Nokia Asha 503 was unveiled late last year in Abu Dhabi at Nokia World and hit the Kenya market on the last week of January. This is one of the three devices announced then running the version 2 Asha Platform OS that is a blend of Series 40 and Smarterphone OS that was bought by Nokia sometime back to improve on the low end Nokia experience.
Now the Asha 503 is the current device at the top of the Asha range followed by Asha 502, Asha 501 and Asha 500. (See differences between Asha 502 and Asha 503). The Asha devices are already in the market as Nokia angles itself to get a strong market position in the entry level consumer market. Here they compete with the cheap Android smartphones that are quite in plenty at sub-$120 prices.
Inside, we got the basic internals, no extras. There is the phone of course, a 1200mAh battery, charger and earphones. Up in this photo I got an interesting blend of colours not that it comes this way but the device was previously used as a demo device at launch by Nokia, thus some internals were put in from different boxes.
This is how it looks like inside, the ice-like back cover comes as a result of a technology that was once applied on the Nokia Lumia 620 called Dual-Shot. This is basically two colours in one cover giving the different look. For the Asha 503 it’s an ice look brought about by a clear and white colour blend.
As usual in this price point, Nokia tries to ensures they steal the hearts of consumers in this category by ensuring they can switch SIM cards when they want without needing to remove the battery. Dual-SIM always on with hot-swap. Both the second SIM card slot and the microSD slot are hot swappable. On the rear we have a 5MP fixed focus camera with 3x zoom and a camera aperture of f/2.4 and 15 fps video recording at 320 x 240 pixels resolution. Also right there on the left of the camera is a LED flash and down at the bottom there is a latch to open the back cover. This also acts as the sound exit as the speaker is right under it.All the buttons are on one side, the volume rocker and the power button, the opposite side is empty and there is no camera buttons on the phone. You capture images by tapping on the open camera screen. The top has the micro-USB slot and the 3.5mm audio jack, the bottom with the mouth piece.
Like all Asha phones, Asha 503 comes with a Nokia Store gift of free applications valid for 60 days from date of activation. These include premium paid apps for free like Need for Speed Shift, Asphalt 6 Adrenaline, Assasin’s Creed 3, Dungeon Hunter 3 among others.Asha 503 wears the swipe UI with a handy feature Fastlane that is accessible when you swipe the screen left. This enables you to view both notifications and access recently opened applications. You can even get to respond to notifications directly within fastlane like texts. Fastlane does not mean that the apps are open though, there is limited multi-tasking, actually only limited to the music player that can play in the background as you open other apps, just like other Series 40 phones. Only difference here is that you can control the music player from the splash screen, so you do not need to go find the actual app to pause, stop or hit next on the playlist.
The idle screen shows time in a glance-like way (glance is available for Lumia devices).
Nokia Asha 503 Specifications
- Display: 3” scratch-resistant curved Gorilla glass screen
- Weight: 110.2g
- Standby time, single SIM: up to 35 days
- Standby time, Dual SIM: up to 20 days
- Network: 3.5G
- Camera: 5MP camera with flash
- Other: Bluetooth 3.0 with SLAM
- Available in black, white, bright green, yellow, red and cyan
Price for the Asha 503 is Kshs 10,500 in Kenya.