Nokia Asha 501 review
Nokia recently added another budget-friendly handset to its Asha range of smartphones featuring a new single-swipe user interface thereby bringing monoblock touchscreen interface to users and developers alike.
The Asha 501 has a 3-inch TFT display with 320 x 240 pixel resolution, 64MB RAM, dual-SIM support, 3.2-megapixel camera on the rear, FM radio, Wi-Fi, microUSB, Bluetooth 3.0. The Asha 501 is definitely not the best of handsets you can buy from Nokia, but being available for as low as ₹4,744 there is hardly anything to complain about. Here is what we think about the smartphone.
Right out of the box, Nokia Asha 501 is a phone that is made specifically for the young crowd – probably first time smartphone buyers – and the candy bar form factor with a monoblock design is definitely something that would appeal to the next-gen budget savvy crowd. Nokia has used stronger material to form the back panel of Asha 501 and is placed such that it doesn’t come off even if the phone accidentally slips from one’s hand.
The phone has a glossy finish, is 12.1 mm thick and weighs less than 100 grams even though it looks heavier. The volume rocker is on the right side of the phone below which are located the power/sleep button. There is only one button below the display but, I was surprised to find out that it is a Back button rather than the Home button.
Users have the option of buying the phone in six different colours – Black, Bright Green, Bright Red, Cyan, White and Yellow – all of them having a glossy finish.
Nokia hasn’t built the Asha 501 with high-performance in mind. It is for those users who want a handset that delivers mediocre performance and are not bothered about the need for a high-end quad-core processor. With just 64MB RAM one shouldn’t expect a rock solid performance from the handset.
Images are not so bad from the 3.2-megapixel camera and frankly speaking I wasn’t expecting much anyways. Nokia has however improved upon the camera app and the bundled editor that comes along with it. I tried to record videos but at 15 fps there isn’t a lot that the captured video will deliver. Audio quality wasn’t that great either.
Asha 501 comes with multiple local language support specifically targeted towards Indian users and it was particularly easy to change to a different keyboard layout using a simple swipe gesture. Messaging interface has changed to a great extent and is rather minimalistic giving an unclogged appearance.
There is no company in the feature phone and budget-friendly smartphone segment that could beat Nokia when it comes to battery performance and Asha 501 uphelds Nokia’s dominance. I had a single micro-SIM with me to play around and the 1200mAh battery lasted two whole days with a single charge with average usage involving a few phone calls, about 100 odd text messages, a dozen or so emails and about 2 hours of web browsing. I tried listening to music only as and when I found time and the battery clocked out juice for nearly 2 days.
Probably one of the best phones one can for less than ₹5,000, the dual-SIM Asha 501 with headphones and charger is definitely value for money handset. There is no 3G support and that is one bit that would deter quite a few buyers. Having said that, Nokia is offering 4GB card and 50 preloaded apps to get you started and there is Wi-Fi connectivity option to make up for lost 3G mobility.