Nokia 5.3 Review

A few days back, HMD Global launched the Nokia 5.3 in India and the device comes with a 6.55-inch HD+ display with a 20:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset which is further coupled with 4/6 GB RAM. It comes with 64 GB Internal Storage which can be expanded up to 512 GB via MicroSD Card.

The 4 GB RAM model costs ₹13,999 while the 6 GB RAM model is priced at ₹15,499. Is the Nokia 5.3 worth your money? Let’s find out.

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Nokia 5.3 Specifications

  • Display: 6.55-inch HD+ 2.5D curved glass display with 720 x 1600 pixels screen resolution and 20:9 aspect ratio
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 11nm Mobile Platform
  • GPU: Adreno 610 GPU
  • RAM: 4/6 GB RAM
  • Storage: 64 GB internal storage; expandable up to 512 GB
  • OS: Android 10
  • Rear Camera: 13 MP primary with f/1.8 aperture + 5 MP wide-angle sensor + 2 MP depth sensor + 2 MP macro lens
  • Front Camera: 8 MP with f/2.0 aperture
  • Others: Fingerprint sensor, 3.5 mm audio jack, FM Radio
  • Connectivity Options: Dual 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS + GLONASS, and USB-C
  • Battery: 4000mAh with 10W charging
  • Included in Box: 10W Charger, Earphones, Protective Cover

Design, Display, & Build

Talking about the design, the Nokia 5.3 comes in a completely plastic body with a matte finish on the back panel, and hence it doesn’t feel very premium when you hold it in your hands. As the device is using a plastic body it is really slim and weighs just 180 grams. The Nokia 5.3 is available in three colors and we got the Cyan variant to play around with. It comes with a circular shaped camera module on the back that bulges out which makes the phone wobble when it is lying on a flat surface.

Just under the camera module, you get a fingerprint scanner that helps you to unlock your device in a second. In addition to this, the fingerprint scanner on the Nokia 5.3 can also be used to control the notification panel.

As the device features a matte finish panel on the back, it doesn’t attract many fingerprints and you can use it easily without having a case. On the right side, the Nokia 5.3 comes with the Volume Control keys along with a Power Button that has a Notification LED inside it. Every time you get a notification on your device, the Power Button glows up and it looks really cool as we’ve hardly seen anything like this before. On the left side, you get a Dual SIM + MicroSD card slot along with a dedicated Google Assistant key.

The Nokia 5.3 also features a dedicated 3.5mm audio jack on the top and it’s nice to see that the company is still offering an Audio Jack while most of the competitors have removed it from their devices. You get a Type-C port at the bottom along with a speaker grill. The song output from the speakers is decent and you’ll enjoy listening to music on this one.

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Moving on to the display, the Nokia 5.3 comes with a 6.55-inch HD+ display with a 20:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 720 x 1600 pixels. It has a dewdrop notch in the front and In addition to this, there is a huge chin in the bottom. It offers a screen to body ratio of 82.3% and along with this, it features Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the top.

The display on the Nokia 5.3 is just terrible. I seriously don’t know what HMD Global was thinking while making this phone but an HD+ Display on a device that costs more than Rs.14,000 and comes with a 6.55-inch screen just doesn’t work. In this price bracket, there are companies like Samsung who offer AMOLED Panels and there are smartphones like Realme 7 that feature 90Hz FHD+ Displays. The Nokia 5.3 simply fails to stand against them.

It comes with 450nits of maximum brightness but the colors on this display are just dull. I tried watching some videos on YouTube and playing some games on the Nokia 5.3 and it wasn’t fun. Mostly every smartphone in this price range has a better display with punchier colors so if you are someone who is primarily looking for a smartphone for media streaming and gaming then avoid getting this one.

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User Interface and Software

Nokia 5.3 runs on Android 10 and offers a near-stock Android experience. The smartphone is Android 11 ready and the company promises two years of software updates on this one.

Some Google Apps come preinstalled with the device and apart from this, there is no other bloatware which is a good thing. Dark Mode is present on the device and along with that, you also get Gesture support. Swiping left from your Home Screen takes you to the Google News section and by default, there is a Google search bar in the bottom that allows you to quickly search the web.

Since the device comes with an HD+ display you can’t see 1080p content on Apps like YouTube and you have to settle with 720p quality videos which even YouTube doesn’t consider HD anymore. Apart from this, there are no issues with the software and everything works just fine. Have a look at the screenshots below to see how the software on Nokia 5.3 feels like.

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Homescreen and Notification Bar
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Settings and Android Version
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Lockscreen and Recent Apps
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Google News
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YouTube on Nokia 5.3

Hardware, Performance, & Gaming

Nokia 5.3 is powered by an 11 nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC which is coupled with Adreno 610 GPU and 4/6 GB RAM. This is an octa-core chipset that came out last year and we’ve seen this in some of the popular mid-range devices like Mi A3 and Realme 5. The Snapdragon 665 is surely a good chip however it’s a little too old now and now at this price tag, you can get smartphones with Snapdragon 720G or Snapdragon 730G.

We got the 6 GB RAM Variant to play around with and the overall performance was good. The App Launch speed is decent and the In-app content in Apps like Facebook and Instagram also loads quickly without any issues. When it comes to gaming, we tried playing Free Fire and Call of Duty on the Nokia 5.3 and both the games were running smoothly without any issues. There were no heating issues even after 2 hours of continuous gaming and the battery was also holding up strong.

We didn’t get a chance to play PUBG Mobile on this device as the game recently got banned in India, however, if you try playing it by using any secondary methods you’ll be able to play it on Balanced / HD graphics without any issues.

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Call of Duty Mobile on Nokia 5.3
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Free Fire on Nokia 5.3

Talking about the Connectivity Options the Nokia 5.3 comes with support for Dual 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2, and GPS + GLONASS. For some reason, the WiFi stability on this isn’t as good as the other smartphones and we faced a lot of connection drops.

Moving on to the benchmarks, we ran Geekbench 5, 3DMark, PCMark, and AndroBench benchmark tests on this device and it got pretty decent scores. The device gets a single-core score of 311 and a multicore score of 1407 on Geekbench. On PCMark Work 2.0 benchmark test, the Nokia 5.3 managed to get a score of 6566. You can have a look at the images below to have a detailed look at the benchmark scores.

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Geekbench on Nokia 5.3
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PCMark on Nokia 5.3
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3DMark Gamers Benchmark on Nokia 5.3
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Androbench Storage Benchmark on Nokia 5.3

Cameras

Nokia 5.3 features a quad-camera setup at the back which consists of a 13 MP primary lens with f/1.8 aperture + 5 MP wide-angle sensor + 2 MP depth sensor + 2 MP macro lens.

While most of the rivals are offering 48 to 64 MP Sensors in this price range, Nokia has settled with a 13 MP sensor, and it is average. In daylight conditions, the camera performance is good however the scenario changes when you don’t have enough light.

The Camera App on the Nokia 5.3 includes Night and Beautify mode which you can use if you want to change the skin tones or if you have to shoot images in the dark. The Night mode actually helps you to take better pictures as it changes the overall color tones however sometimes the images come out to be grainy.

You can have a look at the Camera Samples below.

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Battery Life

Nokia 5.3 packs a 4000mAh battery and it is good enough to get you through the day. On a daily driver basis, you get 10-12 hours of screen on time after a single charge so you can get through the day easily.

The charging speed on the other hand is really slow as it only supports 10W charging and takes about 2.5 to 3 hours for a single charge. Most of its competitors come with 18 to 30W fast charging options along with a bigger battery. Gamers can continuously play games for 5 to 6 hours before the battery on Nokia 5.3 runs out.

Overall there are no issues with the Battery life on Nokia 5.3 however, we would have loved to see the support for fast charging.

Verdict

Nokia 5.3 is a smartphone that you should totally avoid if you are looking for a value for money smartphone right now. The HD+ display is just terrible and In addition to this, it is offering you specifications that are more than one year old. Smartphones like Poco M2, Realme 7, Redmi Note 9 Pro are much better options in this price range and they offer you way better specs than the Nokia 5.3.

Strengths 

  • Battery Life is Quite Good
  • Notification LED in Power Button
  • Dual SIM + MicroSD Card Slot

Weakness

  • Terrible Display
  • Average Camera Quality
  • Old Processor. Rivals are offering much better chipsets in this price range.
  • 10W Charging Speed

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