Nokia Asha 503 review: One step at a time

GSMArena team, 22 January 2014.
Pages: 12345678910

Tags: Nokia, Asha

Nokia Asha 503 retail package

There isn't much room in the Asha 503's retail package except for the basics - a microUSB Nokia charger is supplied, as well as a single piece pink headset.

Nokia is also throwing a complimentary 4GB microSD card. No need to search for it in the box though, it is already inserted in the phone's memory slot.

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Nokia Asha 503 retail box

What's missing in the Asha 503's box is a data cable. If you want to use the Mass Storage or do some synching with your computer, you'll have to provide your own.

Nokia Asha 503 360-degree spin

The Nokia Asha 503 is very compact and pocket-friendly handset. At 102.6 x 60.6 x 12.7mm, it's a mere 3mm taller and 2mm wider than the Asha 501. It weighs in at 110g, 12g more than Asha 501 that is. Both the extra width and weight go down to the icing - the transparent layer the phone is wrapped in.

Design and handling

Long story short, the Asha 503 design is just an Asha 501 body in an ice-cube - the transparent coating is pretty much overcooked hyperglaze, but it doesn't look as bad as it sounds. Perhaps the bright yellow of our test unit looks like a splash of paint underneath, liquid, almost milky.

We still can't quite decide whether this is a very smart idea or a total waste of material, but we kinda like the look. Not so sure about the feel though. The outer coating tends to get greasy like no other finish we've handled. Fingerprints aren't as prominent as on some glossy plastic handsets we've encountered, but they're definitely there and quite hard to clean too.

The 3" capacitive QVGA display has more than ample bezels, but with a good reason - most of the UI swipes start off the screen. Still, on a phone this size everything is well within comfortable reach and the capacitive display is pleasingly responsive.

The hardware Back button is gone, replaced by a capacitive control. It is still the only means of UI navigation - taps and swipes do all the rest. We feared a capacitive control would stand in the way of swipes starting off the bottom of the screen but that was never the case.

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Nokia Asha 503 up front

As usual, the earpiece is above the screen, along with a hidden proximity sensor. There is no light sensor for automatic brightness adjustment, though.

At the back we find the 5.0MP fixed-focus camera lens, the small single-LED flash and a nub at the bottom to push the phone out of the case.

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On the back - the 5MP cam and the nub you'll use to open the Asha 503

We like how the Nokia Asha 503 looks. It is certainly a bit odd at first with the new transparent layer that can make you think the phone has been put into a case. It is definitely not a feature everyone will be crazy about, especially considering the compromised grip. The Asha 501 is clearly the safer choice in terms of aesthetics but the looks of the 503 can and will be appreciated too.

The Nokia Asha 503 is compact, portable and no hassle to operate single-handedly. Additional battery covers are sold separately so you can freshen up your phone anytime you like.

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The Nokia Asha 503 in the hand

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