Nokia 5.3 is a nice midranger that needs a software tuneup


I’ve been using Nokia 5.3 as a daily driver for a week, and I would like to share a few impressions before the full review goes out. I’ve been using Nokia 7 Plus for almost two years and was looking forward to Nokia 7.2 that came for review last year. But, the screen god burn marks that were spreading with time, and I borrowed (permanently) Huawei P30 Pro from our colleagues over at till I fix the screen of 7.2. Anyway, Nokia Mobile announced 8.3 and 5.3, and Nokia 8.3 sounded like the phone that is worthy of replacing my broken 7.2, but 5.3 got to me faster. Also, I was rather curious to see how will 5.3 perform since it is an affordable mid-ranger, with not so capable camera, but is coming with a 4000 mAh battery, better Snapdragon 665 processor, and the rest is almost the same as on 7.2.
But, the advantages turned out to be disadvantaged. Nokia 7.2 is a bit sluggish with the latest Android 10 update, so I assumed that 5.3 would perform better. In the first five days, I was struggling with a lag that a simple restart solved, but I still notice that transitions are not polished, and the overall impression is that Nokia 5.3 needs software maintenance that will polish the UI.

Since it looks like 7.2, it was imperative to compare the speeds of the processors, and I expected 5.3 to be faster. Anyway, Nokia 7.2 is still slightly faster in performing the standard operations, and the reason could be in the slightly overclocked cores. The Geekbench measurement is also on the Nokia 7.2 side, which could mean that the difference between SD660 and SD665 isn’t that big, or that SD665 in Nokia 5.3 is not tweaked so well.

I feel that 5.3 can perform better, and do hope the new R&D center Nokia Mobile announced will deal with the software of this promising phone.
The 4000 mAh battery can hold for a day, and Nokia 5.3 is better there than the Nokia 7.2 since the SD 665 is built in 11 nm process, which means that Nokia 5.3 won’t be battery hungry. Well, that isn’t the case if you use the camera a bit more or play games. That will make you go for a late-night walk with 25% of the battery. Well, the fast-charging would come in handy there for sure, but you are not getting it with 5.3. By the way, when you play games, the phone can get a bit hotter, but not so hot that you’ll drop it from your hands.

The phone is working well now, and I must say that the affordable midrange phone world looks way better now than it looked a few years ago. Nokia 5.3 feels more competent than 5.1, but Nokia Mobile needs to improve it by tuning software, or enhancing WiFi antenna, face unlock, and camera app since there are some rather nice alternatives for the same or slightly more money on the market.

Regarding the camera, I hate to see the phone struggling with getting closer objects into focus. I’m nagging a bit since this is not the hardware fault but rather software one, and software can be tuned better. With Gcam, Nokia 5.3 camera performs much better, which means that 5.3 can be improved. Anyway, don’t expect much from low light or night shots.

If you would like me to check something on Nokia 5.3 for you, do tell in the comments.