Nokia Asha 311 review

Reviews Paul Briden 17:21, 30 Aug 2012

We get to grips with the top-tier model in Nokia's budget S40 range, the Asha 311

Rating: 
1.5
Pros: 
Looks good, Fast performance, Free EA games
Cons: 
Small size, Poor camera, Annoying interface, Small and fuzzy screen, Low memory, Proprietary charger
Verdict: 
Too basic in functionality, too complicated in execution and too expensive for what it is

We take a look at Nokia’s Asha 311 to see if a touch-based S40 feature phone can run with the budget smartphone pack.

Form

Nokia is one of those manufacturers with a penchant for visual design.

Regardless of the overall strengths or weaknesses of a handset the company produces, design is consistently on the positive side of the checklist and even the worst of its portfolio looks rather dapper compared to much of the rest of the market.

The Asha 311 may be a budget device but that doesn’t mean Nokia has scrimped on the aesthetics. The shape is a neat rectangle with gently curving sides and corners which work well with the proportions.

Nokia’s also gone for its usual range of luminescent colour options and the 311 features a contrasting panel on the lower portion of the phone, separated by a narrow chrome band which also houses the solid control keys.

Overall we think it looks very smart.

That said, it is a little on the small side and those with larger hands may find it a bit fiddly to get to grips with.

Another minor grievance is the inconsistency of materials used. The build quality actually feels surprisingly solid for a budget device but Nokia has clearly saved production costs by using a fairly low-quality feel plastic for the main back panel.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this but the lower contrasting panel feels like a much nicer material and we can’t help but think the experience of the device in the hand would’ve been substantially improved if the whole thing was made from this superior plastic.

We also find it a bit irksome that Nokia insists on fitting a proprietary charging port rather than allowing the already present Micro USB to fulfil charging duties.

Display

The budget constraints and diminutive size of the Asha 311 means it’s only sporting a basic 3-inch TFT touch display with 56k colours, low resolution (400x240 pixels) and low pixel density of only 155 pixels-per-inch (ppi).

But at the very least it’s capacitive rather than resistive and is reasonably responsive when navigating the homescreens.

Being a Nokia screen the blacks are quite good, but apart from that everything’s a bit fuzzy and the colours don’t really pop.

Hardware

The Asha 311 is reasonably well provisioned in the processor department thanks to a 1GHz single core CPU which ensures the operating system runs quite smoothly and the device is capable of running games such as Angry Birds reasonably well (although this is a version built and optimised specially for S40 handsets).

However, in other areas it’s less impressive with 128MB of RAM and 140MB of onboard storage.

It does at least have MicroSD support for cards up to 32GB and connectivity is quite well catered for with Bluetooth, MicroUSB and Wi-Fi – the latter being rather unusual for feature phones and thus a welcome addition.

Specifications

Typical Price £100
UK Launch August 2012
Frequency GSM 850/900/2800/2900, HSPDA 850/900/1700/1900/2100
Phone Style Touchscreen feature phone
Thickness 12.9mm
Length 106mm
Width 52mm
Weight 95g
Built-in Memory 140 MB, 256 MB ROM, 128 MB RAM
Additional Memory MicroSD 32GB
High-speed Data GSM,HSDPA,HSUPA
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, MicroUSB
Screen Size 3-inches
Screen Colours 56K
Camera 3.15-megapixel
Camera Resolution 2048x1536 pixels
Flash No
Video Resolution VGA
Ringtones Yes
Music Player Yes
Music Formats MP3/WAV/WMA/AAC
Song Storage Yes
Radio Yes
Speaker Yes
Video Calling No
Internet Yes
Browser HTML
Games Yes
Battery Standby 700 hours
Talktime 14 hours

Disqus - noscript

Ermmm , I have large hands and have no trouble with the Asha 311 ! And u r aware , I trust that s40 is specifically designed to run on limited resources and therefore doesn`t need high end specs
? And wwhat exactly were you expecting from a low end phone , a GS 4 "??

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