Nokia Asha 201 review

Reviews Ben Griffin 14:30, 2 Mar 2012

We review the Nokia Asha 201, an S40 handset with a Qwerty keyboard which only costs £45

Rating: 
2.5
Pros: 
Lightweight, Attractive styling, Cheap
Cons: 
Operating system looks and feels a bit dated, No Wi-Fi or 3G connectivity
Verdict: 
The Nokia Asha 201 is a cheap mobile that looks and feels better than some devices two or three times its price, but Series 40 is a bit long in the tooth. Unless you want a throwaway phone or care little for new technology, a budget Android device or an old BlackBerry would make more sense

In a time where smartphones, 4G, quad core and HD are common buzzwords, we're sure many of you want a device that takes you back to simpler times, but with a little few extra touches so that you aren't completely isolated from contemporary tech. That's where the Nokia Asha 201 steps in, a £45 handset complete with Nokia's Series 40 operating system.

At the mere mention of £45, you are probably expecting it will be a phone you keep together with duct tape within a week or so of buying it. But that's not actually the case.

In fact, the Asha 201 is a sturdy, fairly bash-proof handset. The back panel isn't too difficult to take off but it slots into place with a solid click, which inspires confidence in the case you accidentally drop it.

It's not fallen down from the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down, either. Our review unit, which came in white as you can see from the images, looks pleasing to the eye. A golf ball-like texture in the middle of the back panel indicates Nokia used an experienced design team, rather than the intern. Even the keyboard buttons, covered in a metallic silver colour, look great, and the layout of the buttons is logical.

Like with Nokia phones of old, the Asha 201 relies on a Qwerty keyboard for typing, which is the best method of typing a message, even in a touchscreen world. Two buttons below the screen also operate contextual functions positioned just above them on the screen. In the middle is a directional-pad and the call answer/end call buttons. It's simple, effective and it really can't go wrong. And anyone who's owned a Nokia before, no matter how long ago, will probably feel right at home - maybe even nostalgic.

The S40 operating system does look a bit dated, but the screen, which measures 2.4-inches and has 256k colours, is bright and clear. We noticed the backlighting isn't very even, but you only really notice that if you look at it from a weird angle.

You also get modern functionality like adding your Twitter and Facebook accounts, keeping you up to date with friends, family and any celebrities you be following. This can be done via the homescreen, which is handy for a quick glance but there isn't enough screen space to show you much information very easily.

Nokia Asha 201

Above and beyond the new social networking gleam, however, lies a reasonably well-laid out set of options you quickly learn but soon get bored of. As a phone that really only aims to be a phone, there aren't many apps or games and music playback is only basic. Likewise for video playback don't expect too much.

Moving on to the camera. You get a 2-megapixel snapper that produces fairly poor quality results and it's the same story with video, which records at a very low resolution. Images are overly bright, over saturated and low in detail, so don't expect to print them out at on A4 without seeing a lot of visible pixels.

Specifications

Typical Price £45
UK Launch February, 2012
Network Vodafone
Frequency GSM 900 / 1800 - RM-799, GSM 850 / 1900 - RM-800
Phone Style QWERTY
Thickness 14mm
Length 115.5mm
Width 61.1
Weight 105g
Built-in Memory 10MB
Additional Memory Up to 32GB via microSD card
High-speed Data N/A
Connectivity Bluetooth
Screen Size 2.4-inch
Screen Colours 256k
Camera 2-megapixel
Designer Lens No
Camera Resolution 1600x1200
Zoom No
Flash No
Video Resolution 176x144@10 fps
Ringtones Yes
Music Player Yes
Music Formats MP3/WAV/WMA/AAC player
Song Storage 10MB (up to 32GB via microSD card)
Radio Stereo FM with RDS, FM recording
Speaker Yes
Video Calling No
Internet Yes
Browser WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML, Adobe Flash Lite

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