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Budget smartphones Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Nokia Asha 503 review: a budget smartphone in every sense

£69.99 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Nokia

Our Rating: We rate this 2.5 out of 5

The Nokia Asha 503 is a phone that runs its own OS and is aimed at the budget end of the smartphone market. Read our Nokia Asha 503 review to find out what it's like.

Nokia Asha 503 review

At £69.99 the Nokia Asha 503 is one of the cheapest smartphones available to buy in the UK right now. It comes with its own OS and is unique in its design. Is this phone better than its rival budget Android smartphones? Read our Nokia Asha 503 review to find out more. (See all budget smartphone reviews)

Nokia Asha 503 review: Design and build

The design of the Nokia Asha 503 is an interesting one – it looks like no other smartphone on the market right now. It resembles somethings you might see in a lady's makeup bag, weather this is a good thing is a bit of a personal choice. (See also: The 6 best budget smartphones)

The phone itself is a nice size; at 102.6 x 60.6 x 12.7mm everything is easily reachable with your thumb, but the 503 isn't the thinnest device in the world – it could definitely do with slimming down a little to be described as stylish. (Take a look at The 15 best smartphones of 2013.)

The screen itself is a 3-inch scratch-resistant, curved Gorilla Glass screen; there is a huge amount of bezel in play here, which makes the display look smaller than it actually is. (Check out the £77 ZTE Blade V review too)

On the plus side, the Asha 503 only weighs 110.2g and yet it still feels incredibly solid and sturdy in your hand. It's the sort of smartphone that you'd have to be really unlucky to physically break.

An old school plus point for the Nokia Asha 503 is that it has interchangeable covers, so you can pick a colour of your choice. The colours available are Yellow; Bright Red; Bright Green; Cyan; White; and Black.

Nokia Asha 503 review

Nokia Asha 503 review: Hardware

You shouldn't be surprised to learn that this £69 phone isn't that well equipped in the hardware department. It's a smartphone that is built to be as cheap as possible and therefor its physical attributes are far from impressive.

The display itself is a 3-inch 240 x 320 pixel touchscreen, giving it a lowly pixel density of 133 ppi.

Physical storage leaves a lot to be desired too, the smartphone only comes with 174.2MB on board, of which only 50MB is available to the user. However, things aren't all bad as the 503 has a much needed microSD slot (expandable to 32GB), the phone comes attached with a 4GB microSD card as standard – sadly there are only a few free MBs available for the user to use here as well - not ideal!

Nokia fails to disclose what sort of RAM size and processor type is featured in the Asha 503 – from our time with the device we can confirm that it is no speed demon. Flicking around the home screen is pretty seamless enough, opening the built in Facebook app for example can take anything from 5 seconds to over a minute. Patience will be need when trying to open a few apps one after another on this phone.

Benchmarking this Nokia Asha 503 is a bit of a non-stater given that none of the standard benchmark apps were available to download on this smartphone. We tried to run the Sunspider 1.0.2 benchmark, but this was pointless as the test kept freezeing.

Nokia Asha 503 review: Camera

One of the more promising things about the Nokia Asha 503 is the onboard camera. It's a little short of being razor sharp, but the 5Mp camera does offer you a way of capturing snaps and short videos with a reasonable amount of clarity.

Here's our test photo and video.

Nokia Asha 503 review

Nokia Asha 503 review: Software

The Nokia Asha 503 comes with its own Asha software platform, and to give it some credit it's pretty intuitive to use. Simply swipe left or right and you are presented with all of your apps laid out in a grid like you'd expect.

Swipe either way again and you are presented with the Fastline feature/screen, which is essentially a history list of apps and pictures/videos you have recently accessed as well as a list of important reminders/events that you have coming up (providing you've stored them on your Nokia Asha 503.)

The Asha 502 comes with some popular apps preinstalled, which is a real selling point for the phone. These apps include Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and The Weather Channel - a list that caters for a large amount of what the average person actually uses their smartphone for. These apps aren't exactly polished though - they are clunky at best and look like they were designed 10-years ago.

Nokia Asha 503 review: Battery

On board is the Nokia battery BL-4U with 1200mAh Li-ion. From our time with the device, we're reasonably impressed. A charge will easily last a day of normal use – whether theisis because we were reluctant to use the Nokia Asha 503, like we would a high-end smartphone - due to the 503's slow performance - is debatable.

Nokia Asha 503 Expert Verdict »

Display size: 3 -inch
Display features: Brightness control, Corning® Gorilla® Glass, Nokia Glance screen, Screen double tap
Camera: 5Mp, LED flash
Storage: 174.2MB with 4GB microSD as standard (Max 32GB)
SIM card type: Micro SIM
Charging connectors: Micro-USB
Battery capacity: 1200 mAh
Size: 102.6 x 60.6 x 12.7
Weight: 110.2g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 6 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 4 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 5 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 4 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 5 of 10 overall

Nokia Asha 503 leaves a lot to be desire, it lacks performance, apps and reliability, but what it does have is affordability. The 502 really is an entry level smartphone that should only be considered if you are desperate to get your hands on a smartphone for as little money as possible – even then we'd suggest looking at the refurbished 2nd hand market first as using this phone on a day-to-day basis would drive you bananas.

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