Nokia Asha 503 Review
We are fairly happy with call quality on the Asha 503. It features a single microphone, but our callers reported it sounding clear enough and loud, and could easily recognize the natural tone of our voice. On our end of the line, in the earpiece, voices are a bit too quiet - not so much for this to be a problem indoors, but talking outside in a busy spot or for those working at loud construction sites for instance it might be an issue.
The Asha 503 comes with a 1200mAh battery, but while the size has not changed from the preceding Asha 501, the actual longevity has actually dropped down a bit to the average 12 hours on 2G, and the low 4.5 hours on 3G.
A feature phone is something that most people would use less often and with an excellent stand-by time, this translates into a perception of great battery life. In our few days with the phone, we averaged nearly three days between charges, which is still sufficiently more than what we get on most smartphones. Battery life is one of the very few cases where feature phones make sense.
With a price of around $99 (€99 in Europe), the Asha 503 is without a doubt an affordable device, but in this day and age there are plenty of smartphones offering much more for the same price.
The Asha 503 is coming to affordable markets where it will meet fierce rivalry by affordable Android devices from both well-established manufacturers and new Chinese phone companies that now sell phones in mainstream outlets. The Samsung Galaxy Star S5282 looks like a much better all-around solution, offered for the same price, yet packing a contemporary Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system and four times more RAM. The real competition, though, comes from China with devices like the Huawei Y300 with its larger 4” WVGA screen, dual-core processor, dual SIM connectivity and Android 4.1 on board.
We like the colorful design and unique style of the Asha 503, and it has a decent 5-megapixel camera, but there is a huge mismatch between its price and functionality that we simply cannot overlook. A phone of this caliber should cost much less in this day and age. The Asha 503 will appeal to die-hard Nokia fans and people who for some reason do not want a smartphone. For all else, there are much better options out there.
- Colorful fun design
- Decent 5-megapixel camera
- Underpowered feature phone with very limited functionality and poor apps
- Poor display
1. xperiaDROID (Posts: 4666; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)
Wow, 3 out of 10? Come on Victor, this is a $99 feature phone, what do you expect for such a cheap feature phone? I know there are better alternatives, but this phone has a decent camera, stylish colorful design, sturdy construction and an easy to use UI, it's more easy to use than Android. This phone deserves at least 4.5 out of 10.
5. taikucing (unregistered)
You better check Lenovo A390 for $99. No contest.
Sturdy is not enough if you can't run whatsapp.
10. sri_tech (Posts: 184; Member since: 21 May 2013)
This phone can run whatsapp.
Whatsapp released for these new asha devices a month ago.
12. taikucing (unregistered)
Does it have GPS & WiFi?
Can it play subway surfer & fifa like this?
If I want texting & calling only, I'll buy Nokia 3310. It's as hard as steel.
21. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 453; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)
Find me a phone that is of the same price AND can be easily found in stores (don't even think about suggesting eBay)
23. dratomic (Posts: 332; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)
im wonderin if it had an apple logo on its back and priced 199$ what score pa wouldve given it... hmm..
30. irellemot (Posts: 28; Member since: 29 Nov 2012)
The thing is, you can get a lumia 521 or 520 for less than this, so they'res really no reason to buy this.
2. eisenbricher (Posts: 962; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)
C'mon, there is a variable involved in review process called PRICE (or segment).
3. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 238; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)
We rate every phone according to its (price) class. This one gets 3/10 not compared to high-end phone, but compared to its class.
6. eisenbricher (Posts: 962; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)
What hemedans said in comment no.4
Feature phone strongholds are Battery, Call Quality, Ruggedness and Ease of Use. This phone did excellent in these areas.
I guess the phone rating is downgraded by availability of good apps, RAM, and screen quality. Problem is, these are the reasons why smartphones exist. Basic phone user knows what he's buying and these aren't definitely the reasons. I'm no stranger to tech reviews.
Please don't try to defend the review as everybody knows and this has been repeated numerous times while reviewing feature phones, by PA.
8. taikucing (unregistered)
Have you ever heard Lenovo A390? It's almost the same price as this Asha phone.
13. taikucing (unregistered)
"Feature phone strongholds are Battery, Call Quality, Ruggedness and Ease of Use."
*cough* Then buy Nokia 3310 *cough*
25. dratomic (Posts: 332; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)
if you want unbiased reviews then you should look elsewhere.
4. hemedans (Posts: 34; Member since: 01 Jun 2013)
most people buy featurephone because they want good battery life to make calls and sms.
this phone has good battery life, decent camera and good call quality. these are most important things.
phonearena better learn from gsmarena on how to review feature phone
14. boosook (Posts: 728; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)
If the feature phone is priced like a smartphone, then the price must be considered. With this hardware, it should cost no more than $49/EUR49, since for $99/EUR99 you can buy something with much better hardware, e.g. bigger screen with higher resolution, and with good call quality and good battery life as well.
GSMArema makes very good and detailed reviews, but they're usually too complaisant and you must learn to read between the lines because they never say explicitly that a phone is crap, but they let you understand it.
7. taikucing (unregistered)
Asha is a fail phone. Chinese phones are the king in sub $100 segment. No contest for Samsung & Sony, let alone Nokia. I don't mean Chinese crappy phones, but they are high quality cheap phones like Lenovo A390 or Huawei phones.
9. Antonyjoseph (Posts: 194; Member since: 06 Apr 2013)
Much as I like Nokia and the efforts at feature phones, I think the days of feature phones are over, when you can buy cheap Andoid phones (at least in India) for equivalent of $60 and above.
Feature phones with physical keyboards may still have a market, but not with touchscreens.
11. livyatan (Posts: 499; Member since: 19 Jun 2013)
The conclusion of the article is spot on.
Only idiots, Nokia fanboys and clueless people will give 100 dollars for this.
Best android offers for the price are a science fiction in comparison!
15. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 1883; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)
Yes Victor, it should be between 4.5 or 5.
16. ArtZGraphic (Posts: 16; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)
it's a good phone for its class. unfortunately, it's an overprice device. nowadays, most people have been more clever in choose a phone. with $99 we should've got a basic or midend smartphone such as chinesse phone has to offer. if this is not overprice, maybe Victor would have give a higher score for the review.
17. jroc74 (Posts: 3628; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
As smartphones become even more cheaper...feature phones that try to compete with them with features will get compared to them. It is what it is.
Might as well get a similarly priced Android phone and call it a day. I think you can still get older iPhones for this price too.
19. loveHEAVYMETAL (Posts: 46; Member since: 19 Nov 2013)
what?! just two cons?but rated at 3/10
20. mercorp (Posts: 945; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)
It only supports very basic Java games with a maximum size of 5MP.
Is it 5mb??
22. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 453; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)
Yeah, it's 5mb. Most Java games don't exceed that size
24. HalaMadrid (Posts: 92; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)
3 Out of 10 LOL What a crap phone asha 503 is.
26. Tech_Junkie1996 (Posts: 35; Member since: 29 Aug 2013)
For those saying "its only $99," I would like to say that I have a phone from Virgin Mobile that was $99 MSRP. Sure, since Virgin in the US is a CDMA carrier, you can hold that against me, however, the MSRP for the phone means that even if the phone was unlocked it would probably go for the same price. With that being said, my phone, ZTE N800, has a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon ARM 7 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB ROM, 4" 800x480 display, GPS, and a front-facing 1 MP camera. In terms of tadays smart phones, it doesn't look like much, but when compared to the Asha, it whens hands down. Now, I must repeat that this is a CDMA phone, which means that the Asha has the advantagte in terms of availabilty, since it can go on GSM networks, but, besides that small caveat, the N800 is much better, and isn't that great of a phone.
27. arnis (Posts: 1; Member since: 21 Dec 2013)
I hope that a Nokia with their Asha will continue to support their wide array of languages. After all they were the only phone company to carry such a wide spectrum of language packs.
28. PorkyBurger (Posts: 113; Member since: 18 May 2013)
It is OK phone, but Nokia has a lot of time to make this Asha line even better.
I could start off with it's tiny screen, ending with price tags. There are a lot better phones out there with this price tag, which I find sad to see.
31. ianneo (Posts: 6; Member since: 15 Dec 2013)
oh wow this got higher than the jolla. nice work p.a. totally not biased