The Nokia Asha 501 won't suffer from a lack of colour choices.
Like most Nokia phones, the Nokia Asha 501 is a striking little number, with a bright and colourful plastic shell that leaves no doubt in your mind that it’s a Nokia handset. However unlike most Nokia handsets or most recent ones anyway, the Asha 501 isn’t running Windows Phone. Instead it uses Nokia’s own Asha operating system and it’s the first of what Nokia are calling a ‘new generation’ of smartphones to run on it.
It’s a bold move to go up against the likes of Android, iOS and Windows Phone, but the Asha OS does have a few things going for it. It’s designed to be fast and intuitive, with a single swipe being all that’s required to unlock the phone, close apps and move between the two main screens - ‘Home’ and ‘Fastlane’. ‘Home’ is much like any other smartphone home screen, but ‘Fastlane’ is a little bit different, as it displays recent activities - so for example apps that you’ve used or calls that you’ve made. It also shows upcoming events from your calendar and social networks and lets you post to Facebook and Twitter directly from the ‘Fastlane’ screen.
Asha handsets also come with Nokia’s Xpress Browser, which the Finnish company claims can compress data by up to 90%, which makes mobile browsing faster and cheaper.
The Nokia Asha 501 itself comes in six colours - yellow, cyan, black, white, bright red and bright green. The body is designed to be durable while the screen is scratch-resistant and it’s incredibly light at just 98 grams.
It’s also small at 99.2mm x 58mm x 12.1mm and the TFT touchscreen is just 3 inches, with a low 320 x 240 QVGA resolution giving it a pixel density of 133 pixels per inch. The camera doesn’t impress either at just 3.2 megapixels and it has just 64MB of RAM and 128MB of built in memory - though there is also a micro SD card slot with support for cards of up to 32GB.
In other words it’s a phone and operating system that aren’t really trying to compete with Android, iOS or Windows Phone, which is probably a smart move. The Nokia Asha 501 isn’t going to be much good for HD gaming and video, but if you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful phone to call and text on and do a bit of light web browsing with then it might just fit the bill. You won’t have to wait long for it either, as it’s out in Thailand and Pakistan this week and should be hitting Europe in ‘subsequent weeks’.
There’s no confirmed UK price yet but the suggested US price is $99 (before taxes and subsidies), so with that in mind and considering that it’s ultimately a very basic handset- even if it does look a bit like a Lumia, we’d be surprised if it’s more than £100 when it goes on sale in the UK.
By Kevin Thomas on 28th June, 2013