Good Build Quality And Ergonomic Design
The Nokia 5.4 is one of the best-looking handsets in its respective price-point. It is very ergonomic and can easily be used with one hand, thanks to a fairly-sized 6.39-inch panel and lightweight body (181 g). The polycarbonate body feels sturdy and durable. The back panel has been given a glass coating which adds to the premium looks but also makes the phone a fingerprint magnet. Similar to the Nokia 5.3, the Nokia 5.4 also features a circular four-lens camera module at the centre and a traditional fingerprint scanner underneath it which is very snappy and unlocks the phone in a jiffy.
For reasons unknown, Nokia has removed the LED light from the power button. It was there on the Nokia 5.3 and made for an additional useful feature. The Nokia 5.4 is available in two color variants- Polar Night and Dusk evoke. We are testing the Polar night variant which has a gradient shade of deep blue and black at the back panel.
The Nokia 5.4 feels snappy and works well during day-to-day tasks. It smoothly handles web browsing, multitasking, and even some popular game titles without any major performance issues. The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s 2020 entry-level offering- Snapdragon 662 SoC, which also supplies power to the recently launched Poco M3. The 11nm chipset is powered by the Kryo 260 CPU with four Cortex A73 cores clocked at up to 2GHz and four Cortex A53 cores clocked at up to 1.8GHz.
The graphics are handled by the Adreno 610 GPU which does an excellent job; however, the low-resolution display spoils all the fun. The Nokia 5.4 gets two variants- 4GB RAM and 6GB RAM. We are testing the 4GB RAM and it seems to be a good overall performer in our initial tests.
Dedicated microSD Card Slot
The Nokia 5.4 comes equipped with a triple-slot SIM card tray. You can simultaneously use two active 4G SIM cards and a microSD card to expand the phone’s built-in 64GB memory to up to 512GB. The dedicated microSD makes for a handy feature if you like to store gigabytes of digital data on your handset. As far as connectivity is concerned, the smartphone supports NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, A-GPS and comes equipped with a Type-C charging port and a 3.5mmaudio jack.
Camera- Quad-Lens Rear Setup With Good Software Features
The Nokia 5.4’s camera gets a minor upgrade over its predecessor; however, the overall setup offers satisfactory results. The phone flaunts a quad-camera system featuring a 48MP primary sensor aided by a 5MP ultra-wide-angle (118°) camera, 2MP macro sensor, and a 2MP depth-senor. The Nokia 5.3 had a 13MP primary sensor with the remaining sensors having the same configuration. The 48MP is a decent upgrade but we would have preferred more versatile overall camera hardware at this price-point.
As far as real-life performance is concerned, the 48MP primary sensor captures crisp shots. Images and videos show natural colors and good contrast; however, the dynamic range is not very inspiring. Once again, I am impressed by a Nokia phone’s depth-sensing capabilities. Similar to the Nokia 5.3, the Nokia 5.4 also captures stunning portraits with natural bokeh and pleasing colors.
The camera app also features a variety of professional modes that can come in handy for content creation. These include- Cinema mode, H-Log format, and some interesting color filters for pictures and videos.
Dated 720p (HD+) 60fps LCD Display
It’s disappointing to see that HMD has once again ignored the display; one of the most important characteristics of a smartphone. In the days when you can buy a smartphone with crisp 1080p panels, some even with higher refresh rate screens, the Nokia 5.4 is still stuck with a dated 720p low-resolution LCD with a standard 60Hz refresh rate. The underwhelming pixel count, poor reflective angles, muted colors, and no HD playback support for media content on OTT apps makes the Nokia 5.4 a bad choice for multimedia consumption. Similar to the Nokia 5.3, the Nokia 5.4’s display is not an ideal screen for binge-watching and enjoying graphics-intensive games.
Battery Life Could Have Been Better
While the phone can last a day with moderate usage, thanks to the clean software and low-resolution display, HMD could have offered a slightly bigger battery cell on the Nokia 5.4. The 4000 mAh battery is a bit underpowered. We streamed some videos on stretch and played graphics intensive games that took a toll on the phone’s battery life. If you want to explore the market, there are various phones that offer bigger battery cells in the sub 15k price-point. For instance, the recently launched Poco M3 is powered by a 6000 mAh battery cell and flaunts a full HD panel.
The X-Factor- Stock Android With Claimed 2-Years Android Upgrades
The stock Android software is undoubtedly the highlight of the Nokia 5.4; however, I am disappointed to see the phone running Android 10 out-of-the-box. Going by HMD’s claims, the phone is supposed to get 2-Years Android Upgrades and I am afraid that also counts the Android 11 update. If that’s the case, the Nokia 5.4, and the Nokia 3.4 also, will only be upgradable to Android 12 and might miss the Android 13 update. HMD is yet to clear the air on the aforementioned upgrade cycle plan for the new Nokia device so stay tuned.
My review came running on Android 10 with January 2021 security patch. The clean UI and no unwanted bloatware or spam/ads/notifications make for an excellent user experience, something I find lacking in Xiaomi, Poco, Vivo, Realme, and Oppo smartphones. The Android 10 gestures work seamlessly on the Nokia 5.4 and you get all the stock Android 10 goodies such as Focus Mode, System-wide Dark theme, Digital Wellbeing/Parental Controls, and Bedtime mode.
In addition to the two years of Android upgrades, HMD also promises three years of monthly security updates with the Nokia 5.4. We will update the space as soon as HMD replies to our queries related to the Android 13 update for the Nokia 5.4 and the Nokia 3.4.
Should You Buy The Nokia 5.4?
Similar to previous HMD mobile phones, the Nokia 5.4 is also focusing on user-experience rather than offering the best of the specifications. The good build quality, decent camera setup with intuitive camera shooting modes, and the stock Android UI make the handset a good option for anyone looking for a sub 15k phone with a clean user-experience. The SD662 is a capable entry-level SoC and seems to be offering good performance on the Nokia 5.4. The biggest issue with the Nokia 5.4 is its dated 720p 60fps LCD. It just spoils the overall package, especially if you like to binge-watch movies and series on your handset. We will spend some more time with the Nokia 5.4 to talk more about its performance in our review.