Nokia 5800 XpressMusic: first thoughts on touch


Nokia5800xpressmusic_6_lowresI’ve been playing with the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic phone that arrived yesterday for a bit last night and again this morning. Since the touchscreen is a major feature, I want to share a few initial thoughts about that in particular, after just a little bit of usage. I realize this isn’t the first touchscreen Nokia handset, but you can’t overlook the fact that the touch experience is a major factor with the device.

I’m finding that the resistive touchscreen isn’t as effective for me as a capacitive touchscreen, but that’s likely not news to anyone. It works far better with a fingernail, the included stylus or the "guitar pick" than it does with my fingertips. I’d rate the experience similar to the Nokia Internet Tablets, so if you poked at one of those, you’ll know what to expect with the 5800 XpressMusic. The device does provide haptic feedback, which is a little vibration each time it registers a key-press for menu options, the keyboard and other input. I think I’ve only felt two times when the haptics "jiggles" but the device didn’t register what my key-press was. All in all, that bit of it is pretty accurate.

Where I’m struggling a wee bit is in the operating system when combined with the touch. The best way I can put it: it doesn’t feel consistent. From what I can see (or feel, rather): some items are a single tap on the screen, while others are double-tap. It could just be me getting used to the device or it could be due to my not using an S60 unit in quite some time. Either way, it feels like the touch and the user interface could use a little more in the optimization department; something that can easily be addressed via a software update if Nokia felt the need to refine it.

Browsing solely by touch has been an adventure, but I’m still getting used to the touchscreen and I hope it becomes easier. It seems to be a little more of a chore than a benefit at the moment, i.e.; tapping with a finger in standard view is sometimes inaccurate so I almost always have to zoom in before tapping links. A double-tap zooms the page, but there’s slight lag before it happens and I’ve still had link taps go unrecognized or activate the wrong link. I’ll chalk some of this up to my limited usage for sure, but I’ll be watching to see how much better the experience does or doesn’t get.


got to love seeing people go eye-candy crazy…

its like junkies between highs…

cr0ft has a video demo of it, I just spotted that one.

And at the risk of sounding like an adolescent, OMG! it’s still Symbian-slow in places. Pauses in the OS as stuff loads, and changing from portrait to landscape took seconds. You’d think Nokia would have learned already that people won’t accept their handset slowing them down as much as they did pre-iPhone.

Sure, it’s a leap from the Nokia E50 I had, which literally took seconds to register a keypress from time to time, but to me from what I’m seeing, the 5800 still has a fairly unattractive interface and worst of all, nasty slowdowns.

Watching that video with it gradually redrawing the items on screen made me scoff loudly… which is bad, since I’m here alone at the moment.

Again, may be just me.


Symbian is facing the same uphill battle as Windows Mobile, taking an aging hodgepodge of an OS and making it into an exemplary touch-enabled star.

Frankly I doubt it can be done nearly as well as with the iPhone with its full-on Unix underpinnings and Apples graphical goodness on top. Symbian and WinMo are both examples of “phone os’es” whereas the iPhone is really very powerful under the hood too and purpose created to be eminently touchable.

That said, the phone I’m getting is the Touch HD… but thats just because there are some WinMo apps I use a lot and I want that superior screen for surfing, e-books and whatnot. The 5800 doesn’t really have any such standout feature to me. My gut reaction is “one more boring, semi-nasty Symbian phone with touchy pretensions” rather than any feeling of techno-wow. Maybe that’s just me. ;)

Guess we’ll see. Nokia phones can usually sell anyway.


Kevin, yes I know what you mean. I found it awkward at first, but don’t notice it now. I double tap without thinking for quick access. I do like the fact you can access other options quickly (especially in contacts… highlight contact choose action from options menu etc.). Look forward to reading how you get on :)

Kevin C. Tofel

Thanks Rafe. I get the “why” it is the way it is, but I don’t find it to be optimal from the end-user experience just yet. My opinion, of course…


Kevin – the single / double tap thing is because it’s a focus driven UI. In a list you have to select an item, and then tap it again for the action. I wrote some stuff about this on AAS. In other places it is a single tap.

Comments are closed.