Remember the good old days when phones were chunky, and batteries lasted for weeks? Nokia does, and it wants to bring your once super-nimble texting fingers out of retirement. The C5 channels the mobile phones of old, with a few modern niceties bolted on.
It's available for free on a £10-per-month, 24-month contract with T-Mobile, or you can pick it up for around £150 SIM-free.
Skinny and tall
At 12mm thick, the Symbian-based C5 (no relation to the promising car of the future) features an extremely slim build, which makes it easy to slip into a pocket. Look at this phone side on and it's liable to slip into the sub-atomic realm and become invisible to human eyes. At 112mm tall, it's also an extremely long handset, which is a very, very good thing. "Why?" we hear you ask.
Well, the extra length has been used to accommodate a gigantic alphanumeric keypad. As sworn enemies of cramped keypads, we found this very pleasing. In addition to being really big, the keys themselves are arranged in a precise grid, and each button is slightly raised. That means you'll be able to tap out texts at a pace that would put even the speediest teen to shame.
The C5's build quality is especially impressive for a device at this price. The phone has a pleasing weight, doesn't feel cheap or plasticky, and has a smooth, rounded finish. It feels like a cohesive piece of technology, rather than a heap of components hurriedly glued together.
The C5's display has a 320x240-pixel resolution, and is clear and bright. Text is sharp and easy to read, and images render very well indeed.
As well as looking the business, the C5 also boasts a very natty user interface. It'll be familiar to anyone who's used a Nokia device over the last few years. You'll find a few key applications along the bottom of the home screen, with a more detailed menu accessible via a quick tap of the left button.
We love the speed at which the interface moves. We didn't notice much delay at all when clicking our way around the various menus, and the C5 is an extremely snappy device overall. Our only complaint about the interface is that there are quite a few pop-ups and warnings that get in the way of navigation, particularly when you're using Web-connected apps -- you'll have to register your approval of splash screens even if they're just informing you that you're now communicating over a secure connection. Such pop-ups may prove useful to some people, but they do detract from the user experience slightly.
Map app happiness
The C5 supports Ovi Maps, Nokia's free GPS navigation system. We didn't have particularly high hopes for a maps application on a phone without a touchscreen, but controlling the maps software using the four-way central button feels surprisingly intuitive -- and speedy. We were surprised by how helpful the app was in actually helping us find our way around town.