Nokia's rebirth under the umbrella of HMD Global has been a rollercoaster ride, one major reason is the stiff competition from rivals, especially in India. But the company has slowly been expanding its product portfolio with a focus on budget smartphones while banking on its brand loyalty. Nokia 5.4 is the latest entrant, trying to live up to the expectations of the masses. Does it succeed? Let's find out in our first impressions of the device.
Nokia launched the Nokia 5.4 for Rs 13,999 for 4GB+64GB and Rs 15,499 for 6GB+64GB, competition against the likes of Realme 7, Redmi Note 9 Pro, Poco X3 and many others under Rs 15,000 price range. The smartphone goes on sale on Flipkart from February 17.
Design and display
Nokia sent us the Polar Night shade, which is flaunt-worthy. Design-wise, Nokia isn't the one to experiment, hence the 5.4 sticks to its comfort zone. The glossy polycarbonate back is like a chameleon. When light falls on the surface, you'll see these beautifully-striped blue shade and it turns to near-black when there is no light.
Nokia has gone with a circular camera module that houses four sensors and there's also a fingerprint scanner right below. The LED flash is placed outside the module and the regular Nokia branding at the center completes the rear design. At 181 grams and 8.7mm thick, Nokia 5.4 is extremely light to hold in a world full of glass and metal phones. That is one good thing about polycarbonate bodies in phones besides the fact you won't be in for a hefty service bill if the rear glass breaks.
The power button and the volume rockers are on the right, a dedicated Google Assistant button is on the left. At the bottom, there's a USB Type-C port and Nokia still managed to retain the 3.5mm headphone jack to put the free pair in the box to use. We wouldn't say the Nokia 5.4 will make you go wow, but it sure won't disappoint you.
Now, turning the phone to its display side, there's good news and bad news. The punch-hole camera display is a welcome move by Nokia, but the decision to go with HD display is rather disappointing. Given what it is competing against, a Full HD display is the better option.
As for usability, you'll still be able to binge-watch your favorite shows and browse endlessly through social media. But one with the attention for detail and eye for rich colours will be disappointed in this arena. We used the phone indoors, and it is sufficiently bright. But you might want to consider cranking up the brightness levels under direct sunlight, something of a rare occurrence these winter days.
Nokia 5.4 packs a 48MP quad-camera setup. There's a 5MP ultra-wide sensor paired with 2MP macro and 2MP depth sensors. Given the segment, the cameras tend to perform quite well, but there's still room for improvement.
The primary sensor is going to produce the best results, something you'll find using more often than the others. The wide-angle lens is quite decent and can be used while shooting landscapes during the day. The depth sensor does its bit in portraits, but the macro lens seems to struggle with focus if the user is impatient, especially in low light. The night mode, portrait on the Nokia 5.4 are surprisingly good, being able to capture details better than its predecessors.
And the rest
The Nokia 5.4 packs a Snapdragon 662 chipset with 6GB RAM, which is why we are guessing your day-to-day tasks won't be a burden on the phone. The stock Android 10 out-of-the-box and soon-to-arrive Android 11 is still the USP factor. There were no lags or stutters during the time we used the phone, and can even handle some basic gaming with ease.
The rear-mounted fingerprint sensor works accurately as long as you can locate it in one go. Once you get used to the position, you'll find it better given the whole mask-era we live in today. A good rear fingerprint sensor is any day better than a crappy in-display one. If you're not one for either, face unlock will save the day for you.
Finally, there's a 4,000mAh battery with a 10W fast charger. We are still testing the battery performance, but it is easily going to push through the day given the controlled specs. Stay tuned for our full review.