Nokia Asha 308 is the latest entry in Nokia’s budget line-up of phones. It was launched along with Asha 309, which is similar to 308, but has WiFi and is a single SIM phone. The Asha 308 is a dual-SIM phone that runs on Asha operating system (S40). It is also an upgrade to Asha 305, bringing in a better display (capacitive) and more MB of RAM (64).
Nokia has been aggressively advertising this and other Asha phones as smartphones, but let me tell you what — it’s a lie. If you are expecting Asha 308 to be smart then you’d be disappointed to know that that is a false claim. However, Asha 308 is certainly a smart feature phone. It’s smarter and better than any other phone I have used in this category even including those cheap Android phones.
Here’s our detailed review
The Nokia Asha 308 is up of plastic and so it is very light in weight at just104grams. The body feels okay-ish and plasticky to hold, but we cannot really complain for the company’s decision for not using any premium material because it’s a budget phone.
The volume and unlock buttons are located on the right, but are present at the same level of the body and we wish that they were a little bulged out so that locating them would have been easier. The secondary-SIM slot and an SD card slot, that supports up to 32GB of expandable memory, are present on the left.
The speaker grille is located on the back while the earphones jack, USB port and charging point are present at the top.
Talking about the accessories that come along with the phone, the Asha 308 is accompanied by earphones, charger and a Nokia Music pass that lets you legally download millions of songs (Bollywood + South + Albums + International songs) for free for three months using the Nokia Music app. More information about this program can be found here.
The earphones that come along with Asha 308 look very similar to the ones that Nokia has been bundling with older budget phones for many years, but I must say that its sound quality and bass has improved a lot.
NOKIA COULD’VE AFFORDED A BETTER DISPLAY
Display wise, the Nokia Asha sports a 3-inchTFTcapacitive screen. While the capacitive display sounds good on the surface, its touch response is of mediocre quality and is only good for using with the bottom, flatter part of our fingers. It’s hardly usable with finger tips and the phone often ends up accidentally selecting items while scrolling. Still, it’s better than the resistive displays used in other Asha phones such as the Asha 305.
The screen is scratch-able and so the phone comes with a plastic screen guard on the front-screen (and on the back-cover as well). Interestingly, the screen also supports multi-touch and pinch-to-zoom is possible on the screen, like, while viewing photos.
Talking about its color production and sharpness, the phone fares terribly in this section as well. Colors on this screen appear a bit washed out and pixelated because of its low resolution of 240 x 400 pixels. Yes, the Asha 308 is a budget phone, but technology has already advanced to a point where Nokia could have afforded a better display. On a contrast note, even my 3 year old Nokia 5235 had a better screen with higher resolution and it was also a budget phone.
Nokia Asha 308 – Software
The interface is where this phone really excels at. The Asha 308 runs on Asha Operating System, which is basically based on java and honestly, it’s the best UI I’ve ever seen in any feature phone. It can be best described as fast, intuitive and beautiful. Launching applications, swiping home-screens, using settings and pretty much everything is impressively quick for this phone. Multitasking, however, is not possible on this phone since it has a low amount of 64MB of RAM.
FAST, INTUITIVE AND BEAUTIFUL
There are three home-screens present in Asha OS and Nokia has stripped off the concept of desktop making the app menu the main home screen. The other two home-screens are present on its sides. Swiping to the left brings up the favorites screen, where you can place your most-frequently accessed apps and contacts. On the left we’ve the dialer app, which is good but lacks T-9 prediction system. For calling someone, you’ll have to dial the complete number or manually search from contacts. It is a major drawback, but I guess Nokia was limited because of the small screen size.
These screens are customizable and long-pressing anywhere brings up the edit screen, where you can add apps and contacts in the favorites screen, organize apps in the app menu and change the third screen to either the dialer, music player or FM radio.
Perhaps, the most amazing feature of the Nokia Asha 308 is its notification system. It has an Android-esque notification window that can be scrolled from the status bar. It holds up-to 3 items at a time — either notifications or quick shortcuts to the music player, dialer and SMS composer. On top of notifications, it also lets you quickly manage your SIMs and toggle hardware options like Bluetooth, data and sound. Apart from the notification window, it also displays unread notifications in the lock-screen.
AN AMAZING USER INTERFACE THAT IS LIMITED BY THE SMALL SCREEN SIZE
Another pro of this phone is its keyboard which has an efficient prediction engine. One impressive feature of its keyboard is that you can glide your fingers on the text area to move the cursor around. Small things like this that contribute to the overall user experience matter a lot and Nokia knows how to do it the right way.
The small size of the screen, however, is a major disadvantage making the keyboard really compact and difficult to use, even in landscape view. There’s no escaping from accidental key presses in the small screen.
The phone comes pre-loaded with essential apps including Nokia maps, Nokia Music, a data counter for keeping track of data usage, etc., and a plethora of apps and games such as Weather, News reader, Nimbuzz, Facebook, Need for Shift, Worms and lots more. However, very few of them are available for free and some games are actually time-limited trial versions.
Nokia Asha 308 – Camera Quality
DECENT QUALITY WHEN OUTDOORS, TERRIBLE WHEN INDOORS.
The weakest part of the Asha 308 is undoubtedly its camera which performs decently when light conditions are good, but fares terribly when taking indoor photos. It can take photos up-to a resolution of 2-megapixels, but they are generally high on noise, blurriness and low on sharpness and light exposure. But again, we are restrained from complaining since Nokia had to make some compromises for keeping this phone’s price low.
Here are some sample photos taken by Asha 308.
Click on the above photos to view them in full resolution.
Nokia Asha 308 – Battery Life
Talking about its battery life, Nokia is usually known for making phones that have incredibly high battery life and this phone falls no short of it. Nokia Asha 308’s battery life is pretty good and for the past one week, I’ve been getting a battery life of at-least 2 days of moderate usage such as texting, calling, light web surfing and listening to music.
ONE OF THE SMARTEST FEATURE PHONES OUT THERE
Overall, the Nokia Asha 308 is a very SMART budget phone. Yes, it lacks a good display and camera, but the phone’s amazing software makes up for it. If we completely forget all the bells and whistles and focus on its price point — Asha 308 blew us away. It’s a great phone to buy, especially if you’re looking for a simple, fast and no-frills dual-SIM phone.
Feel free to drop in a comment if you have any questions regarding this phone.
Also check out:
- 8 Must Have Games for Nokia Asha 308/309
- 8 Must Have Apps for Nokia Asha 308 / 309 for Power Users
- [HOW TO] Uninstall / Remove Apps from Nokia Asha 308/309/311