Nokia 5 vs. the competition

What makes the Nokia 5 stand out in a crowded budget smartphone segment?

  1. Techook
  2. Opinion
  3. Nokia 5 vs. the competition

Highlights

    • Specs justify the price
    • Design is good, but not unique
    • Competition is tough

If we were to describe extremely crowded places and the things in them, we’d use a few analogies. There’d be Rajiv Chowk Metro Station and the commuters, an Avengers film and the big-ticket stars in it, and the budget smartphone market in India, and the number of devices present in that range.

It is this price segment where Nokia’s freshly unveiled Nokia 5 is supposed to land up, once it is launched in India later this year. At the pre-MWC event in Barcelona where HMD Global had announced the availability of the three new devices, the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6, the pricing for Nokia 5 had been announced to be 189 Euros. Going by the current conversion rates, this would bring the price of the Nokia 5 to be somewhere around Rs 13,500.

And that, is a bit worrying because it sits bang in the middle of the densely populated budget smartphone market in India. The Nokia 6, when it was launched in China, flew off the shelves in under a minute, mostly because of the brand value. If it’s the same case in India with the Nokia 5, HMD Global will be quite elated. But chances are that it might not be, for the Indian smartphone buyer always likes to weight the options before she actually makes a purchase decision, especially when she is spoilt for choice.

So why exactly should the Indian customer choose the Nokia 5 over any of the other offerings in the market right now, and what is it that makes the Nokia 5 a compelling choice?

Is it a looker?

Going by the images that we have seen so far, and the description that Nokia has given, the Nokia 5 does seem to be packing a bit of a premium touch to it. It has been milled out of Series 6000 Aluminum, to form a metal unibody design, which in our books is quite thoughtful both in terms of aesthetics and sturdiness. So, based on sheer looks, can the Nokia 5 be considered a bit special?

Sadly, no. There are other devices available in this price range that come with metal bodies. The LeEco Le2, the nubia N1, the Honor 6X, the Lenovo Vibe K5 Note and the ZTE Blade A2 all come with metal constructions. Most of them also feature the curved glass design that the Nokia 5 boasts of. It’s quite safe to say that all of these devices look aesthetically pleasing in their own ways. So, no. The Nokia 5 is not exactly going to stand out in terms of sheer design.

nokia_5_range

Is it a performer?

The Nokia 5 will pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor, along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It will also have the option to expand its storage space via a microSD card. It carries a display of 5.2 inch with a resolution of 1280×720 pixels. For that price range, these specifications seem quite apt, but let’s not forget that disruptors are getting released in the market every now and then for very affordable prices.

Most of the competitors for the Nokia 5 come with either MediaTek processors, or in case of the Honor 6X, a Hisilicon Kirin 655. Only the Lenovo K6 Power packs in a Snapdragon 430 chip. But did we forget something? Of course we did – the LeEco Le2 comes with a Snapdragon 652 SoC and a larger 3GB RAM unit. Nokia did say at the unveiling event that it will focus more on optimizing the software according to the hardware that’s available, but if we had to play smartphone top trumps, the Nokia 5 wouldn’t win.

Is it special?

It might not be too unfair to say that everyone’s got a gimmick now. In the budget smartphone segment, with the specifications and features at a level playing field, someone or the other tries to pull off a gimmick. The Lenovo K6 Power has a huge battery to boast of, while the Honor 6X has two cameras packed into it. The Moto G4 Plus tries to be an all-rounder, and succeeds. The Nokia 5 has a 13 megapixel camera, which is quite standard, but the 8 megapixel front camera boasts of autofocus, which is rare in this segment.

In terms of hardware, we have established that the Nokia 5 is not special or in any way standing out from the rest of the crowd. So does the software help? In a word, yes. The Nokia 5 will not just come with Android Nougat 7.0 out of the box, HMD Global has also announced that the new Android Nokias will get Google Assistant support, along with unlimited storage space on Google Photos. That would make the Nokia 5 very special.

While the device will enter the market only later this year, and in all likelihood quite later than the Moto G5, we are excited about getting our hands on the Nokia 5 for a thorough review. Only then can we figure out if it’s a looker, a good performer or any special. Oh wait, we did forget about one special thing about it – the Nokia badge.