Nokia Asha 203

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/ Updated: 29 February 2012 11:56 am GMT

The Nokia Asha 203 is the Asha 202's identical twin, sharing almost all the same specs. The big difference is that the 203 doesn't support dual SIMs so it lacks the extra SIM slot on the side.

The 203 also shares the 202's €60 (around £50) price tag, making it a little more expensive than the budget-tastic £45 Asha 201 -- but cheaper than the €95 (£80) you'll have to splash to get your hands on the full Qwerty Asha 302.

I snapped the grey Asha 203 at Mobile World Congress, where it was being shown off next to its red-hued twin.

Design and hardware

The 203 has the same candybar form as the 202, with a shiny black plastic face, edged in metal trim. There's a choice of three basic handset colours -- red, white or grey.

The keypad on the 203 is alphanumeric so you need to multi-press each key to form words when typing texts and emails.

Nokia Asha 203
The Nokia Asha 203 rolls back the years with a retro 2-megapixel camera resolution.

The display is a 2.4-inch touchscreen, but it's the resistive type, rather than the capacitive screens found on most smart phones.

On the back there's a 2-megapixel camera, which isn't going to win you any photography awards, but it's a welcome addition to a device at this price.

Software

Like all of its fellow Ashas, the 203 runs Nokia's Series 40 OS, so it sits squarely in the budget blower category.

Nokia has tweaked the S4 interface to fit its diminutive screen dimensions. The emphasis is on getting to stuff quickly and easily with minimal presses. For example, contacts shortcuts can be added to the home screen and swiping left or right will take you to your favourite contacts or to games and apps.

As with the other Ashas in the range, the 203 can be hooked into your Facebook account so you can post and view updates from the home screen with only minimal key presses.

Nokia Asha 203
Unlike the Nokia Asha 202, the 203 doesn't have an extra SIM slot on the side.

To encourage app downloading, Nokia is making a gift of 40 EA games that can be installed onto the 203 for free in the first two months of use. That's one reason why you will certainly need to expand the internal 10MB of memory via the microSD card slot that supports up to 32GB of extra capacity.

Outlook

The Asha 203 won't appeal to gadget fiends. But it's very cheap so it could make a good basic or first phone for kids wanting calling, texting, light social networking and games on tap.

The 203 is hitting the shops in around six weeks, says Nokia, so check back soon for a full review.

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Nokia Asha 203

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