Nokia Asha 311 hardware hands-on

The Nokia Asha 311 is the first of the Series 40 Asha Touch handsets, known as smartphone lite devices, we’ve seen and while it’s not up to Nokia Lumia 920 standards, for those on a tight budget this feature phone could well be the way to go. Find out more with our Nokia Asha 311 hands-on.

The Nokia Asha 311 currently sits at the top of the Series 40/Asha line of feature phones. It’s also the first device in the range to do away with a keypad or keyboard in favour of a full touchscreen interface. This is powered by a new variant of the Series 40 operating system that allows for full touch, referred to by Nokia as Asha Touch.

Nokia Asha 311 unboxing review (Photo Heavy)

The Nokia Asha 311 comes in a host of different colours but the basic design is the same. You’ll find a 3-inch capacitive touchscreen display that offers up a resolution of 240 x 400 pixels, that sits in a plastic and metal body. If you’re thinking that Nokia has compromised on quality due to this being a budget smartphone lite device then think again as the screen is highly touch sensitive and responds well.

On the back is a 3.2-Megapixel camera and the removable plastic back cover reveals the battery – under which sits the SIM card slot and microSD card slot.

The look is simple and understated rather than over-the-top but it has a nice charm about it. Weighing in at 95g and measuring 106 x 52 x 12.9mm it sits nicely in the hand and has a good built quality that feels more than the asking price would have you think.

On the top of the Nokia Asha 311 are the standard 2mm charger, 3.5mm audio jack and microUSB connection ports, while on the right-hand side there is a two-button zoom button that also doubles as volume controls and a screen lock.

On the front of the Nokia Asha 311 below the display are two function buttons that are used for making calls and for closing apps and returning you to the homescreen. Overall, we’re impressed with the touch and feel of this phone and it certainly offers up plenty of quality.

The Nokia Asha 311 is powered by a 1GHz processor, which is now fairly common across the Nokia Asha range so you’ll find things load and run quick and smoothly. It’s backed by 128MB of RAM and 256MB of storage, of which around 140MB can be used by the user. Nokia ships the Nokia Asha 311 with a 2GB microSD card but it will readily support up to 32GB cards, so storage isn’t an issue on this phone.

In terms of connectivity, you’ll find that 3G makes an appearance on the Nokia Asha 311, along with WiFi and Bluetooth, so you’ll be able to share data with ease.

The big selling feature of the Nokia Asha 311 has to be the newly developed Asha Touch interface. Series 40 has always been a rock-solid performer that has proved reliable over the years and is constantly being added to by Nokia and third-party app developers.

This latest version of the OS is design solely with touch in mind and essentially brings a new interface that is easy to get to grips with and is incredibly easy to use, much more so than the non-touch version.

Asha Touch adds three homescreens, the first is a long list of all the apps on your Nokia Asha 311, which you can move around to personalise and prioritise. The second screen allows you to add your favourites. For even quicker access, while the third is the Call screen.

There are some nice little features too, such as swipe down from the top of the screen and a notification window appears, similar to the one on Symbian Belle, showing you the status of your connections, both Wifi and Bluetooth as well as your Profile settings.

Below this is a very shortcut screen that offers up quick access to the Music Player, Call and Messaging screens. We’ve been impressed with what the Nokia Asha 311 has to offer in terms of usability as the interface is fast and getting around easy.

When it comes to battery life, Nokia Asha phones have always excelled and it’s no exception with the Nokia Asha 311. Nokia is claiming 14 hours of standard talk time and up to 29 days in standby and while we’ve not been using it quite that long, we’ve found the talk time certainly lives up to expectations. Call quality is bright and light on the odd occasions we’ve used it.

The Nokia Asha 311 costs around the £120 (inc. VAT) mark depending on where you look. Expansys has is for £110, while Amazon is asking £117 presently, which is great value.

The Nokia Asha 311 is a solid and reliable feature phone that offers everything the basic user needs. It’s well built, compact and quicker than you’d imagine. Nokia has done a great job with the Series 40 interface making it highly usable while still keeping it familiar for anyone comfortable with its layout.