Nokia just unveiled the Asha 501 to the world at an event in New Delhi and the honours were done by none other than Nokia head himself, Stephen Elop. The phone marks a fresh impetus by Nokia to strengthen their committment to this segment of devices, offerings phones at incredibly low prices without compromising on the features.
We got our hands on the Nokia Asha 501 and our very first thought was "LUMIA!" The phone is oddly reminiscent of the Windows Phone 8 devices from the Finnish company, and that, in our opinion is great. For a phone that is supposed to retail for a suggested price of $99, the Asha 501 is built rather well, utilizing a unibody design with a removable shell. The touchscreen on the phone measures 3 inches and has a resolution of 320x240 pixels.
In our limited use of the phone, we found that the touchscreen is actually quite responsive, which is a must for a phone that relies heavily on the swiping gesture. It did lag just a tiny bit when playing some games, but it was not a persistent issue. The gestures worked quite smoothly and typing on the phone was not an issue. It wasn't as smooth as a high end smartphone, but for a phone that will cost under Rs. 6,000, it was pretty damn good.
The Asha 501 is a dual-SIM phone with support for microSD cards with capacity up to 32GB. We couldn't test whether the phone would slow down when the card would reach maximum capacity, but the demo unit we got to play with was fairly loaded with apps, games, photos and music, and yet, it did pretty well.
One feature of the Asha 501 that's pretty exciting is the Fastlane. The Fastlane is essentially just like a call log, but for all the activity you do on the phone. One swipe from right to left will reveal all the most used apps, notes you might have made and any calendar events you might have lined up. It’s an amazing implementation of "everything you need in one place" and we would actually quite like to see something like this make it into our high end smartphones too.
The Nokia Asha 501 is slated to hit stores in India and worldwide sometime in early June for a suggested retail price of $99.