Nokia 5230:Touchscreen, Music at an affordable price

The Nokia 5230 looks remarkably like a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic phone, and it has many of the same advanced features. But the new Nokia 5230 will start at only 150 Euros, around $215. That's a great starting price that will make this phone free on most subsidized carriers, and within reach for unlockers. But the phone doesn't skimp on features. The Nokia 5230 still features fast, 3G networking via HSDPA networks, and enough extra features to confuse this device with a higher-end Nokia smartphone.

The Nokia 5230 runs Nokia's Symbian S60 5th Edition OS, so it is technically a smartphone, but Nokia might as well start calling these devices "Ovi" phones, since it relies so heavily on Nokia's Ovi cloud based services. The Nokia 5230 features A-GPS, and will use Ovi Maps for navigation as well as aerial views and other location services. For more location-based apps, users can browse the Ovi Store, an over-the-air application store that Nokia offers on their smartphone devices.

Even without the XpressMusic branding, the Nokia 5230 should be a capable media player. The device will have access to the Nokia music store, and in select markets this will even be a Nokia Comes With Music phone, for some all-you-can-eat music downloads. You don't get the external playback controls we like on XpressMusic devices, but the Nokia 5230 still features a standard 3.5mm headphone jack to listen to tunes on your own earbuds. The device will also accept microSD cards up to 16GB, though no internal memory will be included beyond a few measly megabytes. Nokia also includes a Media Bar interface to make jumping into music all the quicker.

The camera is a simpler 2-megapixel shooter, a seriously low-level tech for the likes of Nokia. The screen is a still-impressive 3.2-inch display, the same size as the Nokia 5800. Nokia is also bragging about impressive battery life, at least during music playback. If you used the Nokia 5230 as a music player only, you could listen for 33 hours.

The Nokia 5230 is expected to become available in the 4th quarter of this year. Besides the low price (in Euros), the fact that official releases came out of New Delhi, India, as well as Finland tells us that we won't be seeing this phone on the U.S. market for a little while. This looks to be an emerging market device, and for those markets it should offer a nice mix of high-end, 3G features at a reasonable price.

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