Nokia is struggling to make it’s mark in high end smartphone segment. However, with revamped Asha platform and solid hardware competitiveness, Nokia is eyeing low price, more affordable mobile phone arena. With Nokia Asha 501, the competition being offered is strong. Let’s get started with review of Nokia Asha 501.
Initial impression right after unpacking is portrayal of a compact and light device (weighing just under 100 grams). Offering a mono-block design, Nokia Asha 501 fits snugging well in palm of your hand.
Over to the design aspect, on the front there is a 3″ inch capacitive screen with a resolution of 240 x 320 (pixel density of 133 ppi) and a scratch resistant coating. On a side note, do no determine the quality of screen by it’s price, the screen is quite responsive and fairly vibrant.
At the bottom, there is a back button below the display, tightly integrated with swipe feature of OS and applications. Above the display you have an earpiece. A MIC is located at the bottom right corner.
Turning back, we have a 3.15 MP shooter capable of recording QVGA videos (at 15 fps) and capturing images. There’s no LED Flash available for night time photography.
On the side lines, there’s a Power/Sleep button located on right hand side of the handset and the volume rocker is placed right above it. At the top, Asha 501 sports a micro USB port, 3.5 mm audio jack and 2 mm pin charger slot (unnecessary inclusion IMO). The best part is all these external hardware buttons, apart from back button, are of the same color as the body of the phone thus essentially giving the device a clean singular color look.
The back-plate is easily changeable and you have option to buy additional colors (Bright Red, Bright Green, Yellow, White, Black and Cyan).
Equipped with new Asha platform, entire Nokia Asha 501 can be navigated using swipe gestures and back button. For a relatively new user, learning to use the device is as easy as it gets. No unnecessary frills attached.
There is a dedicated lock screen which displays notifications for missed calls, messages and calendar events for quick glance of event requiring users attention. Even more interesting is fact that tapping these events on lock screen takes you to relevant application without fail.
Talking about operable aspect, as soon as you unlock the phone, you are presented with the application drawer or Fastlane pane. All the activities you perform, applications you access are logged chronologically and resultant swipe on screen will cause the most recent to be accessed easily.
In terms of customization of phone itself, not much is available to tinker with. All you can do is change the preset wallpaper, default sounds and clock on the lock screen.
Usually I never talk about camera aspect of a mobile phone, be it a high spec android phone or an affordable low priced Nokia Asha. Moreover, in addition, for a price of Rs. 5000, it’s unfair to expect a solid camera shooter.
However, to my surprise, Nokia has packed a 3.15 MP camera in Asha 501. The camera interface is basic and carries configurable options like on-screen shutter icon, gallery shortcut, zoom slider, toggle switch (alter between photo and video mode).
The image quality is average at best and sufficiently vibrant. It’ll do for the occasional snapshot. Night time imaging should be avoided at all cost with lack of LED flash and very noisy image production.
Nokia Asha 501 packs a 1200 mAh battery with maximum standby time of 48 days, 17 hours of calling. Although, I wasn’t able to test these figures however with a normal usage including some phone calls, facebook’ing, emails and considerable web browsing, the battery lasted for almost 40 hours.
Conclusion – Go For It!
Wrapping up the review, I can safely say Nokia Asha 501 offers fulfilling smartphone experience for a Rs. 5000 device. Add to price the history of Nokia’s excellent hardware quality is carried on very well and nice application base. Without fail, Nokia Asha 501 is my recommendation to those who are looking for a phone in this price range.