Nokia Asha 501 Review

Introduction and Design

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.

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