BT, why can't S60 do the same?

Sending files occur in the foreground (cannot multi-task) but receiving files occur in the background so you can multi-task during this time.

Pairing the 5610 with a PC gives you these features in the included Bluetooth profiles:
Dial up networking
HS Audio gateway
OBEX Object Push
OBEX File Transfer
Serial Port
Network Access Point Service

There are not as many profiles as on Sony Ericsson phones but its good enough for most people. I paired the 5610 to my laptop and E71 with no problems.

External Memory
A 2GB microSD memory card is included in the 5310. The memory card is obstructed by the battery so you can't hot swap the memory card.

Battery is moderate for a S40 phone. The 5310 lasts 3.5 days from full charge. Without a SIM card or placing the phone in flight mode, the phone lasted 5 days without a charge.

Unlike Motorola and Blackberry phones, the 5610 cannot be charged through the microUSB.

Build quality...........8
Features for $.........6 (T-Mobile $99 for 2 years)
Battery life.............4


*Attractive exterior design
*More advanced S40 5th edition operating system
*Great build quality
*Fast menu navigation
*Support for various IM and e-mail services like MSN and gmail

*Weak speakers
*Poor call quality
*Triband with no 3G support.
*No dedicated music controls except the front switch
*Complicated menu system
*no native e-mail client
*No 3.5mm headset jack
*cheap battery cover

Overall the Nokia 5610 is a great mid-ranged phone with a very compelling design and good build quality. The 5610 produces shockingly great images from its autofocus 3.2MP camera. The missing 3.5mm audio jack is shocking with Nokia pushing it as a music oriented phone. I had no issues with call quality and call strength with T-Mobile weak network in New York City.
Nokia 5610 XpressMusic (T-Mobile) Review Nokia 5610 XpressMusic (T-Mobile) Review Reviewed by Eric on 9/23/2008 Rating: 5

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