Nokia Asha 306 review: Smartphone Ash-pirations
Great file manager
The Nokia Asha 306 has something that makes the (supposedly dumb) S40 UI look much smarter than the likes of iOS and Windows Phone (even stock Android out of the box). That's right, we are talking about a full-featured file browser.
The app is called Files and lists all your local folders with the memory card on top. Different icons are available for the different file types, the multimedia files appear with small thumbs.
A few handy options are available in the advanced menu - change view and sorting, add new folder or mark some/all files. If you tap and hold on a file you'll get options such as copy, cut, paste, rename, delete, mark and details.
The app has everything you may need in a file browser and puts to shame many smart file explorers thanks to its simple yet powerful interface.
Functional gallery and photo editor
The image gallery is a Symbian copycat. Photos are displayed in a three-column grid, with kinetic scrolling enabled. The gallery has one problem - it can't show more than 1000 images. So if your memory card is full of pictures, the Asha 306 is not the best choice of device to browse them on.
You can organize your photos into albums and there is an album view as a separate tab in the gallery. The video section is the final tab and lists any supported videos you've uploaded on your memory card.
A tap and hold on a file lets you rename, delete, share or assign the image to a contact or set it as wallpaper.
Auto-rotation and pinch zooming are enabled in the gallery. The phone handles 2MP photos from its camera well enough, but there's still some lag when zooming.
You can edit pictures from the advanced menu. The available options are crop, rotate, flip, effects, warp, add frame, clip art, add text, adjust brightness and contrast, retune colors or do auto enhance. Not bad, is it?
The renovated music player
The music player has a rather basic interface with lots of hidden features.
The Now Playing screen displays a large album art picture, alongside the track name, a scrubber and music controls.
The bottom of the screen has three tabs, the first one being the Now Playing screen. The next one is the Library with the default sorting options - all tracks, artists, albums, genres and videos. The last tab has your custom playlists with a few default ones available - recently added, recently played, most played and now playing.
Shuffle, repeat and equalizers are available too. You can also play music over Bluetooth.
The music player supports background playback, but there are no quick controls in the notification area or the lockscreen.
FM radio with RDS
The FM radio on Nokia Asha 306 comes with a neat and simple interface. You can change stations with the dedicated controls at the bottom. There is a tab with all available stations.
The radio has RDS support and automatic rescanning.
Average audio quality
We expected the Nokia Asha 306 to have an audio output identical to that of the Nokia Asha 305, but it turns out that the two actually performed slightly differently. It could be that Nokia is using more than one supplier for the audio chips of the Asha phones or just some unit-to-unit variation.
With no resistance applied to its line-out (when used with an active external amplifier), the Nokia Asha 306 does decently well, achieving some good (if some way off the best we have seen) scores and garnishing them with extremely high volume levels.
Plugging in a pair of headphones leads to notable spike in intermodulation distortion and stereo crosstalk as well as some further deviation of the frequency response. It's not too bad overall, but it's certainly not as good as the best on the market. Plus, the volume levels drop to average here, so the Asha 306 only gets a good overall mark, instead of excellent.
And here come the full results so you can see for yourselves:
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|Nokia Asha 306||+0.01 -0.64||-80.8||79.9||0.063||0.078||-81.2|
|Nokia Asha 306 (headphones attached)||+1.10 -0.41||-80.5||79.7||0.054||0.648||-55.8|
|Nokia Asha 305||+0.47 -0.20||-85.2||85.1||0.093||0.113||-82.8|
|Nokia Asha 305 (headphones attached)||+1.07 -0.42||-84.9||84.8||0.081||0.634||-46.0|
|Nokia Asha 302||+0.04 -0.09||-87.5||87.4||0.0053||0.014||-88.3|
|Nokia Asha 302 (headphones attached)||+0.64 -4.70||-87.4||87.4||0.048||1.494||-48.1|
|Nokia Asha 200||+0.15 -0.31||-81.2||80.9||0.049||0.067||-78.1|
|Nokia Asha 200 (headphones attached)||+0.62 -0.39||-80.4||79.5||0.039||0.348||-56.2|
|Nokia Asha 300||+0.04 -0.09||-87.9||87.9||0.0050||0.014||-86.8|
|Nokia Asha 300 (headphones attached)||+0.53 -3.34||-86.8||85.6||0.042||0.917||-51.5|
|Nokia Asha 303||+0.04 -0.10||-87.5||87.4||0.0060||0.017||-73.3|
|Nokia Asha 303 (headphones attached)||+0.50 -0.17||-87.5||87.2||0.017||0.350||-55.7|
|Nokia Lumia 710||+1.94, -2.90||-80.9||80.8||0.061||1.603||-85.7|
|Nokia Lumia 710 (headphones attached)||+2.04, -2.69||-83.3||83.0||0.061||1.574||-54.5|
Nokia Asha 306 frequency response
You can learn more about the whole testing process here.