Nokia Asha 303 review: Type smarter

GSMArena team, 4 January 2012.
Pages: ę12345678Ľ

Tags: Nokia, S40, Touch UI

Standard S40 phonebook

The phonebook of the Nokia Asha 303 will store about 2000 contacts depending on the fields you use, which isnít as good as unlimited storage but should do for most of the users out there. You can set the phonebook to display contacts from the phone memory, SIM memory or both.

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The phonebook can be searched by gradual typing

Adding a contact is simple and straightforward Ė the phone asks for number, first and last name and thatís it. When you need to add other details you can always go back and edit the contact. The phonebook can be set up to automatically store new contacts in a chosen location (phone, SIM) or to always ask.

Each contact can be assigned a variety of fields but the phone numbers are limited to 5. First names are separate from last names, eliminating problems, which may occur with synchronization. You can assign ringtones to each contact.

A handy shortcut in the Options menu for each contact brings up the SMS communication you've had with that contact.

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Some of the available fields when editing a contact

The phone book has search functionality and kinetic scrolling. Contacts can be copied, moved or deleted either individually or in bulk.

Telephony offers call recording

The reception on the Nokia Asha 303 was consistently good and in-call sound was crisp and clear, though not as loud as we would have liked. The lack of smart dialing was not surprising for an S40 device. Thereís no voice dialing either.

Luckily, Voice Clarity and call recording are supported from the Options in-call menu.

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Calling Dexter on Nokia Asha 303

In a call, the screen remains locked until you use the hardware unlock (there's no proximity sensor).

We carried out our traditional loudspeaker test to find out the Nokia Asha 303 scored an Excellent mark. The strength of the vibration was good too - you're unlikely to miss calls with the Asha 303. You can find more details about our test, as well as the results of all other tested handsets here.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOveral score
Nokia E7265.7 60.266.3Below Average
Nokia X2-0170.265.571.8Average
Nokia C3-01 Touch and Type73.966.677.7Good
Nokia X3-02 Touch and Type75.166.675.7Good
Nokia C2-0374.272.475.8Very Good
Nokia Asha 30377.172.378.1Excellent
Nokia X280.275.784.7Excellent

QWERTY-fied messaging

The Nokia Asha 303 comes with the standard (and quite capable) S40 messaging. It can handle all the common message types including SMS, MMS, as well as flash and audio messages and thereís easy email setup, too.

The hardware keyboard on the Nokia Asha 303 isn't the best we've seen, because of the smallish keys. At least their shape is comfy and eases the user.

The standard Inbox view is available but you also get Conversations view mode (thatís the threaded message feature).

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Nokia Asha 303 messaging app

The editor is well organized and you wonít spend too much time finding your way around. Nokia has added four new virtual controls to make up for the missing D-pad Ė two arrow keys, letter case switch and symbols.

Of course you can tap to move the cursor wherever you want, but youíll still need those two arrows for precise positioning. The symbol and letter case features are also available from the numpad, so there is no real need for them on the screen.

When composing the message thereís a character counter and message part counter available and when youíre done you pick the recipient from the contacts list, the recently used numbers, the call log or contact groups. You can have a favorite contact too (just one).

And of course, you can enter the number manually if itís not on any of those lists.

The Mail app lets you create multiple accounts on multiple networks with just your email address and password. It works with POP3, SMTP, and IMAP4 protocols and supports multiple email accounts. The email client supports SSL.

Emails are received in the background and you can put a Mail widget on the homescreen to keep track of new emails (the widget offers practically no info on the new emails though).

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The email client is pretty good

And that's not the end of the messaging capabilities on the Asha 303 either. The Chat app supports Facebook, Google Talk, Ovi Chat, Windows Live Messenger, MySpce IM and Yahoo! Chat. The tabbed UI of the OS is pleasantly thumb-friendly. We wish it had a unified list of contacts from all services though, it would have made finding the right contact easier.

There's a Chat widget for the homescreen too.

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The Chat app connects to four different networks

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