Nokia Asha 308 and 309 In-Depth Analysis

  • October 10, 2012
  • Tech
  • Comments Off on Nokia Asha 308 and 309 In-Depth Analysis

Nokia Asha 308 and 309 In-Depth Analysis

Nokia has announced two new members of its feature phone Series 40, the Asha 308 and 309. Geared for first-time smartphone users, the tiny devices are nearly identical feature-wise. Both have 3-inch WQVGA touch screens, microSD storage expandable to 32 GB, 2-megapixel cameras, stereo loudspeakers, FM radios and 2G/Wi-Fi connectivity—all for the friendly price of $99 (the cheapest capacitive touchscreen Nokia phones). How to tell them apart? The Asha 308 has dual-SIM capabilities, while the Asha 309 is a single-SIM device. While not the most advanced units of their kind on the market, the Asha 308 and 309 perform as advertised.

Other Specifications (Asha 308 and 309):

Form: Candybar

Dimensions: 4.33 x 2.13 x 0.51 (109.9 x 54 x 13 mm)

Weight: 102 g

Display resolution: 240 x 400 pixels LCD

Pixel density: 155 ppi

Data: EDGE, GPRS

Camcorder: 144 x 176 pixels 10 fps

Battery: Li-Ion

Talk time: 8 hours (average)

Stand-by time: 19 days (average)

Phone memory: 64 MB RAM/128 MB ROM

Bluetooth: 3.0

Other features: Phonebook, organizer, messaging, instant messaging, email

Asha 308

Colors: Black or Golden Light

SIM: Easy Swap Dual

Connection: 2G/EDGE

Asha 309

Colors: Black or White

SIM: Single

Connection: Built-in Wi-Fi

Extra Features: Internet Radio app

Build and Design

The Asha 308 and 309 don’t break new design grounds; the look is spare and utilitarian. The phones are made of lightweight plastic, so they can feel fragile to the touch. When you swipe and poke at the screen, however, the device is surprisingly responsive. The back cover slightly deviates from the uncomplicated design with a pattern that adds a nice touch. The camera is at the back, the headphone jack and micro-USB are on top and the microSD slot, lock and volume dial are on the right.

User Interface

Both phones run on a paltry 800MHz processor, but launching apps and navigating the interface were quite painless. It took time to load some features, however, and websites rendered slowly not because of the browser (Xpress) but due to the EDGE connection. Nokia claims that Xpress makes mobile browsing 90 percent more efficient, and the speed is pretty decent. The UI does let you manage media like music and games, swap SIM cards and add a third home screen to access most-used functions.

Features/Apps

The Asha 308 and 309 don’t come with the galaxy of apps available to full-pledged smartphone users. What it does come with are social networking apps (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) plus 40 free EA games including FIFA 2012, Tetris and The Need for Speed. More apps and games are available in the Nokia Store like Bandai’s Pac-Man and Final Fantasy. Both phones also feature preloaded Nokia Maps 2.0 for directions and discovering new places.

Pros:

Basic smartphone capabilities for competitive price

Cons:

Slow internet browsing due to connection

Low screen resolution

Low resolution video recording

Camera has no flash or autofocus

Display remains on during phone calls

No automatic screen brightness adjustment

Verdict:

The Asha 308 and 309 were designed for emerging markets, which does not leave much room for Nokia to innovate. For the price, however, both phones deliver what was promised: a basic “smartphone” experience with one or two extras thrown in. The troubled Nokia still gets most of its revenue from basic cellphones, and analysts believe that offering the 308 and 309 will help the company compete with cheaper smartphones on the market. Phones under $100 can also help build brand loyalty with possible future smartphone users. Due out in the fourth quarter of this year, the Asha 308 and 309 will retail for $99, excluding taxes and subsidies.

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