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Nokia Asha 200 and Nokia Asha 201: hands-on and first impressions

Nokia introduced a new range of mobile phones today. The Asha (hope in Hindi) family is pitched at the developing market.

CEO Stephen Elop said of them: ‘We are introducing four new mobile phones that blur the lines with smartphones.’ In essence the are affordable feature phones, designed for messaging and the internet.

With these handsets Nokia is hoping to bring the internet to 1 billion people. It sounds like a bit of a mountain to climb, but by making these phones available cheaply it’s easy to see why.

We had some hands-on time with the phones today, here are our first impressions.

The Asha 200 and 201 are the budget models. Both include full QWERTY keyboard for typing and 2.4-inch 320×240 screens, the hardware and software used in both phones is identical, with the exception of the dual-sim slot found on the Asha 200.

Running Symbian OS 40, the homescreen is fully customisable with favouite contacts and status updates from Facebook.

Typing feels fairly comfortable on the full QWERTY keyboard, and support for push email and What’s App Messenger make this is fantastic phone for messaging. Navigate the phone using the four-way controller and faux silver controls on the left and right.

The highlight of both phones is the battery life. Nokia claims you’ll get a staggering 52 hours of music playback – well over two days. Without a touchscreen to zap battery juice, we can believe this.
 

The Nokia Asha 200 and Asha 201 will retail for around 60 euros, that’s a fantastic price, for the internet, messaging and social networking. Availability in green, pink, white, black, orange, light pink, blue and cyan, should ensure they appeal to a young, tech savvy, but money contrained audience.
 

The Nokia Asha 200 will be available in Q4 2011, with the Asha 201 will hit the shops in Q1 2012, both have a guide price of 60 euros.

Optics aren’t great – the camera has a resolution of 2-megapixels for stills and QCIF movies

Internal memory is only 10Mb, although this can be expanded using a microSD card.

 

The Asha 200 had dual-sim slots, enabling users to swap between personal and business phone numbers

The Asha 201 feels quite plasticky, but at this price, that’s to be expected

Connections are location on the top of both the 200 and 201 and include a 3.5mm jack, DC and microUSB

The Asha 201 is almost identical to the 200, but it has a single sim slot

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