Nokia Asha 501 A hands on review

You know those moments where you regret a falter of your mind, and sulk into oblivion? Where, no matter how much you despised the former situation, your latter actions are more of a source of angst? I had one of those defining moments, wherein, I in all my glory gave a flying run to the original phone I possessed, leaving me in dire need of buying another one. Begging parents to consider a 20k and plus phone after stomping over a 6k cell wasn’t a good idea. And hence, there was the saved money to the rescue. The store guy, whom I asked to show, decent phones in a range of 5k-6k, promptly handed me out, the newly released ‘Nokia Asha 501’.

To begin with, I bought the phone over Galaxy Star, considering the lag in processing in the later one. And then came around a round of sulking. The phone, on the exterior, looks good, probably like a box, but a ‘cute’ one in it, as I may say. The colors range from canary yellow to bright red, white, is the classiest one of them. As the covers are interchangeable, it adds to the positives, with an avid option of changing them frequently over a span of college timings to party hangouts. The screen is 3’1” in its diagonal length with a capacitive response. The touch isn’t good as compared to Samsung models, but is precisely better than Sony Xperia Tipo in the same range. Nokia Asha 501 comes bundled with a new operating system named ‘Asha OS’, different than its symbian collection for series counterparts. The screen, rather than being a pinched rectangle as in Asha 311, is broader and better suited for viewing and typing.

When you switch on the handset, you notice, it comes with a pre-loaded memory card of 4GB and a handful of rather non-useable applications. The camera, reportedly of 3.2 megapixels is better than the version on 311 or even on Samsung wave series. There is no option of turning off the shutter sound though, which is a major problem when it comes to clicking the notes in your classroom. (The sound option though available, is legally prohibited in India). The few pre loaded games would leave you distraught and it is best to avoid them. There is no support for temple run, candy crush or subway surfers, being one of the biggest let down. Also, one of the major problems that I faced was the unavailability of Acrobat Reader and the substitutes in the Nokia store come to no aid. It is frustrating not being able to read even time tables or short notices. Also, the Google attachments have a limit to be downloaded, which leaves you in a mood of selling the phone off for a penny or none. The nokia browser, is light on data, with features for limiting the downloaded picture quality.

The music player comes without an equalizer, and there are no different options available on the store as well. The bundled earphones are orange, with a white piece and that may be the difference of you being tagged cool or being mocked at. When I bought the phone, it had the first release of software which did not support WhatsApp, when the Asha 311 did. After around 6 to 7 months, they updated the software, specifically for WhatsApp support, which runs smoothly on the system. The handling features are good for the calls, though there is no ‘reject with a message’ option. It supports group calling which outweighs the previous error. You cannot change the wallpaper of the selected theme, and that, though trivial, is a feature that needs to be lost. The phone is sturdy, with the experience of throwing it down a three storey building. The screen is not scratch resistant, and a screen guard suffices the need. There is actually no option of minimizing an app, which is compensated by a fast lane, showing the recent activities, just like ‘History’ would do on Google Chrome.

What, actually turns to its benefit is the battery life it provides. For a person who would use the phone, for calls and music, with an occasional snapshot, casual WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, it is a hands down recommendation. For me, listening to music for more than 10 hours a day, constantly being on WhatsApp and the camera being used quite often, it lasts me good two days, which is definitely a lot, considering the power draining specialty of Android systems.

Verdict: if you are looking for a phone, as a subsidiary to your tablet or laptop, or specifically the one which just acts as portable music player with call and networking options, this is the best bet in a rnage of 5k.

This is the link to the official Nokia 501 website:

Mimansa Jaiswal

I am an engineering student, unintentionally in love with books, writing and sketching. I am an avid coder, philosopher and counsellor for people and all my friends.

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