If there was a personal downside to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona it was that the Nokia demo areas were far too crowded and I couldn’t spend any quality time with the exciting new devices that were launched.
There’s only so much you can tell about a phone when you’re handling it in a shop or ‘sharing’ it with hundreds of other people eager to get their hands on it too.
Luckily for me I managed to smuggle a cyan Nokia 301 onto the plane and bring it back with me to London. I’ve now been using it, and exploring its features, for over a week and it’s made quite an impression on me.
The Nokia Look
Before we look too deeply at the features of the Nokia 301, it’s worth dwelling on its fabulous looks. For a relatively affordable feature phone, it’s a stunning looking handset.
Strikingly, it shares much of the same design and colour language of the Nokia Lumia smartphones. It’s also made out of a premium-feeling material similar to that used for the Lumia devices and feels equally solid, durable and natural to hold.
There are some design touches too. The camera detailing on the back, with its metallic bezel, has strong echoes of the camera on the Nokia Lumia 800. The iconic Nokia numerical keypad sits flush below the screen, so the screen and the keys appear to be almost completely seamless.
I also love how the glossy finish on the keys and the screen contrasts with the matte finish on the rest of the phone.
Regular readers will know that I’m a recent convert to the idea of having a Dual SIM phone. I’ve got the Easy Swap Dual SIM variant of the Nokia 301, although it is also available in a single SIM version.
Access to the second SIM on the Nokia 301 is through a slot on the side of the phone (the first SIM lives as normal underneath the battery). On the opposite side there’s another slot for the micro-SD card.
The extra SIM can be super useful for when you’re going on holiday, need to use two phone numbers without carrying around a second phone or just want to take advantage of deals from different operators.
One of the real glories of the Nokia 301 is the 3.2-megapixel camera, which is packed with features to get your creative juices flowing.
This is a good example of Nokia’s imaging know-how trickling down from its flagship devices to feature phones. Among the camera’s features are.
- Panorama (a first for a feature phone)
- Self-portraits with voice guidance to make sure you’re in the frame!
- Sequence shooting mode, which takes a burst of shots for you to pick the best one
- Self-timer countdown before the camera takes a photo
- Video camera
- Photo sharing via Bluetooth, Nokia Slam, eBuddy or email
- Photo editing and effects
As ever, the key is just how easy all these camera features are to use. My favourite is definitely the voice-guided self-portraits – such a simple idea, you wonder why no one had ever thought of this before!
We’ll be looking at the camera features on the Nokia 301 in much more detail in the weeks ahead.
Feature packed feature phone
It’s a 3.5G device with HD call quality and battery life in excess of 30 days on standby – 39 days in fact for the single SIM variant of the Nokia 301.
In addition, you can access social networks, like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, send and receive emails, play games, download apps from the Nokia Store, listen to the radio (with a connected headset), play music and videos, personalise the home screen and access the Internet with the Nokia Xpress Browser.
Keep in mind that the Nokia 301 is priced at about 65 euros. For that sort of money, it’s pretty awesome that you get all those features in such a gorgeous looking phone.