Did everyone get what they wanted for Christmas? I hope they’re not already on eBay!
It feels like a long time ago but among my presents were a sweater, a watch and, most exciting of all, a brand new Nokia Asha 308 delivered straight from Lapland. Well, Helsinki anyway.
The Asha 308, unveiled together with the Asha 309 in September 2012, is a full touchscreen device that offers an innovative and affordable smartphone experience.
The small details
It sports a 3-inch, scratch-resistant, capacitive touchscreen, a 2-megapixel camera, a powerful built-in speaker and great power management: Up to 25 days on standby.
Like the others in the Asha Touch family, it operates on a fun-to-use touch and full swipe operating system, which makes accessing your social networks, the Internet, apps and playing games easier, faster and more affordable than ever before.
I knew all that before though. What do I think now that I’ve actually been using the device for a couple of weeks?
It’s got the look
I know it’s superficial but you can’t really start anywhere else but on the Asha 308’s gorgeous looks.
I have one in golden light (the other option is black) and it looks exceptionally striking. It has a glossy finish and the back battery cover is patterned but is still smooth to the touch.
Maybe it’s just the gold, but it looks decidedly ‘expensive’ and certainly has a premium feel to it. As you would expect from a Nokia, it feels extremely well made.
Where its elder sibling, the Nokia Asha 311 is rounded and subtle, the Asha 308 is more angular, has more edges and has a bit more of a ‘look at me’ vibe about it.
Bling is one word that comes to mind. Again, maybe that’s just the gold talking.
I suspect Nokia’s designers had a little more fun with the Asha 308 too. There are some lovely little touches like the way the two front buttons gently rise and fall to guide your finger towards them.
However, what really distinguishes the Asha 308 from its Asha counterparts is the Easy-Swap Dual-SIM feature.
I’ve never had a Dual-SIM phone before and it’s a bit like discovering a new favourite app – you wonder how you’ve ever lasted so long without it!
How does it work?
There’s the first SIM (think of this as your main SIM) that lives in the usual place – underneath the battery.
Then, on the side of the Asha 308 is an easy access slot for the second SIM. You don’t need to turn your phone off or worry about removing the battery to insert and remove the second SIM.
Whenever you have two SIMs inserted you can then choose which one you want to be using. This is done simply and quickly by swiping down from the top of the screen to bring up the notification shortcuts.
While using the Asha 308, it struck me that there are several common scenarios when a second SIM could be really beneficial:
- On holiday, to take advantage of local data rates so you don’t get stung by roaming charges
- Again, when you’re on holiday having a new local SIM for cheaper call rates but still keeping your old SIM and number for emergencies
- Being able to keep your work number and personal number in the one device
- Even if you’re not actively using the second SIM – it’s really handy for storing an extra SIM card. These little things are very easy to lose!
- Storing phone numbers on your second SIM
Having just returned from a lengthy foreign trip – the Asha 308 would have been an ideal device to take.
It has everything I need in a smartphone – full access to emails, Twitter, Facebook, other social networks and the rest of the Internet, which renders beautifully on the Nokia Xpress Browser. This uses cloud-compression technology to make surfing the web quicker and cheaper by up to 90%.
There’s a great choice of apps in the Nokia Store (see Apps for Asha in this recent 2012 round-up post) and the native photo-editing suite is not just comprehensive but a true delight to use. Plus, it will take me a while to try out all my 40 free Asha games!
As with all the other Asha Touch devices, the Asha 308 is fast, fun and easy to use. With the awesome Dual-SIM capability, killer looks and a micro-SD slot too, it might just be my new favourite in the family.