Affordable Android smartphones are plentiful, but which one is the best buy? Techzle finds out and tests the 199 euro phone in this Nokia 5.4 review. Read our practical experiences here.
MSRP € 199, –
Colors Blue, purple
OS Android 10 (Android One)
Screen 6.39 inch LCD (1560 x 720, 60 Hz)
Processor 2 Ghz octacore (Snapdragon 662)
RAM 4 GB
Storage 64 or 128 GB
Battery 4,000 mAh
Camera 48, 5, 2 and 2 megapixels (rear), 16 megapixels (front)
Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi b / g / n, GPS, NFC
Format 16.1 x 7.6 x 0.87 cm
Weight 180 grams
Website www.nokia.com 6 Score 60
- Android One experience
- Battery life
- Deceptive update policy
- No 5 GHz WiFi
- Design choices
The Nokia 5.4 succeeds last year’s 5.3 and has received the same suggested retail price. In this review you can read whether it is an improvement and whether it is a better choice than the strong competition.
A striking feature of the Nokia 5.4 is that its design is very similar to its predecessor. That does not have to be bad, were it not that I am (again) disturbed by two points of attention. For example, the fingerprint scanner on the back is difficult to find by touch. He is in a circle that barely protrudes. What I also regret is the glossy finish of the back. It is quickly covered with fingerprints and therefore looks dirty. In addition, the material feels cheap. A matte finish would have seemed a better choice to me. In any case, I would put a case on the Nokia 5.4, then you also run less risk of damage.
The smartphone is handy enough and has an average weight (180 grams). You can choose from the colors blue (tested) and purple.
The 6.39-inch screen can be operated reasonably with one hand and has a small hole for the selfie camera. I think this is a modern and non-disruptive solution. The LCD display shows excellent colors but is not in a positive sense. The maximum brightness seems on the low side, although this was no problem in the winter sun. The resolution of the screen is also low at 1560 by 720 pixels (HD). Many competing smartphones have a sharper Full HD screen, which provides a clearer and more beautiful image. I now think that you can expect a full HD display in this price segment, which the Nokia 5.4 delivers a downside. If this is going to be your first smartphone, it will likely bother you less.
After a week and a half of use, I am not completely convinced of the specifications of the Nokia 5.4. The performance is excellent and comparable to the competition. With the Snapdragon 662 processor and 4 GB of RAM, the device is not very fast, but it is smooth enough. The storage memory is of average size with 64 GB and can be expanded via a micro SD card.
The 4000 mAh battery is not large on paper for this type of device, but thanks to the energy-efficient HD screen it will last a long time. I can use the Nokia 5.4 just fine for a day and a half. The smartphone comes with a 10 Watt USB-C charger. Not very powerful, but enough considering the price point. Charging takes about two hours. There are also smartphones for sale with a more powerful charger (15 to 20 Watt), which means that they are full faster.
It is striking that the Nokia 5.4 is not suitable for WiFi on the 5 GHz frequency. Many competing smartphones are. With the Nokia phone, you cannot use the internet via the faster WiFi frequency, which is a disadvantage. Certainly with an eye to the future.
Don’t expect miracles from the four cameras on the back either. What looks like an impressive combination on such an affordable smartphone, in practice turns out to be a set of entry-level cameras. With the primary 48 megapixel camera, you can shoot pictures during the day that are good enough considering the selling price of the device. The night mode helps you take well-exposed photos in the dark, but that produces a lot of noise. The photos are therefore not really beautiful.
The wide-angle lens, with its low resolution (5 megapixel), is less useful anyway. The photo quality is also disappointing, especially when there is less (day) light. Some competitors do this better. Nokia also provides the 5.4 with a 2 megapixel macro camera. It regularly has trouble focusing, performs poorly in low light and shoots grainy images anyway. The usefulness of the camera eludes me. Finally, the 2 megapixel depth sensor helps to blur the background in portrait photos and does this fine.
Software and updates
The software is a bit disappointing. Nokia was known for its fast updates, but delivers the Nokia 5.4 with Android 10 instead of version 11. That’s a shame because version 11 has been available since September. The manufacturer advertises that the phone will receive Android updates for two years. Inquiries show that the Nokia 5.4 can count on Android 11 and 12. That is disappointing because an Android 11 update is only logical. The second real update, to Android 13, passes the Nokia 5.4.
Fortunately, the software works better on other points. Nokia promises regular security updates for three years, which many competing brands do for two years. It is also nice that Nokia has hardly changed the Android 11 version. No heavy shell or all kinds of extra apps. The Netflix and Amazon apps are pre-installed.
Conclusion: buy Nokia 5.4?
The Nokia 5.4 is a great smartphone, but it doesn’t really distinguish itself from the competition. A few years ago, the Android One experience was a big plus of Nokia devices, but the Nokia 5.4 comes with the Android version from 2019 and an update policy that is hardly better than many competitors. And many of those competing smartphones do offer better specifications than the Nokia 5.4. A nicer screen, a smoother user experience, a faster charger or better cameras, for example. I therefore find it difficult to recommend the 199 euro Nokia 5.4. The Poco M3, Samsung Galaxy A41, Poco X3 NFC and Motorola Moto G Pro are interesting alternatives.