Nokia Asha 201 Review – New QWERTY Family Mobile Phone

Nokia Asha 201 Review: Released in 2012, the Asha phones were a new family for Nokia. This represented a few different trends. Firstly there was a strategic shift in naming: the budget lines would continue (such as the classic Nokia 100). The other phones would continue under the ‘Asha’ brand, or the alternative ‘Lumia’ brand. Having lost their crown a few years previous, these families of phones strongly played on what made Nokia good: easy to use phones, customisable colours, and good prices.

Asha contained many of the low-end phones, with the Lumia having the higher-end of the market. It is quite telling that a QWERTY handset falls into this category. A few years previously many Nokia models were premium, such as the Nokia E72. Even the budget version of that (Nokia E63) was a serious handset. But with the touchscreen making many of these handset redundant, the standing of this input method fell. As we can see with the Nokia Asha 201, it is rather targeted at youngsters who like texting a lot.

As the first phone in this family, there was no previous model. The closest may be the Nokia X2-01, a similar handset from the year before. Two models of this phone were released. There is no difference between the Nokia Asha 200 and Nokia Asha 201, save for the fact that the first phone is dual-SIM.

As a budget phone, there was very little improvement seen in the Asha 201. The screen was the same as the X2-01 and cosmetically only slightly different with rounded edges. Whilst the spec was modest, the phones were targeted pretty well for their market. They came pre-uploaded with applications for social media and support for music and video was provided with the relevant players.

Full specifications here.

The keyboard phone turned out to not have much longer to live. Nokia Asha 205 and Nokia Asha 210 followed in the next year, but this was to be the end of the line.

Nokia Asha 201 Review Pros:

Off the bat, the Nokia Asha 201 comes in some quite zany colours: black, white, pink or blue. This comes complete with matching keypad for a unique look.

The keypad here has been through years of refinements and is easy to use with raised keys and good button sizes.

The phone also features  nice upgraded S40 interface. Logos are large and legible. The homescreen can be customised and support for social networks comes straight out of the box.

The price of the phone is extremely low, and perhaps the cheapest of its type on the market.

Nokia Asha 201 Review Cons:

Built quality was cut for this phone. Housings were plastic which is standard at this price point. But it seems that the housings on the 201 were thinner and flimsier.

The phone’s camera was not its strong point. At 2MP with no flash, this was the same as the one seen in the X2-01. On-board memory was 10MB so using the microSD card slot was needed.

The phone also came without either 3G internet or Wi-Fi, which restricted much of the use.

Current Pricing and Future Prospects:

Most Nokia QWERTY models are strongly bought. Older ones such as the Nokia E71 have quality builds. The cheaper ones such as this retain some sort of quirky novelty value. Generally they retail at better prices than more powerful Blackberry handsets. This may be testament to their ease of use.

Where can I get one?

Both Ebay and Amazon have second-hand and refurbished models.

Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.

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