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Nokia Asha 503 Review

Nokia Asha 503 3

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Nokia Asha 503 Review

Nokia Asha 503 Review
Nokia Asha 503 Review
Nokia Asha 503 Review
Nokia Asha 503 Review
Nokia Asha 503 Review

The Nokia Asha 503 is a fun little affordable feature phone coming in vibrant colorful tones. With a unique glass-like outer coating, it appears as if it’s in a transparent glossy case and is definitely aiming for the younger crowds.

The Asha 503 comes in a dual and single SIM models (we have the single SIM version for review). It builds up on the blocky design and colors of the Asha 501, but adds in 3G connectivity, a more capable 5-megapixel camera and a bit more in performance power. Is all of that enough to justify you buying this feature phone rather than getting an affordable modern smartphone?

Let’s find out.

In the box:
  • Wall charger
  • Earbud headphones
  • User manual


The Nokia Asha 503 has a pretty unique design - a translucent glass-like (it’s actually plastic) coating covers its vibrant color without hiding it. It looks a bit as if Nokia took this summer’s Asha 501 and put it in a glass case. Initially, we were surprised rather than impressed by the Asha 503 design, but overtime this hard coating grew on us and we ended up liking it for the sense of rigidity it gives the phone and just for its unique visuals. The Asha 503 comes in vivid red, yellow, green, cyan, white and black.

This new member of the Asha family is also small and compact as most of its Asha peers and while that does mean you get a smaller display, it also means that the device fits easily in pockets and is actually easy to use with a single hand. It’s a bit larger and thicker than the preceding Asha 501, but the difference is small. Truth is it’s a bit chubby, but given its compact size, this is not really much of an issue. The phone is solidly put together and it feels like you’re holding something that will withstand the test of time and elements, even though this phone is not water or dust protected in any way.

The Asha 503 features a single capacitive ‘back’ button right below the display and it works in a predictable and consistent way, bringing you back one step at a time. All other navigation in Asha’s interface happens conveniently via swipes, but more on that later.

The handset also features a very clicky and easy to press lock key and volume rocker, fittingly positioned on the right. There’s also a microUSB port and 3.5mm headset jack on top.

Nokia Asha 503
4.04 x 2.39 x 0.5 inches
102.6 x 60.6 x 12.7 mm
3.93 oz (111 g)

Nokia Asha 503

Nokia Asha 501
3.91 x 2.28 x 0.48 inches
99.2 x 58 x 12.1 mm
3.20 oz (91 g)

Nokia Asha 501

Samsung Rex 80
4.02 x 2.28 x 0.46 inches
102 x 58 x 11.58 mm
3.37 oz (96 g)

Samsung Rex 80

Samsung GALAXY Star
4.14 x 2.3 x 0.47 inches
105.2 x 58.5 x 11.9 mm
3.62 oz (102 g)

Samsung GALAXY Star

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page.


The Asha 503 features a 3-inch capacitive LCD display (covered with protective Gorilla Glass) supporting 262 thousand colors and not the 16 million we’re used to seeing on most smartphones nowadays. This makes color transitions less smooth and with a very low resolution of 240 x 320 pixels, images look pixelized, not sharp.

It does not make much sense speaking about color accuracy for such an affordable device, but we still ran our tests only to prove what we suspected - colors are way off in many occasions with a noticeable blueish tint.
Brightness is also way below the average and that makes the screen hard to read outdoors. Viewing angles are also poor and the image washes out significantly at an angle and nearly completely at more extreme angles. Despite all the price considerations, we were underwhelmed by the screen of the Asha 503.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Nokia Asha 503 268
Nokia Lumia 520 364
Samsung Galaxy Pocket Neo 325
View all

  • Options

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 05:48 14

1. xperiaDROID (banned) (Posts: 5629; 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.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 06:04 9

5. taikucing (unregistered)

You better check Lenovo A390 for $99. No contest.
Sturdy is not enough if you can't run whatsapp.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 06:34 9

10. sri_tech (Posts: 188; Member since: 21 May 2013)

This phone can run whatsapp.

Whatsapp released for these new asha devices a month ago.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 06:55 4

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.

posted on 27 Mar 2014, 02:56

32. mothana1998 (Posts: 2; Member since: 27 Mar 2014)

yes it has wifi put no gps and it can run subway put i don't know about the other one i don't know it its a great phone its easyer than android

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 09:29 3

21. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 1157; 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)

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 10:48 5

23. dratomic (Posts: 483; 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..

posted on 06 Jan 2014, 19:49 1

30. irellemot (Posts: 109; 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.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 05:52 3

2. eisenbricher (Posts: 973; Member since: 09 Aug 2012)

Typical PA.
C'mon, there is a variable involved in review process called PRICE (or segment).

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 05:56 12

3. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 258; 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.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 06:06 10

6. eisenbricher (Posts: 973; 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.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 06:13 5

8. taikucing (unregistered)

Have you ever heard Lenovo A390? It's almost the same price as this Asha phone.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 06:58 3

13. taikucing (unregistered)

"Feature phone strongholds are Battery, Call Quality, Ruggedness and Ease of Use."

*cough* Then buy Nokia 3310 *cough*

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 08:37 3

18. Gaurav008 (Posts: 328; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

Find me one.

posted on 19 Dec 2013, 01:21 1

25. dratomic (Posts: 483; Member since: 09 Oct 2013)

if you want unbiased reviews then you should look elsewhere.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 05:57 12

4. hemedans (Posts: 628; 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

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 07:09 4

14. boosook (Posts: 1442; 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.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 06:12 4

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.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 06:20 5

9. Antonyjoseph (Posts: 217; 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.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 06:35 7

11. livyatan (Posts: 867; 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!

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 07:29 4

15. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 3718; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)

Yes Victor, it should be between 4.5 or 5.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 07:40 1

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.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 08:19 2

17. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; 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.

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 08:45 2

19. loveHEAVYMETAL (unregistered)

what?! just two cons?but rated at 3/10

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 09:07 2

20. mercorp (Posts: 1043; Member since: 28 Jan 2012)

It only supports very basic Java games with a maximum size of 5MP.
Is it 5mb??

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 09:31

22. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 1157; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)

Yeah, it's 5mb. Most Java games don't exceed that size

posted on 18 Dec 2013, 11:11

24. HalaMadrid (Posts: 92; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)

3 Out of 10 LOL What a crap phone asha 503 is.

posted on 20 Dec 2013, 19:45

26. Tech_Junkie1996 (Posts: 43; 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.

posted on 21 Dec 2013, 00:37

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.

posted on 02 Jan 2014, 09:10

28. PorkyBurger (Posts: 585; 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.

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Display3.0 inches, 240 x 320 pixels (133 ppi) LCD
Camera5 megapixels
Size4.04 x 2.39 x 0.50 inches
(102.6 x 60.6 x 12.7 mm)
3.93 oz  (111 g)
Battery1200 mAh, 12 hours talk time

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