6
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

First Look: Nokia Asha 501

About Video Transcript

First Look: Nokia Asha 501

3:33 /

In this video we take a first look at the Nokia Asha 501. It has a 3-inch touchscreen and a colourful design but only uses 2G data. It's cheap though, to help it appeal to emerging markets.

I'm Andrew Hoyle for CNET, and I'm taking a first look at the Nokia Asha 501. Nokia Asha 501 is part of Nokia's budget range of phones aimed to some emerging markets like India and Latin America. It will be available in Europe, but Nokia has said that it definitely won't be shipping to North America any time soon if ever. It has a low resolution capacity of touch screen, uses 2G data network only, but it has a fun, vibrant plastic design and a super cheap price tag of $99. If you spent time with any of Nokia's recent phones, the 501 will be quite familiar. It's got a one-piece poly-carbonate back that's very reminiscent of the Lumia 520. The back panel is made from one single sheet. So, the only theme you'll find on the phone is around the edge of the screen. That helped makes it feel very solid and secure. I wasn't able to put it through CNET's usual brutal sets of stress tests, but it certainly felt like it could take a knuckle, too. It's available in a rainbow of garish colors to suit your mood, or more likely, your outfit. It's comfortable to hold as it's 3-inch screen doesn't require you to stretch your palms out. But its body has a 320x240 pixel resolution, which compared to the full HD smartphones around is pretty poor. You really can't expect that sort of quality for such a cutdown price tag. Icons and larger texts are all perfectly readable. It's not particularly bright, nor does it have great colors, but again, it does the job adequately for the money. It runs on Nokia's own Asha software rather than the swanky Windows Phone 8 software you'll find on the more premium Lumia range. Looks fairly simple and has a couple of neat tricks up its sleeve. But it won't appeal to those of you after a more refined feature-rich smartphone experience. Unlock the phone, and you'll be taken to a grid of apps similar to what you'd expect to see in iOS. Swipe either side of the apps, and you'll see a scrolling activity log displaying recent apps, activities, or recently called contacts. It's pretty easy to operate, so it shouldn't scare off the techniphobes among you, but it doesn't have the sort of slick multi-tasking features crucial to any top-end smartphone. Doesn't have a wealth of apps store either, although some essentials like Wazzup, Facebook, Twitter, and Plants vs. Zombies are available. Surely not going to be a huge issue that a lot of data-hungry apps aren't available, the 501 only uses 2G networks. You won't be able to make use of faster 3G data, and the lightning-fast 4G speeds will only be a fever dream for 501 owners. Sending a quick tweet will just about be doable, but don't try and attach photos or videos unless you want a long wait. Nokia explained that 2G networks are still the most used in countries like India, where the 501 is aimed, so it's perhaps not as big a deal as it first seems. Storage comes in the form of 4 gigabyte SD card which you can swap out for a bigger one if you like. It will also be available in either a single or dual sim version if you want two keep two sim cards on board for easier data roaming. Nokia wouldn't say what processor is on board. We know it's not gonna be anything impressive, but it seemed just about capable of providing fairly smooth navigation for the Asha software. But its low-end specs, cutdown price, and only 2G connectivity, Nokia's Asha 501 really isn't aimed at smartphone purists. Instead, it's aimed squarely at emerging markets like India and Latin America. Its cheap price and steady build quality might make it a reasonable option to pick up as an emergency festival phone, though. I'm Andrew Hoyle for CNET, and this is the Nokia Asha 501.

New releases

Tomorrow Daily 092: Mistletoe drones, Europa in HD, real-life bacon meme, and more
24:11 November 25, 2014
On today's show, we debate the usefulness of drones inside restaurants (especially drones carrying mistletoe), check out Europa in...
Play video
Amazon Echo: a wireless speaker you can talk to
3:11 November 25, 2014
We go hands-on with Amazon's new Echo smart speaker and its Alexa voice assistant, who might just be Siri's better-sounding twin s...
Play video
2015 Mercedes Benz C400 4MATIC
4:58 November 25, 2014
The C Class is all-new and it's time to stop looking down your nose.
Play video
Can anything save Google Glass?
3:16 November 25, 2014
Google's first wearable platform has lost its edge with users and developers. You won't have a Cartier Android watch anytime soon,...
Play video
Alienware Alpha bridges the PC/console gaming divide
2:38 November 25, 2014
This gaming desktop looks and acts like a living room console, but plays your PC game library.
Play video
How Apple Pay and PayPal can help shoppers avoid hacks
1:37 November 25, 2014
What's the best way to protect yourself when shopping online? CNET's Sumi Das explains how to keep your credit card details away from...
Play video
The 404 Show 1,586: Giving thanks to tech, Jurassic World, BlackBerry Hail Mary (podcast)
35:21 November 25, 2014
It's our last show before Thanksgiving and the guys are discuss what tech they're thankful for.
Play video
Conquer Black Friday by shopping online
2:55 November 25, 2014
There's no shame in staying home when online deals are aplenty on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Bridget Carey highlights trends in...
Play video