5300 Xpress Music

With its vibrant red and white colour scheme (there's actually a more sober dark grey version available, but you won't see it in the ads) and chunky, rubberised casing, Nokia's latest music-centred phone gives the impression that it's aimed at kids. A closer look, however, reveals some pretty grown-up functions.

The 5300 Xpress Music is a slider with dedicated music control keys on the left side, and volume controls and a camera shutter button on the right. And its music player in particular, is one of the best we've tried on a phone.

Easy to use and uncluttered by extras and gimmicks, it lets you copy music onto the supplied 256MB miniSD memory card (and with only 5MB of onboard memory to spare, you so need it), create playlists, search by all the usual criteria, and it sounds great too – just what you need in other words.

The 1.3 megapixel camera is no slouch either – easily accessed via the shutter button on the side with a decent range of editing features and good quality shots, though there's no flash.

Music player and camera are both available even before you slip the phone's slider, but you'll need to open it to get playing games. The slide mechanism is spring-loaded, incidentally, and feels robust enough in action, although it does tend to wobble a bit when fully extended.

The only game the 5300 comes with is a straight-ahead music quiz, which tests you on the music on your memory card, playing tracks and inviting you to identify it from a list that reduces one by one, so the quicker you guess, the more points you get.

It's a good game, but not one that's likely to test the phone's performance, which is actually very impressive.

The screen in particular deserves special mention. Nokia has tended not to rush too hastily into the wonderland of super hi-res screens, which some manufacturers like to use to bump up their stats. The Nokia way has generally been to rein in this tendency in favour of superior battery life.

But there is little compromise evident in this device's 262,000-colour display, which is not only as bright and sharp as you would like, but also very quick – though there was a suspicion that it (and its behind-the-scenes processing gubbins) was slowing up slightly when pushed to the limit on the pixel-heavy sections of Academy Of Mafia 2. It was only a suspicion mind, and for the most part it performed very well.

Like virtually everything else about the 5300, the D-pad is simple but effective – not so sensitive that you're likely to move the wrong way by accident, nor too tough to press. The buttons of the keypad are marked by broad, raised levels that make it easy to feel which button your thumb is on – the level on the '5' button has a gouge out of it to make it easy to locate your thumb in the middle of the keypad.

The buttons too require just the right amount of pressure to activate and reacted well during our attempts to recreate the lightning-fast thumb movements needed to succeed in Flying Finger – any failure was the fault of our defective digits, not the phone.

The sound quality, as you'd expect from a good music phone, is top-notch. The mono speaker offers a decently rounded sound, not too shrill, and the iPod-clone (though not quite iPod-quality) headphones offer a reasonably full and rich sound, if a little lacking in the bass. It's got stereo Bluetooth on board as well, so you could upgrade to a pair of those fancy new(ish) stereo wireless headphones if you wanted to.

There aren't a huge amount of games available for the 5300 yet, but that's likely to change, since it's got a lot to offer gamers.

5300 Xpress Music

Whether you're gaming, listening to music, or taking pictures, the 5300 is a winner