Nokia 5.4 review: A good, budget smartphone with premium looks

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The Nokia 5.4 was released in December 2020 and is a mid-range model that sits right above the Nokia 3.4, which we have reviewed here earlier. The two sibling devices share a number of similarities, but as the naming scheme implies, the 5.4 has a few features that make it a more capable smartphone than its sibling.



In comparison with the 3.4, Nokia 5.4 has the same display, dimensions, and battery, but a more powerful processor, more RAM, more storage, as well as better front and rear cameras. Nokia sent in a unit with 4 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage. Let’s dive into this Nokia 5.4 review proper and see what it has to offer.

Nokia 5.4 review with box

Nokia 5.4 Review: Quick Specs

  • 6.39-inch, 720 x 1560 pixels, IPS LCD
  • Stock Android 10, with planned upgrades to Android 11 and Android 12
  • 16 MP selfie camera
  • 48 MP wide angle + 5MP ultra-wide angle + 2MP depth camera with LED light
  • 4000mAh battery with 10W charging
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor engine
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 128 GB internal storage
  • Dedicated microSD card slot
  • USB Type-C
  • 3.5 mm audio headset port.

 


Nokia 5.4 Review: Quick Pros And Cons

The pros and cons of this device include:



  • premium appearance
  • clear and crisp display
  • lightweight build
  • good performance
  • decent battery life
  • could do better than 10W “fast” charging

 

Nokia 5.4 Review: In the box

Inside the Nokia 5.4’s retail box are the usual suspects:

Nokia 5.4 review - in the box

 

  • the Nokia 5.4 phone itself
  • paper documentation
  • transparent silicon case
  • USB-C cable
  • 10W fast wall charger.
  • 3.5 mm headset
  • SIM ejector pin

Nokia 5.4 Review: Hardware And Design

Nokia 5.4 review - glossy back panel


One of the first things you will notice about the Nokia 5.4 when you first pick it up is the glossy back panel. It is beautiful and gives the phone a premium appearance.

There is a USB-C port, along with a microphone and loudspeaker grills, at the bottom edge of the phone. Moving to the right side of the phone, we find that the volume controls are built into one seamless button – push the top to increase the volume and push the bottom section to reduce the volume. Below it is the Power button.

On the left side is the SIM tray slot, and below that is the dedicated Google Assistant key. Pushing it launches Google Assistant for your use. At the top edge is a 3.5 mm port, along with a microphone hole close by.

 

Nokia 5.4 Review: Software

Nokia 5.4 in hand


Like all other Android Nokia phones, the 5.4 is an Android One device and so runs stock Android OS. That is Android without the kind of customizations that other manufacturers include. Out of the box, Nokia 5.4 has Android 10, which is a bummer, as it would have been nice to have Android 11 instead. However, it will receive the Android 11 update, as well as Android 12 when it is released.

In addition, it will get 3 years of security updates.

Stock Android is clean and light and devoid of a lot of 3rd party bloatware. Google’s apps are pre-installed though and some constitute bloat. Thankfully, they can be uninstalled.

 

Nokia 5.4 Review: Network And Telephony

Nokia 5.4 mobile network signal

Nokia 5.4 supports 2G, 3G and 4G networks on both SIM slots and switches between them depending on available coverage. Setting up and using mobile Internet is as fast and as easy as we expect it to be. The phone holds on to available network quite well and calls are strong.

 

Nokia 5.4 Review: Display And Multimedia

 

While the display resolution is a run-of-the-mill 720×1520 pixels, what we have is a screen that is beautiful. We are unable to tell what the screen looks like, as there is a screen protector applied on it our of the box.

Viewing photos and watching videos on the Nokia 5.4 are pleasant experiences, despite the display’s resolution. Audio reproduction is fine and okay for a mid-ranger of this class. You won’t get a lot of bass and depth, but that is the norm for devices in this class.

 

Nokia 5.4 Review: Photography

Nokia 5.4 quad camera with led flash

The main camera on the Nokia 5.4 has a circular layout that is now a signature on Nokia smartphones. The bump has a 48 MP wide-angle camera as its main lens, along with a 5MP wide-angle lens and a 2MP depth sensor, with LED flashlight.

What sort of photos does it capture? How good is it? Let’s have a look at a few sample photos below.

 

Nokia 5.4 outdoors photo building in bright sunlight
Nokia 5.4 outdoors photo building in bright sunlight
Nokia 5.4 main camera: close-up food photo
Nokia 5.4 main camera: close-up photo
Nokia 5.4 daylight photo of bookshelf
Nokia 5.4 daylight photo of bookshelf
Nokia 5.4 standard photo in the dark no flash
Nokia 5.4 standard photo mode in the dark; no flash
Nokia 5.4 night camera sample: night mode no flash
Nokia 5.4 night camera sample: night mode; no flash. Night mode squeezes more light out of the scene.

At the front is a 16 MP sensor. Below are two samples, the first shot in daylight and the other in low-light.

Nokia 5.4 selfie with HDR

Nokia 5.4 selfie photo indoors low light

Both cameras take good photos in natural lighting. The rear camera does a good job in low light and night situations as well. The front camera smoothens low-light shorts a bit.

In all, the Nokia 5.4 is a dependable camera phone in its class.

 

Nokia 5.4 Review: Multitasking And Performance

 

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor coupled with 4 GB of RAM, using the Nokia 5.4 in everyday usage scenarios is a smooth experience. Apps load fine. Switching between apps is generally smooth as well.

If you push it harder, things will slow down a bit, but that is not unexpected. The Nokia 5.4 is not a premium/flagship smartphone and is not be expected to deliver premium performance.

For storage, there is about 128 GB on paper. A little over 100 GB is available at boot up. It is more than enough for most needs. In addition, there is a dedicated memory card slot, if you need more storage.

Nokia 5.4 Review: Battery life

Thanks to a 4000mAh battery, the Nokia 5.4 won’t leave you dashing for your charger after a few hours of use. With a little over moderate use, you will get a full day and some extra hours out of it. If you use it more intensively, it will likely give you no more than a working day.

The phone supports 10W charging, which can charge it up from 0 to 30% in 30 minutes, and this time, HMD Global includes only a 10W charger in the box, so you can charge the Nokia 5.4 a little faster than the average.

Nokia 5.4 Review: Final Words

Using the Nokia 5.4 has been a good experience. The glossy, glass-like back panel makes the Nokia 5.4 look even more premium than it really is. You won’t look cheap carrying one around.

I do wish that this decent smartphone upped its game with at least 15W fast charging. 10W charging is so….

Other than this, the 5.4 delivers improved performance, better photography and video recording, and better performance in the same screen and size as the Nokia 3.4. In addition, it will get two major Android software updates, as well as three years of security updates.

If you are in the market for a smartphone and have a budget of below ₦90,000, the Nokia 5.4 costs only ₦82,000 right now and is good value for money. Internationally, it carries a $250 price tag.

If you have a lower budget, you might want to compare Nokia 3.4 with Nokia 5.4, to see if the 3.4 fits your needs better.

 

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