Nokia 5.4 Evaluation | PCMag

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Nokia’s telephones have lengthy been amongst our high picks for finances and mid-tier smartphones, however issues started to show bitter late final 12 months with the Nokia 8 V 5G UW ($699.99). Initially scheduled to launch in early 2020, it was delayed by the pandemic, and HMD launched it in November with a staggering price ticket. On the time, we chalked this misfire as much as unhealthy luck, however the Nokia 5.4 ($249.99) is one other overpriced flop. Had the 5.4 been launched within the US final 12 months, it might have ranked amongst our favorites on this worth vary. In 2021, nevertheless, succesful efficiency and good construct high quality don’t make up for middling battery life, ho-hum cameras, and an absence of 5G. Skip it and go together with the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G ($279.99), our Editors’ Selection amongst sub-$300 telephones.


Vivid Show

Save for a number of minor tweaks, the Nokia 5.4 boasts the identical aesthetic as final 12 months’s Nokia 5.3 ($199.99). It measures 6.3 by 3.0 by 0.3 inches (HWD), weighs 6.4 ounces, and is available in blue or purple.

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The again and chassis are product of a thick polycarbonate; the show is strengthened glass. There’s no flex within the body and HMD claims it could possibly stand up to over 70lb of strain. We expect the physique would fare effectively by minor drops and dings, however the show is unlikely to be as forgiving. HMD says the telephone is water resistant, however a dunk within the pool will finish in tears. 

Smartphone cropped with a white background


The Nokia 5.4 has a vibrant hole-punch LCD show.
(Picture: Steven Winkelman)

A 6.39-inch,1,560-by-720 LCD dominates the entrance of the 5.4. The teardrop notch on the 5.3 has been changed with a gap punch for the digital camera, and the bezels are a lot smaller. With intense scrutiny, we may see minor pixelation, however it seems fairly crisp for a low-resolution panel. Colours skew cool and the display will not be practically as vivid because the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G’s. Nonetheless, it is vibrant sufficient that you simply’ll don’t have any issues utilizing it outdoor.

On the again of the 5.4 you’ll discover a shiny shell that draws fingerprints and smudges. A round digital camera module pokes out from the highest of the backplate. A fingerprint sensor just under it’s simple to succeed in and responsive. 

On the precise aspect of the telephone, you may discover the facility button and the amount rocker, each of that are skinny and really feel spongy to the contact. The highest is residence to a 3.5mm headphone jack, whereas the underside homes a USB-C charging port and speaker grille. A Google Assistant button and a twin SIM slot with a microSD port are on the left edge.


Middling Pictures Even With 48 Megapixels

The 5.4’s digital camera stack features a 48MP major lens, a 5MP ultra-wide lens, and 2MP depth and macro sensors.

The first lens does a fantastic job with good gentle. Our check photographs have been crisp and depth of subject was well-represented. In Portrait mode, nevertheless, we observed noise and foreground blur in all our photographs. 

Low-light efficiency with the first lens is fairly good with or with out Evening mode. We noticed edge noise and blooming in practically all our check photographs, however depth of subject was wonderful, and there was much less blurring than we sometimes discover on budget-phone photographs. 

Back of a blue phone with circular camera module in focus


The spherical digital camera array has 4 sensors, none of which is nice.
(Picture: Steven Winkelman)

The ultra-wide lens took some good daylight check photographs. Colour accuracy was wonderful, and objects within the foreground have been crisp. Backgrounds have been a bit of gentle, and we noticed minor distortion in a number of of our check photographs, however the photographs have been fantastic for sharing on social media. Nonetheless, our low-light ultra-wide check photographs have been flat and mushy throughout the board. Since Evening mode doesn’t work with the ultra-wide lens, your finest guess is to make use of the first lens if you would like an excellent picture whereas out and about at night time.

The macro lens, like practically all smartphone macro lenses, was simply unhealthy. Our check photographs have been flat and fuzzy with fringing across the edges. A tripod or a really regular hand might yield a greater shot, however in all probability not by a lot.

Daylight photographs taken with the 16MP front-facing digital camera have been sharp and confirmed good element. Portrait mode works effectively with the selfie digital camera. The Beautification mode on previous Nokia telephones was a bit of too aggressive, however it’s barely noticeable on the 5.4, even when it’s cranked all the way in which up. A function supposedly lets you tweak the bokeh from a conventional blurred background to a wide range of kinds, however we couldn’t get this to work in any respect.

Low-light photographs with the selfie digital camera have been poor. Noise crept in across the corners of our check photographs they usually have been flat and muddy. Portrait mode solely made issues worse; blurring took over within the foreground, and the muddy backgrounds remodeled into smears. 


A Highly effective Performer With Enough Battery Life

The Nokia 5.4 packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 chipset together with 4GB of RAM. There’s 128GB of inside storage, with about 111GB accessible out of the field. You’ll be able to add as much as an extra 512GB of storage with a microSD card.

Back of blue phone standing on a counter


The shiny again panel is sturdy however liable to fingerprints.
(Picture: Steven Winkelman)

Efficiency is sweet for the worth. Apps open instantaneously and there’s no lag with display transitions. Multitasking works like a attraction as effectively. The boot-up course of takes a beat longer than we’d anticipate, however you’re unlikely to note it except you’re gazing your telephone ready for it to start out.

On Geekbench 5, an artificial benchmark that quantifies uncooked efficiency, the Nokia 5.4 turned in scores of  309 single-core (SC) and 1,430 multi-core (MC). That’s a far cry from the Galaxy A32 5G’s scores of 501 SC and 1,678 MC. That mentioned, benchmarks fail to inform your entire story. Throughout our testing, our expertise of the 5.4 is that its efficiency felt similar to the Galaxy A32 5G’s.  

See How We Check Telephones

We examined the Nokia 5.4 with the resource-hungry Genshin Affect. Throughout an hour of gameplay, the app crashed twice, and we observed intermittent frame-skipping. Gameplay on the much less resource-intensive Alto’s Odyssey was wonderful, save for a number of skipped frames.

The Nokia 5.4 is powered by a 4,000mAh battery. Throughout our battery drain check, which streams HD video over Wi-Fi at full brightness, it eked out 10 hours and 17 minutes of battery life. That is far behind the Galaxy A32 5G’s 13 hours and 1 minutes, however it ought to get you thru a day of average use.

Many lower-priced telephones, together with the Galaxy A32 5G and the OnePlus Nord N100 ($179.99), supply quick charging. The 5.4 doesn’t, and its charging pace maxes out at a disappointing 10W.


Skimping on the Fundamentals

The Nokia 5.4 ships unlocked and works on AT&T and T-Cellular’s 4G (LTE) networks. Sadly, there’s no band 71 assist for T-Cellular, so rural prospects might expertise spotty protection. 

Information speeds on AT&T’s LTE community in downtown Chicago, utilizing a Cricket SIM, averaged 6.9Mbps down and three.2Mbps up. That’s precisely what we’d anticipate from Cricket, and is not an indictment of the telephone. You’ll in all probability see sooner speeds on a postpaid service.

Phone on counter with right side in focus


The buttons on the precise aspect of the Nokia 5.4 are skinny and really feel mushy.
(Picture: Steven Winkelman)

Name high quality was sturdy and crisp in our checks, and noise cancellation labored completely. Most quantity for the earpiece is available in at 83dB, and it was simple to listen to on a busy road. 

We have been pleasantly stunned by the 5.4’s bottom-firing speaker. As with most smartphone audio system, the presentation is skinny, however the mids are easy and pushed ahead. On the most quantity of 88dB, we observed a touch of sibilance. 

Twin-band Wi-Fi is included, as is NFC for cell funds. The 5.4 makes use of Bluetooth 4.2, which is a shock, because the less-expensive Nokia G10 has Bluetooth 5.0. The decrease model of Bluetooth means you’ll get about an eighth of the bandwidth and 1 / 4 of the vary that you simply’d get on the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G or every other telephone with Bluetooth 5.0 or later. 


Nonetheless Ready on That Android 11 Improve

The Nokia 5.4 ships with a inventory model of Android 10. You will not discover bloatware or branded productiveness apps on it. As an Android One handset, it ought to obtain snappy OS upgrades for 2 years, together with an extra 12 months of safety updates, however we’ve but to see an Android 11 replace on our check unit and we’re simply months from the discharge of Android 12. On the brilliant aspect, HMD is sending common safety updates.

Phone on counter with left side in focus


The digital camera bump is simply outstanding sufficient to tilt the telephone.
(Picture: Steven Winkelman)

HMD has an Android 11 improve for the 5.4 on its Q2 roadmap for 2021. We’re disillusioned to see the corporate shifting so slowly on this entrance.


Nokia, Deliver Again the Worth

The Nokia 5.4 performs effectively, is sturdy, and has notably good audio for a finances telephone, however the lackluster cameras, common battery life, and lack of 5G are onerous to swallow at $250. Our Editors’ Selection, the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G, might value a bit of greater than the 5.4, however that further $30 buys a vibrant and vivid show, higher cameras, a battery that can positively get you thru the day, and 5G future-proofed with C-band compatibility. If you actually need to remain underneath the $250 mark, the succesful OnePlus Nord N200 5G ($239.99) is one other 5G telephone that is effectively price contemplating for its massive 90Hz show, speedy connectivity, and long-lived battery.

If you happen to’re not prepared to leap on the 5G bandwagon simply but, the OnePlus Nord N100 is a better-value 4G telephone. It gives related efficiency, sports activities an unbelievable 90Hz show, and prices $70 lower than the 5.4. With such wonderful finances telephones available on the market, HMD’s Nokia line goes to should attempt a lot tougher to remain aggressive.

Cons

  • Poor worth for the worth

  • Sluggish OS upgrades

  • Mediocre battery life

The Backside Line

The Nokia 5.4 performs effectively and comes with guarantees of a number of OS upgrades, however it doesn’t start to dwell as much as its price ticket.

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