On a more positive note, there is a handy pull-down menu to give instant access to your connection toggles and key settings, while swiping the main screen takes you from all your apps – the order of which can be changed – to the dialler or music player or radio and then onto a homepage that you can populate with as many or as few shortcuts as you like, and shows the time and date. Not bad for a dumb phone.
You can't knock a homegrown Nokia for battery life
When it comes to expanding the 311’s abilities there is a Nokia app store stocked with some handy stuff like WhatsApp but there's no Skype or Instagram. Nor can you use the 311 as Wi-Fi hotspot, if you were thinking about tethering your tablet to it. When it comes to that sort of functionality, the 311’s looks flatter to deceive.
With 40 free EA games to download, Angry Birds preloaded and basic little video and music players plus a microSD card slot (a 2GB card is included in the retail package), the 311 makes a good little media player. Also, you get Nokia Maps but as there’s no GPS the Asha 311 isn’t going to serve as a cheap satnav.
The 3.2Mp snapper isn't that great really. It's fixed focus affair that lacks a flash and can only record video at 480 x 640. Still, this is a budget phone and if you keep your expectations low, you might be pleasantly surprised with your pictorial endeavours.
The 311’s killer feature is its battery life. The maximum 3G talk time of 6hrs may not be that special, but 744hrs on 3G standby and 40hrs of music playback is impressive. In everyday use, you can expect to get around four days from a charge. Under the same usage regime, that will drain a Huawei G300 in a day and a bit. Excellent all round call quality too, but who uses their phone to talk these days?
As a tonic to these all-singing, all-dancing smartphones – that cost too much and consume power like there is no tomorrow – the Asha 311 has much to appreciate. It’s cheap, well made, does many of the basic things a fully fledged smartie will do, is easy and satisfying to use and will get you through many a day on a single charge. I’m not sure I could recommend one as a main phone over, say a G300 but as a backup or travel phone or your young’uns first handset, it’ll do very nicely. ®
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Nokia Asha 311
FYI: Series 40 is not Symbian
Just to clear this up:
Series40 is Nokia's own private phone OS. It's a lightweight, realtime OS with no exposed APIs. On top of this, a JavaME runtime provides the API for third-party applications. While the name "Series40" has been around for a while, the underlying OS may have dramatically changed several times as hardware evolved (but as it's not exposed, it's impossible to say this for sure).
Series60, on the other hand, was Nokia's brand-name for its version of Symbian.
It's Series40 that gave Nokia its reputation for solid, reliable, easy-to-use phones.
This is typical Nokia.
Never make a phone with everything you need, unless it's a flagship model. Always cripple it in some way, just in case people buy it.
They've always done this. I looked through their phone catalogue a couple of years ago, trying to pick one that did what I wanted. A phone with 3G would be missing WiFi. A phone with 3G and WiFi would be missing a GPS. A phone with 3G and GPS would be missing WiFi. In the end I thought f*** it and bought an Android which does everything.
Re: or get a full-fat smart phone for less money - t-mobile vivacity
Take away T-Mobile's subsidy, and that Vivacity is about £150, not £50, but it's hard to tell, as it's a specially stripped-down version of an existing ZTE phone.
The 311 is better made than the Vivacity, its UI is more responsive, and it lasts longer on a battery charge than any Android phone ever prodcuced. The ZTE has more apps, but I wonder how many will run well on such a slow device (its CPU is clocked at 600 MHz, with no GPU support). "Full fat" indeed, but precious little muscle to haul it around.
If you want Android, best to save up a bit more money and get a device that can run it properly. If you want a good touchscreen phone for a limited outlay, the 311 is the better choice.