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Nokia 5.4 Review: More Style Than Substance?


HMD International has given us some memorable Nokia smartphones previously. The Nokia 5.1 Plus, Nokia 7.2, and Nokia 8.1, are simply a few of the standout choices that come to thoughts. Of late, the corporate has been increasing its reasonably priced 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 International is pitching this to content material creators who need “cinema-grade” digicam instruments with out having to spend a complete lot. The Nokia 5.4 begins at Rs. 13,999 in India, which is a extremely aggressive value level. Does it have sufficient options to face out? Let’s first check out the totally different choices which are out there in India.

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Nokia 5.4 value and variants

The bottom variant of the Nokia 5.4 has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and is priced at Rs. 13,999. There’s a second variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage priced at Rs. 15,499. It’s 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 points of this cellphone in my first impressions, so we’ll bounce straight into the efficiency of the Nokia 5.4.

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Nokia 5.4 efficiency and battery life

Up till just lately, entry-level Nokia smartphones haven’t supplied the perfect person expertise due to underpowered processors, in my view. The Nokia 5.4 nonetheless sits in a better value section and options the extra highly effective Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 SoC, much like the Poco M3 (Evaluation). Whereas the utilization expertise is healthier in comparison with, say, a Nokia 2.3, it’s nonetheless not as easy accurately for a cellphone at this value. 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 International makes use of. Possibly it’s 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 first rate viewing angles, and color replica is ample. 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 shouldn’t have an effect on day-to-day use an excessive amount of. I didn’t face any points studying textual content on Internet pages, and icons and different UI components don’t have very noticeable jagged edges. Nevertheless, the utmost brightness degree is on the decrease facet, which makes this show a bit arduous to make use of beneath direct daylight.

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The 4GB model of the Nokia 5.4 doesn’t supply the smoothest Android expertise, even with none heavy pores and skin or bloatware

 

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The Snapdragon 662 carried out nicely in benchmarks. In truth, I managed to document barely greater benchmark scores in comparison with the Poco M3, which additionally has the identical SoC. Easy video games similar to Ninja Arashi 2 ran nicely with none heating, however heavier titles similar to Name of Responsibility: Cellular triggered the again of the cellphone to get sizzling, although 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 wouldn’t suggest utilizing it.

The Nokia 5.4 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 primary sensors. As soon as once more, at this value 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 implies apps similar to Google Maps received’t present you the course you’re dealing with. FM radio is current, and makes use of a wired headset because the antenna.

Software program is one space that’s arduous to seek out fault with on Nokia smartphones. It’s inventory Android 10 with simply Google’s suite of apps, a assist app from HMD International, and a Cinema editor extension within the Google Images app for color grading H-Log movies . An Android 11 replace is predicted to roll out quickly. Whereas I’m all for a lean-mean Android machine, I do miss a few of the creature comforts that third-party skins present, similar to scrollable screenshots and even a recreation mode. I realised the necessity for the latter characteristic when the brightness stored altering when gaming on the Nokia 5.4, as a result of my thumb stored blocking the ambient mild sensor. It’s little issues like these that we take without any consideration now and I believe it’s excessive time HMD International 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 ordinary. The Google Assistant button allows you to problem instructions, take notes, and many others, with a single press, and the dialler app options built-in name recording too.

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The battery lifetime of the Nokia 5.4 just isn’t dangerous, supplied your utilization just isn’t too heavy

 

The Nokia 5.4 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 undoubtedly drains the battery quite a bit 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 nicely under common. Charging the battery just isn’t the quickest both. With the bundled 10W adapter and even with any customary high-wattage Sort-C adapter, I used to be in a position to get solely a few 55 p.c cost after an hour.

Nokia 5.4 cameras

HMD International is making a giant deal in regards to the Nokia 5.4’s potential to shoot H-Log video, which to be truthful, no competitor on this section is providing. This video format primarily provides you a flat color profile, so you possibly can colour-grade footage later in skilled post-production software program as per your liking. This characteristic isn’t generally seen in inventory cellphone digicam apps, however some paid video recording apps similar to Filmic Professional do supply it.

With a view to reap the benefits of the H-Log format, you’ll have to change to ‘Cinema’ capturing mode. Sadly, you possibly can solely shoot within the cinema side ratio of 21:9 (1920×822) at 24fps. Inside this mode, you’ll want to enter the settings and allow H-Log format. Within the viewfinder, you’ve the choice to manually alter white stability, publicity, focus, and ISO, both earlier than or when you are recording. H-Log recording is obtainable for the ultra-wide angle digicam too.

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

 

When you’ve shot your video, you possibly can open it with ‘Cinema editor’ which helps you to select from a bunch of preset color profiles similar to Rec.709, and many others, however you possibly can’t do any guide adjustment right here. You can additionally open these information in your pc in suitable video modifying software program to color grade it.

All of this works fairly nicely, as marketed. Movies shot in Cinema mode aren’t the sharpest as a result of stabilisation being utilized however in the event you’re going for a cinematic look, it shouldn’t be a problem. Picture high quality is first rate 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 nicely in capturing directional sound too. All mentioned and finished, H-Log video recording is a reasonably area of interest characteristic which in all probability solely a handful of content material creators will care about.

It could have been good to see HMD International go all out and supply different skilled options too, similar 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 side ratios too.

In customary video mode, you possibly can shoot as much as 1080p 60fps, which gives the perfect video high quality, however there’s no stabilisation. At 30fps, movies are stabilised nicely however the picture high quality is softer. In low mild, particulars are weak and there’s noise in darkish areas.

 

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Nokia 5.4 principal digicam pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

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Nokia 5.4 ultra-wide angle digicam pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

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Nokia 5.4 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 in the event 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 probably get colors very flawed at occasions too, however total, the standard is first rate.

Photos end up grainy in low mild, and sadly, Night time mode will increase noise significantly, whereas brightening up the picture solely somewhat bit. The ultra-wide angle digicam has only a 5-megapixel decision, and as you may count on, picture high quality is poor even through the day. I didn’t 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 mild.

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Nokia 5.4 Night time mode digicam pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

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Nokia 5.4 selfie digicam pattern (faucet to see bigger picture)

 

One among our gripes with the Nokia 5.3 was that it lacked video stabilisation, which HMD International has addressed with the Nokia 5.4. The primary digicam additionally shoots first rate photographs through the day. However total, the cameras aren’t that spectacular for a cellphone priced at across the Rs. 15,000 mark.

Nokia 5.4 design and dealing with

Design and ergonomics are sturdy factors for the Nokia 5.4. The curvy physique makes it snug to carry, it’s pretty slim and lightweight, and the Polar Night time trim seems to be unbelievable. Nevertheless, the again attracts smudges and fingerprints very simply, and it’s a ache to maintain wiping these away. Using plastic doesn’t trouble me an excessive amount of since this cellphone nonetheless feels sturdy, and I didn’t discover any scuff marks through the week-long evaluation interval, however it could have been good to see some premium supplies like glass.

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The Nokia 5.4 seems to be good however doesn’t supply a lot else to face up towards the competitors

 

Verdict

The Nokia 5.4 might have been a stable alternative within the sub-Rs. 15,000 section, 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 may put lots of people off. Take this characteristic away, and the cameras don’t 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’s somewhat arduous to suggest to anybody with a finances restrict of Rs. 15,000.

The design and the truth that you get inventory Android with assured updates are the primary redeeming components right here, however I’m undecided how nicely these will maintain up towards the present competitors which is already fierce, in addition to upcoming launches on this section.


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