REVIEW :- Nokia Asha 201 (hardware) ! (VIDEO COMING SOON)

The Nokia Asha 201 is Nokia’s latest Series 40 phone. It’s a delightful little entry-level handset that offers the web browsing and social-networking features of high-end smartphones without the extra frills. We’ve spent some quality time with the Nokia Asha 201. Find out what we think of it in our Nokia Asha 201 review.

Nokia Asha 201 tech specs and official photos

During Nokia World 2011 a number of months back we got to hear in person how, with future Nokia Asha phones, Nokia wants to squeeze more features into entry-level handsets. That way nobody misses out. Well, here’s one of those handsets. In coming weeks we’ll be exploring a number of its main features and tools. But what of the hardware itself?

Design-wise the Nokia Asha 201 is a pleasant-looking phone. It’s really nice to gaze at, and touch. We got a hold of the white version – not a colour we’d usually go for – but it looks lovely. Consider us converted on that front. The Nokia Asha 201 carries it off well. QWERTY phones tend to look pretty dull, but the Nokia Asha 201 oozes a playful quality that we love. It’s curved rear feels lovely in the palm.

The Nokia Asha 201 is also really light. It weighs just 105 grams, yet feels more solid than it should despite being crafted entirely from plastic – no Lumia 900-like polycarbonate metals here.  The Nokia Asha 201 measures 115.4 x 61.1 x 14mm, which is just about pocket-friendly.

That said, for a QWERTY device, the Nokia Asha 201 still feels very compact. The QWERTY keypad feels like a tight squeeze, which can make typing a little awkward if you don’t have small hands, encouraging typing errors. You’ll find that you end up pressing two letters at once by mistake quite a lot. The space bar is also too small.

Above the keypad you’ll find a menu button with metal directional square button surrounding it, back and confirm buttons on the either side and shortcut buttons for the web browser, mail, and receive and reject call buttons. These offer a great way to access what you need from the Nokia Asha 201 but you can’t help but feel that there’s too much going on. The middle directional button is also a little unreliable, sometimes requiring an extra press. This goes back to the problem of the Nokia Asha 201 being built for small hands.

A 3.5mm headphone jack up top is convenient for sticking your headphones in while the phone is still in your jeans pocket. The micro USB port is also at the top. The microSD slot sits on the right side of the phone, securely protected and easy to access by sliding your nail and dragging the cover out.

The 2.4-inch TFT screen won’t blow anyone away, but on this Series 40 phone it does a great job. Images and photos are as bright and as clear as you’d expect on an entry-level Series 40 phone. And menus are easy to read without having to strain – we have no real complaints here. To get the most from the Nokia Asha 201 you will need a microSD card. Storage is a mere 10MB, but stick in a memory card and you can take that up to 32GB.

The camera is a basic 2-megapixel affair. Photo quality isn’t actually too bad, but only in well-lit conditions. At other times it severely struggles, resulting in grainy images with barely any detail. Video recording fares worse. Expect blurred video with a lot of background noise, even when recording in silent areas.

Overall the Nokia Asha 201 is a well built phone that feels solid and comfortable in the hand. The ability to plug in a pair of headphones, and bump the storage up to 32GB is most welcome. The QWERTY keypad is a bit on the small side, but does get better with use. Niggles with the menu buttons and an iffy camera will mean it won’t be for everyone, but there is at least enough for owners to learn to like.

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