Nokia 5.3 long term review: 4 months later

Nokia 5.3
Nokia 5.3

If you are still on the fence whether the Nokia 5.3 is the right device for you, this will hopefully help. I’ve had the phone for around 4 months now since my initial review of the device, and I wanted to share my insight on the things I like, the issues that have popped up, and the things I grew to appreciate. You can check it out in the video below:

The good:

  1. The phone has received a bug fixing update that has mostly fixed any optimization issues that were found on launch day software. As a result, the 5.3 feels faster, smoother, and overall just more pleasant to use
  2. The camera has also received an update that improves the overall performance as well as the picture quality slightly. The camera interface is quicker to switch between mode, and the sharpness of the images in all lighting conditions has improved.
  3. Phone has continued to receive security updates, and alongside the bug-squashing update gives it a nice advantage over a lot of its competitors

The bad: 

  1. The display gets scratched easily. My unit developed micro-scratches within the first month of usage. I’m not the type of person to use a screen protector on my phones usually, but its a must have on this device. Do keep in mind that I’m also not very careful with where I put my phone. But this was never an issue with my Nokia 9 PureView for example.
  2. The camera autofocus hasn’t been great. Its jumpy, and sometimes results in slightly out of focus images. Its very center focused, so if your subject isn’t exactly in the center, it might not be in focus. Always tap on the screen to select your subject before shooting. Otherwise, the camera has been decent. The colors are very neutral and night mode is good when used in realistic low light situations. In total darkness it just doesn’t work.

Important notes: 

  • Battery life has been consistently good. On regular usage you can easily squeeze in 1.5 days of usage. Even when I tried really hard to kill it, it lasted me till the end of the day.
  • The display has been good. I know there are a lot of valid concerns about the resolution, but it’s a good panel. Viewing angles, colors, and brightness are all good. There is a slight blue tint to the display which you won’t notice till you compare it with a more expensive device. I would highly recommend seeing it in person if you’re concerned about the resolution.
  • The build quality has been excellent. The phone feels as solid as the day I bought it. The matte back plastic plate is great. It doesn’t get scratched easily and doesn’t hold on to fingerprints like crazy. I hope to see more matte backs on future devices.
  • The wide angle camera is okay. In anything other than perfect situations it struggles, especially near the edges of the picture. But I like having it. The macro lens I haven’t touched for about 2 months, but the depth sensor is nice to have for portrait pictures which are generally good.
  • GCAM is a must on this device. It improves the dynamic range of pictures drastically. It used to be much better than the stock camera in sharpness but the gap has been greatly reduced since the last camera update.

That is everything I wanted to share with you guys. If you still have any questions about the Nokia 5.3, feel free to share them in the comments.