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Nokia Asha 302 Review

By Simon Thomas on 22nd March 2012


3G Total Score Get phone arrow

Pros: Budget web features; good battery life; push email and WhatsApp; comprehensive social app


Cons: Costs as much as a smartphone; no multitasking

 

Verdict: The Nokia Asha 302 is a basic smartphone with good social and email apps – along with clever features to help you save money – although the pricetag on the phone itself isn’t that low

Full Review and Specification for the Nokia Asha 302

You’ve probably read a lot about Nokia’s Windows phones recently – but let’s remember that the majority of Nokia’s customers and would-be customers are still after basic handsets. So here comes the Nokia Asha 302, which runs on the Symbian Series 40 OS – that will be the grid interface that anyone who’s ever had a Nokia handset will be familiar with. However, Nokia has tried to bring it out of the basic market by adding in some new offerings. There is a new browser for instance, to help make the most of websites when viewed on lower-end devices, as well as some clever features designed to help you cut your data charges. However, while it may appear to be trying to save you money, is it really such a bargain? Read on to find out…

 

Old familiar

 

As we said, the Asha 302 runs on the latest version of Symbian – which is pretty much the old version with the addition of a home screen that can be customised. There are spaces for three widgets, which you can choose, although the default features calendar, social and a shortcut bar. The shortcuts bar can include your most-used apps. It’s not exactly up there with the Android OS, but having just one home screen makes it really simple to find your way around – it’s better than some of the bloated smartphones in the Symbian S60 range that Nokia produced. If you want to keep it really basic, you can choose to ditch the home screen and just have a basic date and time display instead.

 

We had a few issues with the interface – for instance you’ll find no camera shortcut sitting in the main programs menu – instead you have to add the camera shortcut to your shortcut bar – but overall it’s pretty simple to use. Nokia has seen fit to finally integrate push email into the OS – it offers support for Gmail, Yahoo and Windows Live/Hotmail. The inbox is comprehensive, too, featuring shortcuts that help you to manage all your email. It’s a neat inclusion for a feature phone – and thanks to the fact that it has a great keyboard, the Asha 302 would make an excellent basic business handset.

 

 Take a look

 

Design is no-nonsense – and in fact is reminiscent of Nokia’s Eseries. You’ll find the keyboard is nicely designed, with a dedicated @ key and the most-used punctuation featuring as secondary choices on the main keys. Under the hood runs a decent 1GHz chip, plus there’s a microSD slot so you can upgrade the measly 100MB of included memory to 32GB, plus a 3.2 megapixel snapper (more on that later). It’s a sturdy phone too – even though it’s made of plastic and is a lightweight 99g, it feels solid and has a matt-sheen veneer that looks pretty classy. The Asha also offers support for 3.5G mobile internet – this can offer speeds of up to 14.4Mbit/s, but that is dependent on the quality of your network, of course.

 

The QWERTY keyboard is comfortable to use and is situated beneath the 2.4in TFT display (it’s a non-touch screen by the way), which has a 240x320 pixel resolution, which is rather low. There is a navigation panel that sits between the screen and the keyboard and has a contacts and message key, which can be personalised to take you to phonebook, email contacts or social. The top of the device is home to a proprietary pin charging port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a micro USB port, which can connect the handset to a PC if you want to transfer files, or be used to charge your phone – note there is no USB cable included in the box.

 

Stay in touch

 

Social network fans will find plenty to please them – Flickr, Twitter and Facebook apps are onboard, along with Orkut, which is a Google-owned network that is apparently popular in Brazil and India. And they are actually apps – sometimes cut-price phones try to get away with just including a shortcut to the website, which is cheating rather in our books. However, the apps don’t integrate with the rest of the device, so don’t expect to see your friends’ Facebook profile pics sitting next to their details in the phone book, or that you will be able to share photos straight from the snapper. If you have the social widget on the home screen, you’ll be able to see what’s happening on your main account – one click will allow you to post your own updates,

 

The Twitter and Facebook apps offer a comprehensive range of features, but the Flickr apps simply allow you to post your snaps from the camera gallery. Your main account will update in the background – new events will appear on the social widget if you’re using it – however, we never got any alerts for new posts or messages. If you want to save battery power, remember you can set your choice of networks to update either manually or automatically – and to resize snaps over 100KB, to save on data charges.

 

On the subject of saving money, there is also an instant messenger titled Whatsapp, which lets you send free messages over the net – only Nokia’s S40 devices are able to access this. But if you pay for your texts, then this is a good way to keep costs down.

 

Sad snapper

 

The 3.15-megapixel snapper is mediocre to say the least. Even photos taken in daylight were pixelated – and you won’t be taking night-time images because there’s no flash. You can transfer video and music using a USB cable – not that you’ll be able to watch high-definition video such as MKV or DivX formats.

 

There are apps for games, calendar and organisation – which are pretty much what we’d expect from a feature phone, but there is no synching.

 

Saving cash

 

Another way to keep costs down is by using the free and low-cost internet phone offerings (such as Sipdroid) that you can link to on the Asha 302. Note that S40 handsets do not support Skype. Already loaded is the Internet Telephone Wizard, which lets you create new accounts or set up existing ones. Nokia has included a proprietary browser onboard that compresses web pages as you are browsing – this means they load faster and cost less to access in data charges.

 

The address and search bars are tucked away in the options menu, which means they don’t take up space on the screen, however, if a site is not optimised for mobile phones, you’ll be hard-pushed to be able to read it. Having said that, while the display is low res and looks a bit grainy, most sites looked okay – and with good internet speed and the 1GHz chip on board, it offers a decent web experience if you’re just doing the odd bit of surfing the net.

 

But despite the fact that there is a powerful processor onboard, the Asha 302 does not offer support for multitasking, so if you want to switch between apps you’ll have to close down the existing one – a bit of a pain when you’re using the browser.

 

Actually downloading apps is pretty speedy – particularly if you use Wi-Fi – and you are able to choose which kind of connection to use whenever a web-reliant app fires up. Either that or set it to always try Wi-Fi first. If you choose the manual selection option first, it does save a bit of juice as the handset isn’t constantly trying to find a Wi-Fi signal.

 

As there is no GPS (and hence no maps offering) battery life is saved – you should get a good two days out of a fully charged battery. However, Nokia did promise a low price for this phone when they announced it – and yet contracts start at around £30 a month, which is pretty much what you’d pay for a fully-featured smartphone.

 

Our conclusion

 

Nokia has certainly given us a taste of what the next raft of basic handsets will offer – decent email and social apps, powerful chips and battery saving and data-saving features. While the Asha 302 doesn’t provide the integration of a real smartphone, it does feature good social networking facilities and some useful money-saving offerings. However, its price lets it down, as you can get a true smartphone with email/calendar and social synching for around the same price. Nevertheless, if keeping down data costs and having a long battery life is top of your list of priorities the Asha 302 is worth a look.

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Nokia Asha 302 Review Scoring

  • Style and Handling
  • User Friendliness
  • Feature set
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Overall Score

Nokia Asha 302 Phone Specification

Type of phone:

Mobile phone

Style:

candy bar

Size:

116.5x55.7x13.9mm

Weight:

99g

Display:

262,000 colours

Resolution:

240x320

Camera:

3.2 megapixels

Special Camera features:

N/A

Video recording:

Yes

Video playback:

Yes

Video calling:

No

Video streaming:

Yes

Music formats played:

AAC+, AAC, WMA, MP3, MIDI, WAV, MP4

3.5mm jack port:

Yes

Handsfree speakerphone:

N/A

Voice Control:

No

Voice Dialling:

No

Call records:

N/A

Phonebook:

N/A

Ringtones customization:

N/A

Display description:

TFT non-touch

Website:

www.nokia.com

SAR:

N/A

Portfolio:

N/A

Standard color:

N/A

Launch Status:

Available

Radio:

Yes

Operating system:

Nokia Series 40

Connectivity:

Bluetooth, MicroUSB, Wi-Fi, A2DP

Announced date:

October 2011

What's in the Box:

N/A

RAM:

128MB

International launch date:

February 2012

Battery life when playing multimedia:

N/A

CPU:

1GHz

FM Radio Description:

Stereo FM with RDS

Internal memory:

100MB

Memory Card Slot:

microSD

Messaging:

MMS, SMS, Email, IM

Internet Browser:

WAP 2.0, XHTML, HTML

E-mail client:

Push email, SMTP, Attachments, IMAP4, POP3

GPS:

No

Java:

Yes

Games:

Yes

Data speed:

3G, GPRS, EDGE, HSDPA

Frequency:

Quad-band

Talktime:

354 minutes

Standby:

830 hours

Display size:

2.4 inches

Keypad:

QWERTY

Audio recording:

Yes

 


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