Nokia Asha 200 review: Dual SIMpatico
Unboxing the Asha 200
The Asha 200 comes packaged with the most basic stuff only - a typical Nokia charger and a single piece headset. There is no USB cable or a microSD card inside.
Nokia Asha 200 360-degree spin
The Asha 200 is 115 mm tall and 61mm wide, more than reasonably sized for a QWERTY messenger. It's quite chubby actually at 14 mm, but the comfortably curved back feels nice in the hand. The phone weighs just 105g and is entirely made of plastic.
Design and build quality
The Nokia Asha 200 is finished in glossy plastic except the matte frame that runs around the entire body and accommodates the secondary SIM and memory card slots. The graphite version that we're testing is quite prone to fingerprints but they're not that easily noticeable.
The other color versions of the Asha 200 may do even better at hiding smudges although they don't seem to skimp on gloss either. Anyway, it's an impressive selection of paintjobs with a color for every taste, from classic, through youthful to feminine.
Up front, a 2.4" QVGA display and a four-row QWERTY keyboard are separated by a navigation deck, built around the usual D-pad.
The 2.4" QVGA screen is probably the best we could've hoped for in a basic feature phone. It offers more than decent sunlight legibility nonetheless, with good contrast and viewing angles. Colors could've been punchier and graphics smoother, but overall the screen quality is passable. Unfortunately the Asha 200 doesn't have any kind of brightness control, so we ran our brightness test at 100% brightness only.
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
|Nokia Asha 200||-||-||-||0.51||377||746|
|Nokia Asha 300||-||-||-||0.49||399||856|
|Nokia Asha 303||-||-||-||0.76||377||498|
|Nokia Lumia 800||0||108||∞||0||369||∞|
|Nokia Lumia 710||0.39||426||1085||0.62||692||1115|
Above the display we find only the earpiece. There's no ambient-light sensor on the Nokia Asha 200.
Below the display is the navigation deck, complete with a D-pad and the usual soft keys, call buttons and shortcuts to SIM management and messaging. The flat call keys and the shortcut buttons are conveniently separated by thin plastic ridges. The D-pad is reasonably sized and very responsive. The two vertical knobs of the soft keys did feel a bit awkward at first- we're used to them being level and right beneath the screen. On the other hand, they're the most prominent controls in the layout and very sold to press too.
The different finish makes the QWERTY keyboard stand out against the surrounding glossy surface. Well-defined and comfortably convex buttons offer great tactility and reasonable typing speeds. The numpad is centrally placed and you can assign speed dial to the number keys 2 to 9. The backlighting is impressively sharp and solid as well.
The left side of the Nokia Asha 200 is completely bare, while the right is quite busy. It accommodates the microSD slot and the secondary SIM compartment. Both slots are hot-swappable and you can replace cards at any time, no phone reboot required. If you want to use just one SIM card with the Asha 200 it has to be inside the phone and not in the outside slot. Both slots are sealed with thin plastic lids.
The Nokia Asha 200 supports dual SIM standby, meaning the two phone lines can work independently. For the SIM2 to work though, a SIM needs to be inserted in the master compartment under the battery.
Unfortunately there is no dedicated volume control on the device, you'll have to use the D-pad instead during calls or when playing music or video.
On top there's a 3.5mm audio jack, along with a microUSB port and the 2mm Nokia charger plug. The Asha 200 doesn't have USB charging enabled.
The lanyard eyelet is also around.
There is nothing of note at the bottom.
The bottom half of the all glossy battery cover has a bit of see-through finish revealing a mesh pattern underneath the solid base color. There are only two things of interest at the back - the 2MP camera lens on the top and the loudspeaker grille at the bottom.
The battery cover feels quite solid - the thick piece of plastic fits perfectly in place, producing no squeaks when handling the phone.
Underneath is the 1430mAh BL-5J battery, which is quoted at the impressive 552h (that's 23 days) of standby and 7 full hours of talk time. If you turn the network off you should squeeze up to 52h of continuous music playback. We can't confirm those numbers, but we've never had worries with phones like the Asha 200. We should note too that it's a considerable upgrade over the 1020 mAh battery of the X2-01.
The Nokia Asha 200 doesn't get fancy with the finish - it comes in a rich selection of colors instead. The design is simple but the good build should rate higher in an entry level handset. The Asha 200 has a comfortable QWERTY keyboard and the general hand feel is quite good. It's a dual SIM phone and the hot-swappable SIM is a major point in favor.