Hands on with the T-Mobile Nokia Nuron, a very nice inexpensive smartphone

I was happy to see Nokia and T-Mobile USA announce the Nokia Nuron since we rarely see an official carrier S60 smartphone here in the US. As I wrote last week, Engadget was one of the first sites to get a chance to try the device and they were not overly impressed. I was sent an evaluation unit a couple of days ago and honestly have to say I am quite impressed with the device and think it is actually a very good choice for people looking for a lower end smartphone. You can buy one for just $69.99 with an Even More plan and only $179.99 with an Even More Plus (non-subsidized) plan. $180 for a S60 5th Edition device with full Ovi Maps navigation and maps of the world for free seems like a pretty sweet deal to me.

Specifications

Let’s start off my first impressions post here with a look at the specs of the Nokia 5230 Nuron:
  • 3.2 inch 640×360 pixel resolution touchscreen display with support for 16 million colors
  • T-Mobile 7.2 Mbps 3.5G data network support
  • Quad-band World GSM radios
  • Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP support
  • FM radio
  • GPS receiver with free for life Nokia Ovi Maps
  • Symbian S60 5th Edition software
  • microSD card slot
  • 2 megapixel camera
Honestly, the only lower end specs we see here are the rather limited camera resolution and the lack of WiFi. I highly doubt many new smartphone owners even use WiFi (I actually rarely use it on my 3G phones) so that may not be a big concern. I would have like to have seen a 3.2 megapixel camera though.

One other difference between this device and the Nokia 5800 XM is that there is no stylus on the Nuron. It still has the excellent slider lock switch, XpressMusic button (I love this functionality), physical camera button, and externally accessible microSD card slot. There is also only one speaker, compared with two on the 5800 XM.

First impressions

I opened the fairly standard T-Mobile packaging and saw a white Nokia device in the compartment that looked an awful lot like my Nokia 5800 XpressMusic device. I really like that device and have to say this one looks better to me with the silver frame, red and green bottom buttons, slick pearl back. The display looks fantastic with the high resolution and smaller size.

Interestingly there is a myFaves icon on there, which is funny since T-Mobile no longer offers this service to new customers. I still have a grandfathered myFaves account because it works well for my family’s needs and am happy to see it still supported on the Nokia Nuron.

I tested out Ovi Maps navigation and it was excellent on the Nokia Nuron. You will also find that TeleNav has their application loaded on the device for navigation. This services costs $10/month and honestly I see no need for it with Ovi Maps on board.

Software

Taking a look through the software I was very disappointed that Nokia Messaging was not preinstalled on the device. This should be on every S60 device and Nokia needs to do a better job of making sure that happens since the older email client is pretty bad. I tried visiting the Nokia Messaging site to download the application and it seemed to work. However, ever single time I went through the setup it just created an email account in the lame default S60 application and would not work. I will talk to the Nokia Messaging team and try to figure out what the problem is here. While Mail for Exchange is not loaded by default, through the standard email setup process you will get to the point where it is downloaded and installed to the device.

I did see the Nokia Podcasting application on board and the E72 doesn’t even have this application. Other applications I liked seeing on board include voice recorder, FM radio, YouTube, S60 browser, Facebook, and Ovi Store.

T-Mobile also included some of their applications, including Visual Voicemail, My Account, Instant Messenger powered by Oz, Audio Postcards, and a few trial games (Guitar Hero, Pac-Man, Need for Speed, Brain Challenge, Bowling, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire?). I personally like the IM client since it uses text messaging rather than data and I can give this to my daughter to use who does not have data, but has unlimited text messaging service.

Would I buy one?

I am more of a power user, but am seriously thinking about buying one of these for my daughter who turns 16 soon. She is very bad with directions and needs a GPS navigation solution before she can get her license and be out on her own. For $180 I can get her this with no data service requirement and she can have full voice-guided GPS navigation, text messaging IM, and even a full PIM PDA in her hand. I may actually have her use this evaluation device for a bit to see if she can get used to text messaging on it.

It feels very durable in your hand, has a responsive touchscreen display, has a beautiful display, and has a ton of capability with S60 5th Edition on board.

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39 Comments to Hands on with the T-Mobile Nokia Nuron, a very nice inexpensive smartphone

Joey
March 31, 2010

Hi,

If you find out the answer to the nokia messaging issue, please publish it / email me. It’s very frustrating that I cannot get nokia messaging to work on this device.

Thanks, Joey

maya
March 31, 2010

this phone requires you to get a code to be able to text, i just got this phone yesterday & texting wasnt working so i took it back to the tmobile company & they just put the code in & it was working !

Robert
March 31, 2010

I also saw the Engadget review. I love my Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. Engadget panned both devices. I’m going to pick up one of these for my wife. She used the 5800 for two days while I worked on her Nokia 6301b and didn’t want to give it back to me. Your review is more in keeping with my expectations for the device than Engadget’s was.

I use wifi on all of my smartphones (N900, 5800, N78) because of the speed increase over T-Mobile’s wimpy, in Oklahoma City, 3G speeds. (250 – 500ms ping; .67 Mbps down; .30 Mbps up per Speedtest.net) I also like to fall to sleep with the Internet Radio/Real Audio streamer playing. I monitor some cameras on a continuous basis and this adds up to a lot of data in a short amount of time. I use wifi as a favor to my fellow T-Mobile users for this function. That is why I’m getting it for my wife instead of myself. I would certainly miss that function.

I’m willing to bet your daughter catches on almost immediately to the texting. I’m in my mid 50s and was able to get this down almost right out of the box with the 5800.

I too am pleased to see an S60 device with a carrier name on it. I used a Cingular branded N75 for my AT&T account until someone stole my phone. I’ve been with T-Mobile since 2/07 and, to my knowledge, this is the first S60 device they’ve offered in that time frame.

Thanks for the even handed, end user point of view.

Neil
March 31, 2010

I honestly can’t stand S60 on touch screen devices….it just ends up feeling dated. On non-touch screen devices its actually pretty good, though not the best.

[...] Hands on with Nokia Neuron [...]

brittany
April 6, 2010

in the box does the color changing backs come with it or no?

[...] Hands on with Nokia Neuron [...]

justin
April 25, 2010

can you use a nokia nuron like a black berry and connect your pc to the net

Jacque
May 10, 2010

Ok I have a Nokia nuron and My texting works fine. I have no idea what any of you are talking about. My texting has worked from day one. It worked right out of the box.

samantha
May 17, 2010

okay when i turn on my nokia neuron then it wont turn on it will only show me a white screen that says nokia what do i do it wont turn on thats all it does. help me pleasee!!

[...] new Nokia devices and as a long time T-Mobile customer that is just fine with me. We now have the Nokia Nuron and N900 working on T-Mobile’s 3G network with hopefully more like this E73 to come. The [...]

Audrey
June 1, 2010

The nokia nuron has never worked for me. i dotn get calls or text notifications, even if i delete and reset, no matter what its a peice of ****

Mumble
June 8, 2010

I grandfathered my plan that has my fave five on it as well however I can’t get the neuron to show me the my faves I have had it for two days and it still says it is updating…did this happen when you had the phone?

Grandma's Kitten
June 8, 2010

I have had the nuron for about 5 days now. I did have problems with my faves but I called T-Mobile and told them that they weren’t refreshing. They did something on their end and my faves refreshed. I have not had any other problems and so far I love it.

Jeje Bron
June 9, 2010

how do you download videos on this phone with the usb drive? and do you have to pay 10 dollars a month for IM?

tiana
June 13, 2010

okay so overall i like the phone but my message tone never plays even when i have the profile set to normal…the instruction booklet doesnt help at all PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME my e.mail is tiana_barnett@yahoo.com thankyou

[...] and data plans, and seem to gloss over any tethering discussions. They will soon have both the Nokia Nuron and E73 Mode available for $69.99 each and I know I personally will be recommending these for [...]

leon
June 16, 2010

i’m just wondering, i just got this phone today, how do you turn it on??

karl
June 19, 2010

The power button is on top. Make sure to use your manual because it was found to be very helpful to me!! my phone has worked for day one too and i love it!!

Emily
June 28, 2010

hey, I don’t have my booklet and I’m trying to find bluetooth… I’ve only had my phone for 2 days and I need the steps to find it. Can someone please help me??

Mary
June 29, 2010

I have been trying this phone for a week and a half. I can’t get it to access anything, and plan to return it today. As a smartphone newbie, I find it not user friendly, even after downloading the 155 page instruction manual. After an alarm is set, it keeps snoozing all day, wears out the battery. Simple things I could do with one push of a button require 2 hands and 3 touches. Have not been able to access Facebook or Youtube. I want my old Nokia 5600 (I think) back.

Juan
June 29, 2010

I dont know what these people are writting. I have a Nokia Neuron. No wifi but i have the 3g with t-mobile and the internet with this phone is cheaper than the blackberry. The phone looks very pretty and as the texting and emailing it all works great i dont know why these people are writting this maybe their other service providers internet dont work but if you have t-mobile you’ll get a cheaper phone and cheaper reliable web. and the texting is very comftable because its like a keyboard, you see all the letters for the price you cant beat it.

Daya
June 30, 2010

I’ve had a Nuron for a month now. All features worked right out of the box. (Took me a while to figure things out, but no Firmware changes were needed, just needed some research) I have also tethered it to my PC over Bluetooth, and used the phone to access the internet. I generally get close to 1meg downstream and 300k upstream. Not bad for $10 unlimited data plan.

Drake
July 5, 2010

I have my phone set to normal profile but the text tone still never plays when i recieve a text.. whats wrong? how can i fix it? E-mail me if you can help.. bostonfan5493@yahoo.com

MayorAdamWest
July 7, 2010

I plan on somehow getting the Web Exclusive Family Plan deal they have going to get two of these.

Can’t beat the 10 dollar a month 3G and you get two of these bad boys for free!

My contract is up at the end of the month so I have to figure this out.

Why in the world do they offer better deals to new customers, ones who they don’t know, than EXISTING customers who have paid their bill on time for the past two years????????? Baffles me.

Mike
July 20, 2010

How can you bring 1 touch dialing screen icon on the main page?

Appointment Setting
July 21, 2010

Email works great! Good phone for business while out and about.

sam
July 27, 2010

how do you use the speaker phone on nuron?

Lynn
August 4, 2010

I want the Full size version of Facebook n not the lame mobile version, I get my other sites in full, why not facebook. My friend can get it. Can anyone help?? Email me faerywings69@yahoo.com

Eryn
October 2, 2010

My vibrations went out? And it’s set to 4. Help please, cause its very annoying when i text on it. And my sound also went out. I have turned it off & on many times. Even took out the battery. Still doesnt work… & one more thing, it doesn’t show me when I get a text or a call?

David
October 4, 2010

please email me at dmg022196@gmail.com ASAP i got a few important questions

eric
October 20, 2010

I think I did good just now. I picked up four Nurons from BB at $29.99 each activated to a family plan with 750min/unlim messaging for $69.95/mo month-to-month plan (without the 2 year commitment). Even if I walk away in a month, that’s four nurons for $120. Seem like a good deal?

me
October 26, 2010

how do i set private on this phone like pictures and text messagers so if my phone not by me no one can go in

JoAnn
November 1, 2010

I have the Nuron, saince it 1st came out. I have not had any issues with it. Fave 5 doesn’t work because of your plan. Check your plan. Myonly problem is how to download my pics and videos from my phone album to share. Please help.

Anonomous
December 10, 2010

My Nokia’s screen isn’t working. It answers calls though, it just doesn’t show its screen. What should I do?

Bill
January 16, 2011

I just use a prepaid card and load it on my phone every two to three months. I got a Neuron and installed the SIM chip from my Samsung 349. I can’t access Comcast and yahoo e-mail anymore. Does one have to buy a monthy plan? This is what I am trying to avoid. I can text fine with the Neuron but having the e-mail was a nice feature on the 349. Thanks.

Sue
October 20, 2011

I don’t know how to record on the phone. Can someone help me?

Hello to all, how is all, I think every one is getting more from this site, and your views are pleasant for new people.

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