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Nokia Asha 501 Review

Smartphones might be getting cheaper and growing but the featurephones aren’t going away yet. One of the featurephones that is still available in the market is the Nokia Asha 501. Nokia replaced the aging S40 with Asha OS. And yes, this proprietary operating system blurs the line between smartphone and featurephone even further. Why don’t you check out my review of the Nokia Asha 501 after the break.

If you’ve been following the Lumia models of Nokia, they’ve been using the same design philosophy for years. And no, the Asha OS doesn’t came from the genes of the Windows Phone. Asha OS is Nokia’s operating system for the low-end devices.

The build of the phone feels very solid and it doesn’t feel cheap compared to other phones at that price range. The Nokia Asha 501 is very cute, the small size and the vivid colors makes it lively and young. Like what I’ve said earlier, the Nokia Asha 501 has the genes of the Nokia Lumia family and the Nokia N9. The first time you held the Nokia Asha 501, you’ll immediately feel that it is made by Nokia. Why? You’ll feel its sturdiness despite having a plastic body.

The design of the Nokia Asha 501 is very simplistic and easy to understand especially when you used a Nokia N9 before. The Asha OS has the genes of Meego and Windows Phone. The phone has a small screen too, It’s very annoying and very hard to get used to especially when you’re coming from a cellphone with a large screen. The Nokia Asha 501 might have a small screen but it doesn’t sacrifice accuracy and precision even when typing on a QWERTY keyboard.

The back cover of the phone was easy to remove and replace, it reminds me of the colorful Nokia phones during the Nokia 5110 era. The audio quality isn’t the best but it was acceptable. The battery life was pretty amazing, I already expected that since this phone isn’t running on Android or Windows Phone. It took me 5 days before it ran out of juice. And no, the Nokia Asha 501 doesn’t have 3G inside so you’re stuck with EDGE on both Sim card.

The Asha OS is Nokia’s offering to blur the lines between smartphone and a featurephone. I notice that there are a lot of improvements from S40 and it shared a lot of features from Meego and a little bit of Windows Phone. The Nokia Asha 501 only have 1 hardware back button which kinda odd. Apps can be close by the button or by swiping from the edge of the screen. It’s actually pretty easy to navigate the Nokia Asha 501. The Asha OS is a featurephone but the UI and transitions looks like it was a smartphone. One unique feature of the Nokia Asha 501 is Fastlane. Basically, that app lets you see the past things that you’ve done before. For example, you’ve texted someone and then you visited a website. It will automatially be listed in the fastlane. Not only that, Fastlane also lists your appointments and other infos from your social networking accounts.

Just like the Nokia N9, they focused on swipe, it was fun and it was easy to use. Closing apps or if you just want to go to the homescreen, well, all you need is swipe. The Nokia Asha 501 was responsive but I notice some lags and slowdowns sometimes when closing an app. I hope Nokia can fix that on the next Asha OS phones.

Facebook and Twitter apps are built in the phone. The Facebook app was very similar to the Facebook java app. I didn’t got a chance to log-in to the twitter app, I don’t know why but I keep on getting error messages. If you want some apps, there’s the Nokia but there are only a very few apps that are available compared to the Windows Phone store. Nonetheless, I’m still very happy to see an app store on a featurephone.

If you feel that the Nokia Asha 501 isn’t that good in terms of internet browsing. You’re wrong. The Nokia Xpress browser was good despite the lack of 3G but of course, it would be better if you’re connected to the internet. I’m just annoyed that I have to type the password of our access point every time I connect.

There’s a 3.2 MP fixed focus camera on the back but there’s no front camera (Sorry! No perfect selfie pictures here!). I wish Nokia could have put in a 5 MP sensor on the back and a VGA camera on the front. You know, if we have a front camera on the Asha 501, people who love selfie would love to have this phone. The Nokia Asha 501’s camera failed to reach my expectations. So yeah, I don’t really recommend the phone’s camera

Overall I like the Nokia Asha 501 construction and design. The long battery life is one of the features that I really like on the phone. It’s very rare to see a pocket-friendly touchscreen smartphone with that battery life. Another thing you need to consider when buying this device is the Asha OS. If you are really into apps then better stay away from this phone but if you want a long-lasting phone that is very solid and cute then better check this phone at the nearest stores.

Nokia Asha 501 Total Score: 6.5 Infographics

The Nokia Asha 501 review unit was lent to me by Nokia Philippines
Jam Ancheta
Jam Ancheta
Jam Ancheta likes to create content about tech. But he also hates tech.


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