Nokia Asha 501 – Hands-on & Initial thoughts

| May 10, 2013 | 62 Replies


Nokia announced their Asha 501 handset earlier today, you can find lots of info about the device all over the site, so I wont repeat any news.

You can check out the gallery I posted before. (Sadly not all the images loaded so I will try to update it when I get back to Sydney in a few hours – Posting from the airport).

In the mean time, take a look at my (I think poorly done – Under too much time pressure) hands-on and quick look at the Nokia Asha 501. It’s bigger cousin the N9 makes a guest appearance too!

Initial Thoughts

I’ve managed to use the Asha 501 for a few hours, as a main device, just to get a better idea of the device, the Asha OS refresh, and just how well it works. I will break up my ramblings into a few sections.


The Asha 501 feels really nice. I like that the body has a different texture to the Matte colours of the N9/Lumia devices. Having a non glossy white variant, was something that surprised me. Apparently, Nokia managed to create  a matte white version that won’t be affected by the dye in your Jeans. This was the main reason why the N9/Lumias are Glossy – prevents staining.

I sadly don’t like the huge bezel! C’mon Nokia! Stop including such big bezels, and wasted space under the screen. Nokia could easily keep the same form factor and have a larger screen. Hopefully the Asha 5xx range learns from the short comings of the 501. The 3″ QVGA screen is sadly just a bit too small for my stubby fingers, I found it hard to type on. Maybe I’ve just become used to Super Sensitive Touch on the Lumia 820 that I can’t use the Asha 501’s screen properly.

The “beauty spot” was something I was a bit hesitant about at first, but after I started playing around with colour combinations, I really like it. Sticking to the back of the device, the Nokia logo around the camera is pretty cool. On all the units, the “Nokia” appears to be shiny, which I liked. Will be interesting to see if Nokia decide to release a 3DK for the shells just like the 820. (I’d love to have one of the above 501’s with #SmurfEdition engraved).


Besides the really cool design, the Asha 501 has loads of great features. Slam is seriously really cool. It works a lot better than NFC! Really hope that Nokia brings such a simple idea to Windows Phone.

The obvious attraction is Swipe UI. It works almost as well as on the N9, and when you consider the hardware it is running on, and the pocket change price, it is truly a huge testament to Nokia (and Smarterphone). The camera isn’t bad, pretty decent for its price actually. Clearly, being a 3.2mp fixed focus camera, you aren’t expecting PureView masterpieces.

Sleeping screen is back! FINALLY! I know we have seen the leaks of PR 2.0 bringing this and double tap to wake to Lumia, but it isn’t here yet. After nearly 2 years since we first saw it on the N9, Nokia has finally announced a new device launching with the feature. Alongside these, the Asha 501 borrows the lock screen music controls from the N9.

Something that I didn’t like on the N9, was that in order to set a wallpaper for the homescreens, you needed to “hack” it. With the Asha 501, this is out of the box, but it gets better. As you swipe between (left & right) homescreens, the wallpaper moves in a panoramic style motion. Now, when you scroll up and down on Fastlane or the app launcher, the wallpaper also moves up and down. Super cool!!

Overall Verdict

The Nokia Asha 501 is a solid device. Not only boasting Nokia renowned build quality, but also some impressive innovations, only seen at the high-end. If you’re interested in moving up to a smarter device, but not quite ready (or can’t afford) a Lumia 520, the Asha 501 is DEFINITELY something you should at least consider.

I’ve used lower-end Androids and yes, while they more do more, the performance, both in terms of the slickness of the device and battery life, are just horrid! You won’t find anything like Instagram or Flipboard, but the target market for this device isn’t the users of those types of services. I am looking to pick one up actually. The impressive battery life is great for travelling.



Category: Asha, Nokia

About the Author ()

Hi! My name is Michael. I currently live in Sydney, working on all things Digital Marketing. I have a real passion for the latest technology and I'm a real Nokia buff! My aim is to keep those of you, like myself, updated with the latest in what's going on in the Nokia World. Get in touch on Twitter via @MFaroTusino, or even simply drop me an email at mike.mnb[at] or tips[at]