Nokia Asha 311 Review


We did the unboxing of the Nokia Asha 311 last week. Here is the complete review of the Asha 311, Nokia’s first Full-touch phone in the Asha series with a capacitive touch screen. It was announced in June and launched in India earlier this month.

Box Contents

The Box contents include, User Manual, WH-102 Nokia headset, Nokia Music tips, Nokia Life manual, 2GB memory card, AC-11 charger and 1110 mAh BL-4U battery. Sadly there is no Data Cable.

Hardware


There is a Nokia branding at the top with the Ambient Light Sensor and Proximity Sensor sensors next it, which is a great advantage. The 3-inch (240 x 400 pixels) display is bright and is protected with Gorilla Glass. Unlike the Asha 305, this has capacitive touch screen that make the touch experience better. Since the display is glossy it gets smudged easily.

There is a call attend key at the bottom left and the call end / power key at the bottom right on a metal strip. There is no menu button at the bottom since the new UI is completely touch optimized. There is a microphone below that, on a surface with a nice matte finish. Wish it had this matte finish all over the sides and the back since it is too glossy and gets smudged due to fingerprints easily.

The 3.5mm audio jack is at the top, micro USB slot next to it that doubles up as charger when connected to a PC. There is a standard 2mm Nokia Charge slot next to that.

On the left side of the phone, there is a volume rocker and lock / unlock button at the bottom. Since it is present at the bottom, it is easy to unlock the phone by holding it in a single hand.

There is a 3.2MP camera at the back without flash and a Nokia branding below that.

There is a Nokia 311 branding at the bottom with a metal strip running below that. The loudspeaker is present below that in the matte surface.

When you open the back cover, you can see the BL-4U 1110 mAh battery. When you remove the battery, there is a SIM card slot at the top and the micro SD card slot is at the bottom. It comes bundled with a 2GB memory card that is expandable up to 32GB. There is a Made in India tag similar to the other Asha phones.

Software


The Phone runs on S40 DP (Developer Platfrom) 2.0. The lock screen shows time and data, and notifications. When you unlock the screen you get the menu instead of home screen. There is a home screen with time and data and various shortcuts. When you swipe to the right or touch the back arrow at the bottom right corner in the home screen to go to the menu that is similar to the other S40 devices. You can swipe again to view the dialer.

You can press and hold the home screen to add shortcuts and contact. Swipe to the left to select any other app such as music or radio instead of dialer. So you can only keep one app at a time apart from home screen and menu. You can also rearrange the menu icons.


There is a drop down notification bar that shows you notifications for calls and messages. You can also toggle 2G / 3G data connectivity, WiFi, Bluetooth and profile (Silent, Normal, Beep and Loud). The lock screen display Time, Date and new message or missed call notification. You can also quickly open music player, contacts or go to message compile screen from it. You can just swipe on the message from the lock screen that takes you right into that message.

Camera


The 3.2MP fixed focus camera is decent. The camera UI is completely different from previous S40 devices. There is a shutter button at the center, gallery at the bottom left and settings menu and the top left. You can switch to video mode from the video button at the top right and zoom in or out + or – buttons below them or use the volume buttons. There are different capture modes in the settings including, normal, sequence and self-time. The fun mode lets you add effects (Sepia, Normal, grayscale and Negative), Frames and fun capture sounds. The phone automatically adjusts the orientation since there is Accelerometer Sensor. It also has an image editor.

Here are some camera sample for you to check out

The Video recorder is capable of recording video at 640 x 480 pixels resolution at 25 fps (Frames per second).

Apps


There are utility apps such as Alarm Clock, Calculator, Voice Recorder, Timer, Counter and File Manager. There are some social apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Orkut. Other apps include, Weather, News Reader, WhatsApp, Nimbuzz Messenger, Zomato. Nokia Life Tools offers information messages on several topics. There is Nokia Maps 2.0 for navigation . Since there is no GPS, it uses mobile triangulation and WiFi positioning.

There are pre-loaded games including Angry Birds, Gedda- Headz online mutiplayer game, Cimate, dice, Maze and Picture Puzzle. There are also demo games such as Diamond Twister, Green Fram and Real Football 2012 from Gameloft that lets you play 20 trials for 180 seconds before you can buy the full game with Operator billing with in-app purchase. The games are smooth since it has a 1GHz processor


You also get a 40 game EA gift pack for 60 days that lets you download popular games such as Tetris, Bejeweled, Need for Speed The Run, EA Cricket 11, Need for Speed Shift, Fifa 2012 and more. You can download more apps and games from the Nokia Store.

Music and FM Radio


The Music player has new UI that shows library selection, playlist and a back button in the now playing menu. The top right menu option that has shuffle, repeat, equalizer (normal, pop, rock, jazz and classical), mute audio and play via BT option. The loud-speaker is pretty loud and the bundled earphones are decent. It can play 3G2, AAC, AAC+, AMR, MP3, MP4, WAV and WMA formats. The video player can play 3GPP (H.263), ASF, AVI, H.264/AVC, MPEG-4 and WMV format at 30 fps. The Nokia Music lets you download DRM-free Music for 3 moths from over 45 lakh songs. It lists

The FM Radio offers auto tuning and has RDS. You can switch between headphones and loudspeaker easily with the on-screen buttons at the center. There is Play / Stop and Previous and Next buttons below that. The bottom bar lets you view the list of stations, go to settings to toggle RDS and auto-frequency on or off.

Contacts and Messaging


The Phone option has dialer, Contacts with options for search, delete and copy. It also has call logs with different icons to differentiate incoming, outgoing and missed calls. The calls were clear without any dropped calls.


The text messaging is similar to the other S40 devices, but the on-screen keyboard is new. You can switch between T9 keypad or QWERTY keyboard from the keyboard settings at the bottom. Since the display is small, it is hard to press the exact letters in the full keyboard in the portrait mode if you have large fingers, but you can switch the phone to landscape mode for the full QWERTY keyboard. It also has prediction, word completion and indic language support such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Bengali.

Connectivity and Browser


The connectivity options include, 3G (HSDPA 14.4 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps), WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR. The Micro USB charges the phone when you connect it to the PC or through the Adapter, which is a great addition. There is no GPS but you can load maps. The new Nokia Browser 2.0 has quick shortcuts in the start page and is faster than the earlier versions. It also reduces data consumption by up to 90%.

Conclusion

Nokia launched their first powerful Asha phones, 300 and 303 with 1GHz processor that we reviewed recently , but this is their first full-touch Asha phone with the new UI. The new Touch UI is good, and the battery life is also good that lasts more than 2 days with average use such as few hours of music, few calls, messaging, and FM Radio and some gaming. Still there is no multitasking and there is no GPS, and relies on mobile network and WiFi for positioning in Maps and other location-based apps. The games are good and offers better experience since it has a capacitive touch screen, but still S40 lacks quality apps.But in terms of user experience S40 does deliver a much more enjoyable experience than similar Android phones in this price point.

Pros

  • Neat UI
  • Free EA Games
  • Nokia Music Voucher which gives access to 45 lakh songs for 3 months
  • USB Charging
  • Nokia Maps

Cons

  • No Multitasking
  • No GPS

Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He uses the phones he reviews as his main phone. You can follow him on Twitter @ssrivatsan, Instagram and on Google+