Nokia Asha 302 review: E-serious
Unboxing the Asha 302
There's only room for the basics in the Asha 302's retail package. A typical Nokia charger is supplied, as well as a single piece headset. You'll also find a 2GB microSD card already inserted in the memory slot. There is no USB cable inside though. We should note however that the Asha 302 can charge off USB, unlike the more basic Asha 200.
Nokia Asha 302 360-degree spin
The Asha 302 is almost the same size and weight as its cheaper sibling, the Asha 200. At 115 mm tall by 59mm wide, it's quite easy to handle. In fact, QWERTY messengers don't usually get much smaller than that. The Nokia Asha 302 weighs 106 g and, although it's not the thinnest phone around, the subtly curved back is shaped for comfortable hand fit.
Design and build quality
There's nothing unique about the Asha 302 but there is a reason this form factor has been a long-time Nokia favorite. Building upon the likes of the Asha 200 and the C3, the Asha 302 is venturing to bring Eseries-grade build quality to the Finns' feature phone lineup.
Not that we've been disappointed with the Asha phones so far, but the 302 has the design and build to match its more advanced feature set. The metal battery cover adds some extra strength and style without putting too much weight.
Not quite as many as the eight color versions of the Asha 200, the Asha 302 is available in a variety of different paintjobs. Users get to choose between Dark Grey, Mid Blue, Plum Red, White and Golden Light. The dark grey version that we're testing seems to attract no fingerprints at all. The matte finish of the plastic used on the body is a welcome change over the cheap gloss of the Nokia Asha 200.
Up front, a familiar 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 (don't mind the resolution, it's a cheap phone after all) is as good a unit as you'd expect in this price bracket. It offers above average sunlight legibility, good contrast and viewing angles. Colors could've had a bit more punch but, overall, it's a good enough screen. Just like any other S40 phone though - the recent editions anyway - the 302 doesn't have any kind of display 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 302||-||-||-||0.63||379||602|
|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|
Unfortunately, sunlight legibitily isn't a particularly strong point of the Asha 302 display performance.
Nokia Asha 302
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Above the display we find the lonely earpiece.
Below the display is the navigation deck set within a separate piece of plastic unlike the Asha 200, where it was part of the screen bezel. Around the D-pad, you'll find the usual soft keys, call buttons and shortcuts to the Phonebook and Messaging. Despite having the icons of the respective apps painted on, the shortcuts you assign to the hot keys can be different from Contacts and Messaging. The soft keys and the four directions of the D-pad are user-configurable too.
The flat call keys and the soft keys are conveniently separated by thin plastic ridges. The D-pad is perhaps a bit smaller than we're used to but has decent feedback in all directions. The navigation keys and the QWERTY keyboard have different finish from the phone's main color - a bronze shade mixed with the original grey.
The different finish makes the QWERTY keyboard stand out against the surrounding dark grey surface. Well-defined and convex, the buttons are very tactile but are not as solid to press as we expected. All the keys have a low stroke but the ones at the sides are worst affected. They're harder than usual to press bordering on the very edge of the phone's front.
The numpad is centrally placed and you can assign speed dial to the number keys 2 to 9. The Space button is a WLAN hotkey allowing single-click search and connection to wireless networks. The backlighting is impressively sharp and solid. The Asha 302 looks like a premium E-series phone in the dark.
The left side of the Nokia Asha 302 has the hot-swappable microSD slot covered with a plastic lid. The right side is bare - the only thing to note is the lanyard eyelet. There is no volume rocker or dedicated camera key, the D-pad is to be used instead.
The Asha 302's top side is quite busy: there's a 3.5mm audio jack, along with a microUSB port and the 2mm Nokia charger plug. The Asha 302 can charge off USB too.
The bottom has nothing of interest.
There are only two things to note at the back - the 3MP camera lens and the loudspeaker grille next to it. The metal battery cover takes almost the whole rear side of the Asha 302. It fits perfectly in its place, so you can expect no squeaks there. The slim metal sheet adds almost no extra weight to speak of - the phone weighs the same as the all-plastic Asha 200.
Underneath is the 1430mAh BL-5J battery, which is quoted at the impressive 830h (that's 35 and half days) of 3G standby and 6 full hours of talk time. With the GSM radio off, you should squeeze up to 50h of continuous music playback. Now, those numbers are only attainable in a controlled environment, but we've never had issue with the endurance of phones like the Asha 302.
The Nokia Asha 302 hardware really managed to exceed our expectations. The solid build and classic looks are close to meeting Eseries standards and the feature set is well above the average S40 package. The QWERTY keyboard is the only thing we're not so impressed with. The keys are rather soft and a little short of the precise press of some of Nokia's other messengers, feature phones included. Other than that though, the features and the build help the Asha 302 stand out among its S40 siblings.