The latest budget phone from Nokia provides stock Android experience, but is that enough for survival?
Price: from ₹13,999, nokia.com/phones/en_in/
Nokia is one of those companies that had once been a hot favourite and lost its sheen, unable to keep up with the rapid technological innovations of the late 2000s. The company tried to bounce back by partnering with Microsoft, once again to be left behind by the rapid progress of Android and iOS. The Nokia 5.4 is part of the series of Nokia’s Android phones in its third attempt at resurrection.
The Nokia 5.4 is an entry-level phone but offers a sturdy and stylish polycarbonate body. The phone has a glossy back with a diagonal shiny pattern offering some element of style in a budget phone. The phone is available in two finishes, Polar Night and Dusk. The 5.4 retains the circular camera housing, which has a minimal protrusion. An LED flash occupies the left flank while the round fingerprint sensor sits near the bottom of the housing. The housing itself is occupied by a quad-camera system made up of a 48MP main camera, a 2MP depth sensor, another 2MP macro camera and a 5MP ultra-wide camera. A punch hole at the top left corner of the screen houses a 16MP front camera. The volume rocker and power/lock button are on the right, while the Google Assistant button and SIM card tray are at the left. The USB Type-C port resides at the bottom and a 3.5mm headphone jack is on the top of the bezel.
The phone uses a 6.39-inch HD+ screen with 720 x 1560 pixels. The device is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 SoC. It ships with Android 10 and provides a clean stock Android experience. The device is Android 11 ready and Nokia promises two years of Android upgrades along with three years of monthly security updates. The Nokia 5.4 is powerful enough to run your day-to-day applications, even some of the medium-level games. However, games like Asphalt 9 and GT Racing 2 lags as expected. The phone is available in 4GB and 6GB variants, both with 128GB of internal storage. Additionally, the device supports a MicroSD card up to 512GB via a dedicated slot in the SIM tray. The phone accepts dual nano SIMs. It uses a 4000mAh battery, which provides a day’s power on extensive use and up to two days on conservative use. Nokia has bundled a slow 10W charger with this device, while other brands bundle fast chargers even with budget phones. In our tests, it took more than 80 minutes for a 50% refill.
The camera offers some advanced features including HDR, AI scene detection, Cinema mode and H-Log format, but the results are not as convincing as the claims even in normal still and video recording. The stills have no colour consistency and the images appeared over-saturated. The HDR mode does not make much of a difference. All videos appeared to have heavy banding and noise and the metering system appeared too slow to adapt to changing light intensity. We are still wondering how many users would find highly advanced features like H-Log and Cinema mode attractive in an under-15,000 phone. The built-in Cinema Editor in Google Photos offers some help in bringing out the tones in the Log footage. We cannot believe that this is the same brand that showcased the power of pixel oversampling with the Lumia 1020 PureView back in 2013.
The Nokia 5.4 offers only 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, which would have been acceptable in a regular budget smartphone. But the final rendered files of Cinema and H-Log footages after editing on the phone are more than twice the original file size and hence the slow connectivity can be a nasty bottleneck while transferring these to the cloud.
The 4GB/64GB variant is priced at a recommended price of Rs.13,999, while the 6GB/64GB variant sells at Rs.15,499.
WE’RE IMPRESSED Design, Dedicated MicroSD slot, 3.5mm headphone jack
WE’D IMPROVE Everything else
THE LAST WORD This is one phone that should have been launched at least a year before. Unfortunately for Nokia, competitors have launched models that far exceed the 5.4’s capabilities at the same price range.