Nokia 5.4 First Impressions: Stylishly Simple

HMD Global’s first set of smartphones for 2021 in India includes the new Nokia 5.4 and Nokia 3.4. Today, we’ll be looking at the Nokia 5.4, which is the spiritual successor to the Nokia 5.3 from last year. For this new model, HMD Global is focusing on delivering a solid video shooting experience for content creators.

The Nokia 5.4 sits in the very competitive sub-Rs. 15,000 price segment. However, HMD Global believes that its camera features and software should be enough to set it apart from the crowd. I’ve just begun using the Nokia 5.4, and here are my first impressions of it.

The Nokia 5.4 looks great in this Polar Night colorway that I have, and it’s also available in a purple colour called Dusk. The entire body is built from polycarbonate, which feels sturdy. The laminated back mimics the look of glass but is also a huge fingerprint magnet, and so far, it’s proving to be quite difficult to maintain a neat look. HMD Global also claims that the body is rigid enough to withstand the weight of a 10-year-old child, for what that’s worth.

The phone is quite slim at 8.7mm and doesn’t feel too heavy 181g. The buttons sit a bit too flush with the body for my liking and don’t have a very good tactile feel. There’s a dedicated Google Assistant button on the left side. The Nokia 5.4 has a headphone jack on the top and a USB Type-C port at the bottom. Overall, I’m finding it comfortable to hold and carry around thanks to its nice ergonomics.

The display of the Nokia 5.4 measures 6.39 inches diagonally, which is nice and large, but it only has an HD+ resolution (720×1560), which is disappointing for this price segment. On the plus side, the brightness and colours seem to be alright in the short time I’ve been using this phone, but do wait for the full review for my final verdict. The bezels are thicker than usual, especially the chin at the bottom. There’s a capacitive fingerprint sensor at the back, just below the camera module.

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The Nokia 5.4 boasts of H-Log video capture for professional content creators

The Nokia 5.4 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 SoC and there are two variants — 4GB RAM with 64GB storage, and 6GB RAM with 64GB storage. The internal storage can be expanded using the dedicated microSD card slot. For the price segment it’s competing in, this isn’t the most competitive set of specifications but HMD Global is banking on it’s software and camera expertise to balance that out.

Speaking of which, the Nokia 5.4 runs Android 10 out of the box, with an Android 11 update expected to roll out very soon. You don’t get any bloatware, which is nice, and HMD Global will offer two years of Android upgrades and three years of monthly security updates.

The cameras have gotten a bit of an upgrade compared to last year’s model. There’s a 48-megapixel primary camera this time, up form 13-megapixel on the Nokia 5.3. There’s also a 5-megapixel ultra-wide camera, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. On the front, you get a 16-megapixel selfie camera in the hole-punch cutout.

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The Nokia 5.4 is a stylish smartphone with good build quality

 

The big new addition in the camera app is Cinema Mode, which shoots at 24fps in a 21:9 aspect ratio. You can select different video bitrates, and even enable H-Log format, which captures a flat colour profile so it can be graded in professional editing software later on. You get manual controls for adjusting the ISO, focus, white balance, etc too, and you can even add various filters.

This is a very interesting feature and not something we’d expect in phones at this price level so I’m curious to see how much of an impact it really makes when creating content. Be sure to check back for the full review of the Nokia 5.4, coming soon, in which I’ll be testing the phone’s performance, battery life, and cameras in much more detail.


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