Long battery life
Lacks 3G; sluggish, unresponsive touchscreen; mediocre browser; pricey
The Nokia Asha 306 will win no prizes for its looks, and is no rival for the smartphone market at this price. As a phone it’s just about okay but don’t expect anything more from it.
While Nokia has been busy wowing everyone with its Lumia range, the phone giant has also been quietly working on its budget range of Asha handsets. The top-of-the-range Asha 311 has not impressed us, but maybe the Nokia Asha 306 will fare better…
At first glance, the chiselled design and Gorilla Glass touchscreen might fool you into thinking you’ve picked up a smartphone. Although it’s nice to see something other than the usual rounded edges found on most phones, it won’t take long to realise this is no smartphone…
Our review model was black and smoke grey, but the Asha 306 also comes in red, white and blue. The battery cover has a matt finish to improve grip. Under the screen sit the usual Nokia Call/End buttons, while the edges play host to the lock key, volume rocker and microSD slot. Along the top edge you’ll find the mini charging socket, USB port and 3.5mm headphone jack.
Turn on the handset and you’ll see the same Series 40 OS found on the Asha 311. Its home screen features a range of colourful icons, all tweaked to look like those on Android handsets. Swipe to the right for a second screen that can contain 16 shortcuts to contacts and apps. Well, swipe if you can – because this is a resistive screen – yes, remember them? The trouble is that you end up having to push and prod to get anything to happen. If you manage to get the screen to move to the left, you’ll be greeted with a full-screen dialler. This was easy to use on the 311, but the touchscreen on the 306 does not help things along
The screen itself measures three inches and has a resolution of 400x240 (and 155 pixels per inch). So it looks okay but don’t expect to read websites on full page. In fact, the phone’s browser is so sluggish you may as well not bother trying to go online at all. There’s no 3G so you’re stuck with GPRS. Even when we connected to Wi-Fi it was incredibly slow - so there’s not much point in having those preloaded Twitter and Facebook apps.
Music fans can use the music player, which supports most usual formats and offers decent sound quality. There’s a speaker on the rear of the handset that is thin sounding but pretty loud – and Nokia has also seen fit to include an FM radio player.
Nokia has also teamed up with EA to offer users 40 free titles to download within 60 days – they’re all pretty basic Java apps, but nevertheless are good enough for passing the time. You’ll have to wait a while for them to download though, and have a microSD card big enough to store them.
Maps and snaps
The 306 has Nokia maps preloaded, but you’ll be lucky if it helps you navigate your way around town. There’s no GPS, so instead it has to use GPRS triangulation to work out where you are – it may take some time. And don’t expect it to direct you on any journey over 10km. There’s a 2-megapixel snapper too – images in good light are okay but capturing video results in low-res, jittery films.
From being one of the must-haves of the mobile world, Nokia has really fallen from favour, and with phones like the Asha 306 it’s not hard to see why. It could have been a decent solid phone, but Nokia has attempted to dress it up to look like an Android phones, and with a price to match. The screen, display and browser all disappoint – but at least battery life is good.
|Type of device||Mobile phone|
|Dimensions||110 x 53 x 12.8mm|
|Processor speed||1GHz single-core|
|Screen size||3 inches|
|Memory card slot|
|Special camera features|
|FM Radio description||Yes|
|Handsfree speaker phone|
|What's in the box|
|Battery life multimedia|
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