Powering the C5-03 is a 600MHz ARM 11 processor with 128MB of RAM. That may not sound like much but Symbian^1 doesn't need much CPU grunt and the result is an OS that positively zips along. The UI is pleasantly fluid too with no stalls, hiccoughs or hesitations. Fire up the picture gallery though and things do slow down with thumbnail previews of large image galleries taking a noticeably long time to load.
Inherent limitations aside, this latest version of S60 has had a few improvements applied to it. It now features smoother and more reliable kinetic scrolling and consistently uses a single-tap rather than a mixture of single and double to launch apps and open files.
The resistive panel isn't a complete deal-breaker either. Of course you won't mistake the C5 for an iPhone 4 or Nexus S but the touch-screen still reacts smartly to taps and the landscape virtual keyboard is a nice bit of design, so messaging and typing aren't a problem. Hold the phone in portrait though and you have to make do with a virtual numeric keypad.
The web browsing capabilities of the C5-03 leave something to be desired. While the standard browser supports Java and YouTube video, text doesn't re-flow, which means that zooming in can be a clunky and frustrating experience. Videos also take a long time to load. Using Opera Mini improves matters but this is still one area in which Symbian is lagging far, far behind Android, iOS and the rest of the band.
Charges from the 2mm socket and the micro USB interface
The installed social network apps compare poorly to what's available for the smartphone competition and though you can rummage around in the Ovi Store the selection of apps is nothing like as broad or interesting as it is in the Apps Store or Android Market.
Next page: Basic skills
Trying to convert myself to android but having a hard time of it -
I've got a Nokia 5800 and I'm trying out the Orange San Francisco (sounds like a bargain on the face of it at £100 with a good res screen). The android OS is great but a rogue app is using data (after doing a factory reset it's OK - I'm wondering if it's Facebook which I can't un-install as it's a "system" app! - this time I didn't sign into it). The build quality is worse. And there's an issue with it forgetting about the SIM card. I had to install the "blade wifi fix" app to sort out a Wifi problem. The sat nav is on-line so no use when I'm on holiday and Google don't cover as many countries as Ovi anyway. it's also very basic in comparison.
Even if I spent a bit more on a better android phone, I'd then be into the no battery life issue. Two guys at work leave theirs plugged in permanently when they're at home or at their desk!
I'm not sure why I want android other than everyone else has one and it looks prettier. Being a geek I like the idea of the linux command line and clever apps but on the other hand, I do need a phone that works as a phone (and occasional sat nav) and doesn't cost more than a laptop.
So, you get what you pay for...
...and you get quite a lot.
Specifically, good call quality, long battery life, a good enough UI and operating system, some nice features.
You don't get an app store full of fluff for the hard of thinking, it doesn't cost you £500, and fanbois (most shades of) won't want you in their club.
It just gets better.
I know it's currently trendy to diss Nokia, but come on, what happened to function over form?
Disclaimer: I own and love my 5800, running the same OS, I think. And in cold weather I can keep my gloves on in cold weather, because it's got a resistive screen.
You *can* get androids for this price.
Vodafone is offering the X10 Mini on PAYG for £130 and the Orange San Francisco is available for £100 PAYG which makes them both realistic alternatives to the C5-03 for any potential smartphone buyer on a budget.
At the high end of 'budget'
Let's not forget the extra £10-15 to unlock it, if you want to run a budget phone on a budget PAYG network. Making it nearly twice the price of an unlocked San Francisco (free unlock available).
Unless you really want to pay more in call charges than you did for the phone in a frighteningly short time.
It's unfortunate for Nokia, Android is redefining what 'budget' means.