Layman’s Take on Nokia 500–Why to buy and why not to? The review

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So, while you have seen that how Nokia 500 looks like and what’s the content inside via the unboxing video, its time to do a recap and then back to usual Layman’s take.

Like I said in last post, low price phones like Nokia C5, Nokia E5, Nokia 5800, Nokia 5233, Nokia 7230 etc always had a special place for me and I gave them a due whenever got a chance, so when you hear about a phone with 1GHz processor under 10k, then its kind of natural to get excited about it. Nokia 500 been the first of 1GHz Symbian Smartphone lineup from Nokia and while its obviously not going to be make big buzz on big tech sites you read, this is sure something that mean business in Asian countries.

Nokia 500: The naming scheme

It’s been a lot of confusing lately with names like C6-00, C6-01, X2-00, X2-03 etc… but finally Nokia taken the suggestions and went back to the old naming conventions like we knew Nokia sometimes back in era or Nokia 1100, 6600 etc…

Pure numeric names for the consumer models and special names for the flagships.

Sure the convention here actually has some different meaning than this, but that’s the way normal consumer may understand it better. So, a good news to see the names like Nokia 500, 600, 700, 701 etc.

I am not sure that many would remember that this is not the first Nokia 500 model. Yeah! it might come as a surprise to you that there was already a product named Nokia 500 Auto Navigation , which was a car navigation device with a 4.3” resistive touch screen with 480×272 pixels resolution supporting 65k colors. More interestingly, this device from 2008 had Samsung’s 400 Mhz CPU. Did you knew it?

While no reviewers seem to be pointing over this, but I find it a bit strange that why Nokia thought to make use of this name? Anyway, as that TomTom competitor is ancient now, so I don’t think anyone will bother when the name Nokia 500 sits tight with the names of other devices in the same range (Nokia 600, Nokia 700, Nokia 701).

Though still we heard of two more product in the old confusing naming, but we should say kudos to Nokia for listening their community and changing the naming scheme finally.

Let’s see what I seen and thought of Nokia 500 …

Nokia 500: The Box and the contents

I wasn’t expecting something heavy inside the box at this price (like we seen in case of Nokia 5800 long back). Sure, there is no TV Out cable (no TV Out capability too), no premium microphones (but it is a Stereo  headset) like Nokia 5800, but you didn’t seen these things with Nokia C7-00 likes too, no?



So, here goes the Nokia 500 Box Contents targeting mass users …

1. Nokia 500 Handset
2. Nokia AC-5E Battery Charger
3. Nokia CA-101D USB Data Cable
4. Nokia WH-102 Stereo Handset
5. Two extra swappable battery covers in different colors
5. A Nokia 500 Manual


You can notice that the content of box is almost the same as it has been with Nokia C7-00 except the super compact charger Nokia AC-5E in place of AC-15E (Not sure if I ever seen such a compact charger around). Also the addition of two swappable battery cover is might be a popular trick to engage youngsters and also keep their different league as Nokia brand due to premium material used in construction.

Complaining about “smallest USB cable in the world” is old days story, so not talking about that, but want to tell the readers that unlike rest of Symbian^3 lineup, like an odd man out, Nokia 500 doesn’t have USB OTG, just like it doesn’t have Bluetooth 3.0 (it has Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR). But its still doesn’t go as deal breaker as expect Nokia Symbian^3 lineup, none of other brands have any of these, leave the low price handsets.

Nokia 500: The design

Do you know what was my first expression, when I seen this device in front of me? I was like holy cow… this thing is so good looking for a low price handset. Same been the words of others, whoever seen it. If you would have seen the designs of Nokia 5800, Nokia 5233 etc or the other brands in this segment, then I am sure that these looks will please you for the price on offer (current best price is 8.5k INR around).

Just take a look at this thing …


Nokia took the same design forward to present their first 1Ghz phone, which arrived with their first capacitive smartphone Nokia X6.

If you thought that Nokia 500 looks fantastic from the front only and plastic (rubber actually I think) on the back might be spoiling the looks, then look at this…


Now, think that from which side you wanna show off this nice little beauty.



The bottom part of the device front contains in-surface touch buttons for Menu, Call, Call End button and an unusually placed Microphone, if you would have noticed left part of the screen.

While in switched off state, Call and Call End buttons look while, Nokia didn’t missed to put Green LED behind Call button and Red LED for the switched on state. And by the way, did I tell you that Call End serves as Power Button as well in case pressed enough long.


Not a big surprise for people keeping track of devices in this price range, but consumers should have been much happier if this phone was sporting a front camera. I mean, isn’t it disappointing a bit to see a device with HSDPA Cat10 14.4 Mbps and HSUPA Cat6 5.76 Mbps but not usable as a video calling device? But again.. why to expect big things from a budget device that is already doing great for its price?

So apart from the ear piece, what else you see on the top of device front is Ambient Light Sensor and a proximity sensor.


Like I always said, if there is no good implementation to cover it, then it’s a lot better to leave the USB slot open, like Nokia been doing with N82, N8 likes and Nokia 500 fall back in the same line. If you look closer then the USB slot is different than other Symbian^3 devices, to ensure that someone may not accidently put a USB OTG cable inside the slot. Also I should personally thank Nokia for managing to keep the USB charging feature retained with Nokia 500.

Rest of the top place is taken by 3.5mm Audio jack on a side and 2mm Charging port on other side. Thank God, we have dual charging options here, which may serve a great purpose of being a reliable modem for our PCs/Laptops. Remember we have HSDPA Cat10 14.4 Mbps and HSUPA Cat6 5.76 Mbps here.


While right side or bottom side of device has no buttons or any ports, we find a lock button and volume buttons on the left side of the device. The Lock button is not slider here, which might be serving better for a plastic body in long term.


While many might miss this point, but you must notice the fact that the camera on back uses the glass here, no plastic lens on the back cover. My experience with Nokia 5233 likes says that we should praise this device whole heartedly. Adds another dimension into durability of this device.

The speaker on the back isn’t anything big to be talked about. Its nothing like those almighty speakers on Nokia 5800, Nokia N8-00 etc but still does fairer than other brands around (quality wise).


Not sure, what to say about it, but Nokia 500 carries a 1110 mAh battery in place of usual 1200 mAh that been kind of standard to Nokia nowadays. Though sure, I don’t have a big complaint on a battery life till its above 7 hours per charge.


The placement of SIM or MicroSD card under battery makes both of them non-hot swappable, but slot open mechanism used here again makes both of a very durable design over some pull out mechanism.


The above is the back cover of the device, which is not that easy to pull it off. I mean not very much tough but still not as easy as it been case of Nokia N82 or Nokia 5310 likes to me. But once you are used to it, the good news is, you can swap the covers without switching off device. I know many for which it would be handy.

Nokia 500: The Interiors


As written on the box, the prominent feature about Nokia 500 is 1GHz ARM processor. Rest usual goodies like 5MP Full Focus Camera, HSDPA Cat10 14.4 Mbps and HSUPA Cat6 5.76 Mbps, 256 MB RAM, 512 MB ROM, 2Gb mass memory, 32 Gb MicroSD support, WLAN IEEE 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, Accelerometer Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor and Compass (Magnetometer Sensor) fall in place with Nokia 500.

Neither of 14.1 mm thickness or 3.2” LCD (non AMOLED or non CBD) is something big to talk about nor you expect some superb viewing angles from a plain LCD Display of sub 10k device, but the display is bright enough and pixel density should be considered as above average at 229 ppi (184 ppi of X7-00, 210 ppi of N8-00). Definitely fits enough juice for a sub 10k device.

While we have read that what we got here, let’s take a look at, what we are missing here.

  1. No Front camera
  2. No LED Flash with back 5MP Full Focus Camera (100 cm to Infinity)
  3. No 720p recording anymore (just 640 x 480 pixels with 15 fps only)
  4. No Gorilla Glass
  5. No Bluetooth 3.0
  6. No USB OTG
  7. No TV Out support
  8. No HDMI obviously
  9. Only 2D Graphics HW Accelerator with OpenVG 1.1 support, not the usual 2D/3D Graphics HW Accelerator with OpenVG1.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0 support (Its big one, if you ask me).

Nokia 500: The Software Experience

Once you open and go through the Symbian Anna on Nokia 500, you definitely find it lighter than its own physical weight. 1 Ghz is so happening with Symbian’s way of utilizing resources so well though lack of 3D HW acceleration sure makes you want more (and Nokia 600, 700, 701 are just around the corner on a little bit more price).

Never found it lagging anywhere, no matter how many apps I am running, but that’s also a fact that not many apps to run there, thanks to no 3D acceleration. But sure its not that big deal as developers will easily adopt with this particular device in a matter of very short time (next Gravity going to cover it for sure, I guess).


Yes, we call it Symbian Anna and it looks like Symbian Anna, but I am sure that developers behind it would have done a great job mapping a 3D HW accelerated UI into a non-3D accelerated UI. I am not a developer but I think that the version number 010.029, we see here should be something different than usual Symbian Anna.

We don’t get to run Angry Bird, I Must Run! like popular games here and Gravity facing noticeable flickering issues .. kind of shows that the software still need some work. Though other apps like fMobi, Nokia Store, 4squick, LinkedIn etc works great.


Rest all Symbian Anna goodies are right there, split input, Qt apps, Video Editor and Photo Editor etc. and I must say it’s the most you get from a sub 10k device out of the box. Otherwise, you either miss 3G or miss camera or miss resolution or missing anything like that.

So, keeping the long story short, this is Nokia 500, what I seen of it. What you think about it? Tell me.. I am all ears on @nkumar_ or on


22 thoughts on “Layman’s Take on Nokia 500–Why to buy and why not to? The review

  1. Good phone as I expected it to be at that price. People(Geeks) forget at what’s price before ranting always.
    You mentioned some issues with 3D, do these games like Angry birds are available for 500 in Nokia store?

  2. Nope. These games etc do not show up while searching in Nokia Store (so not an issue for n00bs) though disappointing fact is flickering issue. Hope @janole will resolve it soon.

    FMobi was facing issues in start (out of box) but issue got resolved after installing Nokia Store (QML).

  3. Dear sir.
    i want a hand set with in the range of > 10,000. Firstly! i want in it browsing speed on ‘2G’ network. And other thing i want in it is (3G, gps, touch screen(3.2inc”) if avilable but browsing speed first and gud battry life).
    Also give suggest for nokia.
    Sir plz..
    Rply me soon and

  4. I am a engg. student and i want to buy nokia 500 on my 19th birthday.i am a music lover and also a net surfer likes to surf net in this phone is sufficient for me and good value of money at 10k???

  5. I am planning to buy Nokia 500 as it seems good by the reviws. But please help me to knwo whether it will last for few years?? or there is no guarantee for its functioning correctly after 2-3 years. Is it a robust handset which will work correct for few years form now?

  6. a nice review, would have been even better if browsing experience on prominent browsers including opera mini uc, bolt, etc. A review regarding document editor pdf file view, ebook reading and the like will make it a descent review.

  7. how about the negative aspects with this phone? may i know them? recently, im reading comments about this said phone, and most of the comments i’ve read says that this phone hangs up always..

  8. Is nokia 500 a best mobile under rs 10000 or nokia e5. Does nokia 500 run at laest 2-3 years.

  9. what is the type of headset nokia is providing with 500? Is it the traditional flat type or the round ‘into the ear deeply’ round type? @nitish

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