Feature phones are still around as there is a large market for them and Nokia’s latest offering in this category is the Nokia Asha 302. We have all used a Nokia feature phone sometime in our lives, and it’s simply because they were good. But how does Nokia Asha 302 fare with the competition from low-end Android touchscreen phones is something we need to find out.
Nokia Asha 302 is a feature phone, and so it is designed as such. Expecting for fancy material on a feature phone is a wee bit too much since they have to be sold on the cheap. Nevertheless, with the Nokia Asha 302, Nokia has created a feature phone that pulls off a pretty look. It has got a neutral color on its body, but thanks to the chrome-like features scattered across the phone, it looks shiny and pleasant to the eye. Measuring in at 4.54 x 2.32 x 0.53 inches, indeed it actually measures thicker than quite a few smartphones out there. However, that is one of the few things about feature phones that make them feel very solid.
To further instill the user’s satisfaction on the build quality of the phone, Nokia has also thrown in a metal back cover. On the front of course is the physical QWERTY keyboard that responds well to touch although it is quite small. The keyboard might not work out too well for those with bigger fingers. Also on the front is the 2.4 inch screen. Around the sides of the phone the usual buttons are ports are to be found. On the left side of the Nokia Asha 302 is the microSD card slot while on the top of the phone there is a standard audio jack, charging port as well as a microUSB port. Although there is one port specifically for charging, the microUSB port can be used for that purpose as well. Sitting pretty on the back is the 3.15MP camera.
Feature phones usually give themselves away with their small screens and Nokia Asha 302 isn’t very different. Nokia offers a 2.4 inch screen that has a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels with this phone. You are not going to get too much detail from this screen but it is not the worst either. Bringing the phone outdoors on a bright day means you would need to squint to make out what’s on the screen. The viewing angles could have been a lot better too. Nevertheless, it is a decent offering for a feature phone.
Under the hood, there is a 1GHz CPU to do all the processing tasks on this phone. There won’t be any live wallpapers on this phone, so the CPU on Nokia Asha 302 will get the job done. To help smooth things out, there is also 128MB of RAM onboard this feature phone.
The Series 40 feature phone platform is what Nokia Asha 302 is running on. There are a few new improvements on the platform like the home-screen social widget. With this widget, you can update your Facebook status or also see the latest activity all in one place. Another cool thing is the customizable row of shortcuts at the bottom of the screen. However, there were some issues that kept propping up. For instance it was tough to identify which of the available on screen options was actually selected at that time as the colors used were not contrasting enough. To exacerbate things, bugs were observed when the UI showed more than one option highlighted at a time.
Apart from the earlier gripes about the software, the Nokia Asha 302 constantly asks if it should carry out a task or not and then later also ask for your confirmation. It is a long process before you can finally get things done with this phone at times. Nevertheless, not everything is bad with this phone as it does come with a nice Social app, by feature phones’ standards that is. This app lets you get into all your favorite social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Orkut and Flickr. Although it is not up to the standards of an app you would see on a smartphone, it is still something that deserves an acknowledgement.
On the back of the Nokia Asha 302 is a 3.15MP camera that seems fitting for a feature phone. The interface even comes with settings for the user to play around with to come up with better photos. There were useful, but didn’t change the output that much. Photos showed decent amounts of detail and had very natural colors. Even when taking photos indoors the results were decent although there was some noise to be seen. Video recording on Nokia Asha 302 is done using VGA quality. That is acceptable for a feature phone but the 15 fps rate is however not acceptable as it results in choppy looking videos.
Using the internet browser on Nokia Asha 302 reminds us of the times we used Opera Mini as it is quite similar. However, the browser doesn’t provide as good an experience as the Opera Mini as it’s slower and does have trouble loading some pages. What’s good is that it still keeps the page overview feature allowing the user to zoom into the section that he or she is interested in. In terms of connectivity options, the Nokia Asha 302 has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1.
The most important thing any user expects from a feature phone is of course the call quality. Nokia Asha 302 doesn’t disappoint as its earpiece produces a nice sound and there are no excessively sharp frequencies to be heard. On the other end, we didn’t get good feedback but it wasn’t too bad either. The loudspeaker did well as well. Battery life with the Nokia Asha 302 shouldn’t be a problem as it will take you through a few days even with its 1320mAh battery.
Pros and Cons
Nokia has kept its build quality standards going with the Nokia Asha 302. The camera was also a decent performer for this feature phone.
The user interface was hardly intuitive and had bugs that need to be worked on.
The Nokia Asha 302 is a very solid phone especially for its price point. However, the user experience is a major letdown and there are some Android phones at this price range that are probably worth looking at before settling for this one.