The Nokia Asha series pioneered what I like to call the smart feature phone segment, where the devices are sort of smarter and better than feature phones, but not as spec heavy as smartphones. The Nokia Asha 501 took the concept to a new level as it ushered in a unique platform for these devices. The Asha 502 is a natural progression, in keeping with the ever-increasing requirements of the segments this phone is meant for.
Quick Tech Specs: 3-inch TFT touch display (240 x 320p) | Nokia Asha software platform 1.1 | 64MB RAM | microSD slot | 5MP rear camera | 1010mAh battery
Design: The Asha 502 looks exactly like its predecessor. The compact soap bar design and size continues, though the 502 seems to have laminated looks thanks to a transparent layer of plastic. Below the display is just the back key and on the sides are the volume and power keys. It is a bit difficult to open the rear panel and it would have been a great idea to keep the second SIM hot-swappable without having to pry open the rear panel. And, yes, the bright colour schemes continue in line with Nokia’s new design philosophy.
Screen: The screen is good enough for you play games, do basic browsing and enjoy the photos clicked with this phone. But this is not for those people who are used to HD screens. This is a functional touch screen and that is all it is meant to be.
Performance: The Asha 502 is meant to be a phone for the masses and hence should not be compared with smartphones. If you look at this as an option for people who are graduating from a feature phone, then the Asha 502 is a rock star. It lets you connect to the net, surf the web without incurring huge data costs, check mail, engage in IM chats and use Facebook and Twitter effectively. It does not lag at any point of time as the OS has been custom built for device with these specs. The experience is smooth and stable, but not enough to suffice those who have been exposed to high-end devices.
Software: The Asha platform does not seem to have changed since the Asha 501 was launched last year. There are quite a few pre-loaded apps and a games which have been optimised for this device. The store gives you more options for apps which are custom built for the platform. In comparison to Android, these apps are light weight and don’t drain the phone’s resources.
Camera: The camera is 5MP, but fixed focus. So you will need to move back and forth to get the right focus, or move your subject around. The results are pretty good, considering where it is coming from. The flash is of big help in low light. The camera is great for moms to snap pictures of their grandchildren, but is it good enough for college students? That is a million dollar question.
Battery: Don’t frown at the 1010 mAh battery. It will last longer, much longer, than any smartphone will. We got up to three days on a full charge and with moderate use.
Special Mention: The Xpress browser is a boon for the entry level user as it cuts your data usage by up to 90 per cent. This is nothing new, but among the few implementations at a mass level.
Verdict: At Rs 6,145, this phone will appeal to those who are looking for their first touch screen and first connected device. However, it will be hard to keep some of these buyers for dishing out a few more bucks to get hold of a Android device. The one thing in Asha 502’s favour is the fact that it offers a better long term proposition compared to a low-end Android phone. But this is an window that is slowly, but surely, shutting.