Nokia is one of the most prominent and popular smartphone brands, which has a strong legacy behind it. The Finnish smartphone brand has managed to stay afloat despite the aggressive competition in the Indian market, all through its well-positioned mid-range smartphones. Nokia 5.3 expands that portfolio and gives consumers a fresh choice for a budget-friendly smartphone in 2020.
Nokia 5.3 starts at Rs 13,999 for 4GB RAM model and the 6GB RAM variant costs Rs 15,499. Both models come with 64GB onboard storage with an option to further expand it using a microSD card. Going by its price point, Nokia 5.3 competes against the likes of Realme 7, Redmi Note 9 Pro, Poco M2 Pro and others. But the question is should you be considering the Nokia 5.3 over others. Let's find out.
Nokia 5.3, keeping the budget tradition alive, uses a plastic back, but it does not feel cheap. Giving a smooth glass-like finish and a beautiful gradient touch, Nokia has made this phone look attractive. But that's not it. It's certainly built to last as it feels sturdy and durable just by holding it in the hand.
Nokia 5.3 is not considerably large and easy for single-hand use. That is even considering the fact that the handset packs a 4,000mAh battery in an 8.5mm thick build. The quad cameras in a circular module with dual-LED flash on the center gives a refreshing look compared to the square modules we see in abundance today. There's a fingerprint scanner just below, which blends perfectly into that charcoal hue we got for review.
Nokia is all for minimalistic branding, so you get Nokia logo on the back and one below the display, which doesn't really strike out. The power button has an LED, which lights up when the phone is on charge or there's a new notification. It's a nice touch. There's also a dedicated Google Assistant button, which works flawlessly to summon the digital AI in a jiffy.
The display is a 6.55-inch HD+ panel with a 20:9 aspect ratio and a dew-drop notch. There are bezels around the display, but they are considerably slimmer compared to older Nokia phones. The screen is big enough to cater to your binge-watching needs, and handle some normal games like Ludo and Candy Crush with ease.
Nokia phones have the added advantage of using stock Android and Nokia 5.3 delivers an identical experience. A bloatware-free, clean UI similar to Pixel phones and navigating about the phone is as easy as it gets. Also, there's another advantage of staying up to date with the latest software longer than any rival in this range.
Since the Nokia 5.3 is powered by Snapdragon 665 chipset, we didn't have high expectations of it. But it did manage to go about the day with daily calls, messaging, browsing, social media, and watching videos quite right. To say the least, it gets the job done without lags or anything, but we wouldn't be testing it to the limits, like playing PUBG Mobile on higher graphics settings.
But we had higher expectations with the 4,000mAh battery, which tends to drain out after a full day of use with moderate use. It's not too far behind the competition, but given the specs like a HD display, low-power chipset, we expected it to last well over a day. This takes us to the areas of improvements in the Nokia 5.3.
Room for improvement
So the HD display looks like a decision to keep the phone cost on the affordable side. We felt the downgrade while watching high-resolution videos or playing games. It sure gets bright but lacks natural hues outdoors.
Another area where we felt Nokia 5.3 lagged behind the competition is the camera. Having four sensors, 13MP f/1.8, 5MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro and 2MP depth sensor, certainly amps up hope. But it can be underwhelming. Low light shots suffer greatly, wide-angle shots lack dynamic range even in well-lit areas and the primary lens was not the best to capture details. Macro shots were quite good comparatively, and portraits turned out to be fine as well. But overall, Nokia 5.3 could use a major software boost to correct those photos since the hardware is capable.
Check out camera samples below:
Finally, the phone could use a faster charging. The 10W adaptor in the box certainly helps but takes over 2 hours to fully charge the phone. Our solution was to leave the phone on charge overnight or test our patience by charging it during the day.
And to point out another fact, Nokia 5.3 is not a gaming phone. You might be better off considering other options in the sub-Rs 15,000 range, even Redmi Note 9 Pro, for gaming.
Nokia 5.3 nails on the looks and feel factor. Its stock UI is always a trump card and brand loyalty surely comes into play here if you really want a Nokia phone under Rs 15,000. The cameras could really be better for the segment, but the rest is something you can work with. Nokia 5.3 is built to last.