Nokia Asha 302
Asha 302 Front
Various shots of the 302
Up until a couple of weeks ago, the only experience I'd had with the Nokia Asha range of S40 handsets was a very quick play with a display handset at Nokia World 2011 and then a brief try with an Asha 306 belonging to Richard Dorman whilst we were on a trip to Vienna. Then up pops the extremely generous and phone tech enthusiastic Richard Yates with the offer to lend me his Asha 302 for a couple of weeks to try out, so here are my thoughts, which I think will be a bit of a ramble, as usual, as a lot of my opinion is based more on form factor than the actual handset and OS itself. Full 302 spec here
I have become a fan of larger (not massive) touch screen handsets, a couple of years ago I couldn't for-see myself making such a statement, but people and times change ? I have NEVER liked the portrait qwerty form factor found in the majority of Nokia E-series phones and BlackBerry handsets, the silly little keys don't suite me as well as a T9 keyboard (maybe I have fat fingers?) and the smaller screen size allowed by the form factor spoils a lot of what I look to do with a mobile device these days. As a result I found I quite liked the touch screen Asha phones I tried and found the main issue with the 302 was the way it was built. The keyboard is awkward for me to use compared with both my Nokia E7 which has a full landscape qwerty and also most of the 4" plus touchscreen phones I've used with virtual qwerty keyboards, and this attached to a tiny low res screen kinda finished the job off.
Asha 302 Back
Screen shots of 302
I did try
The little phone, which I feel really guilty disliking, is actually built really well with metal and chrome making it feel and look quite a class act, and to be fair to it, I'm complaining about a sub £100 handset and comparing it to £400 pocket computers !! Also , people should be aware that I dislike most of the Nokia E-series and detest every BlackBerry it has ever been my misfortune to have to handle .
Attempting to put my personal prejudice to one side, I've tried to use the 302 a little and to be fair to it, it is useable, the phone is quite easy to set up and does what it does reasonably well and considering it can be bought for under £70 on Amazon it cannot be considered anything other than extremely good value for money. I do know a lot of people who like and use the form factor and love the tiny little keypad. I also know a lot of people who, shock horror, use a mobile phone as a PHONE !! Yes they make phone calls and send the odd message via text, they may take a look at and make the odd comment on Facebook and occasionally look something up on the web and need to receive the odd email. The Asha 302 can do all this and quite a lot more, battery life is good, I've not used the phone heavily, but doubt even I could kill it inside a couple of days. It has a nice mono speaker in the back and I was quite impressed with the music player, video on the other hand was not exactly a good experience, I couldn't play anything without converting it to pretty low resolution and even YouTube didn't look too good, but on a tiny 2.4" screen it's not going to is it ? The 3.2megapixel camera on the phone can actually take some reasonable snapshots and the phone will upload those directly to Facebook or Twitter via the built in Nokia Social app, mail works fine on the Asha and I had both my Outlook and Gmail accounts working fine on the handset. Connectivity via Mobile data or WiFi worked fine on the 302 as well whilst I was using it.
Photos from the 302
So in a nutshell, I really can't live with a budget handset, I consume a lot of media, I check the internet quite often and I spend too much time on Twitter to cope with either the screen size or processor speed of the Asha 302, pretty sure for my personal usage one of the newer touchscreen Ashas would be something I could survive with a little longer, but I really think I'm now stuck in the glass slab touchscreen handset trap that has cornered the market. What the 302 does, it does well, how it looks is great, unfortunately it's not something I could cope with, that said , there must be millions of Nokia E-series or BlackBerry users who could take to it like a duck to water and as something to have as a spare/emergency phone it's extremely good value and capable.
So that's the end of my ramble,it's been a strange couple of weeks for me personally and so my prep on this piece may not have been as good as normal (then again it may have been much much better LOL) but no doubt a more interesting and articulate article may appear shortly as I believe Richard is sending the little Nokia on a world tour and it's next stop over will be in the USA for a quick holiday in New York City with an Englishman Abroad Andy Hagon.
So my sincere thanks to @BloodyRichardYates for his generosity and friendship on Twitter and to you for bothering to read to the end of my ramblings, catchyalater.
Quick update, was just about to get the 302 ready to return to Richard, updated Nokia Suite and it said there was a software update available for the Asha, so I did it, maybe it might be a little smoother for Andy :0D