The Asha 205 is one of Nokia’s low end offerings that aims to help people with a lower budget experience a glimpse of the various services of the internet, and prepare them for the smartphone onslaught. It can also be a secondary back up device for Smartphone users for its battery life and basic internet connectivity. With a nice QWERTY keyboard aimed at the youth, and with a low price of Rs. 3,475 can it satisfy the budget user? Lets find out.
The Asha 205 is a classic Nokia design, with bright colours and attractive lines, considering the primary target audience is the youth of today. The body is completely made of quality plastic and is a mix of matte and glossy textures. The matte textures on the sides provide better grip but the overall glossy nature makes it prone to scratches, a thing we witnessed frequently over the course of usage.
The back is nicely textured with a slant pattern, and the curves sit nicely in the hands.
On the front of the phone you have the display and the QWERTY keyboard, with the ear piece on the top. The colour we have looks like black but is actually brown, with a blue combination.
Over at the top you have the 3.5mm jack and the standard Nokia 2mm charging port.
The secondary hot swappable SIM card is present on the left side while there is nothing on the right side. We were saddened by the lack of a volume rocker as we are very much used to it on every single phone we have used. Not sure why Nokia chose to ignore it.
Over at the bottom, you have the microphone, a lanyard hole and a gap to wedge open the back cover, inside which resides the battery, the primary SIM card slot and the micro SD card slot.
The display comes at 2.4 inches with a 240×320 in the landscape orientation to accommodate the full QWERTY keyboard. The display is nothing special and was unusable in outdoors most of the times, it was literally invisible under harsh sun but was ok under shade.
The QWERTY keyboard is nicely laid out with matte keys and a cross angled surface just like the ones on the Blackberry phones. The keyboard was extremely enjoyable to use coming from a touch screen, but we did feel it was cramped up for our large hands. People with smaller hands should have no trouble using the nicely tactile keyboard.
Two special shortcuts near the D-pad are notably for the Facebook app and the mail app for instant access. And then there are the usual shortcuts for Bluetooth activation and silent.
The VGA camera takes ok-ish shots and it’s understandable that we cannot expect good things from a budget device. It can shoot videos at 176×144 resolution, which is again, nothing to be proud of, it’s good to know that it exists. Here are some camera samples anyway, if you want to take a look at them.
As standard Nokia traits, the call quality was excellent, with the loudspeaker very clear and loud. Music quality was equally excellent, with the ability to play clear rich tones over the earphones as well as the loudspeaker. Yes, it does come bundled with Radio(with recording and RDS) and has a phenomenal battery life. Again, these all are standard Nokia traits that you can’t doubt, in their devices.
The phone runs on the Series 40 operating system, an in-house product from Nokia. It remains every bit the same except for some new apps and new icons on the menu.
Facebook and Twitter are pre installed on the device, so are Nokia specific apps like Nokia Nearby(suggests places according to location) and some more apps like eBuddy for chat(along with Nokia’s own client) and a EA games gift, which lets you download 40 free java games from EA. And talking of games, one of the pre installed demos is Asphalt 6.
The dual SIM connectivity is handled well, but it is by default set on “ask every time which SIM to use”, but thankfully the SIM manager app lets you set defaults on either of the SIMs for calls, messages, MMS and mobile data. These kinds of granular settings are much welcome.
Additional apps and themes can be downloaded from the store, and the phone supports push notifications via the Nokia notifications app. The mail client does not have support for mail for exchange, while it does support any service that supports POP3 or IMAP.
The Nokia Xpress browser comes as the default browser and has proxy based compression technology to help push data consumption to a bare minimum, especially considering the fact that this device works only over EDGE and does not have 3G or WiFi. We found the browsing to be surprisingly fast over a 64 Kbps connection, and the mobile versions of pages are actually an easy read on this display. Last but not least, the phone also comes bundled with the Nokia Life service aimed at educating the masses without an internet connection. This SMS service is an initiative in India and provides daily SMS tips on agriculture, education and a lot more important topics.
In the end, the Nokia Asha 205 is a solid step towards your smartphone ascent. You get a glimpse of popular internet services, the browser gets you to consume more at less and you get to chat with all your buddies over multiple services with a nicely laid out QWERTY keyboard. If you don’t expect much from a device at this price, the Asha 205 will serve you well.