Nokia Asha 302 Review
What is it that you really want from a business phone? Do you really need a gigantic screen, HD videos and lots of games available to download? The line between business phones and multimedia smartphones has blurred recently, to the point that few manufacturers make a clear distinction between the two. Nokia kind of still has the dedicated E-Series, even though we haven’t seen many new models in a while. The hero of this review is not an E-Series device per se, but it does have most of the functionality you would expect from one. Neither is it a business phone by definition, but it does fit the role quite well, as you shall see.
The phone is based on the familiar E-Series formula and doesn’t have any additional features such as a touchscreen or dual-SIM support. It has the same basic shape and layout as the popular Nokia C3 and E71 models, with basically the same QWERTY keyboard. Of course the materials used are a bit different compared to those models, but if you have experience typing on previous Nokia QWERTY phones, you’ll find yourself at home here, as the layout of the buttons and their size is virtually the same.
The overall shape of the Asha 302 is pretty compact, especially considering it has a full QWERTY keyboard. In fact, it looks a lot like the lower-end Asha 200. At almost 14 mm the phone is far from being thin, but thanks to the curved design of the back that’s not really an issue, plus the chunkiness makes this a comfortable phone to hold in the hand. It’s also very light at just 100 grams. The Asha models have never been of bad quality, but the new model takes it a step further. The phone is made from quality materials and the build quality seems very solid; it even has a metal battery cover, just like many E-Series models. Design-wise there’s nothing extraordinary here – on the front you’ll find the smallish screen with the keyboard below it, while the back is mostly dominated by the metal battery cover, which even encloses the camera and the loudspeaker.
There’s a strip of shiny plastic running around the edge of the phone, much like on higher-class E-Series smartphones. As a result, the phone looks more upmarket than the price tag would suggest. All three major ports are at the top – the 3.5 mm audio jack, the charger plug and the microUSB port. Interestingly, the Asha 302 can use the microUSB port for charging as well, which means you’ll surely find a suitable charger around wherever you are.
The hardware of the Asha 302 is nothing to boast about, but as you shall see it’s more than up to the task. The phone features a 2.4-inch TFT screen with a resolution of 320×240 pixels. It has a landscape orientation, which is probably more comfortable for texting and surfing the Net. Thanks to the good-old TFT technology the viewing angles are good and it’s easy to read the screen even under direct sunlight, but of course the colors are nowhere near as bright and vivid as on more expensive models from Nokia. The downside is that there is no way to adjust the brightness, a feature that’s missing from all Asha handsets. The phone runs on a 1 GHz processor, which is quite a lot for a feature phone; even some current Android smartphones don’t have faster processors. RAM is less impressive at 128 MB, but again, one must remember that this is not a smartphone, therefore there’s no need for high memory. Internal storage is just 100 MB, but that’s hardly a problem as the phone supports microSD cards of up to 32 GB capacity.
The camera is usually where Nokia is cutting costs, and that’s the case here. The phone makes use of a 3-megapixel camera with no flash and auto-focus. The picture quality is not bad considering the limitations of the matrix, though we have seen better 3-megapixel shooters out there. The color reproduction is somewhat inaccurate, although noise is controlled reasonably well. There is no dedicated shutter button, so the D-pad is used instead. All the standard settings are present, and the whole camera interface has been redesigned to be more similar to the one seen on Nokia Belle smartphones. The phone has a number of filters, such as B&W and sepia, plus interesting frames that may be applied to the photos. The camera can also shoot video, but that’s best avoided whenever possible.
Just like all Asha handsets, the Asha 302 is running on Nokia’s trusty Series 40 platform in its latest version. The UI has been modified to resemble Belle, and that includes the design of the icons as well. It all looks neat and modern; people will probably mistake this for a real smartphone quite often. The phone features both Wi-Fi and 3G, as well as a social widget, which means it’s pretty well-suited for social websites like Facebook or Twitter. E-mail is standard on the Asha handsets and is pretty easy to configure. There is even a conversation view for the messages. The phone is pretty good with media files, even large movie files don’t overload it. The music player could have been a bit better, but it’s simple and does the job.
The Asha 302 is already available though numerous deals by our local carriers. It is important to understand what the phone is all about. If you want a true smartphone, then you’re better off taking a look at some of the other models by Nokia, but be aware that they’ll be priced accordingly. If you just want a good quality phone with a QWERTY keyboard and easy access to social sites and E-mail, then the Asha 302 will provide all the thrills you need for a much lesser fee. Besides, this is a Nokia, so expect it to last for many years to come. The Asha 302 is available in quite a few interesting colors, and in dark grey it’s almost indistinguishable from an E-Series device.