Opening the box for the Nokia Asha 205, and the first thing that sprung to mind was “crikey that’s dazzling”! The entire rear of the phone, along with highlights on the front, is bright orange. In a world of black, grey, silver and occasionally white phones, it’s great to see Nokia bringing colour to the Asha party too. The Asha 205 has actually a really nice design and if you want something a bit subtler, you can also go for a stylish black/blue combo, or even pink.
The 2.4-inch screen has a landscape orientation, which is great for browsing the Internet or checking out social networks. The keys on the QWERTY keypad are small, but they’re also perfectly formed, making it easy to type at speed. No doubt some people with overly large fingers may struggle, but for me it was absolutely spot on. After years of touchscreen phones, it’s easy to forget just how good a QWERTY keypad can be.
Modern touchscreen Nokia phones feature excellent text prediction software so you can type at speed, but with a QWERTY keypad mistakes just don’t happen. You can spend the day on Facebook and Twitter without fear of embarrassing typos, and it’s particularly welcome when typing out longer text messages. I also loved the fact that all the characters I needed were right there – no need to press a second button to get a full stop, comma, question mark or even ‘@’ symbol, making writing up texts and tweets considerably faster.
The more you use Asha 205, the more it becomes clear that it’s designed around messaging and staying in contact with your friends. The Asha 205 is the first Asha product to feature an integrated Facebook button, nestled to the left of the joypad. Tap the button and Facebook launches instantly – easy!.
The eBuddy app (comes pre-installed) brings all the big instant messaging clients together in one place – including Microsoft Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Google Talk and Facebook chat. With all these messaging apps the keyboard is joy to use! The Facebook button isn’t the only shortcut key on the Asha 205 either.
On the right side of the phone is another button that looks the same, and you can customise it to open other apps – such as Twitter or email Add in a joypad that can also be customised to open different apps or functions with a tap to the left or right, and you’ll find that the Asha 205 is a phone that can do a lot from a single button.
As with other Asha products, the Asha 205 has Nokia’s excellent Xpress Browser, and it’s a big bonus when you’re searching the Internet. There’s no Wi-Fi capability, so the connection is limited to EDGE speeds, but it’s simply not an issue. With the Nokia Xpress Browser compressing data by up to 90 per cent, web pages still load quickly and you’ll rarely be left waiting.
The Asha 205 is equally handy when it comes to entertainment. It supports MicroSD cards of up to 32GB, so you can store hundreds of hours worth of your favourite music. If you want to listen to something different, there’s an integrated FM radio. The Asha 205 also comes with Nokia’s EA Games Gift, letting you download 40 free games from EA. There are some top titles in there – such as Need for Speed Shift or Tetris – which would otherwise cost £3 each.
Bluetooth is present and easy to use, and I found it paired with my wireless headset within seconds. Bluetooth is about sharing content as well though, and this is where Nokia’s new Slam feature comes in. Using Slam, there’s no need to pair phones; you can share your photographs and media with people at the press of a button (your friend simply has to accept the request), and it even works with non Nokia phones.
The Asha 205 also gave me my first chance to try out Nokia Nearby – and it’s an impressive app!! You can search for places to shop, eat and drink and other local places of interest. Once you find a place you like, you can also share it on Facebook.
Nokia Nearby doesn’t provide turn-by-turn navigation, but then it doesn’t need to. You can check out places on the map, and it’s easy to find out where you are and how to get there. I’ve only been using the phone for a week and it has come in handy on a number of occasions.
Built around social media and messaging, it’s easy to like the Nokia Asha 205. The keypad really is a pleasure to use, and features like the integrated Facebook button make life a little bit easier. Add in the unique design and broad set of features for the money, and it’s a winning package.