Nokia has finally announced the new Asha 501 smartphone for India. We were invited for a brief on Asha 501 and take a closer look at the device.
Nokia Asha family’s new member Asha 501 is a full touchscreen device with just one button in the front – not a home button. Nokia is targeting the first time Internet and touchscreen users to enjoy smartphone-like experience on this pocket-friendly device. When it comes to cost of possession, Nokia plans to sell the dual-SIM Asha 501 for Rs 5,199 only.
The Asha 501 has been carefully designed to meet the needs of the entry-level device seeking consumers. Also, it comes with a great form factor that is not easily breakable. Even when the phone is dropped couple of times, the back cover doesn’t come off easily. Nokia has used stronger plastic for the back-panel of the Asha 501 and it almost appears like a jacket cover.
At the 12.1 mm thickness, the device may appear stubby to many. However, as soon as one starts using it, the comfort level increases gradually. The volume keys are located on the right side followed by the power/sleep key.
Nokia has placed just one button on the front side under the display panel and that button is not a Home button. That physical button is basically is the Back key usable to take a step backward in a menu or app.
The Nokia Asha 501 is offered in funky colours and has a lovely design which makes it comfortable to hold in hand.
Nokia has used a 3-inch TFT LCD touchscreen display with 320×240 pixel resolution. This display offers 133 pixels per resolution pixel density and has been constructed using scratch-resistant glass. The hardware keys are located on the one side and there is just one key on the front of the device.
At the rear lies a 3.2 megapixel camera without any LED Flash. The back panel appears to be inspired by one of the Lumia series devices. There is a small button like gap which also acts as out for speaker audio. That button is to be used to for pulling out the back cover from the device body.
Nokia has not specified the processor used but the device packs 64 MB RAM which is decent enough for the platform. Nokia Asha 501 incorporates Dual-SIM configuration and requires micro-SIM modules to be placed inside those slots. Under the battery lies a SIM card slot and the memory card slot at the side can hold up to 32 GB micro SD card. On the top of the device is the 3.5 mm audio out port and the standard micro USB 2.0 port. This device supports USB charging but does not offer the USB on-the-go support.
Nokia has incorporated the new Nokia Asha software platform 1.0 on the Asha 501 along with the great user interface changes. Mostly the user interface is swipe drive as it has been designed by Meego UI designer. Swipe driven user experience is something fresh that the users can enjoy at an affordable price point.
Apart from that, Nokia has introduced a new feature called Fastlane. It is basically a chronological repository of the activities that user performed on the phone. Let’s say the user left a half composed message and then started listening to music. Then the Music activity will appear on top followed by a stripe-like snapshot of half composed message.
Nokia has worked closely with the developers to make some of the fantastic applications, mostly found for smartphones, to be available for the Asha 501. The company promises to load about 50 popular applications and 40 EA games on the device out of the box. For that, Nokia will bundle a 4 GB micro SD memory card with the device.
Nokia has used a 1200 mAh battery that has been designed specifically for the Asha 501. One of the Nokia product team executive informed that the new battery design will be soon visible in upcoming devices as well. With this battery, the single-SIM version can hold standby time about 45 days while with dual-SIM provides a month of time.
Priced at Rs 5199, Nokia bundles a 4 GB micro SD cards, body coloured headphones and a recharging accessory will soon be introduced with it. We await a review unit to take an in-depth look at the new Asha 501. From what we experienced, the Asha 501 indeed is exciting phone.