Thursday, 24 May 2012

Nokia Asha 302 - Conclusion

I have to start by saying that I failed in my experiment to use the Asha 302 solely for a week, I just could not manage to do it. I'll talk more about the reasons why towards the end of this article but for now i'll talk more about the phone.

When used for calls the Asha 302 is superb, on this front it's probably one of the best I've used in years. The voice quality is crystal clear with plenty of volume, this makes calls very pleasant. The volume of the ringer and strength of vibration also make it a great device for calling. Text messaging is good too, the qwerty keyboard is of high quality and the initial stiffness soon wears off making it easier to use. I did find it a bit small and very difficult to use one handed due to the shape of the phone, nearly dropping it several times. The speed of the messaging app is good and it worked very well although the conversation view was a little cramped due to the screen size.

One feature I really disliked was the email client, it took a lot of attempts to get my Gmail working on it as it kept on failing to connect for no reason. The app is basic and emails are shown in plain text which I find very annoying and there didn't appear to be an option to show them in the original format. It was also quite hit and miss whether it notified me of messages or not which mean't I had to keep on accessing the app to check for new messages. The web browser was ok, not overly good or bad it just worked and at a reasonable speed.

Built into the Asha 302 is Nokia's social app for services like twitter and facebook, both services worked ok but I found the twitter app to be very restrictive as it only loaded around ten tweets at a time. For a heavy twitter user like myself it wasn't a pleasant experience and found myself trying web based alternatives instead. Twitter mobile and dabr both work ok through the Asha's browser but neither gave me the twitter experience I wanted plus were a chore to access quickly being within the browser.

The user interface on the Asha is fairly easy and attractive to use but there's a lot of items buried in sub-menus and some that aren't obvious as to what they do. There's also a lot of confirmations to your actions which lead to lots of extra button presses, this makes it feel slower than it is which is a shame because it is quite a fast device. I often found myself getting frustrated when navigating the phone but I put that down to my love of touch screen devices. In the past series 40 phones like the Asha were regarded as the simpler, more basic alternative to Nokia's smartphones, to me it felt far more complex than a modern smartphone and a real throw back to the past.

After using the Asha 302 for three days I admitted defeat and put my sim back in my Lumia 800, I was happy again. I don't know if I've been spoilt by the Lumia's speed, blown away by it's twitter experience or have become addicted to windows phone but either way it was good to be using it again. I would say the Asha 302 is a good phone for someone who makes a lot of calls but isn't that interested in social media or a heavy email user. It's built well, looks good and the battery lasts for ages in it which few modern devices can claim nowadays.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

48 Hours With the Nokia Asha 302

Years ago I used to love Nokia's series 40 phones, they were attractive and relatively simple compared to Nokia's smartphones. The last series 40 phone I used as my main personal phone was back in 2007, a 7500 Prism which I purchased after becoming annoyed with the E65 smartphone I had. It was quick, fun to use and fast compared to the E65 and kept it for several months until the legendary N82 was released. Since then i've owned a couple of other modern series 40's but never for use as my primary phone, always as backups.

I've now had the Nokia Asha 302 for around 48 hours now most of which was spent using it as my sole phone. Previously I shared some pictures and a few comments but now i'll talk more about my experience so far with it.

As an experiment and for a bit of fun I've ditched my Lumia 800 which I still absolutely love after nearly six months and am now using the Asha 302 for a week or so. At first I thought "how hard can it be, series 40's are simple" but after a rocky start i've quickly changed my opinion. The first challenge I faced was getting my contacts and calendar from the cloud (Google) onto the Asha. Unlike modern phones that have a simple step by step set up procedure there's nothing like that on the Asha, it's back to doing it manually. At first I thought I'd try the new mail for exchange beta but quickly found that it wasn't supported due to the firmware version on this phone and no update was available. Knowing the Asha and gmail contacts supported the SyncML standard I set about creating a profile to get this working, it was slow and I had to google the settings but eventually it worked and I had my contacts. For the calendar I had to use an app, GCalSync which has brought all my calendar entries in, but has messed up the reminder times so am going to keep that a one way sync.

Setting up the rest of the phone was fairly straight forward, but some of the options are buried quite deep in sub menus and aren't at all intuitive. Had a few issues getting my email to work (Gmail) with constant errors about being unable to connect but eventually it just worked, still don't know why! Nokia has included a social app for accessing services such as Twitter and Facebook, both work reasonably well but compared to my Lumia they are slow and not ideal for a heavy twitter user like me. There's a lot of ways to customise the keys and homescreen on the Asha, a good set up there can make it so much easier (and quicker) to use than it's default settings. So at the moment i've got it set up to cover the basics and going to continue using it over the weekend into next week. It's been frustrating so far being without my smartphone but hopefully things will improve now that it's set up and as I adapt to it.

Later i'll talk about messaging, calling, the device itself and how i've been using it. Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Nokia Asha 302 - Photo Unboxing

Just for a bit of fun I'm going to be using a "dumbphone" for the next week or so which Nokia Connects has kindly loaned me. The model i'm using is the new Nokia Asha 302 which is a compact feature phone with a full qwerty keyboard. It features a 1ghz processor, 3.2 megapixel camera, 2.4" screen, Wi-Fi and Nokia's latest non-touch version of the series 40 operating system. I'll be posting more about it later but for now here are a few photo's with comments.

Front of the box, compact and typical Nokia.

Rear of the box, details it's key features such as wi-fi and 1ghz processor.

Open the lid and the phone is there on display.

I do like the silver/grey colour combination, looks and feels like a premium product.

The back is metal, curved to sit nicely in the hand. Sadly no flash for camera or torch use.

USB, headphone and charger ports on the top.

Memory card slot, top left hand side.

It takes a standard sized SIM card, not micro.

The rest of the box contents, manual, headset, battery & charger.

Basic headset included in the box, ok for calls and radio.

UK charger, quite a low output (450mA) for a phone with a 1320mAh battery.