Nokia’s new Asha phones shun the keypad and embrace the touchscreen

Nokia Asha 311Nokia has announced three new devices in its Asha range of features phones, the Asha 311, Asha 306 and Asha 305, all of which use Nokia’s popular Series 40 operating system.

Traditionally, Asha phones have used a keyboard or keypad, but these new handsets all have full touchscreens. This not only makes them more attractive to the fashion-conscious buyers Nokia promotes the Asha brand to, but also challenges the many low-end Android phones hitting the market.

The Asha 311, which you can see pictured to the left, is the most interesting of the three new phones. It has a 1Ghz processor, a 3-inch capacitive touchscreen with a 320 x 240 pixel resolution, plus a 3.2-megapixel camera. Other features include GPS, a microSD card slot, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G HSDPA connectivity.

With an estimated price tag of 92 euros, or about £75, the Asha 311 is something of a bargain, especially as it comes with Nokia Maps — one of the best mobile navigation systems available — a collection of social networking apps, the WhatsApp cross-platform messenger and a choice of free Electronic Arts games to download.

The Asha 305 and 306 are almost identical, but don’t match the Asha 311’s acceptable specification. Perhaps worst of all is that they both use resistive touchscreens, which is nowhere near as responsive as a capacitive panel, and rarely used these days. The 3-inch size is fine, as is the 400 x 240 pixel resolution, and they both have 2 megapixel cameras.

The Asha 305 has a dual-SIM card slot, while the 306 is a single SIM model, but adds Wi-Fi to the feature list. The price for both is around 65 euros, or £55.

At the moment, there are no plans to launch either in the UK, although in the future, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Asha 311 make an appearance as a Pay As You Go phone. The Asha 305 and 306 will go on sale elsewhere in Europe in the next two months, and it’ll be joined by the Asha 311 before the end of September.


About Andrew Boxall

Andy's fascination with mobile tech began in the 90s, at a time when SMS messages were considered cutting edge, but it would be at least a decade before he would put finger-to-keyboard as a freelance tech writer. In the interim he wrote about travel, formulated strong opinions about films and drove a series of audacious cars