Finally, HMD Global has launched Nokia 5.3 in India, a part of Google’s Android One program. It promises two years of Android updates as well as three years of Android Security updates.

Nokia 5.3 first appeared in March 2020 and the Nokia 8.3 internationally and will be available in two configurations- 4GB/64GB and 6GB/64GB at Rs. 13,999 and Rs. 15,499 respectively.

The company also announced a refreshing new line-up of feature phones Nokia 150 and the Nokia 125 priced at Rs. 2,299 and Rs. 1,999 respectively. It will be available across top mobile retailers in the country by 25th August 2020.

The Nokia C3 is the company’s entry-level budget smartphone for first-time smartphone users in two variants- 2GB/16GB and 3GB/32GB at Rs. 7,499 and 8,999 respectively starting 17th September.

In Nokia 5.3 first impression, we talk about Design, Display, Battery & Connectivity, Camera, Hardware & Software.

Design

The Nokia 5.3 has a very sleek and sturdy design. The 2.5D curved glass at the front and the soft satin finish rear panel gives it a very premium look and feel. 

The circular camera module at the back panel with four lenses and an LED flashlight in the center looks very captivating. Nokia says that the rear panel is scratch-resistant. 

The phone’s right side has the power button. The volume rockers and a dedicated button sit on the left side to invoke the Google Assistant. The Type-C charging port is positioned at the bottom, along with a microphone and a bottom-firing speaker. The mono speaker unit produces loud and clear audio.

Overall, the Nokia 5.3 has a subtle design that looks much better than the Realme C-series and Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 9-series handsets. 

The smartphone is also available in Cyan and Sand color variants, which look quite striking.

Display

The device sports a massive 6.55-inch LCD screen with a teardrop notch. The LCD panel comes in 20:9 aspect ratio and offers a good real-estate for multimedia playback; however, the low-resolution is a big letdown, mainly when the Indian market today provides a 1080p smartphone Rs. 9,999. 

The 6.55-inch screen size with 720p resolution only results in underwhelming 267ppi, which directly affects visuals. The colors seem slightly muted, and the LCD panel’s viewing angles are also not inspiring. 

It is not a screen for binge-watching and to enjoy graphics-intensive games.

Battery & Connectivity

The smartphone is powered by a relatively modest 4,000 mAh battery cell, which has to support a pretty standard 720p resolution display. 

Combine it with the clean software; the Nokia 5.3 might last for at least one and a half-day with moderate to heavy usage. As far as connectivity is concerned, the smartphone comes equipped with a triple-slot SIM card tray to let you use two active 4G SIM cards and a microSD card to expand its built-in 64GB memory to up to 512GB. 

The smartphone supports NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, A-GPS, and comes equipped with a Type-C charging port and a 3.5mmaudio jack.

Camera

The smartphone flaunts a quad-camera system featuring a 13MP f/1.8 primary sensor aided by a 5MP ultra-wide-angle (118°) camera, 2MP macro sensor, and a 2MP depth-senor. 

The camera app also offers a variety of bokeh modes to experiment with photography. For selfies, the Nokia 5.3 sports an 8MP f/2.0 camera.

Hardware

Powered by the tried and tested Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC. It’s an excellent entry-level chipset for budget smartphones. Still, it comes across as a slightly outdated CPU in the second half of the year 2020. 

In the likes of the popular smartphone such as Realme 5/5s, the Mi A3, Vivo U10, and the Redmi Note 8 also powers the SD 665 Soc launched last year.

We expect decent performance on the Nokia 5.3 as the SD665 has to supply power to a stock Android device with Adreno 610, taking care of graphics for a 720p display. 

Nokia gives you the option to buy the handset in two configurations- 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM and 6GB RAM + 64GB ROM.

Software

The software is entirely stock Android which means you don’t get to see any form of bloatware, pre-installed apps, or annoying app recommendations that plague the budget and mid-range smartphones from the house of Xiaomi, Realme, Oppo and Vivo. 

If you have been a long-time stock Android user, you will feel right at home. 

Nokia has pre-installed just one app on the handset, i.e., My Phone. It is essentially a customer-service support app with user guides, personal assistant chat options, FAQs about the device, Warranty, and insurance information, and help you find the nearest care center for service queries. 

Besides, you will only find Google’s stock apps such as Photos, Google Maps, Duo, Assistant, Chrome, etc. Nokia promises to offer 2-years Android upgrades and 3-years of monthly security updates with the Nokia 5.3. 

The brand mentions that the new handset is Android 11 and will also receive the Android 12 update in the future.

Opinion and conclusion

The Nokia 5.3 is not in the race to offer the best specifications in its respective price-segment. Instead, it focuses on delivering a smooth and polished software experience. 

The device’s specification isn’t quite groundbreaking, but what makes it stand out is its sturdy and premium-looking design and the clutter-free software experience. 

Despite its entry-level chipset and fairly average HD+ display, the Nokia 5.3 manages to bring some variety to the sub-15K price bracket, which is primarily dominated by the likes of Xiaomi, Realme, and Samsung. We will evaluate the phone’s full potential in our comprehensive review.

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