Nokia has amazed us with the latest few Lumia devices but we can’t forget its low-end devices that are great devices, as well. One of these devices is the Nokia Asha 501 that has a price tag of $99. It was produced in six colors and Nokia hopes that it will take over the entry-level market with its Asha line. This phone is compact and budget-friendly smartphone equipped with some interesting features. This phone can be easily found in Latin America, Middle East and India. It was launched two months ago in some Europe countries and it’s expected to be released in couple of emerging markets later.
At first sight, you will notice the beautiful neon-bright back cover. Like we said earlier, this phone comes in 6 colors: red-orange, loud green, blue and yellow tones, black and white. It has nice polycarbonate matte finish that won’t let fingerprints to be seen and feels smooth and soft. This phone is made tiny with compact design with smoothly rounded corners. It’s perfect to fit in your pockets.
Nokia Asha 501 measures 2.9 inches wide, 3,9 inches tall and 0.47 inches thick. This phone weighs only 3.4 ounces and you will check up numerous times if is still in your pocket. It comes with a smaller screen, a 3-inch display that will give you 320x240p resolution. It supports 262,000 colors and has a 133 ppi. The display is bright with subdued colors and if you want it to use it outside, you will have some difficulties to read content.
The touch-screen feature isn’t impressive and didn’t respond on some tasks couple of times, for example, when you try to slide and unlock the phone. There is a volume and power/lock button positioned on the right spine and are really easy to use. On the top of this phone you will find a microUSB port with a headphone jack close to it. Underneath the screen, there is a single button that will bring you one step back while you are using an application. If you hold it down more time you will see that it will give you full exit from the app. Right behind the back plate you will find the SIM slot, battery and SD card slot that will enable you to upgrade the memory up to 32GB.
This phone has only one speaker that is placed right behind the back plate cover. The audio coming from this speaker is clear and loud.
Hardware and performance
When we are writing our reviews, we often start with the processor. Nokia disappointed us with this feature because the processor chip used in this smartphone stayed undisclosed. Its processor runs alongside a 64MB of RAM and for a budget smartphone this is as high as you can get. It’s not lightening fast but it’s not slow either. Moving through menus is kind of slow but the apps were launched faster.
Nokia Asha 501 has a removable battery that offers 17 hours of talk time and 48 days of standby time. Its full battery life wasn’t tested yet but during my time with it I noticed that the battery meter was moving very slow.
OS and features
We got used to see low-end smartphones from Nokia running on Symbian OS. This time is different and the Asha 501 runs on Asha 1.0 OS.
This phone has only 2 home screens. The first one is fulfilled with your apps and the second home screen is called Fastlane where you can find activity log, notifications and reminders. In the second home screen, you can reopen recent apps very quick or you can use it like a shortcut in order to respond to your notifications. You can find your calendar entries pinned on the top of this home screen. Swiping down from the edge of this phone will return you to the home screen but if you swipe down from the top of the screen, this phone will show you data, Bluetooth, WI-Fi and notification bar.
This phone comes equipped with built-in apps like Twitter, Facebook and The Weather Channel plus some casual apps like music player, clock, calendar and etc. For more apps, there is the Nokia App Store that contains some popular apps.
The camera feature on this phone is nothing special. This 3-mpix camera won’t give you photos that you will expect but for a budget-smartphone you can’t expect more. It features a 3x digital zoom without manual focus and flash. It has only few regular color modes like: negative, sepia, grayscale and regular.
The video feature captures 320×240 QVGA video at 14fps. You can’t use the zoom option while shooting a video and it can record only in landscape.
Overall, this phone is really easy to use and has some bright and fun colors. It lacks higher resolution on its screen and better camera, but for $99 you will get colorful, simple and small phone that has some nice abilities.