Nokia is taking over the titans of the funds smartphone market with the Nokia 5.4, a competitively priced smartphone providing a premium look and respectable digital camera efficiency. Nevertheless, it’s not pretty much as good a deal because it may appear, with the Nokia 5.Four providing a downgrade in a number of departments in comparison with its predecessor, and it’s barely costlier this time too.
With such a aggressive market, does the Nokia 5.Four supply sufficient to tempt customers away from standard funds choices just like the Realme 7? Whereas there are undoubtedly extra highly effective funds choices accessible, Nokia has one thing most can’t supply: a inventory model of Android, with an OS improve or two in future.
Design and construct
By way of normal feel and appear, you is perhaps hard-pressed to search out variations between the Nokia 5.Four and its predecessor, the Nokia 5.3. It sports activities the identical understated look with a curved plastic rear that shimmers properly when it catches the sunshine and even the round digital camera housing on the rear, though it is available in two new flavours this time round – Polar Night time and Nightfall.
You’ll discover a fingerprint scanner sat just under the centrally-placed digital camera housing on the rear, a USB-C port on the underside for charging and connectivity and, for these which can be clinging onto wired headphones for pricey life, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack accessible too – identical to the Nokia 5.3.
By all intents and functions, it’s a stylish-looking cellphone, particularly for the funds market, with the curved rear serving to the cellphone sit comfortably within the hand, however the fully-plastic physique means it feels slightly on a budget facet – it even creaks slightly when you squeeze it.
However whereas there are undoubtedly similarities in design, the 2 smartphones aren’t an identical within the show division. In reality, the Nokia 5.Four sports activities a smaller show than its predecessor, with the 19.5:9 IPS LCD show measuring in at 6.39in, down from 6.55in, and the waterdrop notch has been changed with a hole-punch digital camera this time round too.
Given our complaints in regards to the Nokia 5.3’s mixture of a giant show and HD (720 x 1600) decision leading to a noticeably soft-looking show, it’s a sensible transfer for Nokia to attempt to scale back display dimension in a bid to extend pixel density, however I’d have favored to have seen a rise in decision – particularly with a lot of the competitors sporting one thing near FHD.
However regardless of this, a barely decreased decision (720 x 1560) means the pixel density is near-identical to that of its predecessor, which means the identical complaints are current this time round too. Textual content isn’t fairly as sharp because it might be, pictures look slightly mushy and it’s the identical story when watching video too.
It may not be instantly noticeable when you’re not used to excessive res shows, however it might be a dealbreaker when you intend on watching loads of YouTube movies or taking part in video games.
The show can be capped at 60Hz, whereas the likes of the Realme 7 sport an elevated 90Hz refresh price for a smoother cellular expertise. The saving grace is brightness; with a most brightness of 461cd/m2, it’s not the worst smartphone to make use of in direct daylight.
Options and efficiency
Curiously, it appears the Nokia 5.Four may truly be a downgrade within the efficiency division in comparison with final yr’s Nokia 5.3 – on paper, anyway.
Whereas the 5.Three supplied Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 665, the up to date Nokia 5.Four options the Snapdragon 662, together with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage relying on the variant you go for. There’s a variant with extra storage and RAM on supply, providing a 6GB/128GB combo, however it doesn’t appear to be it’s coming to the UK.
In real-world use, day-to-day efficiency is ok, with apps opening shortly sufficient and no noticeable lag, and the Adreno 610 GPU is highly effective sufficient for gentle gaming, however don’t count on to run AAA video games at 60fps with high-res textures. That’s mirrored in our benchmarks too, with the Nokia 5.4’s efficiency in-line with different funds choices just like the Xiaomi Redmi 9.
After all, with the Snapdragon 662, it’s not fairly as performant within the CPU division as final yr’s Nokia 5.3 – though, admittedly, it’s not that far behind. Whether or not that’s a dealbreaker will largely be all the way down to what you’ll wish to be doing on the smartphone, however it’s a little disappointing to see when the funds market is so aggressive in 2021.
It’s an identical story within the connectivity division: whilst you’ll get Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, 4G, USB-C port and three.5mm headphone jack, you’ll discover slower Wi-Fi, providing assist for Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, in comparison with the quicker 802.11 b/g/n/ac from the Nokia 5.3. Meaning it may well’t assist dual-band Wi-Fi connections, leading to slower Wi-Fi efficiency when downloading apps and streaming in comparison with equally priced rivals.
Whereas there was a notable downgrade in lots of areas of the Nokia 5.4, one space that has seen an improve is the digital camera division. On the rear of the smartphone you’ll discover a foremost 64Mp snapper, a notable improve from the 13Mp foremost sensor of final yr’s mannequin, and that’s flanked by a 5Mp ultrawide, a 2Mp macro and a 2Mp depth sensor, all an identical to its predecessor.
As you may count on, pictures captured on the principle 64Mp snapper are well-lit and detailed with pretty correct color copy, thanks partly to the pixel-binning tech utilised, and the low-light efficiency is respectable due to the f/1.Eight aperture and a devoted evening mode. It’ll, in fact, not be capable to compete with flagship snappers, however you’ll possible be pleasantly shocked by the pictures produced by the principle digital camera.
The problem is that final yr’s foremost snapper was additionally nice – it was the secondary lenses that allow the expertise down general, and it’s an identical story with the Nokia 5.4.
The 5Mp ultra-wide digital camera, even in the very best lighting circumstances, can’t fairly match as much as the colors produced by the principle snapper. In reality, in exams, the colors in some pictures have been wildly totally different to these taken by the principle sensor, both wanting too vibrant or too washed out a lot of the time. Digital camera tuning apart, there’s respectable element to be present in well-lit circumstances, though pictures do develop into softer and noisier as the sunshine ranges are decreased.
The 2Mp macro lens is probably going an afterthought included solely to bump up the digital camera rely and make the Nokia 5.Four a extra engaging choice on paper – it’s a tactic utilized by most funds cellphone producers – and the hit-and-miss efficiency displays this. Other than being a distinct segment lens you’ll possible solely use a couple of times, it struggles to search out and preserve focus.
Flip the cellphone over and also you’ll discover an upgraded 16Mp selfie snapper, up from the 8Mp digital camera of final yr’s mannequin. It’s superb for selfie-taking and video chats, with pictures additional improved by the built-in portrait mode, intelligently blurring the background with respectable edge detection.
Relating to video, you’ll rise up to [email protected] from the rear cameras, however it’s restricted to [email protected] on the entrance.
One space the place the Nokia 5.Four shines is within the battery division, sporting a big 4,000mAh battery that, when mixed with the comparatively low-res show, has the potential to last as long as two days on a single cost. I by no means fairly made it to the two-day mark throughout testing, with a mixture of texting, tweeting, taking pictures and taking part in the occasional recreation, however I did handle to stay untethered for greater than a day earlier than the cellphone wanted a top-up.
That’s backed up by the benchmark outcomes too, which noticed the Nokia 5.Four final an admirable 11 hours and 50 minutes operating PCMark 10’s battery benchmark at 200cd/m2, comfortably beating flagships like Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Plus (10:57) and Oppo’s Discover X3 Professional (10:20).
The draw back to the massive battery is that there isn’t any fast-charge expertise accessible right here, which means it’ll take fairly a while to cost the Nokia 5.Four utilizing the equipped 10W charger. In exams, the Nokia 5.Four solely managed to regain 31% cost in 30 minutes, so be ready to attend properly over 90 minutes for it to fully recharge.
Whereas it’s onerous to disregard that there are funds smartphones that beat the Nokia 5.Four when it comes to spec, Nokia separates itself from the competitors by providing inventory Android 10 out of the field. That’s a refreshing change in comparison with the likes of Realme and Xiaomi providing their very own spin on Android, and there’s normally a bunch of bloatware that comes pre-installed too.
In addition to providing a cleaner out-of-box expertise, the Nokia 5.Four is part of the Android One vary, providing month-to-month safety updates for 3 years, and there must be an improve to Android 11 – and even Android 12 – sooner or later sooner or later.
That’s spectacular for any Android smartphone, not to mention one at such an affordable value level.
The Nokia 5.Four prices £159.99 within the UK, and whereas that’s properly inside the funds class, it’s price noting that it’s £10 greater than the Nokia 5.Three final yr regardless of the smaller show, added thickness and barely much less highly effective processor, making it a tricky promote – particularly once you evaluate it to the likes of the 90Hz-enabled Realme 7, which you’ll be able to decide up for as little as £149.99 proper now.
It’s costlier within the US at $249.99, however with much less competitors within the funds market, it might be a extra tempting choice.
You do get the advantages of Android One, and the inventory Android 10 is actually a plus unmatched by the likes of Realme and Xiaomi, so if that’s a sticking level, you’ll be able to decide up the Nokia 5.Four from Amazon within the UK and Nokia within the US.
The Nokia 5.4, general, is a little bit of a swing and a miss in comparison with its predecessor, not to mention the funds market, with the likes of the Realme 7 and Xiaomi Redmi 9 providing an identical stage efficiency with a lot better shows and, arguably, a greater general feel and appear too.
The Nokia 5.4’s mixture of a smaller show, the HD (720 x 1560) decision and Snapdragon 662 processor – down from the 665 final yr – make it a tough promote, even at simply £159.99/$249.99.
The one saving grace in comparison with the competitors is within the software program division: whereas different funds telephones are inclined to ship with customized variations of Android, and even some bloatware, the identical can’t be mentioned of the Nokia 5.4. It runs a clear model of Android 10, with a promised improve to Android 11 and even Android 12 sooner or later in future.
Nokia 5.4: Specs
161 x 76 x 8.7mm
6.39in 19.5:9 IPS LCD show
60Hz refresh price
HD decision (720 x 1560)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
Adreno 610 GPU
64GB storage, expandable through microSD card
Rear-facing 48Mp f/1.Eight vast, 5Mp ultrawide, 2Mp macro and 2Mp depth sensor
Entrance-facing 16Mp f/2.zero selfie digital camera
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
10W Quick Charging
Android 10 with Android One assist