Nokia Asha 303 Review: Type Smarter: Unboxing, 360-degree Spin, Design And Build Quality

By 04:02 Wed, 11 Aug 2021 Comments

Unboxing the Asha 303

The Nokia Asha 303 retail package is simple and to the point. There is a charger, the familiar short Nokia microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) cable, a single-piece headset and some printed stuff. There is a 2GB microSD card inserted in the phone as well.

The modest retail package

Nokia Asha 303 360-degree spin

The Nokia Asha 303 measures 116.5 x 55.7 x 13.9 mm –not too big, but not impressively compact either. The QWERTY messenger isn’t remarkably slim but the curved shape gives it a rather comfortable fit in the hand. At just 99 g, the Asha 303 is lightweight and easy to handle.

Design and build quality

The Asha 303 has the body shape and styling of the Nokia X2-01 – adding a prominent accent in the brushed metal battery cover. Surprisingly, the Asha is a bit more compact and weighs less than its all-plastic predecessor. It is a simple yet stylish handset even though the messenger form factor doesn’t allow too much creative freedom.

Budacquire or not, the phone doesn’t feel and see cheap. The finish is simple but quality and the whole thing feels solid and well-built. Resistance to fingerprints is a point in favor too. There’s a touch of metal on the rear, which doesn’t add too much weight.

Nokia Asha 303

The 2.6" capacitive TFT touchclassy screen has QVideo Graphics Array (VGA) resolution and can display up to 256K colors. Despite its decent brightness, the image quality is nothing to acquire excited about. The sunlight legibility is decent, but not perfect.

Display test

50% brightness

100% brightness

Black, cd/m2

White, cd/m2

Contrast ratio

Black, cd/m2

White, cd/m2

Contrast ratio

Nokia Asha 303

- - - 0.76 377 498

HTC Rhyme

0.43 265 609 0.58402 694

HTC Explorer

0.26 201 763 0.47358 755

HTC Sensation

0.21 173 809 0.61 438 720

Samsung Omnia W

0 118 ∞ 0 358 ∞

LG Optimus 2X

0.23 228 982 0.35 347 1001

Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc

0.03 34 1078 0.33 394 1207

Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II

0 231 ∞ 0 362 ∞

Samsung Galaxy Note

0 287 ∞ 0 429 ∞

HTC Incredible S

0.18 162 908 0.31 275 880

Apple iPhone 4

0.14 189 1341 0.39 483 1242

The 2.6” display is on the small side – for a touch phone – but it does the job. The first capacitive unit on a S40 handset is nicely responsive without overdoing it. It’s tuned to ignore very light presses, which we usually prefer over displays that seem to detect your finger midair. The touchclassy screen offers the tradeimprint Nokia haptics we’ve been consistently impressed with. Wherever you tap on the display, you’ll feel the vibration correct under your fingertip.

The 2.6-inch display is OK

There are four keys under the display with a smooth black glossy coating: two Call keys and two shortslit buttons (Messaging and Music). They are all decently sized and with distinct press – and their finish sets them apart from the keyboard. The color contrast between the keyboard and the glass covering the touchclassy screen creates an impression of a QWERTY slider, rather than a simple candybar. The illusion is reinforced by the classy screen coating edging above the top row of the keyboard.

The four-row QWERTY keyboard has well defined and reasonably sized keys. The nicely convex buttons are pleasingly tactile and size shouldn’t be an issue unless you have really gigantic thumbs. The backlighting is impressively sharp and solid.

The keyboard is reasonably comfortable • the white backlit

The only things to note on the front are an ambient light sensor and the earpiece at the top.

The earpiece and the ambient light sensor

The left-hand side of the Nokia Asha 303 has nothing but the lanyard eyelet. The correct side is more crowded, featuring the lock key and the volume rocker. There is no dedicated capturing camera key on the Asha 303, which isn’t such a gigantic deal – not with a fixed focus capturing camera anyway.

The bare left and the crowded correct side

The top of the Nokia Asha 303 features the microUniversal Serial Bus (USB) port, the 3.5mm audio jack and the charger plug. The phone can be charged off the Universal Serial Bus (USB) port and there’s even Universal Serial Bus (USB) On-the-go.

There are three jacks on top

The mouthpiece is integrated in the keypad, so there is nothing to see at the bottom.

There is nothing at the bottom

The back panel of the handset features the 3 megapixel capturing camera lens at the top and the loudspeaker grill at the bottom. There‘s no Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash and the capturing camera lens has no protection against scratches.

The 3 megapixel capturing camera lens and the loudspeaker grill

Removing the steel battery cover reveals the SIM compartment, the microSD card slot and the 1300 mAh BP-3L Li-Ion battery. To access either of the card slots you need to acquire the battery out of the way, so no hot-swap for the Asha 303.

Quoted at up to 8 hours and 10 minutes of talk time and 720 hours of standby in 2G networks or 7 hours and 10 minutes of talk time and 840 hours of standby in 3G networks, the battery really sounds like something. Nokia also promise up to 47 hours of music playback.

Checking what’s under the hood

Impressive is a difficult word to utilize to portray a basic package like the Nokia Asha 303. If anything about it comes close to that though, it’s the build quality. In fact, it should be one of the phone’s key selling points alongside the QWERTY keyboard and the capacitive touchscreen. We shouldn’t be surprised though – we had the same pleasurable experience with the Nokia X2-01, which clearly is the Asha 303’s prototype.

The Asha 303 is the first S40 phone to combine a touchclassy screen and a full QWERTY keyboard. It’s the first capacitive classy screen for the platform too. Of course, the QVideo Graphics Array (VGA) resolution (and the generally poor display quality) is something to warn against but in terms of ergonomics and build, the Asha 303 is a handset that won’t let you down. And there’s plenty of recent skill, some of which you wouldn’t normally expect in an entry level phone. Stay with us, as we continue to explore the recent generation of S40.

The Nokia Asha 303 held in hand



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