This is not my Nokia Asha 501 review. That article is on the way and almost ready. The Asha 501 has a small display of 3-inches diagonally….

After a week with Asha 501, I need rehab

This is not my Nokia Asha 501 review. That article is on the way and almost ready. The Asha 501 has a small display of 3-inches diagonally. Back in 2010, the 3-inch display on the Samsung S8003 Jet was big for a phone. But this is 2013, the year of monster smartphones with mega displays. A 3-inch display is small now. Before the Asha 501 arrived, I had been playing around with a Nokia Lumia 720 (4.3-inch display), a Nokia Lumia 920 (4.5-inch display), and with a TECNO Phantom A (5-inch display). I was pretty much comfortable with those devices in my hands. Yes; the Phantom A sits above my sweet spot, but I got along with it nicely, especially considering that slim profile.


Nokia Asha 501 - Nokia Lumia 720 - TECNO Phantom A

Here is the thing: after a week of using the tiny Asha, all those other phones now feel too large. It is almost unbelievable, but true. In the last one week, I have enjoyed the pleasure of comfortable one-handed use with the Asha. Everything can be done with one hand. Everything was done with one hand – phone calls, SMS, web browsing, taking pictures, everything. Well, everything except for when I need to pinch zoom. The Asha is so portable that it fits in without ever getting in the way of anything. You know how it is when you carry these big guys around. You know you are carrying something. Mostly, everyone knows you are carrying something. But the 501, whether you put it in your shirt pocket, jeans pocket, or even handbag, it is just inconspicuous. Well, if you do bring it out to use, people notice it fast for two reasons – 1) it is small, and 2) its bright coloured shell.


Anyway, here I am today, and everything else around me feels like Goliath, and the Asha 501 just feels like the right size. Honestly, in 2013…. and still needing my regular smartphones, I think that I need rehab. I need to get used to carrying a large mobile phone around again. No; I do not think that everyone wants a phone with the size or the capabilities of the 501. But I do think that people who want a handy but capable smartphone will love the 501.

Meanwhile, my rehab….. Asha Anonymous, anyone? Oh! That’s probably going to be only me at the meetings. The Asha 501 just hit the market last week. Sigh.

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Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi's journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.

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This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Naaaa. Don’t see myself ever using phones with tiny screens like that, again.

    I hardly make calls, hardly send sms, so bjg screen it is.

    A tiny screen holds as much attraction for me as an underage bride! Zero!

  2. every time I see mentions of this device online, am seriously tempted to get one for the heck of it, I could use a smarter phone for calls and sms

  3. Well it’s 2013 and I still have never used a phone beyond 3-inch display. I just have never really warmed up to the idea of all these big phones people carry around these days. And I’ve used no less than 3 Android devices so far! I love my one-handed operation and mobile convenience that much.
    But as punishment for that, I’ve been stuck with low and mid-range phones; no one seems to be making high-end 3-inch displays anymore. I already dread the decision I’ll have to make in buying my next phone ‘cos I know I need a high end one this time.

  4. Nokia pretty confused here, while tecno, itel, gionee, samsung etc eating deep into their low end budget conscious target market. Nokia should just embrace android and delete this failed experiment called ASHA ASAP!

  5. Hey Niyi, Nokia doesnt have to go Android to survive and thrive in the rat-race phone jungle. And no, Samsung, Tecno, itel, etc are not standing in Nokia’s way.

    Every phone manufacturer has their fair market share and loyal fans base. All this puerile, rash babble about one brand of phone eating another brand’s share for lunch is hogwash and needs to stop.

    Indeed, there is a market for every kind of phone. Nokia’s Asha is meant to play in the low-end market where affordability and a simple taste of smartphone experience count. By the way, the name Asha is an Indian word that means ‘Hope’. So, the Asha brands are a source of hope to our folks who can’t afford the Lumia range but still want some nice ‘smartphone’ taste.

    And whether Nokia uses Asha OS or Android or Windows, the low-end phone users don’t care. In fact, despite all the trash noise about Tecno grabbing market share from Samsung, Nokia and BlackBerry in the low-end sphere, I see a lot of people buying and using the Asha brands everywhere. They are good, affordable feature phones. The new Asha 210 and 501 are nice iterations too, as Mr. Mo has shared with us so far.

    The way the phone market is today, not only in Nigeria but the world over, no one phone brand or OS can dominate or become a monopoly. And we need options, choices, alternatives for diverse human beings with diverse tastes and needs.

    Personally, Samsung satisfies my needs in high-end smartphone experience (I use a Galaxy Note 2), while I find Nokia Asha 200 (now upgrading to new Asha 210) and BlackBerry very useful for my easy SMS, chatting and voice calls functionality on the go, not minding their different OS platforms. Period.

  6. // All this puerile, rash babble
    about one brand of phone
    eating another brand’s share for lunch is hogwash and needs to stop.//

    Puerile? Hogwash? Do you know Tecnos are selling out everywhere? It is selling faster than Akara balls.

    Dice it anyway you like, the NOKUA GRIP on the. lower end is pretty much under threat. Heck, the grip us no longer there.

    Would I pick an Asha over a Tecnob P3? You must be kidding me. What can Asha do apart from Whatsapp, in the smartphone area?

    Now, what can a Tecno d5 NOT do?

    Where is the hope?

    // I see a lot of people buying and using the Asha brands

    Now, read by hat my Akara Ball analogy, and you can see the picture much better.

    Nokia. Lunch is being eaten from the bottom and mid-level. Portions of the mobile plate.


  7. eyebeeKay, your so-called Akara analogy is bunkum. The Tecno ‘selling everywhere’ fairytale is gross hyperbolic hype fuelled by PR brown envelopes slipped into pockets of hype mercenaries.

    Tecno is selling well but not outselling Nokia and co at the midrange-low end market tier.

    Can I throw you a challenge? Let’s pick a convenient date and meet at Slot on Medical Road Ikeja. Or at Slot Ikeja City Mall, Alausa. Inside any Slot outlet, you will see more customers checking out and BUYING more of those affordable Nokia brands than Tecno.

  8. bunkum…that makes me think of a delicious bowl of soup.

    hyperbolic hype…lol

    I love the sound of that alliterative symphony!

    no, I won’t take up your Challenge, Baoku.

    which one be my yone?

    Tecno dey pay me?

  9. hey hey hey, you guys still living in the 17th century or what? Or propably you are the ones that have collected brown envelope from Nokia. With the access to statistics on the interness and the international news media am surprised that anyone could be blindly defending Nokia, Nokia should do a complete overhaul of their strategy and product. As at 2009 Nokia controls over 54% of smartphone market last year it has dropped to 5% and it is predicted to drop by a further 2% this year, yet somebody is saying nobody is eating into nobody’s market share, just last week Nokia release its Q1 perfomance for this year, year on year it was lower than last year, in fact the perfomance was far lower than than prediction. You said every OS has it fan base sure but they are switching fast, a couple of years back there was no android, now android controls around 70% of smart phone market, likewise a couple of years back apple was not in the phone busines today apple is the second in the market after Samsung. I laughed when i read the article that the battle wiil be won at low end, well ask the phone manufacturer, they will the battle will be won in the smartphone arena not only is the profit margin higer in this range, the market is actually growing. I saw Mr Mobility comparing Asha sale to blackberry, please compare with winners and not loosers this is blackberry that is even considering leaving phone business all together and going back to their enterprise solution, dont worry if Nokia continues like this they will soon follow blackberry. A manufacturer might have wonderful innovation if the market does not accept it, it is meaningless and does not translate to anything. Mind you Slot could be largets seller in Nigeria, but that is an infinitesimal insignificantly small portion of the phone market

  10. kai, Nigerians are a strange people,so NOKIA is doing well,even against Tecno? why slot,why not computer village? why not ask the dealers and distributors, since statistics are no longer useful. self denial?

  11. I’ve tested big screen and the smaller screens like the Asha series could well serve as second device. As long as the smaller screened device is used for say calls and SMS, no problem because I seldom user SMS these days while calls do not require intensive text input.

    Most of my activities and mobile life are centered on smartphones and because of text intensive and interactive nature of this, smaller screened devices as primary device is simply not acceptable. Besides, the Asha series are not comparatively priced in relation to other low cost Android phones that offer by far more at better price points, thus the Asha series are for some other mobile users, not me.

  12. @Baoku: amazed that you defend Nokia without statistics. There is a concept called opportunity cost in economics. For every other low end brand of phone purchased instead of a Nokia, its an opportunity lost. Nokia going down with the advent of cheap android phones from multiple sources with features way more than those Asha phones that lack basics like wifi, wifi hotspot, dual cameras etc and still at same price. How come these days in most phone shops e.g SLOT, the tecno shelves empty while you see the Nokia shelves filled with the Asha and other models?

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