The Nokia Asha 201 is a budget handset, and it does do quite a lot. The social media integration is a particular plus point, and we do see what Nokia is trying to achieve here.
Yes, you can get Android-based, larger screened handsets for around the same money, but the implementation of Android isn't great and we're inclined to like Nokia's chutzpah in sticking with S40. Still, there are pros and cons.
The keyboard is quite comfy to use and well made. Considering the low price of this phone, it's a pleasant surprise.
Battery life is superb. We might even go as far as suggesting the Nokia Asha 201 as a good second handset for those times when you need long battery life and don't have access to mains power.
The Nokia Asha 201 runs slowly. Waiting for apps to run is not what we like to do, and we have to put up with it here. It's not interminable, but it is noticeable.
There's no 3G. This means every online activity feels slow, from downloading web pages to getting Twitter feed updates. And there's no Wi-Fi. You can't hop onto a free wireless network for a bit of fast connected action, which is a real shame.
Contacts aren't drawn from Twitter and Facebook, so you have to type them in manually. It's a real pain, actually.
The camera and video recorder aren't up to much, and the phone has a very small screen. At 2.4 inches and a mere 240 x 320 pixels, the screen is tiny, and anything media-rich suffers as a result.
Nokia has stuck its neck out in using the very old S40 operating system and foregoing Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. In the end we aren't sure it quite works for us. The slowish processor is a bind, and we'd have liked either Wi-Fi or 3G to make this handset feel like a worthy model for 2012.
But there's no denying that the Nokia Asha 201's relatively low specs make for awesome battery life, and with that we are impressed. Build quality is also good, with a very nice physical keyboard for those who like to communicate with the written word.
The Nokia Asha 201 is a low cost 'feature phone plus', let down by the absence of 3G and Wi-Fi but lifted by a good keyboard and impressive battery life.