Nokia Asha 201 review

No 3G or Wi-Fi - can the Asha survive in today's world?

Nokia Asha 201
Web browsing may be tricky without 3G or Wi-Fi, but the battery goes on and on

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Nokia asha 201 review

The Nokia Asha 201 looks like the kind of handset to suit messaging fans. After all, it has a QWERTY keyboard. And Nokia has integrated social media management with Facebook and Twitter support.

Logging into these accounts, as well as Orkut and Flickr is an easy matter - just choose Social from the main menu and you are at the login screen.

Once you are in, there is a bit of a wait for your account to update itself - this handset has no 3G or Wi-Fi, remember, but you do get a fairly good graphical representation of social accounts and, of course, that keyboard for easily composing your own updates.

Nokia asha 201 review

The screen is a bit small, so you can't see a great deal of anything at once, and it takes a while to scroll through messages, but there are a fair range of options to play with.

Nokia has worked quite hard to integrate social messaging, and while it's not perfect, it isn't too bad either.

Nokia asha 201 review

You can drop feeds into the home screen and view messages by scrolling to the feeds area then using the D-pad ring to move through messages, with the most recent ones first.

Or just hit the centre of the D-pad to get straight into composing your own message.

Nokia asha 201 review

Texting is straightforward. There's a nice conversation view that makes the most of the small screen and you just hit the centre of the D-pad to compose a reply to an incoming message.

Nokia asha 201 review

When you're creating a new message from scratch there's a big window in which to view your composition.

Nokia asha 201 review

Email is dealt with separately from SMS, and you've got a few presets to help make signing in to some accounts easier - Ovi of course, plus Yahoo!, Gmail, Windows Live, BT Internet and Virgin Media. For other accounts you need to go through manual setup.

Nokia asha 201 review

To be honest, with such a small screen, and no 3G or Wi-Fi on board, we'd suggest this isn't the ideal phone for mobile email, despite its keyboard.

The physical keyboard, though, is fairly comfortable to use. The keys are domed and click a little when pressed. There's long-press access to some important symbols such as ! and ?, and the Sym key gives you smileys and other extras in one single grid.

Nokia asha 201 review

But Nokia has made a bit of a design error. It might be different on other coloured versions of the Nokia Asha 201, but on our white review sample, the white backlight behind the keys that kicks in when you hit one of them actually obscured the key markings in some lighting conditions.

It was fine in darker conditions when the backlight shines through really well, but in an unlit indoor room during the day it made the keys difficult to see.

You might know where the QWERTY keys are, but it could take you longer to remember where the symbols are. We found it a real pain.