Nokia Asha 501 Review

Nokia Asha 501 Review

Colorful, cheap and boxy - that is what the Nokia Asha 501 looks like. With a touchscreen and a touch gesture based user interface, the Asha 501 almost looks like a smartphone. Almost.

It lacks the apps of course and with them a lot of the functionality is missing, so do not be fooled - this is a Series 40 device like most other basic Nokia phones.

With its cheerful colors though can it stand out among many budget Droids, though, and ultimately does the Asha 501 have what it takes to compete? Let’s find out.

In the box:

  • Headphones
  • Wall charger
  • User manual


Design-wise, Nokia is clearly taking its Asha series closer to its Lumia devices. The Asha 501 is colorful and features a similar rounded-edge rectangle form as Lumias. It comes in six color versions: cyan, bright red, yellow, bright green, black and white.

The Asha 501 is a chubby little device measuring nearly half an inch thick, but its compact size makes up and it does not feel bulky. It is also very light at less than 100 grams (some 3.5 ounces). Build quality is good, the device fits well, with no moving parts yet it is easy to disassemble. The matte shell feels nice and a bit soft to touch.

Buttons are all on the right - a volume rocker and a lock/unlock key in the middle. There is no dedicated physical camera key. You’d need to take out the back cover to change SIM cards, microSD cards or battery.


The Asha 501 features a 3.0-inch LCD display with a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels and with only 262K colors. The low resolution means that you can easily see individual pixels as the density of the display comes at the very low 133ppi.

Overall, the display is dim with peak brightness reaching only around 230 nits and in direct sunlight you’d definitely have a problem making out what’s on the display. Colors on the screen are vivid and contrasted, and viewing angles are average.



1. deacz

Posts: 162; Member since: Nov 02, 2011

wierd how gsm arena really liked this phone and phone doesnt

12. tashreef

Posts: 476; Member since: Nov 24, 2012

what else you can expect from Paid Arena...

2. alterecho

Posts: 1106; Member since: Feb 23, 2012

"at this price there is already a number of Android device like the Samsung Galaxy Pocket with better functionality" Seriously? Any Androids within 501's price range would induce rage, from the laggy UI.

6. theminolaboy

Posts: 128; Member since: May 18, 2013

+ infinite

13. tashreef

Posts: 476; Member since: Nov 24, 2012

i think the reviewer forgot to write this Advertorial by Samsung: The opinions expressed in this story may not reflect the positions of PaidArena!

3. ZettaiRyouiki

Posts: 39; Member since: Aug 05, 2013

Given how close the rating is to Xperia ZR. It means the ZR is only about as good as an Asha. LOL

16. thephonedude

Posts: 60; Member since: Oct 27, 2012

No.. Not true. The phones are rated based on what class they are. the Asha is rated based on what their expectations for a featurephone is. If the Asha performs moderately well for a touch-screen feature phone, when compared to its rivals, they'll rate it around 6-7 /10... in comparison to its competition. As for the ZR, it's rated against other leading mid-range android devices, and what phonearena expects of a mid ranger to be. If you still don't understand, Read the ''How we rate it'' site.

4. Snoobab

Posts: 175; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

6/10? Does PhoneArena ever review phones IN CONTEXT??? This is an entry-level sub $100 handset, not some flagship monster.

5. rms.max

Posts: 95; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

agreed.he thought s4 got 9.4 it should get not more than 6..LOL

14. jedpatrickdatu

Posts: 169; Member since: Jan 24, 2013

They do seem to take the 501 in context in this one, because they use phrases like "remember it's just a budget phone." Still, just 6/10? Judging by the review, they seemed to have a good experience with the phone. It's like their scoring is based only on the spec sheet, not the feel of the hardware and the overall experience. Therefore, budget phones can only get scores from 1 to 7. PhoneArena should split their reviews in two categories: budget phones and high-end ones. That way, budget phones can get 10/10 without being compared to high end phones.

18. Snoobab

Posts: 175; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

Well said, agree 100%

7. neutralguy

Posts: 1152; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

Haaa? While galaxy pocket had 8.0, this little guy have 6? Seriously? Can galaxy pocket download or even play decent apps/games?

8. theminolaboy

Posts: 128; Member since: May 18, 2013

I think PhoneArena should change their criteria for reviewing phones like this. If they have the same criteria with Samsung Galaxy SIV then undoubtedly this phone would look like an utter garbage. And it's not. Honestly. Also, why the heck pixel density is being reviewed for these kinds of phones? Asha 501 is marketed for budget conscious folks, emerging markets and for those who doesn't want to throw their money out in the curb. These people doesn't even know what pixel density is. My goodness!

9. aditya.k

Posts: 496; Member since: Mar 10, 2013

PA -_- It should get atleast a 7 if not more. 6 is too damn less!

10. veer.d

Posts: 89; Member since: Jul 12, 2013

battery life on cheap droid just sucks

11. jackhammeR

Posts: 1548; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

this review is out of's a budget phone god dammit. And samsung Y is supposed to better???? At what areas? Cheap review, cheap author.

15. samystic

Posts: 242; Member since: Mar 25, 2012

all these positive parts in the entire review, and still author gives 6 rating... shame!

17. jharkem17

Posts: 21; Member since: Jul 29, 2013

Over all the phone is really good..other site such as CNET,GSMARENA,PHONESCOOP, gave this phone a very good rating, higher even than mid entry level android phones. I dont get where 6.0 is coming from.. To the reviewer>>> dude learn how to categorized phone..I know you are not bias>>>you are just plain _____.

19. suyash1629

Posts: 22; Member since: Aug 09, 2013

samsung galaxy y is better one for budget phones..

20. suyash1629

Posts: 22; Member since: Aug 09, 2013

android is always better...

21. Emz20

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 29, 2013

BULLSH*T ! Really, i bought this phone so that I can use watsapp or even viber at times, but unfortunately there's not :(
Asha 501
  • Display 3.0" 240 x 320 pixels
  • Camera 3.2 MP
  • Battery 1200 mAh(17h talk time)

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