Nokia has been making waves with its Asha series and one of the latest to join the bandwagon is the Asha 311. The handset comes packed with a number of features, ranging from a powerful processor to music and games. And yes, in best Asha tradition, it does not cost the earth far from it.
At a time when phones seem to be getting bigger, the Nokia Asha 311 goes in the opposite direction, opting for a compact build (dimensions measuring 106.0x52.0x12.9 mm). The device is a decent looking touchscreen phone and is pretty light in weight (95gm), sporting a 3.0-inch capacitive display, which works smoothly. At a glance you might think that the screen is a tad too small, but the phone itself is very easy on the eye. As for the screen, our advice is not to let first impressions influence you.
The Asha 311 is powered by a 1 GHz processor. And it certainly performs without any lags or slowdowns. There is a thin metal strip given right below the display which houses two hard keys, call receive and call end, which doubles up as power on/off key as well. We would have liked it to feature a home key as well, but then one gets used to its absence. There is an easyto- access volume rocker and a phone lock key placed on the right side. On the back are a 3.2- megapixel camera and a speaker grille on the lower back end of the phone. On the connectivity front, the phone comes loaded with a large number of options including 3G, GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
There are three homescreens given in the phone with the centre one being the hub to all the icons. Swiping the screen to the right reveals a screen with all the pre-loaded apps arranged in a matrix and to the left navigates to the dialer. However, you can customise all three screens as per your convenience. Like one can add or delete shortcuts to applications on the first panel, and opt from Music, Radio and Dialer on the third panel. Apart from this, there is a thin drop down panel given on the top of the screen which can be scrolled down to operate shortcut keys to Data connection, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Music given in it. The interface of the phone is plain but relatively easy to use. And there are a number of interesting games preloaded on it like the iconic Angry Birds, and if you want more, well, there are 40 games by EA which can be downloaded for free right after you register. The processor ensures that the games play smoothly without too much hassle. Other pre-loaded apps include Facebook, Twitter, Nimbuzz, Zomato and more. There also are preloaded Nokia Maps given in the device for navigation. And surprisingly, it all works very smoothly indeed. Even browsing the Web on the relatively small display was a delight - something which we certainly were not expecting. Top that off with access to Nokia’s formidable maps and you can see that this relatively small handset comes really loaded in the software department.
Talking about multimedia features lead us to the camera and music player, and music certainly is the forte of the 311. The device comes with unlimited downloads from the Nokia Music store for a year. And downloading is smooth as the songs come compressed to be easily downloadable and occupy minimum memory space. The sound quality on both loudspeakers and headphones is impressive. And if you are tired of music on the phone, you can always turn to FM, whose reception is fairly good. The handset has a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, and churns out average results in both video and still image mode. A bit of a disappointment really. But then, one seldom gets awe inspiring cameras in devices in this price segment. And honestly, we think the music really compensates.
The handset offers a simple to use interface and houses a decent set of functions. In fact, we would go so far as to say that it outperforms a number of its competitors in this price segment. Yes, we would have liked a larger display, but on the flip side, its small and light frame make it exceptionally easy to carry and use. And then there are the traditional Nokia strengths to back all this up - network reception on the device is good even in low signal zones, call clarity is good, and well, the battery will comfortably see you through a day and a half! Wi-Fi at this price point is also a welcome bonus.
We would say that at Rs 6,300, the Asha 311 offers a very stiff challenge to the budget Android crowd. Yes, there will be those who will chorus at the relative lack of apps for Symbian, but we think the Asha 311 packs enough out of the box, combined with Nokia’s formidable reputation, to be one of the best value for money offers out there. Those looking for alternatives could consider the Android based Sony Xperia tipo priced at Rs 9,050 and Samsung Galaxy Y costing Rs 6,850.