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Nokia C5-03 review

 Review: February 2011  

Last updated September 2012

Rating: 2 stars

In a nutshell: The C5-03 is another uninspired Nokia smartphone running the old Symbian operating system. With its unresponsive resistive touchscreen, poor camera with fixed focus, no flash and lack of adequate memory, it serves as a sad example of everything that's gone wrong with Nokia.

Today's best buy: Nokia C5-03 (graphite black) ... from Amazon (£220)



The Nokia C5-03 is the successor to the highly popular Nokia 5230 and is a mid-range smartphone. Physically the phone looks and feels very much like the 5230. It's slightly smaller and lighter, but retains a 3.2 inch screen as well as 3 buttons below. The screen is exactly the same as in the 5230 and is the same size as the similarly-priced HTC Wildfire S. It's a small size for a phone of this price, and being resistive rather than capacitive it does take a bit of poking to make it respond sometimes.

Now the 5230 was released a whole year before the C5-03, so we were anticipating some significant improvements in the C5-03. But it seems that time is standing still at Nokia. There's little improvement, and some things have actually gone backward. Most gobsmackingly awful is the fact that the C5-03 still uses Symbian Series 60. It's slow, it's unresponsive, it crashes if there's an "r" in the month or a "d" in the day and in combination with the cheap and nasty resistive screen makes for an unpleasant user experience.

The camera has been upgraded to 5 megapixels, but there's still no flash or autofocus. Whilst the aGPS with Ovi Maps goes some way to redeeming the phone, the paltry 40MB of built-in memory and the lack of even video calling makes it look like Nokia are taking the micky with this phone. They're even quoting an extraordinary battery standby of 25 days. Considering that it's powered by a less-than-impressive 1000 mAh battery, we think it'll be more likely to average a few days in the real world.

This is not the worst phone in the world, but it's very mundane. And when you consider that it's priced at around the £150 level you'd be better off considering one of the many smartphones in this price range that offer so much more. Our top suggestions would be the highly competent Galaxy Ace 2, the stunning Sony Xperia U or the Nokia Lumia 610 running Phone 7.

Nokia C5-03 features include:

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Nokia C5-03 (graphite black) ...
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Nokia C5-03 - Smartphone Ora ...
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Nokia C5-03 user reviews

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Average rating from 23 reviews:

Reviewed by Prasad from India on 3rd Jan 2014
The worst cell phone I ever seen. Worser than any basic cell phone. As Nokia is under loss, I believe Nokia started this way to make money by releasing such phones and make money through service. Another worst thing is poor service centers. If you give them to repair one part, they will spoil another part. So, you will be regular customer to loose money. Shame on their part. If you want to servive, you can find infinitely positive ways, you should not choose this way.

Reviewed by Rhman from Bangladash on 22nd Aug 2013

Reviewed by Prashant from India on 20th Aug 2012
best mobile

Reviewed by Amit from Indian on 30th Jan 2012
Hang problun restrart problum

Reviewed by howard baker from uk on 19th Dec 2011

Reviewed by Surya from India on 11th Dec 2011
It is best phone but lack of internal memory it will turn of automatically while browsing and it doesn't even had telugu or any other language keypad and even telugu messages cannot be revied

Reviewed by Suyog from India on 13th Nov 2011
Its amazing phone and multi usefull apps..i like it. Its design is very good

Reviewed by Derek from Studham from England on 12th Nov 2011
The Nokia C5 is the worst phone I have ever bought. It does not connect via WIFI to email or internet consistently well to be reliable. Answering calls outside is difficult as the screen has 2 swipe commands one to unlock the other to answer. If in the daylight you can't see them properly the call in is locked or lost as I try and swipe the right point. The lag time in running is frustrating, the lock unlock button is constantly being used in the middle of tasks as the phone thinks it should save power. The battery standby life in this one is 48 hours not 600. Talk time well it will not last a working day if used moderately. I have to get another phone.

Reviewed by David from Ponders End on 25th Oct 2011
I have this for two weeks and love it, the best phone I ever had, the screen on it is very responsive, the camera is brilliant, calls sound good, the browser is great and has flash, the battery life is good and I can carry a spare to change in a couple of seconds if needed. Well done to all at Nokia

Reviewed by Tony from Spain on 11th Oct 2011
Just had the phone out of the box and the first thing i noticed is unresponsive touch screen.

Reviewed by pavan kuamr javvaji from india on 8th Oct 2011
the positives of the phone are : 1) 5mp cam 2) 3g with high speed upto 10.2 mbps 3)wifi 4)one of the best navigations and gps coming to negatives of phone: 1) no flash 2) no front cam 3)the internal memory is too less 4)the phone restarts when v use gps for long tym 5)it has resistive touch pad 6) cant open more than 3 apps a tym as it wil tel "insufficient memory plz close some applications and tryagain" i have exploited this phone to the greatest extent.. i found it boring after a week.. install "spb shell" it makes the phone interesting.. overall go for some other phone like samsung galaxy pop which comes for the same price....

Reviewed by Anshu bhalla from India on 7th Oct 2011
I love love love this phone very much muaah its my fav i have ever used i found no deffeciency in it Except flash but still i love it

Reviewed by Sravanthi from India on 22nd Sep 2011
I have been using this since 5months. Its very unresponsive. It cant withstand my rate of input commands.The screen has become so ugly in one months span that it looks as if I was using it since 2 years. I have had Nokia 2700 Classic which is far better than C5 03. Though the camera is 5MP, I find images taken with 2700 are better than C5 03. I can never get rid of this as it has been gifted to me... :-( I end up cursing it... Connecting to Internet is easier now, I dont like use it for anything else practically...

Reply by Prasad from India on 3rd Jan 2014
Rightly said. Worst phone in the world. Nokia can copete for that.

Reviewed by Dominic from South Africa on 10th Sep 2011
iv'v had this phone for 2 days and it's already the screen requires a lot of tapping before it responds and it's slow.

Reviewed by rohit from india on 15th Aug 2011

Reviewed by Rocky maviya from India on 13th Jul 2011
Nokia c5-03 is much better than 5230 cause it has good image qualty with 5mp camera, 600MHz procsr with wifi slim and stylis look in somuch low cost, im usin this fone from last 4 mnths nd its awsome i give my c5-03 rating 100/100

Reviewed by anoy from private on 23rd Jun 2011
Bad choice, I own this phone and i prefer n8-00 as it is many a lot better.

Reviewed by 7osni from Egypt on 21st May 2011
ok we have lived before with resistive touchscreens but the phone is very very slow. why does nokia keep trying to fool us?

Reviewed by Jerry from Medusa Cascade on 4th Apr 2011
Best phone I have ever had, love it, replacement for 5530 that I broke at work.

Reviewed by Tom from England on 30th Mar 2011
Bad, Don't Buy.

Reviewed by Harry from England on 16th Mar 2011
The best phone I have ever had , works fantastic, good replacement for my iphone 4 that some scumyob stole last week.

Reviewed by Steven from England on 14th Mar 2011
I have had a Nokia 5230 for a year, I just got C5-03 and it is fantastic, neither of these were slow, no freezing in fact none of the problems that were mentioned in your review. Since when was the nokia 5mp camera "poor", on my C5-03 the camera is excellant. This phone is an improvement on 5230 and is better than a lot of the expensive phones for sheep that are being pushed just now.

Reviewed by Rohan from India on 2nd Mar 2011
Mobile phone reviews on this website are generally very reliable and unbiased, but this particular review seems to be highly inaccurate and biased against Nokia. The review says that C5-03 has no wifi, but the Nokia website clearly mentions that this phone has wifi. The review also says that Nokia C5-03 has the same screen resolution as HTC Wildfire, whereas in the respective feature lists of both the phones on this website itself, the screen resolution of HTC Wildfire is mentioned as 240 x 320 and that of Nokia C5-03 as 640 x 360. That's almost twice the screen resolution. Why is a reputed website like this publishing such misleading reviews and quoting inaccurate information ? And what if the touch screen is resistive ? Some users like me actually prefer resistive touch screens, which can be operated with stylus. Please ignore the rating given by me, I have not actually used the phone.

Reply by Mobile Phones UK from UK on 2nd Mar 2011
Thank you for your comments, Rohan, and you are correct about the Wi-Fi, which has now been corrected. Our overall assessment of the phone remains the same, however. The majority of users don't get on with resistive screens and the problems of Symbian are well documented in thousands of user reviews on this site.

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