• Nokia

Nokia has been working hard on its Symbian line and its latest creation running on Symbian Anna is the Nokia 500. At times when smartphones prices are sky rocketing it’s perfect timing that a phone like the Nokia 500 has been released as not only is it affordable, it has pretty decent specs to go with it. So now it’s time to find out if it’s going to succeed in this competitive market.

The Finnish giants have decided to go with the candybar design for the Nokia 500. It has a narrow rectangular front and a battery cover that has been tapered and given a soft-touch plastic finish. Measuring 4.38 x 2.12 x 0.56 inches it is not fat, but at the same time is nowhere close to the being thin either. However, hold it in your hand and you won’t feel it being that thick as it fits snuggly and its narrow front makes it possible to operate it with just one hand. The back is designed to show its nice curve and in the midst of that beauty sits a 5MP camera.  Let’s talk more about the back of the phone, as the Nokia 500 has options for changing the color of the battery cover to make things more interesting for the youth market. To make things easy for you, the back cover can be slid open with one simple click. Not boasting a large screen, Nokia has opted for a 3.2 inch plain LCD display to go with the Nokia 500. Under the screen you will find three buttons for call, end and one to open up the main menu. The power button which also doubles as the lock button actually sits on the right side of the phone together with the volume rocker. Meanwhile, the absence of the power button on the top of the phone means there is room for fitting the microUSB port and the standard audio jack.


This phone is powered by a 1GHz processor and is running on the Symbian Anna which means the Nokia 500 runs a lot faster than its friends like the Nokia N8 or Nokia C7 that only had a 680MHz CPU on board. However, instead of giving the Nokia 500 a 512MB RAM like we see on the Nokia 701 it has only got a 256MB RAM making it slow when it comes to installing apps, a problem we didn’t see on the Nokia 701. Nevertheless, it’s pretty decent specs for the price we are asked to pay.

So as we had mentioned earlier, Symbian Anna is the core of this phone although you can expect an upgrade to Symbian Belle at some point which is good. So with Anna, you get the usual eye candy on Nokia 500 which means you can scroll between home pages with the content moving with your fingers. With the Symbian Anna you get the split-screen and portrait virtual keyboard that are both great features although some might not like the fact that the smaller screen means slower typing speed. With this phone you also get the latest version of Nokia Maps. What this means is that the Nokia 500 can help you navigate across 90 countries for free even when you are offline. It also provides US live traffic, so you get great technology for a bargain.

Being sold as a phone that is meant to be affordable to the masses, Nokia obviously had to cut down on some specs and this happens at the screen for instance as you are only given a 3.2 inch plain LCD display to play with. The screen however still has a resolution of 360 x 640 pixels thus giving it the ability to churn out a pixel density of 229 ppi. This is rather important as it helps when you are trying to read all those small text. Sadly though, the screen on the Nokia 500 doesn’t provide too much in the way of viewing angles. It probably makes up for it by having a good brightness level.


Internet browsing on the Nokia 500 had its ups and downs. For instance, a faster CPU means increased speeds when browsing through pages and performing tasks like panning and zooming when compared to the Nokia N8 of Nokia C7. However, the browser on the Symbian Anna does not provide support for Flash and its rendering performance also leaves it wanting. When viewing complex pages, you might face some lag when scrolling through the page, but otherwise the screen makes reading text easy as the text is clear and crisp. It has the usual connectivity options on board like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and aGPS plus it’s a GSM phone as well.

On the back of the Nokia 500 is the 5MP camera which comes to life with the press of a small icon on the right. The phone does not provide for a dedicated camera button so when you are in the camera interface, you come across a hug shutter button on the screen that you cannot miss. The results from our snaps show that the camera actually performs decently as the pictures produced sharp details and good colors although at times it had the tendency to highlight violet aspects in the picture. Pictures taken in low light conditions obviously were not that good as there is no LED flash to go with the camera. The Nokia 500 was also probably never meant to take videos as it only provides VGA recording capabilities at a rate of 15 fps.

It is important for the Nokia 500 to excel with its performance and it does just that with excellent call quality. The earpiece worked great as there was no distortion with our caller’s voice and it was loud too. On the other end, we were told that our voice sounded loud and clear. However, there is no noise-cancellation mic as found in the Nokia 701 thus causing the phone to capture some surrounding noise. Battery life is rated at only 5 hours of talk time while using 3G meaning it doesn’t excel in this department.


Pros and Cons
The Nokia 500 is a cheap phone for some decent specs. It has been designed to look pretty as well. Good pixel density makes smaller text readable.

Sadly Nokia has completely ignored video recording on the Nokia 500 as it only gives you VGA resolution and a rate of 15fps. There is no flash as well. Symbian Anna could have been replaced with Symbian Belle.


Affordable but still putting in some good performance means that Nokia has managed to get the perfect balance with the Nokia 500. There might be a few things that could use a little bit of work, but we still think this phone will be worth every penny.

Close Menu