Nokia 5 review

Probably the best budget smartphone under £150. Find out if the Nokia 5 is right for you

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Written and reviewed by:
Bryn Glover - Startups

Remember the good old Nokia 360 days? Now, get that image out of your mind sharp because it couldn’t be further from the Nokia 5.

After a bit of downtime, the Finnish tech giant is back, and their new range of ultra-affordable smartphones is ideal for budget-hungry phone shoppers.

This Nokia 5 is our top-rated best budget smartphone under £150. It comes with a surprisingly sleek metal casing, the latest Android software, NFC for contactless payments and even a fingerprint scanner for extra security (and let;s face it, style).

It’s clearly not going to have the fastest processor ever built and you may want more than 16 GB storage, but for a cheap yet decent everyday phone, it’ll be hard to beat the Nokia 5 on value for money.

In this Nokia 5 review, we’ll help you decide whether one of the world’s most affordable (and quality) smartphones has everything you need, and which other phones you might like to compare it with.

In this Nokia 5 review we cover:

Nokia 5 pros and cons

The good

  • Quality metal design – The Nokia 5 is slim and light with a premium feel.
  • Sharp display – The polarised display keeps the screen clear, indoors and out.
  • Top perks – NFC and the fingerprint scanner are impressive bonus features.
  • Decent battery – It even beats some phones three times the price.

The less good

  • Average processor – The Snadragon 420 is a nifty little thing, but not for gaming.
  • Storage fills fast – 16 GB is small, so you may want to add a mico SD card.

Nokia 5 user ratings

Startups rating ★★★★ (4.4)
Build ★★★★★ (4.5)
Speed ★★★★★ (5)
Screen ★★★★ (4)
Battery ★★★★ (4)
Camera ★★★★ (4)
Value ★★★★★ (5)

Customer feedback

★★★★ 15 customer user reviews on Carphone Warehouse

  • Price: “I compared many types of phones. But according to price Nokia is the best.” – Anonymous
  • Performance: “Bought this about a week ago. Absolutely amazed… Performance is fantastic.” – Frank1982
  • Specs: “I got this a while ago now and it’s very good, I love the battery life and the camera.” – Anonymous7776
  • Battery: “Battery does not die even when trying. Absolutely recommend.” – Thommo

Nokia 5 user experience

Slick metal design

With a slim build and a curved back, we make this the best-looking smartphone you can buy for under £150. In iPhone fashion, the Nokia 5 was made from a single sheet of aluminium, and even has Gorilla Glass for added protection.

5.2 inches may also be the perfect phone size – at that happy medium between being pocket-sized and comfortable to hold, but also big enough for watching videos and reading web pages.

Pretty speedy processor

For your everyday tasks (web browsing, messaging and the like), the Snapdragon 430 processor works a treat. But if you had high hopes of gaming with the most power-hungry apps, well, you’ll need to spend a lot more than £150.

The cheapest SIM free Nokia 5 is just £108.99 on ebay or £119.95 at Argos.

Or if you’d like the full shebang, you can get yourself a pay monthly contract with iD for just £9.99 a month.

Nokia 5 tech specs

OSAndroid 7.1.1
Internal memory16 GB
Screen size5.2″
Screen resolution720 x 1280
Rear camera13 Mp

Nokia 5 features explained

Crisp screen

The Nokia 5 has a decent-sized 5.2-inch touchscreen and text and images are easy to read. That’s thanks to the polarised display, which makes the display clear, even under bright light.

The display isn’t quite as stunning as the real high-enders, but it’s a lot more than we were expecting for under £150.

Stellar battery

The battery on the Nokia 5 really is great for the price. You’ll get around 18 hours of light use or closer to ten if you really can’t keep your fingers off your phone.

It’s also a fairly speedy charger – giving you a full tank in just over two hours, or between two and three hours from a 15 minute charge. This is even better than many iPhones costing several times as much.

Great cameras

Cheap smartphones don’t tend to have the best cameras, so we were really impressed with the Nokia 5’s 13 Mp rear and 8 Mp front lenses.

So long as you’re not quite expecting iPhone X level quality (and please don’t because this phone costs considerably less than £1,000), the photos look great. The colours are sharp and the images nice and detailed.

Autofocus and blur-free tech

The rear camera comes with autofocus to get you blur-free shots, plus the dual-tone LED flash will brighten up even the dullest environments.

nokia 5 camera

The Android Oreo Beta takes even better low-light photos.

Expandable storage

16 GB is on the small side of phone storage, and if you like your phone to be chock-a-block with the latest apps and your whole life’s photos, it won’t cut it.

Thankfully though, you can always bump up your storage with a micro-SD card that’ll get you up to 128 GB (they’re cheap and easy to find online).

Anything else?

The Nokia 5 comes with a few pleasant surprises you really wouldn’t expect for this price – things like NCF (near-field communication), so you can pay contactless via Android Pay, a premium-looking metal design and a fingerprint scanner for a security boost.


The best value budget smartphone

The Nokia 5 is our best budget smartphone under £150, but if you might like to spend that bit more, you can take a look at our full list of the six best budget smartphones in the UK today, including the Huawei Honor 9 Lite which comes with the latest version of Android, or the Motorola Moto G6 Play which has a two-day battery.

Considering how cheap the Nokia 5 is (RRP £180, but you can get it now for around £110 new or under £10 a month with the iD network), this really could be the best value for money you’ll get in a smartphone under £150.

You can pick up the best SIM free Nokia 5 deal for £108.99 on ebay – or get a pay monthly contract with iD for just £9.99 a month.

Written by:
Bryn Glover - Startups
Bryn Glover has been Editor of since 2017. Running the site's content strategy, Bryn spends a lot of time speaking to entrepreneurs and preparing for Startups' annual editorial campaigns. Having worked in journalism for just under a decade, Bryn wrote for sites like The Times, Reader's Digest, Independent and Times Higher Education before moving into the small business world.
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