Nokia Asha 306 with SmartNet Review: A Smartphone wannabe


Here’s a phone that I got last December during the Smart iPhone 5 launch. The Nokia Asha 306 is just one of the few Asha phones that are already available in the Philippines right now. It is currently available at Smart too. The one that I got has SmartNet inside. An app, made for Smart subscribers. It features a very affordable price tag but with some features that can be found on Smartphones, which was one of the main selling points of the Asha, phones.  The Nokia Asha 306 S40 OS is different from the Asha phones that we’ve reviewed before. We’ll discuss that topic later in this review. Do you want to know what’s hot and not about this phone? Check it out after the break by clicking read more!


Hardware



One of the reasons why I love Nokia are the phone designs. One of the phones that was designed uniquely by Nokia was the N9. The Lumia phones that we have today are still inspired by the bright colors and unibody polycarbonate body of the Nokia N9. On their affordable phones, Nokia never fail to impress me with their hardware designs. The designs are solid. They are really sturdy and you know it’s not cheap thanks to the aluminum back covers or sturdy plastic back covers on some of their affordable feature phones.

The Nokia Asha 306 features an Aluminum looking plastic back cover while having a chrome accents on the top and the bottom of the phone. It looks nice. Reminds me of the Nokia N8 that was their former flagship phone. Just like any other Nokia phones, the ports can be found on the top of the phone.

The screen size of the phone is already acceptable to most Filipino hands but I was disappointed to know that the phone uses a resistive touch screen and not the capacitive one. The resistive touch screen phones are not really sensitive to fingertips and they are made from plastic, which is more prone to scratches than the capacitive. If you’re coming from a phone with a capacitive touch screen like the iPhone, Galaxy phones and most Android phones. You might find the Nokia Asha 306 harder to type on because the resistive screen of this phone will require you to use your nails or your finger tips but with more pressure than the normal capacitive screens. The resistive touch screen of the phone might just be one of the deal breakers here.



Like what I’ve said earlier, the connectivities of the phone can be found on the top. There’s the proprietary charger, Micro USB slot and the 3.5 mm audio jack. I got no complains on that. You can even charge the phone using the Micro USB. That’s pretty nice because I don’t want to add another charger on my bag. Micro USB slots are mostly use on Android phones today.

On the Back, you can found the 2 MP camera of the phone. And no, there’s no front camera for your vanity. Sorry girls. There’s no LED flash because this is just one of the affordable feature phones in the market and I don’t think most people with this phone would use their phones for capturing images at low light.



This phone isn’t dual-sim. The Nokia Asha 306 is only a Single-Sim phone but the one thing that I like about this compared to the other Nokia Asha phones is that the phone has a hot-swappable MicroSD card. It means that you can remove your MicroSD card even without turning off and removing the battery of the phone.

Another deal breaker on this phone is the lack of 3G. So if you’re into checking out different websites then you might have a problem. But the Social app, which is a Twitter and Facebook client of the phone, is quite good even on EDGE (2.5G). We’ll talk about the apps and software experience later on. I think they removed the 3G connectivity on this phone since some people doesn’t browse on their phone and they just rely on Wi-Fi and I think they didn’t include a 3G chip inside to lessen the cost of the phone.

The speaker is average. The sound quality is clear but not that loud compared to other Asha phones. The battery? It was good. It doesn’t have an OS that can drain your battery in just a day. The battery life of the phone can last up to more than 2 days on average use. Not bad.

Camera

The Nokia 306 packs a 2.0 megapixel camera and there’s no LED flash. The camera app on the phone lacks a lot of features but it isn’t hard to use. The quality of the camera is somewhat disappointing.  This might be an affordable phone but Nokia should’ve done something to improve it more. The colors are good but there is too much noise on the pictures. Even at sufficient light, the camera of the phone fails to impress me. Here, take a look on the sample photos that I took using the Nokia Asha 306.





The video recording was very disappointing too. The Nokia Asha 306 doesn’t even manage to have a 320 x 240 recording. The Nokia Asha 306 can only record a video at 176x144. Don’t ask me about the quality. The resolution of the video could already tell you the quality of it.
Software



If you’ve used a Nokia Asha before you might notice some minor changes in it. The transitions and the effects are more noticeable. Like what I’ve said earlier, the Nokia Asha 306 looks like and acts like a Nokia N9. From the lock screen to the swiping of homescreens. There are three homescreens on the Nokia Asha 306. There’s the App selection, the media and the good ol’ home screen. You can change and add different shortcuts and contacts on the old homescreen but I never used that.  On the Media homescreen, you can change it to radio, media player or a dialer.  The squarecircle icons are still here.  The app selection is still filled with apps that you can find on the Nokia Asha. Only some of them are useful.

There are a lot of aesthetic changes on the phone but the resistive screen is ruining that improved experience. The elements of the phone are mostly change. If you are a Nokia Asha user before, you might be surprise with its new UI.  Even the Social App on the Nokia Asha 306 has changed. You might hate it because it lacks a lot features but this one is way faster than the old one. Another thing that I like in here is the drop down notifications. Freakin useful.

There’s the Nokia Browser that can only connect using the mobile data, which is on EDGE only. If you want to browse the Internet using Wi-Fi then you must download a 3rd party browser like Opera Mini. Oh and speaking of apps, there are a lot of free EA games on the phone. Yes. A LOT.



Verdict

The Nokia Asha 306 wants to show you that featurephones can act like a Smartphone but this phone still lacks a lot of things and it still needs more improvement to become a smartphone but the revamped Asha OS/S40 OS was great. A lot of elements were changed for good but the resistive screen ruined its experience. The Nokia Asha 306 is available at the Smart Online Store at Plan 500 or you can buy it unlock for P4,250.



Disclosure: This unit was won by Jam Ancheta during the Smart iPhone 5 Launch at Resorts World Manila




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