Nokia 301 Dual SIM is an entry level smart phone launched by Nokia under its Asha series to counter competition from the new smart phone series which are seeing good demand in the market like the Samsung Rex series and the other low end Android powered smart phones that are flooding the market now. Instead of a full touch screen that is seen on many other smart phones in this range, Nokia has included a physical keypad to make it appealing for older people and for those who still prefer a physical keypad instead of a virtual one.
On first looks, you will realize that the Nokia 301 is following on the models of older Nokia feature phone which had number coding. Nokia Asha 301 also borrows heavily from the new range of Lumia smart phones powered by Windows Phone. The phone’s rounded corners, minimalist design, and the color palette are inspired by the high end Lumia phones. Front of the Asha 301 looks equally divided between the phone’s TFT display and the physical keypad. Despite looking sturdy, the keypad of the phone has cheap looks. Rear of the phone is mostly clean except for the camera lens, Nokia logo, and the phone’s external speaker. The 2.4 inch display of the phone has good resolution and gives good viewing experience.
The design aspects of the phone which are a mixture of Nokia’s older generation feature phones and the latest Lumia series give a sense of exclusivity to the phone. Display as well as the physical keypad of the phone has a glossy finish. Rear of the phone was endowed with a matte finish for a better grip. The microSD card and SIM card slots of the phone are placed to the sides of the phone while the 3.5 mm audio jack and microUSB port are placed to the phone’s top. Like the cheaper Nokia 105, the Asha 301 is all plastic but looks very solid. The 2.4 inch LCD trans missive screen of the phone has a resolution of 240 * 320 pixels (~167 ppi pixel density) and gives a good viewing experience. Menus and text are easily accessible using the physical keypad of the phone. Buttons of the keypad are bigger and stay true to the traditions of Nokia phones. Bigger buttons make it an ideal choice of elderly people and kids.
The Asha 301 runs on the proprietary Series 40 operating system which is the preferred choice of all low end smart phones from Nokia. Series 40 OS has seen lot of improvements in the form of the number of apps which are made available for it. The more number of apps available for the phone now make it a worthy competitor to the cheaper Android phones seen in the market. The phone has an internal memory of just 256 MB which can be expanded further by another 32 GB through an external memory card. Nokia comes equipped with the proprietary Nokia Xpress Internet browser which gives a good browsing experience. The Xpress Internet browser speeds up the browsing experience by compressing websites before they are delivered to the phone.
Browser’s home screen has quick links to the most commonly accessed websites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for quick access. Asha 301 has a 3.2 megapixel rear camera which snaps decent quality images. Camera of the phone has the ‘sequential shot’ feature which makes it possible to take 2-3 images in a sequence without any gap. Other features of the phone’s camera include panaroma shot, self-timer and a voice enabled self portrait assistant which tells you to move the camera in appropriate direction to get good quality shots. The primary camera of the phone can also record video @ 30 fps which looks great for a phone priced in this price range. Nokia has included all the latest connectivity options in the Asha 301 including Bluetooth and HSDPA for faster data access. Asha 301 has a 1,110 mAh battery which gives a good standby time of 888 hours and a talk time of 20 hours. Asha 301 has support for Dual SIM cards which makes it a very attractive choice for younger customers.
What’s not so Great?
Nokia Asha 301 has a RAM of 64 MB which doesn’t feel sufficient enough even for handling the limited number of apps which are supported by the series 40 operating system. A higher (at least 256 MB of RAM) would have made the phone to work much faster. There is no flash to support the phone’s camera. This makes it difficult to snap images during the night or in low light conditions. Despite the recent improvement, the number of apps available for Series 40 powered devices is still very low when compared with the low end Android devices.
Samsung Galaxy Star
Priced at Rs. 4,980 the Galaxy Star is a good alternative to the Nokia 301 Dual SIM from a premium global brand like Samsung. Galaxy Star has 1 GHz of processor and 512 MB of RAM making it faster like the Asha 301. Galaxy Star runs on the very latest Android Jelly Bean which makes lot more number of apps available to it than the Asha 501. Galaxy Star has a the same smaller 3 inch display but has better functionality in the form of finger gesture support. Galaxy Star also has decent 4 GB of internal space which should be sufficient for ordinary users. The phone has a basic 2 megapixel camera which shoots very rudimentary quality images. People who are looking for an entry level Android powered smart phone from a reputed global brand with popular Android OS can prefer the Galaxy Star over the Nokia Asha 301.
Micromax Canvas Music A88
Priced at Rs. 8,499, the Canvas Music A88 is a good alternative for people who are looking for an entry level smart phone with good multimedia features. Apart from a bigger 4.5 inch display, the Canvas Music A88 has a 1 GHz dual core processor which makes very faster than the Nokia 301. A 5 megapixel rear camera which can record HD quality videos is a big positive for the phone. 4 GB of RAM can be expanded by another 32 GB to store all your multimedia content. You can prefer the Micromax Canvas Music A88 over the Nokia 301 if you can shell out a bit more money and if you are comfortable with a domestic brand.
Nokia has done a commendable job of bringing a good entry level smart phone with all the basic features. The phone’s physical keyboard makes it an ideal choice for elderly people or for people with poor vision and hence can’t use the virtual keyboards. A brilliant camera, long battery life, and Dual SIM are the best things which go in favor of this phone. But poor finishing and lack of camera flash spoil the show. The very limited number of apps available for the Series 40 can put off app lovers. As Android phones from big brands like Samsung are now available in the Rs. 5,000 price range, phones like the Nokia Asha 301 are only for the people who want physical keypads and for those who are still obsessed with the good old Nokia brand. You can also look for low end Android phones from local brands like Micromax and Krabonn for a good value for your money.
Price and Availability
The price of Nokia Asha 301 is Rs. 5,149. The phone is available at all the exclusive Nokia dealers as well as all the leading multi brand mobile phone outlets like Universal and Mobile Store across the country. You can also buy the phone for a good discount from online retailers like naptol.com and flipkart,com.