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The Nokia Asha 501 single SIM is touted as an affordable smartphone with an incredible battery life. We already know that it’s packed with features, is stylish and well made, but can it deliver when it comes to the battery? I’ve been putting mine through its paces for the past week to see just how long you’re likely to get out of a single charge.

At the beginning of last week, I charged my Nokia Asha 501 to 100 per cent, and set out to see how the battery would cope with everyday life. That means a mixture of different scenarios, using different features, and carrying out tasks that vary in intensity.

The one constant was the SIM card – my Asha was always connected, always turned on, and always ready to go when it came to calls. Everything else depended on my requirements for that day.


The first day of the week turned out to be quite a demanding one, at least in terms of connectivity and screen use. I was sorting out a Nokia Conversations feature that required a Bluetooth connection and pairing with a number of other phones, and spent at least an hour with the screen turned on nearly all the time, Bluetooth on, either pairing with different devices or sending files between the two.

I’m not really a fan of leaving technology turned on for the sake of it though, so once I’d finished Bluetooth was turned off again. This is easy with the Asha 501 – simply swipe down the menu from the top and tap the Bluetooth icon. It’s simple to do the same with Wi-Fi and your data connection as well.

Speaking of Wi-Fi, that’s another feature that I used a lot of, at least at the start of the week. Web browsing, downloading apps from the Nokia Store, catching up on the news was quicker (and cheaper) when using my home wireless network. After the first two days, the battery life had dropped by just over a quarter, but this was with fairly intensive use.


I avoided Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for the rest of the week as it wasn’t necessary, but did still have a data connection turned on so my emails came through, along with updates for my CNN app.

I used the Asha 501’s 2G data connection when checking or making the occasional post of Facebook throughout the week, and although it’s not as fast as the 3G connection found on Nokia’s more high-end handsets, it is more power efficient.

Throughout the week I used the phone for calls and text messages, although there were no particularly long calls. I also tried out a number of different apps, with WeChat and eBuddy getting a lot of use. Along with the apps, the Asha’s camera was also called into action on a couple of occasions.


It took until the end of the fifth day before the battery meter dropped below 50 per cent, and I’d also started using my Asha 501 as an alarm clock in the mornings and occasional music player. Unlike lots of phones, the battery bar on the Asha seemed to stay fairly constant in the speed it was dropping at – so towards the end of the week I was still fairly confident that the phone would be working for another few days.

I ended up caving and plugging my Nokia Asha 501 back in today, after eight days, with the battery bar just clicking onto red. Unlike other phones I’m fairly certain the 501 would still be running fine at the same time tomorrow, but I’m going away for a few days so wanted a full charge.

Using Nokia’s affordable handset as a primary phone for the past week has made a refreshing change. Although I’ve kept an eye on battery life, it’s been purely out of curiosity rather than any fear that I may be about to run out of power. In an era of high-speed, high-powered smartphones with huge screens, how often can we say that?