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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Nokia 301: A clever feature phone for 2013

The Nokia 301 is classic Nokia from top to toe, from its iconic numbered keypad to the immediately recognisable design, but this classically designed feature phone has a few surprises up its sleeve.

Expected Price of Nokia 301 in India is between Rs.4500 - 6000.

The Nokia Look

Nokia 301

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.

SIM City

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.

Nokia 301

Feature packed feature phone

While the Nokia 105 was, rightly, getting a lot of plaudits at MWC for being such an affordable device, the Nokia 301 also offers you tremendous value for money.

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.

Tech specs

  • System: GSM 850/900/1800/1900, WCDMA 900/2100, 850/1900
  • Size & weight: 114 x 50 x 12.5 mm; 102g
  • Display: 2.4” QVGA TFT colour display
  • Memory: Up to 256MB, 64MB RAM (plus up to 32GB microSD card)
  • Connectivity: 2.0 mm Charger Connector, 3.5 mm AV Connector, Bluetooth 3.0
  • Battery:
    • Single SIM – standby 2G/3G: 37/39days,
    • Dual SIM – standby 2G/3G: 31/34days
    • Talk time – 2G/3G = 20/6hrs

Facebook, eBuddy, WhatsApp and Twitter are all preloaded to the home screen and the email app supports a lite version of Mail for Exchange for syncing your calendar, contacts and emails.

The design is striking. The Nokia 301 might sport a traditional ‘candybar’ shape, but its inherent colour and clean lines mean it’s ultra-modern at the same time. It comes in yellow, cyan, magenta, white and black varieties and single SIM or dual SIM versions.


In terms of the specifications, two more things stand out. It has a terrific battery life – up to 39 days on standby, when using the single SIM version on a 3G network. Then, it supports HD Voice, for much clearer calls when used with an operator network that supports the protocol.
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