In the world of Nokia Xpress Music phones, we've seen a full range of models, from the high-end to the rather weird. T-Mobile is the only U.S. carrier to have offered Xpress Music phones. It started in 2006 with the 5300 and followed up two years later with the 5310 and 5610. Now the carrier offers a budget alternative, the Nokia 5130. Simple in both form and function, the 5130 is the lowest-end of all Xpress Music phones we've reviewed. The candy bar phone offers the normal music functions, but it goes easy on other features. Service is respectable, and the price--$29.99 with a rebate and a two-year service contract--is affordable.
The 5130 Xpress Music somewhat resembles the earlier 5310. It also sports a slim candy bar design, though it's bit larger (4.23 inches by 1.83 inches by 0.58 inch; 3.10 ounces) and it features a glossier skin with a dotted pattern over its speaker on the rear side. The handset comes in two color schemes--aqua/silver and red/black. We tested the former, but the features are the same on both models. The 5130 has a comfortable feeling in the hand, and it travels well.
The 5130's two-inch display supports 256,000 colors. The resolution is decent (320x240 pixel), though some graphics, particularly the menu icons, weren't very sharp. On the upside, the Series 40 menus are intuitive, provided that you turn off the transition effects. You can adjust the standby font color and the font size.
The navigation array has a spacious, easy-to-use design. The square toggle is raised and shows a different color than the central OK button or the surrounding keys. The soft keys and Talk and End/power controls are flat, but they're quite large. You can set the toggle as a shortcut to user-defined features. The backlit keypad buttons are a mixed bag. Though they're sizable, they have a slippery, plastic feel. Dialing and texting takes some getting used to, and the numbers and letters are rather small.
On the rear side is the camera lens. The 5130 offers neither a flash nor a self-portrait mirror. On the left spine are the dedicated music controls, which you can use to activate the player and scan through your songs. On the right spine you'll find the large, accessible volume rocker and the microSD card slot. We were glad see a 3.5 millimeter headset jack on the top of the 5130. Next to it are the proprietary charger connection and the Micro-USB port.
The 5130's phone book size is limited by its shared memory (30MB). Each contact holds six phone number types, an e-mail address, a URL, a company name and job title, a formal name and nickname, a birthday, and notes. The SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts. You can organize friends into groups and pair them with a video/photo and one of 23 polyphonic ringtones.
Essentials include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, an alarm clock, a calendar, a to-do list, a unit and currency converter, a world clock, a notepad, a calculator, a countdown timer, and a stopwatch. As for more advanced options, you'll find stereo Bluetooth, a voice recorder, USB transfer and mass storage, voice commands, PC syncing, instant messaging, and Web-based e-mail. The microSD slot can accommodate cards up to 2GB.
The 5130 offers the standard Nokia Xpress Music player. The interface is simple, but the controls are simple and intuitive, and the player supports album art. Features include an equalizer, shuffle and repeats modes, playlists, stereo widening, and an airplane mode for listening to tunes while you fly. The player supports a variety of file types, and you can use tracks as ringtones.
You can transfer music onto the phone via a USB cable or a microSD card. When using the former method, your computer should recognize the phone immediately; you then can drag and drop music back and forth. When listening to tracks, you can minimize the player so you can access other functions, and the player automatically pauses when you receive a call. If radio is your thing, the 5130 also offers an FM tuner with station presets.