Hands-on with the Nokia Asha 205 [video]
Feature phones dont get the attention they deserve, but that hasnt stopped Nokia from continuing to push the price barrier, trying to get more and more premium features to cheaper and more affordable phones. As such with one of the two new Asha phones they announced today, the Nokia Asha 205. Here’s a video overview of it:
The Asha lineup, running Series 40 OS, was announced one year ago, and has been quite popular over at my side of the planet, where many people are looking for a sturdy, no-nonsense, cheap phone with decent battery life. The Asha 205 hopes to continue that trend with a QWERTY keypard, a Facebook button, and a new “Nokia Slam” file sharing feature, all at the very affordable price of $62. It’s a 2G device but it comes in both single SIM and Dual-SIM versions (with the Dual-SIM version having an Easy Swap port for the second SIM card). There’s also Facebook, Twitter and eBuddy messenger pre-installed, as well as WhatsApp on the Single-SIM versions and 40 games from EA that you can download from the Nokia Store within 60 days of your purchase. There’s only 10MB of internal memory though, so you’re going to want to get a microSD card.
The menu is your usual S40 affair with Nokia’s squircle icons in what I’m calling their “Asha” UI. Navigating around with the D-Pad is easy enough though apps take a little while to start up. It’s not slow by any means though. Nokia highlighted their new “Nokia Slam” file sharing feature, which is, pretty much, a more aggressive sounding version of the bump app. You can use it to quick-share media over Bluetooth 2.1, without needing to manually pair devices. You dont have to actually bump/slam the phones together though, and users just have to accept the file transfer to get it started. Interestingly, it’s compatible with other S40 phones and Android phones but not iOS or Windows Phones, sigh.
It looks okay on the 2.4 inch screen, though admittedly it leaves a little to be desired. More pixels would have been nice, since you’re just working with QVGA. Color reproduction was okay though.
Nokia also spoke about how data efficient they’ve tried to make everything on the Asha 205, and even uses their Nokia Xpress cloud-compression browser to help you keep data usage down. As such, loading up things on EDGE is pretty quick, even when you try to load full desktop versions of websites.
The keyboard itself felt pretty nice & responsive, and the dedicated Facebook button might come in handy, but apparently cant be changed to open up Twitter or any other app. Build quality was nice and classic-Nokia-solid feeling, even though it’s mostly made of plastic and suprisingly lightweight.
Apart from all that, you have the usual charging port which uses a classic Nokia charging PIN, and a standard 3.5mm audio jack at the top. At the back you have a VGA camera which takes expectedly low resolution pictures. There’s the speaker underneath which was pretty loud.
Also worth taking about though, is the battery which is supposed to last up to 37 days on standby, which is something a smartphone user can only dream of, heh.
The Nokia Asha 205 will be available in White, Orange, Black, Cyan and Pink/Magenta before the end of the year. Estimated price is about $62 (approx Rs 3500-ish) before taxes.