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Nokia Asha 501 is cheap and colourful but 2G only

The Nokia Asha 501 is a colourful, 3-inch phone with a super-cheap price but no 3G data connectivity.

Andrew Lanxon headshot
Andrew Lanxon headshot
Andrew Lanxon
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Nokia has thrown the curtain open to reveal the latest addition to its bargain-basement Asha line. The Asha 501 boasts a 3-inch touchscreen, comes in a variety of garish hues and will be heading to the UK in the latter half of the year for 75 Euros. It will only use 2G data networks though.

Having 2G only means you won't be able to take advantage of 3G data speeds and the super-fast 4G will be strictly limited to your fevered dreams. Posting a photo to Facebook will require significant amounts of patience. There are other sacrifices you'll have to make for the price, too. The 3-inch touchscreen has a low 320x240-pixel resolution and the phone runs on Nokia's Asha software, rather than Windows Phone 8 you'll find on its more premium Lumia range.

In my hands-on tests though, it felt quite sturdy and the swappable cases make it fun and colourful, allowing you to replace the back when it becomes grubby. The Asha software is far from feature-packed, but it's easy to use and has neat additions like a timeline bar, showing recently used apps and recently called contacts.

The app store is miserably understocked, but does have a few essentials like Facebook, Twitter and Plants vs. Zombies. Keen app addicts among you will still want to look towards Android for a real selection though. Other phone features include a 3-megapixel camera, a microSD card slot and dual SIM card slots in case you want to keep an international SIM on board.

With their basic features and low price, the Asha range is primarily aimed at emerging markets like India and Latin America. Nokia reckons 2G is still dominant in these areas so 3G won't be missed much. It'll really need it on board when it comes to the UK though -- you'll be in for a long wait posting photos to Facebook without it.

Flick through the photo gallery above to see more of the phone and head over to CNET.com to read my full hands on impressions. Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.

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It has a simple, plastic design. It's rather like a child's toy.
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There's a 3-megapixel snapper too.
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The back comes off if you feel like changing the colour or just airing the battery out.
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Fill a micro SD card up with 40,000 pictures of goats and you're all set.
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It's small enough to skim across a pond and cheap enough that you won't care about losing it.
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There's no pot of gold at the end of that rainbow. I checked.
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Sometimes you might want to put it face down. The 501 is cool with that.
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It's totally fine if you want to hold it sideways, too.
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Or from the top. It's happy with whatever.
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There's a single navigation button on the front that takes you back a page.
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The web browser has tabs to easily point you to your favourite content.
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Yep, it's definitely a Nokia.

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