Budget phones have come a long way. They are no longer the subpar devices like we used to know. Nowadays, many users opt for budget phones as their daily drivers. Why wouldn’t they? They offer great value for money and most perform amazingly well.
At just $250, The Nokia 5.4 can certainly be considered a budget phone. Although we get an upgraded camera, this model still has a lot of specs and features similar to its predecessor – Nokia 5.3. We’ll take a closer look at Nokia’s latest offering and find out if it’s worth every penny. Here’s our review of the Nokia 5.4:
The Nokia 5.4 at a Glance
- Software: Android 10
- Screen: 6.39″ HD+
- RAM/Storage: 4 GB / 128 GB
- MicroSD Expansion: Up to 512 GB
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
- Camera: Quad camera: 48 MP + 5MP Ultra-Wide+2MP Macro + 2MP Depth
- Battery: 4000 mAh
Down from 6.55 inches to 6.39, the Nokia 5.4 is actually smaller compared to the previous model. But it’s not a compact smartphone by any means. With thick bezels, this device can feel wide and chunky on your hand. The chin even has enough space for the Nokia logo. This can be a problem for some, especially since there is no dedicated one-handed mode.
The back of the device is made of smooth plastic which can flex with some pressure and is prone to scratches. Unfortunately, the unit doesn’t come with a case. The 5.4 is available in two colors: Polar Night and Dusk.
Software and Features
The Nokia 5.4 runs stock Android so you are not going to encounter any cumbersome launchers here. Unfortunately, it still runs the old Android 10. That means you’re missing out on some software improvements like the new notifications bar. The good news is that this model is Android 11-read so updates might just be around the corner. In addition, Nokia has confirmed that the 5.4 will be getting an Android 12 update and security updates will be available for the next three years.
Everyday user experience is generally pleasant. Android 10 implementation is neat and clean on the Nokia 5.4. However, gamers might miss a proper gaming mode found on similarly priced smartphones. Face unlock and fingerprint sensor are available but can be a bit sluggish at times.
A side-mounted Assistant button can be found on the right side of the device. We can also find the same features found in other budget smartphones like NFC-support, dual-sim setup, and microSD card support.
Screen, Audio, and Media Streaming
The Nokia 5.4 has an IPS display with HD+ resolution. You’ll miss some extra details when watching content from Netflix or your high-res photos. The visuals do look good but don’t expect any eye-popping images from this device. If you need Full HD, then you’ll have to look elsewhere like the POCO X3 or the Samsung Galaxy A51. Despite being an IPS screen, the viewing angles can be a bit narrow.
Sound is delivered by a single speaker which works fine when watching YouTube videos. If you want to get proper audio, you might want to use a proper headphone to which you can connect via jack or Bluetooth. Be aware that this has the older Bluetooth 4.2 instead of Bluetooth 5.0 which means you will get a limited range and miss out on some extra features.
Performance and Gaming
The Nokia 5.4 comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 662 and either a 4GB or a 6GB RAM configuration. This has been the chipset of choice for most budget smartphones like the Moto G9 and the Oppo F17. The performance here is comparable to those devices but the stock Android configuration should give it a slight advantage.
With Adreno 610, the Nokia 5.4 can handle games pretty well. Games like Ark: Survival Evolved and Asphalt 9 run with a smooth framerate although a dedicated gaming mode would’ve brought the experience to a new level.
The Nokia 5.4 is powered by a 4000mAh battery. While this is not as impressive as other budget phones like the POCO M3 or the Redmi 9T, which houses a 6000mAh battery, this still has enough power to last most users the whole day. The device comes with a 10W charger which is pretty much the standard when it comes to budget smartphones.
When it comes to the camera, significant changes have been made from the previous model. The primary sensor has been upgraded from 13 megapixels to 48 megapixels. This is a quad pixel shooter which captures 12-megapixel images.
The Nokia 5.4 can handle strong lights without getting too harsh. Although you might need to dial back the contrast. Indoor shots can be a little grainy, especially in low-light conditions. Under perfect lighting, this camera offers respectable levels of detail even when zooming in. Colors are natural and not washed out. Thanks to the fast shutter speed, moving subjects will cause only a little blur.
Night mode does make photos look brighter and subdues the lighter elements at the same time. Images are noticeably warmer, so be aware of that. The 5-megapixel ultrawide angle lens captures sceneries reasonably well but with lower detail and a darker overall image. The depth sensor produces excellent portraits with great separation of subject and background. The bokeh effect can even be adjusted further after you’ve taken the photos. A macro lens is available for those close-up shots but is understandably far from perfect.
You can record videos at Full HD resolution at either 30fps or 60fps. Unfortunately, we’ve noticed some issues with video recording on this device. The lens struggles to focus on the subject on some occasions. Videos can be grainy especially when using the ultrawide angle lens. Photo and cinema modes are available which can result in more creative-looking videos.
The front-facing camera has also been upgraded to 16 megapixels from the previous 8 megapixels. This can capture gorgeous-looking images with an option for portrait blur.
With several competitors in this market segment, the Nokia 5.4 isn’t on top of our recommended list. However, if you want a budget smartphone with stock Android, then this device might be a good option. With the upcoming updates, we will surely get a better version of this device in the future.