Nokia 5.4 Review: More Style Than Substance?

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HMD World has given us some memorable Nokia smartphones up to now. The Nokia 5.1 Plus, Nokia 7.2, and Nokia 8.1, are simply among the standout choices that come to thoughts. Of late, the corporate has been increasing its inexpensive vary with the Nokia 2.4, Nokia C3, and Nokia 5.3, however none of those have managed to really impress us as a lot because the fashions that got here earlier than them.

The corporate’s newest launch is the Nokia 5.4, which succeeds the Nokia 5.3. HMD World is pitching this to content material creators who need “cinema-grade” digicam instruments with out having to spend a complete lot. The Nokia 5.Four begins at Rs. 13,999 in India, which is a extremely aggressive worth level. Does it have sufficient options to face out? Let’s first check out the completely different choices which are out there in India.

Nokia 5.Four worth and variants

The bottom variant of the Nokia 5.Four has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and is priced at Rs. 13,999. There is a second variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage priced at Rs. 15,499. It is out there in two colors — Nightfall and Polar Night time — of which I’ve the latter with 4GB of RAM.

I’ve already gone over the design and construct high quality features of this cellphone in my first impressions, so we’ll leap straight into the efficiency of the Nokia 5.4.

Nokia 5.Four efficiency and battery life

Up till just lately, entry-level Nokia smartphones have not supplied one of the best person expertise due to underpowered processors, for my part. The Nokia 5.Four nonetheless sits in the next worth phase and options the extra highly effective Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 SoC, just like the Poco M3 (Review). Whereas the utilization expertise is best in comparison with, say, a Nokia 2.3, it is nonetheless not as easy correctly for a cellphone at this worth. Simply waking up the cellphone utilizing the fingerprint sensor or face recognition feels torpid.

Swiping by homescreens and switching between apps doesn’t really feel snappy both, which is puzzling contemplating that Android doesn’t get leaner than the utterly inventory UI that HMD Global makes use of. Possibly it is the truth that there’s solely 4GB of RAM or only a lack of correct optimisation, however both manner, it might have been higher.

Then there’s the show. The 6.39-inch panel has respectable viewing angles, and color copy is satisfactory. Watching movies is mostly a nice expertise too, however the show decision is simply HD+, which is disappointing for a cellphone costing practically Rs. 14,000. Granted, this should not have an effect on day-to-day use an excessive amount of. I did not face any points studying textual content on Internet pages, and icons and different UI parts do not have very noticeable jagged edges. Nevertheless, the utmost brightness stage is on the decrease facet, which makes this show a bit laborious to make use of beneath direct daylight.

The 4GB model of the Nokia 5.Four would not supply the smoothest Android expertise, even with none heavy pores and skin or bloatware

 

The Snapdragon 662 carried out properly in benchmarks. In truth, I managed to file barely increased benchmark scores in comparison with the Poco M3, which additionally has the identical SoC. Easy video games akin to Ninja Arashi 2 ran properly with none heating, however heavier titles akin to Name of Obligation: Cell brought about the again of the cellphone to get scorching, regardless that the sport was playable. The only speaker on the backside will get loud sufficient for media playback. The bundled wired headset is of poor high quality so I would not advocate utilizing it.

The Nokia 5.Four has a devoted slot for a microSD card (as much as 512GB). It additionally helps twin 4G VoLTE, single-band Wi-Fi n, Bluetooth 4.2, and fundamental sensors. As soon as once more, at this worth level I might have preferred to see dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 on the very least. The cellphone can be lacking a built-in compass, which suggests apps akin to Google Maps will not present you the route you are going through. FM radio is current, and makes use of a wired headset because the antenna.

Software program is one space that’s laborious to seek out fault with on Nokia smartphones. It is inventory Android 10 with simply Google’s suite of apps, a assist app from HMD World, and a Cinema editor extension within the Google Pictures app for color grading H-Log movies . An Android 11 replace is anticipated to roll out quickly. Whereas I am all for a lean-mean Android machine, I do miss among the creature comforts that third-party skins present, akin to scrollable screenshots and even a sport mode. I realised the necessity for the latter function when the brightness stored altering when gaming on the Nokia 5.4, as a result of my thumb stored blocking the ambient gentle sensor. It is little issues like these that we take with no consideration now and I believe it is excessive time HMD World begins including them.

One large factor going within the Nokia 5.4’s favour is the promise of assured updates for Android (as much as two years) and safety patches (as much as three years). The remainder of the software program expertise is enterprise as normal. The Google Assistant button permits you to subject instructions, take notes, and so on, with a single press, and the dialler app options built-in name recording too.

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The battery lifetime of the Nokia 5.Four is just not dangerous, offered your utilization is just not too heavy

 

The Nokia 5.Four has a 4,000mAh battery, which I discovered to be sufficient to get me by one full day of heavy use, and even the subsequent day if my utilization was frugal. Gaming and watching movies positively drains the battery loads faster, in my expertise. This cellphone did fare fairly poorly in our HD video battery loop check operating for simply 9 hours and 21 minutes, which is properly beneath common. Charging the battery is just not the quickest both. With the bundled 10W adapter and even with any customary high-wattage Kind-C adapter, I used to be in a position to get solely a couple of 55 p.c cost after an hour.

Nokia 5.Four cameras

HMD World is making a giant deal concerning the Nokia 5.4’s skill to shoot H-Log video, which to be truthful, no competitor on this phase is providing. This video format primarily offers you a flat color profile, so you’ll be able to colour-grade footage later in skilled post-production software program as per your liking. This function is not generally seen in inventory cellphone digicam apps, however some paid video recording apps akin to Filmic Professional do supply it.

With the intention to make the most of the H-Log format, you may have to change to ‘Cinema’ capturing mode. Sadly, you’ll be able to solely shoot within the cinema facet ratio of 21:9 (1920×822) at 24fps. Inside this mode, you may want to enter the settings and allow H-Log format. Within the viewfinder, you might have the choice to manually modify white steadiness, publicity, focus, and ISO, both earlier than or when you are recording. H-Log recording is out there for the ultra-wide angle digicam too.

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H-Log video recording is a novel providing within the Nokia 5.4

 

As soon as you’ve got shot your video, you’ll be able to open it with ‘Cinema editor’ which helps you to select from a bunch of preset color profiles akin to Rec.709, and so on, however you’ll be able to’t do any handbook adjustment right here. You can additionally open these information in your pc in suitable video enhancing software program to color grade it.

All of this works fairly properly, as marketed. Movies shot in Cinema mode aren’t the sharpest as a result of stabilisation being utilized however when you’re going for a cinematic look, it should not be a difficulty. Picture high quality is respectable contemplating we’re restricted to 1080p however the movies look higher on a pc than the cellphone’s low-resolution show. OZO spatial audio labored fairly properly in capturing directional sound too. All stated and finished, H-Log video recording is a fairly area of interest function which in all probability solely a handful of content material creators will care about.

It could have been good to see HMD World go all out and supply different skilled options too, akin to a zebra sample for checking publicity and focus peaking, or perhaps even face and eye autofocus. I additionally wished that H-Log had been usable with extra generally used facet ratios too.

In customary video mode, you’ll be able to shoot as much as 1080p 60fps, which presents one of the best video high quality, however there is not any stabilisation. At 30fps, movies are stabilised properly however the picture high quality is softer. In low gentle, particulars are weak and there may be noise in darkish areas.

 

Nokia 5.Four foremost digicam pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

Nokia 5.Four ultra-wide angle digicam pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

Nokia 5.Four close-up digicam pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

 

For stills, the primary 48-megapixel digicam captures pixel-binned 12-megapixel photographs by default, which look good when you handle to shoot them on a shiny sunny day. The cellphone struggles a bit getting the main target proper with close-ups, and it will possibly get colors very mistaken at occasions too, however total, the standard is respectable.

Photographs end up grainy in low gentle, and sadly, Night time mode will increase noise significantly, whereas brightening up the picture solely a little bit bit. The ultra-wide angle digicam has only a 5-megapixel decision, and as you would possibly anticipate, picture high quality is poor even in the course of the day. I did not discover a lot use for the macro digicam, as picture high quality was lower than passable. The 16-megapixel selfie digicam does alright within the daytime and delivers satisfactory leads to low gentle.

Nokia 5.Four Night time mode digicam pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

Nokia 5.Four selfie digicam pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

 

Certainly one of our gripes with the Nokia 5.Three was that it lacked video stabilisation, which HMD World has addressed with the Nokia 5.4. The primary digicam additionally shoots respectable photographs in the course of the day. However total, the cameras aren’t that spectacular for a cellphone priced at across the Rs. 15,000 mark.

Nokia 5.Four design and dealing with

Design and ergonomics are robust factors for the Nokia 5.4. The curvy physique makes it snug to carry, it is pretty slim and lightweight, and the Polar Night time trim appears to be like implausible. Nevertheless, the again attracts smudges and fingerprints very simply, and it is a ache to maintain wiping these away. Using plastic would not hassle me an excessive amount of since this cellphone nonetheless feels sturdy, and I did not discover any scuff marks in the course of the week-long evaluate interval, however it could have been good to see some premium supplies like glass.

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The Nokia 5.Four appears to be like good however would not supply a lot else to face up in opposition to the competitors

 

Verdict

The Nokia 5.4 might have been a stable alternative within the sub-Rs. 15,000 phase, however the options and efficiency on supply simply aren’t aggressive sufficient. The addition of H-Log video seize is exclusive, however the decision and framerate restrictions would possibly put lots of people off. Take this function away, and the cameras do not actually have a lot else to face on. Add to this the low-resolution show and the marginally sluggish efficiency of the 4GB variant, and you find yourself with a cellphone that is a little bit laborious to advocate to anybody with a price range restrict of Rs. 15,000.

The design and the truth that you get inventory Android with assured updates are the primary redeeming elements right here, however I am unsure how properly these will maintain up in opposition to the present competitors which is already fierce, in addition to upcoming launches on this phase.


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