Expert Review of Nokia Asha 203
Living up to its reputation to deliver robust, user friendly and long battery life cell phones, Nokia has come up with a touch-and-type Nokia Asha 203. This phone is a low budgeted solution for users who are more comfortable with the classic ITU-T alpha numeric keypad yet want to avail the benefits of a touch screen. This is one phone that packs it all from 2.4 inch TFT QVGA resistive touch screen, Facebook and Twitter social applications, Nokia messaging service 3.2, 2 megapixels camera, 32 GB extendable memory, Bluetooth v.2.1, mp3 player with 106 phone loud speakers and swipe enabled customizable homescreen. Available in stylish colors, its compact size and curved edges give it an affluent look. While 5 hrs of battery life while talking, near about 17 days of standby time and 25 hrs of music playback along with 5.5 hours of video playing time makes Nokia Asha 203 a handy and a reliable choice of mobile phone. This piece of low cost gadget holds a size of 114.8 mm x 49.8 mm x 13.9 mm and comes packed with a weight of 90 grams only and this means that it can easily reside in the front pocket without taking much space. Though there is no multi touch facility but at such an affordable price and with such amazing features, one cannot expect much out of the box. With the touch and type facility, this feature phone allows users to have the benefit of a touch screen as well as of a T9 keypad, so they can use according to their mood and choice. The top of the device holds a 3.5 mm jack, microUSB port and a charging port, on the left side there is a microSIM card slot whereas the right side contains a lock button with volume rockers. The front has touch screen with keypad below and the back holds a camera with battery under the cover.
User Interface and UI functionality
Nokia Asha 203 is equipped with a 2.4 inch TFT QVGA display with resistive touch screen and ITU-T alpha numeric keypad which makes it convenient to use. By default the left swipe is set to launch favorite contacts screen while right swipe goes to games and applications. However, both actions can be customized just like the home screen, which the users can personalize as per their need and usability. The general responsiveness of the touch screen is quite good and also the user can run many applications on this robust phone at one time. The screen of this feature phone provides a standard resolution of 240 x 320 pixels, which brings an unclouded view to the display, giving credit to the pixel density of 167 ppi. Running on the Nokia's own proprietary operating system, Asha Series 40, this feature phone include a number of features and comes with plenty of games, that are capable of keeping the users occupied with the device all the time. This phone has a browser and all other basic applications.
With Nokia Asha 203 get more from the music with built-in MP3 player with preloaded Shazam and Moodagent. Nokia never misses out on multimedia and this legacy is carried onto this feature phone in Asha series as well. It is equipped with a MP3 player with in built loudspeakers that supports all the key codecs such as AAC, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, MIDI, MP3, MP4, WAV and WMA player to run and record audio files and the widely compatible 3.5 mm headphone jack works as an antenna for the stereo FM radio and also enables the user to attach speakers or woofers with the device. one can capture video, which is encoded to QCIF or H.263 (SubQCIF) format and stored in a .3GPP and WMV file format. It supports 3GPP, MPEG-4, H.264/AVC and WMV video formats for playback of videos with 15 frames per second at 256 kbps bit rate. Impressively, Nokia Asha 203 delivers a video playback time of up to 5 hours 50 minutes and music playback time of up to 25 hours. The FM radio comes with recording facility, so the users can record songs directly from the radio.
Pictures and Video quality
Nokia Asha 203 is fitted with a 2 megapixels camera that has a full screen view finder as well as easy on-screen touch controls. The output image format is JPEG but GIF, BMP, IPEG, WBMP and PNG formats are also supported. An in-built photo editor can rotate, flip and crop images. Further, clipart, text and frames can be added and a swirl-effect can be applied to any image before sharing it on any social networking site, such as Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, YouTube, etc. and the video clips from camera are convertible in formats of H.263, H.264 and MPEG-4 (audio in AMR-NB and/or AAC) that is stored in .3GPP and .MPEG file formats. This nice featured camera captures images with a resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels along with recording videos in a size of 176 x 144 pixels resolution with 15 frames per second. There is no secondary camera to enable video calling but the users can have snapshots in various color modes such as Normal, Greyscale, Sepia and Negative to have more fun with photography.
Nokia Asha 203 keeps up with the current trend of incorporating high Internet connectivity features. The default Nokia browser, such as WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML, Adobe Flash Lite, features one tap access to options, current page, favorites and web applications, full screen browsing where single touch brings browser chrome back in view. Nokia Messaging Service such as SMS, MMS, Email and IM provides user access to popular messaging services like Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail and Ovi Mail and Chat services like MSN/Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk, OVI Chat, Facebook Chat and MySpace IM. Internet connectivity options such as EDGE and GPRS via 2G are supported on this device, though there is no Wi-Fi connectivity but with a data transferring rate of 32-48 kbps, one can easily surf various networking sites with ease.
Internal and External Memory
Nokia Asha 203 is loaded with a modest 10 MB free internal memory for user content along with 32 MB for ROM and 16 MB for RAM to run the applications smoothly. To provide more storage space to the users, the phone is equipped with a microSD card slot to expand its external memory up to 32 GB. The external memory almost always exceeds the practical memory requirements of the user. Apart from this, the phone can store 1000 phone book entries and call records also.
Applications and Gaming
Nokia Asha 203 can run Java based games as it has built-in Java MIDP 2.1 software platform. It comes with a personal information management application (PIM) that contains applications such as Alarm Clock, Calendar, To Do List, Notes, Calculator, Stopwatch/countdown timer, storage for up to 1000 contacts, Improved China Lunar Calendar and World Clock. Some other services are Nokia Browser, Nokia Messaging Service 3.2, Nokia Social 2.0, Nokia Store, Nokia Life, Nokia Maps and EA Hub Launcher. The users can enjoy these basic applications and features with ease and comfort, as they are very easy to operate and run.
The reliability of Nokia phones when it comes to battery life is incomparable. Nokia Asha 203 runs along the same line as its BL-5C Li-Ion 1,020 mAh standard battery delivers a maximum talk time up to 5 hours on 2G network and maximum stand by time up to 400 hours or 17 days. Maximum video playback time is 5 hours 50 minutes and maximum music playback time is 25 hours. This means that it is a complete entertainment devcie that can provide a long time enjoyment to the user without draining out the battery in between.
The data network of Nokia Asha 203 is implemented with GRPS rel-6 of class B and GPRS multi-slot Class 12 technologies. Edge multi-slot of class 12 RX is also available. EGSM operates at a frequency of 900/1800 MHz while GSM operates at a bandwidth of 850/1900 MHz. Apart from this, Nokia Asha 203 supports Bluetooth v.2.1, has the 3.5 mm headphone port and a microUSB connector with a charging slot.
Considering the fact that touch and type phones usually lie in high price segments and are as such rather uncommon, Nokia Asha 203 seems to be a value for money phone. Though not superiorly equipped with extremely advanced technological features, the phone fares well enough on most requirements of the young generation such as social media and multimedia applications. Cell phones like Nokia C2 03, which is a touch-and-type dual SIM slider phone, stand in contrast to Nokia Asha 203 with a slightly bigger screen size but lack in social media features, which Nokia Asha 203 is equipped with. Apart from this, Samsung Guru, iBall Glam 3, iBall Aaura, etc. are also there in the line up to give a smart, if not tough, competition to Nokia Asha 203.