I am usually wary of budget touch phones since they use resistive touchscreens – you know, where you have to press very hard to get any work done. Capacitive touchscreens, on the other hand, provide a much smoother experience. The Nokia Asha 311 is a budget phone which uses the latter technology.
It is not, however, a smartphone. The phone runs on the Symbian Series 40 operating system. But Nokia has put an app store in place for such phones as well, which means you have choices when it comes to apps – though it is limited when compared to Android.
The phone has a solid build, and feels fulsome in your hands. I am not a big fan of the two physical buttons, which are a bit hard to press. That apart, there are complaints with the construction of the phone.
On the inside, the Asha 311 runs on a 1GHz processor. The internal storage is measly, but Nokia has included an expandable memory slot, which can accept microSD cards of up to 32GB. I found the screen bright and colours were represented well for a phone in this price range. The phone is WiFi and 3G-enabled, which is again a plus.
Coming to the performance, basic operation of the phone remained smooth. While playing Angry Birds – which comes pre-loaded with the phone – the operation was surprisingly jerky. This is surprising considering the on-board 1GHz processor. For basic day-to-day operations such as making calls and sending SMSes or checking emails, the performance of the phone was satisfactory.
But the key point about the phone is its price. At around Rs6,400 – the price at which e-tailers are selling it – the Asha 311 competes with entry-level smartphones running on Android. These include the Samsung Galaxy Y Pocket and HTC Explorer. The latter is a bit more pricey. While the Asha 311 holds its own on the spec sheet as well as the quality of its body and screen, when it comes to core performance, the other two score in the software department. Plus, they come with a vast library of Android apps.
If you are on a very tight budget, then by all means go for the Asha 311 or Galaxy Y pocket. But if you want to invest in a phone that will stay relevant for at least a couple of more years, I suggest you increase the budget and go for the HTC Explorer.