The Good Nokia's Asha 503 has a sturdy, eye-catching design that's entirely pocketable and easy to use one-handed. It's Wi-Fi capable, packs in a camera flash, and won't break the bank.
The Bad Poor screen quality on the Asha 503 makes reading the display unpleasant. The camera's fixed-focused lens takes mediocre photos, and speakerphone volume is too low to be useful. Navigation is slow and jerky.
The Bottom Line Its surprising design is the best thing about the Nokia Asha 503, but if you're looking for a traditional smartphone experience, its underperformance will only disappoint..
Zingy exterior, sluggish interior
Think of Nokia's Asha 503 as a feature phone experience and you'll come closer to enjoying it for what it is: a delightfully square-edged handset with well-rounded, if clunky, capabilities. The phone's strengths include a well-thought out ice-cube design effect, Wi-Fi, and software features that will keep you connected.
However, the plaudits stop there. The $99 unlocked global smartphone's low-quality, low-resolution screen, iffy call quality, fixed camera focus, and jerky navigation are markers of the 503's budget status, even as it's the most generously appointed among a trio that also includes the Asha 502 ($89) and Asha 500 ($69). (For reference, the Asha 503 tops the 502 with a stronger Gorilla Glass screen topper and 3.5G data speeds.)
The 503's wacky, colorful, frozen-in-ice design is its saving grace, however, and the main reason I'd recommend the phone at all. If you want an easy-to-use feature phone with a statement design, the 503 is an OK choice. But if it's a smooth, well-integrated budget smartphone experience you're after, skip over the 503 entirely in favor of an inexpensive Android or Windows Phone.