Hands-on at MWC 2014: Meet Nokia’s £40 touchscreen phone
Life on the small screen
The Nokia Asha 230 is a small, low-cost phone that runs the Asha platform – which powers Nokia’s cheaper mobiles. Asha phones are often geared towards developing markets, but a £40-odd price and touch interface could well see it win a few fans in the UK.
We took as closer look at MWC 2014 to see what it’s about.
Nokia Asha 230 – Design and Features
The Nokia Asha 230 is a tiny, stubby phone. It’s chunky, and comes in several of the Lumia series-favourite colours – including green, yellow, blue and red as well as the less ambitious black and white.
It is, predictably, a plastic phone. Build quality is better than many ultra-budget phones, but you’re not going to be impressing anyone down the pub with this mobile. It is pretty cute, though, in a sort of chubby runt-of-the-litter way.
Little extras like matching the colour of the volume and power buttons to the body show that this is a Nokia phone – not a budget phone from some brand no-one has ever heard of. Like the Nokia X Android phone, there’s just the one front control button – a little arrow that acts as a back/home button.
In-hand, the Asha 230 feels oddly small. It’s not often we see touchscreen mobiles with tiny screens these days.
Nokia Asha 230 – Screen and Software
The screen is perhaps the part hardest-hit by the phone’s low budget. It’s a 2.8-inch, 240 x 320 pixel screen. These sorts of specs used to be common 8-10 years ago, but now seem positively antiquated.
They leave the Nokia Asha 230 with a very blocky-looking display. It’s really this, rather than the immediate look of the Asha system, that betrays this as a ‘feature phone’ grade device, rather than a smartphone. The software is also a bit sluggish.
The Asha 230 also misses out on some smartphone-essential features. There’s no 3G – just EDGE/GPRS – and no Wi-Fi. However, it does let you get on-board with many things you’d want to do with a smartphone. There’s WhatsApp support, Facebook and Twitter. The phone has 4GB of internal storage and a microSD socket, making it a potential little music player.
Other specs are very basic, though. The rear camera has a 1.3-megapixel sensor with a fixed focus – incapable of producing remotely good photos. And the 64MB of RAM shows you how intensive the Asha system really is.
If you value flexibility, you’ll be able to do a good deal more with a low-cost Android. They’re already available for under £50.
The Nokia Asha 230 is a cute phone that looks and feels better than many £40 phones. However, the poor screen and limited hardware/software mean it’ll be of limited appeal to UK buyers.
Next, read our review of the bargain-tastic Motorola Moto G