Nokia 5.3 review (18 days as a daily driver): a mid-range smartphone that delivers

Nokia 5.3 is the latest entry into the Nokia line of mid-range smartphones. It is the spiritual successor to the Nokia 5.1 and Nokia 5.1 Plus but it takes the game a few notches higher with a better processor, bigger screen and quad camera module on the back. Read all about the Nokia 5.3 on our dedicated page.

We have been using Nokia 5.3 4GB Indian version as daily driver for more than 18 days and this is our detailed review of the smartphone. This may help you decide if you really should choose Nokia 5.3 as the next if you really want to own one and are still hesitating.

Nokia 5.3 design:

Nokia 5.3 is a good looking smartphone. Thanks to its new polymer composite frame, it feels strong in your hand. The best part is that the satin back is diffused to light giving it a more compact feel on hand. With its back design and satin finish, the Nokia 5.3 feels a good fit in your hand.

Although it is a large smartphone with a 6.5-inch screen, due to its 20: 9 aspect ratio, it still fits perfectly in your hand.

Nokia 5.3 Display and audio out Quality Review:

Nokia 5.3 comes with a 6.5-inch HD + display. The screen is bright and has an ideal brightness level of around 40-45% in most cases. Adaptive brightness learns your choices quickly. External reading is good on Nokia 5.3.

You can control the white balance on Nokia 5.3 to add saturation to the Nokia 5.3 display. Viewing angles are excellent. Fingerprint resistance is a very cool feature for Nokia 5.3 screen and you don’t need to wipe it again and again.

The screen is good for media consumption and games with the real estate it offers. The sound output quality is good and not tied for the highest a headphone can offer.

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You can watch the video below to see the demo and review the audio quality in action.

Nokia 5.3 camera detailed review:

The performance of the Nokia 5.3’s rear camera is a pleasant surprise for us as we didn’t expect the Nokia 8.1 camera to give a chance to get its money. But the Nokia 5.3 camera dazzled us by capturing detailed images that also capture accurate colors in most cases.

We have to mention that the camera is really good at capturing the bokeh, portraiture and macro shots that make you happy. The Ultra Wide Camera is also a great addition to capturing landscapes and capturing surprisingly natural looking photos than the main camera.

The Nokia 5.3 camera snaps also do well in low light, and the night mode definitely brings a difference from the normal low-light capture but has areas for improvement. It can be adjusted to get more highlights and / or capture better details.

While the video capture is impressive when done with steady hands, it needs a few improvements for stabilization and focus in extremely low-light situations. But the videos come out detailed and clear.

You can check out detailed Nokia 5.3 camera review and comparison with Nokia 8.1 camera Click here.

Nokia 5.3 performance review :

Nokia 5.3 is powered by Snapdragon 665 processor and this processor has proven its potential in several competitive offerings. However, it is high time to test it on Nokia 5.3 as many applications and games are being updated and improved with newer processors over time.

Nokia 5.3 is good at handling both basic and advanced tasks including browsing, gaming, and handling many applications and games open in the background. Even if you push it to the limit with three heavy games opening background apps and the games still resume fine. But if you really want to multitask heavy, it might be better to choose the 6GB RAM version.

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You can watch the video below to watch the review and comparison in action.

Nokia 5.3 battery life and call quality:

The Nokia 5.3 surprised us with its excellent battery life during our review. In real life conditions, I was getting approximately 36-40 hours of battery life with heavy “blogger” use of the device. This includes a lot of browsing, broadcasting, gaming, app testing, attending calls, and everyday business.

Check out the screenshots below which show battery stats after a typical day of use.

It might be around 40-44 hours for a fairly heavy use scenario and that’s really impressive. Screen uptime is usually between 7.5 hours and 8 hours for heavy use scenario.

Nokia 5.3 provides excellent call quality due to its innovative antenna design. Usually the call reception is very good. I have never encountered any issue like dropped calls etc and it is fine even during long conversations.

Nokia 5.3 Gestures, Face Unlock, and display settings:

Nokia 5.3 comes with face unlock, some cool gestures, and the ability to also change the color saturation of the screen.

The Face Unlock function works well when taken out of the box, and the Face Unlock is really fast. It contains three settings to control when the Face Unlock is used.

Nokia 5.3 comes with several gestures including flipping to reject the call, mute on reception, and double tap to wake the phone. Swipe up the fingerprint for notifications and move to the camera are also very helpful gestures.

Nokia 5.3 Pros and Cons:

Negatives

  • Display size is huge and to compete in price and specification sensitive markets like India, the display resolution needs to be higher.
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Positives

  • Unique design with polymer composite body
  • The rear camera is better than expected and delivers good performance in all lighting conditions
  • The Google Assistant button and the LED notification paired with the power button are really cool touches

Nokia 5.3 conclusion:

We have subjected us to a thorough and detailed evaluation of Nokia 5.3 and after using it as a daily driver for more than 18 days, we recommend it as a reliable smartphone in all departments.

Nokia 5.3 comes with a rugged design, fully capable camera, and good performance. Even the screen which has been criticized for not being Full HD especially in India is good and offers good viewing experience and media consumption. The only thing we would like HMD to do is to stop making smartphones bigger and bigger. 6.5 inches is too big and maybe 6-6.2 inches could have been better.

Being an Android One smartphone, Nokia 5.3 has guaranteed 2 years of Android OS update and 3 years of monthly security updates. With the HMD record in mind, one can expect Nokia 5.3 to be in the league of the first Android smartphones to receive OS updates.

Nokia 5.3 is officially priced at Rs 13,999 for the 4GB RAM variant in India. It is priced at $ 199 in the US, and starts at 129 GBP.99 in the UK.

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