Nokia is an old name in phones, having been in the industry since the early 1980s. One of their current offerings is the Nokia 5.4. It comes in two colours – Polar Night (blue) and Dusk (purple).

If a phone these days makes calls and has sufficient space for all your apps, the biggest distinguishing factors for the majority of users is the look and feel of the phone, the screen quality and the camera.

The Nokia 5.4 has 5 cameras – one front facing 16MP and 4 rear facing. The main rear camera is a 48 MP, the secondary camera is 2MP and is used to provide depth perception and distance markers for the other cameras. The third camera is the 5MP ultra-wide lens and the fourth is a 2MP macro lens, there is also an LED flash on the rear.

There are a few very nice features in the camera app – having a one touch setting on screen for you to go between normal, macro and wide lens is great, and while the app does have “beautify” settings, they are NOT on as a default. There is a night mode option but it is only available for the rear facing cameras.

The overall quality of photo produced is impressive, photos taken with the main camera remain crisp and detailed even when zoomed in, though pictures taken with the ultra wide and macro lenses get a little grainy when zoomed due to their lower MP. It can also be quite difficult to get crisp photos with the macro lens if your subject matter is moving.

Time lapse/ slow mode is a bit of fun but as there are no settings available to adjust in these modes there’s no real control over the quality of what is captured. It is also really hard to focus on a moving subject while in these modes, they are not really anything other than a gimmick because of this.

An interesting issue in a phone which has multiple cameras are using non camera apps that require the use of the camera. When using the SA covid safe app, for example, lining up the QR code requires a slight readjustment, as only the main camera is used by the app, so rather than lining the centre of the phone up with the code you have to hold it slightly to one side.

The biggest irritant with the camera on this phone is, perhaps surprisingly, the lack of an inbuilt gallery app. You can flick through the recently taken pictures on the camera app but there is no multi photo display, the only option available to view multiple photos is Google photos.
There are gallery apps you can download of course, but they either cost money or have advertising. This almost forces you into using google photos at a time when Google has started charging money for storage space and attempts to dissuade users from using the phone itself for photo storage when phones now have huge amounts of storage available.

This phone has a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 662 CPU with 128GB of internal storage and capacity to add up to 512GB of external storage. It has 4GB of RAM, comes with Android 10 OS but is Android 11 ready. Nokia has done a good job of delivering a stock Android experience without creating any intrusive features within the launcher, I didn’t notice any real differences in the O/S experience when moving between my previous phone (a OnePlus) to this one.

The physical phone is 16cm (6.34in) high, 7.6cm (2.99in) wide and 8mm (0.34in) deep – prior to adding a case. The screen display is a 16.2cm (6.39in) HD + LCD display with a V-notch.

This unit also boasts:

  • USB Type-C connection
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Dual Nano Sim
  • Accelerometer (G-sensor)
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Face Unlock
  • Google assistant button
  • Gyroscope
  • NFC Supported
  • Proximity sensor
  • 3.5 mm Headphone jack

The screen display was fantastic, very crisp and clean, and the phone comes with a screen protector. The phone itself is quite pretty and comes with a CLEAR case! Far to many phones come with very pretty backs, but don’t come with a clear case, or only have cases available which completely obscure them, so it’s really nice to have a clear case included with the 5.4.

This phone allows for multiple unlock options – passcode, fingerprint and face unlock. The passcode and fingerprint unlock work reasonably well, though the fingerprint unlock takes around 3 seconds to register before unlocking unless you press the power button first. The fingerprint scanner itself has an interesting additional feature. When the phone is unlocked swiping from top to bottom on the scanning pad will bring down the notification slide menu and swiping the opposite way will hide it again.

The face unlock does work, however, you have to press the power button first – there is no raise to wake function available. The face unlock is also pretty slow – you have to stare at the phone for a good 5 seconds before the unit will unlock, given the passcode and fingerprint unlock options are significantly faster, there seems little point in setting up face unlock.

One downside to this phone is the speaker. I know that the trend currently is to use headphones or earbuds, so it appears that Nokia hasn’t put much effort or expense into the phone’s internal speaker. The sound produced is very tinny sounding and the volume range is limited – the maximum volume isn’t very loud and the minimum volume is actually quite loud.

The phone’s battery life lived up to the marketing – even with a reasonable amount of chrome usage the battery on the phone lasted 2 full days of my normal use.

For those of you who appreciate nostalgia, when you turn on or reboot the phone, the startup noise is a snippet of the original Nokia ring tone.

Overall the 5.4 is a good mid-range phone. It takes decent pictures, has a reasonable amount of storage space, has a great screen, and a pleasing aesthetic. The phone is easy to set up, use and fits comfortably in hand.

The recommended retail is $329 but shopping around it is possible to find it slightly cheaper. Available from the usual instore and online retailers

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This Nokia is a mid range phone, with a budget entry level screen.

Paul Warner

The screen display was fantastic, very crisp and clean, ” Not sure how you can say that when the phone only has a 720p screen.