Nokia Asha 501 First Impressions: The Best Companion Phone You Can Buy

The new Nokia Asha 501 is the perfect companion phone as it runs the all new Asha platform which is optimized to run on low end hardware as well as a battery that is expected to last almost a month.


In early May, Nokia had a global launch in India much to the surprise to the world.  It took the wraps off the Nokia Asha 501 which was the first phone to run on the all new Asha platform.  Fast forward two months later and the phone which went on sale in Pakistan and Thailand last week is all set to Indian shelves this week. Priced at Rs 5,200 the phone has packed a lot into a new package which will make it the perfect companion phone.

We got our hands on the phone for a couple of hours and here is why we think the Nokia Asha 501 will be the perfect second phone.



It brings the Lumia design language to this price point. Compare it to any other phone at the 5K price range and you going to think this is real premium quality stuff.  It comes in a variety of colors and the back cover is interchangeable which will go real well with the college crowd. While you may not want to pull out the bright colors during a corporate meeting for the evening this is perfect. The soft touch matte finish plastic cover does not attract finger prints.

While others are trying to say bigger is better, the Nokia Asha 501 is very compact and weighs in at under 100 grams which makes it fit comfortably in your hands and more importantly won’t take much place in your pockets.

One thing everyone knows is they can trust the build quality of Nokia. The Nokia spokesperson threw the phone on the floor picked it up and continued using it like that did not even happen. Lovely to know that our Rs 5000 bucks is safe!


The 3 inch QVGA screen is the right size for this device and while it might not be the biggest screen, even watching a video on this is pretty comfortable. The brightness of the screen is good even though content on it is not crisp but is manageable. The capacitive screen is quite responsive but while using the double tap to unlock we realized the using the thumb did not work and we had to use our index finger.


The camera is a 3.15 MP camera that takes real good snaps at this resolution. Unfortunately there is no flash so indoor and low light snaps are not going to be great. While this camera might be at the low end of the megapixel race, Nokia says it is working to bring better camera in the Asha phones which are expected to be released later this year.



While there was not much to complain with regards to the software on the old range of Asha phones powered by S40,it is great to see Nokia do a complete refresh and try to bring in more smart and UI features found on other smartphone operating systems to this price range as it looks to take on low cost Android phones.

The highlight of the new OS is Fastlane which keeps a track of all your activity and brings together everything in the past, the present and the future in one place. Your last 50 activities are stored smartly here for faster access. Using this we could see the way it could improve our productivity.


Well with all new platforms this is a point of concern. While it may not have the quality or quantity of apps present on iOS and Android and even of its bigger brother Windows Phone 8, there are already over thousand apps which are compatible with the the new Asha platform. Nokia is bundling around 45 apps with the phone which will keep you occupied for hours. For gaming enthusiasts there will be 40 games from EA Sports. While the quality of graphics may not be excellent, it does perform really well at this price point and we did not see any lag when we tried out Asphalt 6. When we tried this game on some low priced Android phones the experience was worse.


This is probably the most important reason why we are calling it the perfect companion phone. Nokia claims the battery will last 26 days on the dual SIM version.

Let’s face it. If you are using a smartphone and are a heavy user, the battery will not last a day no matter what you do.  If you’re carrying this phone around you can be assured that when your primary phone battery dies out and unlike just carrying a feature phone you are going to be able to continue with email and catching up on social networks with this phone.

The Nokia Asha 501 is a 2G phone and does come with Bluetooth and Wifi also.

Nokia Asha 501: Price & Availability

The phone is priced at Rs 5,200 it is available online right now. The pricing is perfect for what the phone offers and we can definitely see ourselves picking up one as our second phone. It should be hitting retail shelves by the end of this week.



  • SIM: Micro SIM, Dual SIM, GSM + GSM, (Dual Standby)
  • OS: Asha OS
  • DISPLAY: 3-Inch CD, QVGA, 320 x 240 pixels
  • CAMERA: 3.2 Megapixel, Digital 3x Zoom
  • SIZE: 58×99.2×12.1 mm
  • WEIGHT: 91 g
  • BATTERY: 1200 mAh
  • MEMORY AND STORAGE: Internal – 64 MB, expandable upto 32 GB

Recommended Read: 10 Things About the Nokia Asha 501 and Asha Platform That You Need To Know

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