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Published On: Tue, Jul 16th, 2013

Nokia Asha 501 – Budget smartphone with long battery life

Nokia Asha is an old brand and this is the latest phone in that series. It is a dual SIM phone and comes with a single Swipe user interface which is pretty cool. It is a touchscreen phone having new software platform inside. This dual SIM phone will soon come in to the market and will be offered for a price of Rs. 5,199. We got this phone a few days back and here is our review of it –

Design

Nokia Asha 501 is smartphone made for youth or for people who are using Internet for the first time. It is a candy bar phone and has monoblock design. There aren’t any buttons on the surface and hence there won’t be any dust accumulation inside the gaps. These are budget phones and Nokia budget phones are known for their sturdy design. Back panel holds the back of the phone very well and the back won’t come off even if the device falls from your hand. The phone maker has used strong material on the back for protecting the phone.

On the back, there is glossy finish and hence the phone feels slippery in the hand. This handset is just 12.1mm thick and it weighs just 100 grams. This handset feels lighter in the hand than what it looks. There are volume buttons placed on right side of this phone and the Sleep/Power button is located close to it.

Nokia Asha 501

Under the screen, there is just one button and it is Back button instead of Home button found on most phones.

This phone is available in 6 different colours – Cyan, Black, White, Yellow, Bright Green, and Bright Red. All these shades are glossy and don’t have matte rubberised finish. In spite of glossy design, this phone is really comfortable to hold in hand. Also, the screen size and form factor makes the device easy to hold in hand.

Hardware

Nokia Asha 501 isn’t too different from other small touchscreen phones out there. This phone is similar to Nokia Asha 308 and Asha 311. There is three inches LCD TFT touchscreen on the front and has 320×240 native resolution.

This isn’t the best screen out there but there isn’t much to ask for this price. Pixel density is 133 pixels and it is quite decent for such a phone. However, we feel that Nokia could have put bigger display here.

The phone maker hasn’t revealed the processor inside the phone and hence we can’t write about it. There is just 64MB RAM inside and is quite decent for such a phone. This is a dual SIM phone and has microSIM modules inside. The memory card and SIM card slot are located below back panel and they aren’t swappable.

Back panel of the Nokia Asha 501 looks similar to Lumia series phones. There is tiny button for speaker on the back. Close to this, there is 3.2 megapixels camera and it doesn’t have LED flash. On top side, there is 3.5mm headphones jack and close to this, there is microUSB port. Charging is done through USB.

Nokia Asha 501 comes with FM radio inside and there are 2 sensors – accelerometer and proximity sensor. The former sensor can be used for apps like composing music by just shaking this phone. There are also features like Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0 EDR.

Software

Nokia Asha 501 comes with single swipe access for first time on Asha software platform. This single swipe access is quite similar to UI of MeeGo mobile OS. Both are designed by same person. With just one swipe, users can close open apps. Swipe based UI brings something new to this OS.

This new Asha platform comes with new feature called Fastlane. All activities which are done on this UI are logged in chronological order and latest activity is shown on top side. we tried this feature in our tests and found it quite interesting. We could access our latest activities easily.

Nokia Asha 501 specs
The phone maker has worked well with developers for giving great apps on Nokia Asha 501. Out of the box, there are 50 apps on the phone pre-loaded and also 40 games from EA. Nokia has also packed four gigabytes of memory card with this phone. if you want more memory then you will need to buy a bigger card. The apps on the phone include voice memo, alarm app with new UI, organizer, and photo editor app. You can sync your Google contacts automatically and you will have to do it manually.

Keyboard input of Nokia Asha 501 is quite impressive and you can choose different keyboard by just swiping. We were also surprised to see great support for Indian languages.

The messaging options on the Nokia Asha 501 are quite standard and there isn’t anything spectacular about it. The interface is minimal and you can easily message without any problems.

Our phone didn’t have option menu button on the device or screen. However, you can just swipe on bottom of screen to middle for accessing options panel. HERE maps are available but they are in beta version. Users can use it for browsing the maps.

Nokia Asha 501 comes with new Web browser and it is quite interactive. There is Nokia Xpress browser on the phone and has rich tiles on home screen having colour coding. This browser also supports multi tab browsing and you can access different content at once. It lets you save Website as bookmark or tile with Apps. Xpress Now feature has content on top three most popular things here in India – Entertainment, Sports, and Politics. There are also Social networking apps like Twitter and Facebook preloaded on this phone.

Nokia Asha 501 has support for Easy Swap feature and hence you can easily switch between different SIM modules in this OS without taking out battery. This phone comes with Nokia Glance Screen double tap feature and it gives you quick look of lockscreen/homescreen for the missed calls, weather, calendar, etc. This OS isn’t anywhere close to Android OS but it is still decent and gives you new user experience.

Music

Nokia Asha 501 is a phone made for youth and hence it comes with good music options. There is decent speaker and can get loud enough. However, it isn’t too clear and hence might annoy you occasionally. It is fun to watch videos on phone on new UI. You can resume watching the videos from where you left it off.

Nokia Asha 501 camera

Camera

Nokia Asha 501 comes with 3.15 megapixels camera located on back side but it doesn’t have LED flash. You can record videos in VGA and QVGA resolution at as low as 15 fps. You can record videos as well but the video and audio quality isn’t as good as other budget smartphones.

The photo quality of the Nokia Asha 501 is decent. We didn’t have high expectations from this camera anyways. There are some cool features on camera app and we found that photo editor was very useful.

Battery

Nokia phone have always had long battery life. This phone doesn’t have any high end hardware inside and hence the battery life is bound to be good. In our tests, we had just one SIM card and didn’t put another card inside. With standard use, like texting, phone calls, web browsing, and emails, this phone lasted for around two days. Even with some music playback, this battery could last for one-and-half day.

Nokia said that they have put special battery inside this phone. Nokia Asha 501 comes with 1,200 mAh batter inside and with dual SIM set up, you will get around eight hours of talk time. Standby time is around one-and-    half months.

Conclusion

Nokia Asha 501 is priced at Rs. 5,199 and this phone comes with charger and headphones. This handset is priced well and comes with good UI and value. There is four gigabytes of memory card packed with this phone and the handset has 50 apps inside. There is no 3G here but you still get Wi-Fi.

Nokia Asha 501 is a good budget phone and has good features. This phone is made for people who are buying a smartphone for the first time. We would recommend it for students or for use as second phone for basic features like social networking, texting, and calling.

Nokia Asha 501 Battery

Specifications

  • Nokia Asha 501
  • Dual SIM phone
  • 99.2 mm x 58 mm x 12.1 mm
  • Three inches capacitive touchscreen
  • Four GB internal memory, 64MB RAM
  • GPRS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • 3.15 megapixels rear facing camera
  • No GPS
  • 1,200mAh battery
  • Rs. 5,300

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