There’s always something comforting about a gadget that is inexpensive and yet doesn’t have budget or cheap stamped all over it. It’s one reason why Nokia devices have been in the mix for the last couple of years. It’s also why Nokia’s 5.3 has our attention. It lands in the ultra-competitive sub Rs 15,000 price band where brands like Xiaomi, Samsung and more recently Realme slug it out for a piece of the large pie.
The Nokia 5.3 certainly has the looks to stand out in this segment. It may not scream for attention like some of its rivals but still holds its own, almost like a Volkswagen Polo in the hatchback segment. It’s finished with a plastic back but it still doesn’t look cheap We checked out the Cyan colour option and it is a showstopper. A teardrop notch and the Nokia logo on the chin of the device almost border on retro (and it’s not a bad thing). The 6.55-inch display (720 x 1600 pixels) features a 20:9 aspect ratio and offers good visibility even under direct sunlight. Despite the large display, this device doesn’t feel too unwieldy in your hand.
One of our favourite design elements is the placement of the four rear camera lenses in an elegant ring. It’s truly unique at this price point. The Quad Cam includes combines a 13MP (f/1.8 aperture) primary lens with a 5MP ultra-wide lens, a 2MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro lens. There’s also an 8MP selfie shooter that shoots decent images including portrait shots. The rear cam does reasonably well in optimal light but struggles in lowlight. The macro lens is a nice value-add but also needs perfect lighting conditions for good results.
In terms of hardware, the Nokia 5.3 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor. We checked out the entry-level, 4GB/64GB hardware variant; there’s also a 6GB/64GB option. The device won’t let regular users down. It clocked a respectable 1378 on our Geekbench test and didn’t struggle through our multi-tasking tests. We dig the bloatware-free, pure play Android version. It’s been a while since we tested a device with the Android One badge. This guarantees two years of the latest Android updates and three years of security updates. It’s the one reason why you should consider this device aside from its minimalist design language.
The Nokia 5.3 features a 4000 mAh battery under the hood. Battery life is acceptable; I comfortably managed a day with camera usage and a mix of gaming, videos and calls. There’s a 10W charger bundled in the box. It takes almost a couple of hours to juice up your device, at a time when we’ve got used to fast chargers even at lower price points. The Nokia 5.3 has its shortcomings but scores with its design, build quality and the Android One advantage at a compelling price tag.
The Nokia 5.3 comes in two variants – 4GB/64GB (Rs 13,999) and 6GB/64GB (Rs 15,499)