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Nokia are having a busy Christmas - not content with launching a tablet this Christmas, at the other end of the spectrum they've just launched the Nokia Asha 503 exclusively on O2. The phone is perhaps unique - in that it's not quite a smartphone, but can do smartphone-like things - and it's aimed at price conscious PAYG customers. Read on to see our review.

The Premise

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You may not have heard of the Asha range. Unlike other Nokia phones, they don't run Windows Mobile - and nor do they even run Android. Asha is more reminiscent of the "feature phones" of old. As such, the Asha is designed to be much cheaper than it's siblings, and has been a big deal in developing countries. As you might imagine, Nokia are releasing the 503 over in the UK to aim at the budget phone market. To speak to this fact, it's only going to be available on Pay-As-You-Go.

The Hardware

The phone itself is rather dinky - a few millimeters wider and a couple of centimetres smaller than an iPhone 4S, and it packs a 3" screen covered in Gorilla Glass. It feels very plastic, but the transparent plastic coating gives it a little style.

The screen itself is only QVGA - which is only 240x320 pixels - compare to modern phones that can squeeze in 1080p HD screens and you'll begin to understand why this is a distinctly entry level device.

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Inside there's only 64mb of RAM - and micro-SD support goes up to 32GB. Simply put - this phone wouldn't have been out of place seven years ago but doesn't look all that great in comparison now. The two sops it does have to the modern world is that it has built in Wifi, Bluetooth and 3G - alongside a surprisingly good 5 megapixel camera.

So slightly underwhelming - but this is a budget phone. Perhaps more importantly: how does it perform?

The Software

Whilst the Asha is a budget option, this isn't stopping Nokia from trying to make it seem like it can do many of the things that a smartphone can do. To this end, the homescreen has the familiar look of a list of apps with icons (interestingly it hasn't been skinned to resemble Windows Mobile). There's all of the standard things - calls, contacts, messaging and so on - as well as Facebook, Twitter, and a bunch of WhatsApp-style apps that are big in various countries (such as Line, which is big in Japan) - just no WhatsApp.

When you go to use any of the apps you get an immediate indication that it's not a very powerful phone - with loading screens before using anything. The Facebook app appears to be just a wrapper for the mobile website - and the browser itself is fairly slow going. Perhaps the biggest distraction is the incredibly low-res screen, which makes even 5MP photos displayed on screen look pretty terrible.

On one of the built in racing games I played too the graphics were of a quality I haven't seen since the Game Boy Advance. It's enough to make Angry Birds look like Avatar.

There's even an app store - but don't expect much from it. Because Asha isn't a major platform, like iOS, Android, or even Windows Mobile in comparison, there's going to be less apps being developed - so don't expect to find much beyond the basics. They'll be no Instagram or Vine here. Bemusingly, one of the featured apps on the appstore homescreen is "Google Maps" which isn't actually Google Maps, but an unofficial app that when you give it an address it will download and show you that one tile from Google Maps. And this was a featured app.

Maybe I'm being unfair - after all, the Asha 503 isn't for the likes of me. But even on its own merits it isn't hugely impressive. It can make calls and send messages okay, and that's what you need, right?

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The Price

So how much will all of this cost? The Asha is available now exclusively on O2 PAYG in the UK - and the phone will set you back only £69.99 - with no strings attached.

The Verdict

So is this phone for you? If you're a regular reader, then probably not - you'll want a proper smartphone. If you've found this review after searching the internet looking for phone advice, and are on a budget - or don't want anything too fancy... maybe.

Are there any viable alternatives? Even checking the O2 PAYG offering it appears you can pick up this Alcatel Android for £40 - which whilst it has a slightly less good camera, betters this Asha in almost every other respect.

So I can't help but wonder if you might be better off getting a low-end Android phone.

Nokia-lumia-1520-main.jpgIf you are looking forward to Nokia's big screen mobile the Lumia 1520, you are going to have to wait a little longer.The debut Windows phablet from the brand was slated to launch at the end of the month. However credible sources are now saying that it has been pushed back as Microsoft and Nokia work through the machinations of their recent transaction.

Reuters is claiming that the Lumia 1520 was supposed to launch in New York later this month, but it won't now land until October - with @evleaks suggesting that it will be October 22nd.

It will be fascinating to see the fall out from Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia and how this impacts on its handsets.

The phone is rumoured to have a six inch screen with 1080p high def resolution, and come with a 20 mega pixel camera and a Snapdragon 800 Quad-Core processor.

nokia-sirius1.jpgThere have been lot so rumours recently about a forthcoming Nokia tablet - nicknamed the Sirius - and now we have spec sheet to look at. Ubergizmo got its hand on this information which seems to concur with a lot of what has already been written about the device. The sheet confirms the Bluetooth certification of the device which has the model number of RM-114.

It will sport a 10.1 inch screen, a Snapdragon 800 processor at its heart and obviously run a Windows operating system.

Other expected specs include a micro HDMI connector and a micro USB port, compatibility with LTE 4G networks, and a decent battery life of around ten hours. It may also have a 6.7 megapixel camera and a case that doubles as a keyboard.

A previous leak showed the device in red which suggests it will be available in the US via Verizon. There's no clues as to who might take it in the UK though.

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Solar powered concept phones have been around for a while now, Nokia did some interesting work in this area a few years back and again more recently there is a strong selection of solar powered chargers for iPhones and other mobiles.

But might solar powered phones be about to hit the mainstream? That's the rumours following new reports that Apple is working on solar powered elements to its batteries to reduce the strain caused by brighter screens and faster processors,

A recent job listing confirmed that the company has a requirement for a solar power expert within the company's Mobile Devices group.

The company filed this patent for a solar panel earlier in the year.

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Nokia's budget 4G smartphone, the Lumia 625 has been given a UK release date and a price. And it looks like it will be one of the best value smartphones out there too. It will certainly be the cheapest 4G phone around for a while and a star for 02 and Voda's new 4G networks.

First to recap, the phone has a 4.6inch screen which is WVGA resolution (800 x 640), runs Windows Mobile and touts a eight mega pixel camera. It laos packs a Dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon processor, 512MB of RAM and 8GB of storage and comes with other Nokia features like Mix Radio music, Nokia's Here mapping service and its Smart Camera option.

And as for availability well it will on sale from O2, Vodafone, EE, Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U from August 28.

If you buy the phone without a SIM expect to pay around £179 for it. If you want it free then monthly tariffs start at around £21.

nokia-lumia-625-2.jpgNokia is one of the few makers left that hasn't delivered a phablet phone with a screen bigger than five inches.

The serious gossip is that is about to change with some pundits predicting that the Finnish company will announce its first big screen mobile next month.

A source has told My Nokia Blog that the phablet is on its way and that its screen will be "definitely more than 5 (inches)."

Among the other rumours are that it will sport a full HD screen - the first for a Windows Mobile phone - feature a quad-core processor, and may even be accompanied by a full-on tablet.

This seems very likely. Surely Nokia will deliver a phablet and a tablet device very shortly. It seems odd that it has left it so long to address these two growing market areas.

nokia-lumia-625-2.jpgAnd yet another new Windows-powered smartphone from Nokia. Yet the Lumia 625 which was unveiled today, is interesting for a couple of reasons.

Firstly it is a budget-ish smartphone which has plenty of features by coming in at around £200 isnlt that pricey. Secondly it is the biggest Nokia Lumia phone to date with a near-Phablet sized 4.7inch screen.

However its resolution of 480 x 800, is a little below some of its rivals. Other features include a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4, a five mega pixel camera, 8GB of storage and HSPA and LTE (4G) compatibility.

"With our largest smartphone screen to date, the Nokia Lumia 625 is a perfect example of how Nokia is delivering leading smartphone innovation and experiences at every price point," said Jo Harlow, executive vice president, Nokia Smart Devices.

The phone will be widely available in the UK with EE, Vodafone, O2, Phones4U and Carphone Warehouse all saying they will have it in stock come early September.

Nokia-Lumia-1020.jpgNokia today announced what is in reality one of the most mind blowing mobiles ever. That 41 megapixel camera plus the ability to take images and save them in two sizes simultaneously is a massive leap forward. The company which was already arguably the best at cameraphones, has leapt even further ahead. But is the Lumia 1020 set to be a success. Here are four things which Nokia will have to overcome first.

1 It is going to be expensive - that technology doesn't come cheap and the Lumia 1020 might well work out one of the most expensive mobiles on sale. Of course it is a premium product but that price might limits its appeal.

2 Windows Mobile 8 - which if you have used it you will know is actually a really good solid and innovative mobile phone OS. However it doesn't have the ubiquity of Android or the cool of iOS and for some people that's enough to stop them from even considering the 1020.

3 The marketing spend - It is no coincidence that Samsung's Galaxy S4 and Sony's Xperia Z are top of the Android phone charts at the moment and that's because of the huge marketing spend on both mobiles. I wouldn't have thought that Nokia will be able to match those budgets.

4 Do that many people want its headline feature?
- Sure 41 mega pixel is impressive, but how often have you heard someone moaning about the quality of images taken by their smartphone? I think when shopping for a phone cameras can come quite low down on the list of buyer's priorities. Also is it going to be a digital SLR replacement? Nope, I don't think so. I think it could well find a role as a supplementary camera for photographers who can use it as a back up.

However if there's one thing that the phone has in spades it is cool. It really is a show stopper. Anyone with any kind of interest in tech will be keen to at the very least take a peek at it.

As Tony Cripps analyst at Ovum, and Nokia expert, said earlier today...

Nokia may still have work to do to convince prospective buyers to sacrifice favourite apps for superior imaging. But for those who are less concerned about specific third-party apps or in need of something different, the Lumia 1020's pictures provide a thousand reasons to look again.


nokia lumia 1020.pngNokia has today take the wraps off its ultra high end cameraphone the Lumia 1020 - the one which packs a 41 megapixel camera and full HD video recording.

So when is it going to be available in the UK? Well Phones4u and Three were very quick off the mark. Phones4u have confirmed that the 4G compatible phone will be available 'at a later date.' If you are interested you can register on the website. Here is the Three Lumia 1020 page.

We have written about the phone countless times before its launch, but suffice to say for now it that 41 mega pixel camera, PureView technology, Optical Image Stabilisation and high-resolution zoom. It stores different resolution images simultaneously. So in addition to the 41MP-resolution photos, the phone uses a process called "oversampling" to combine the pixels into a smaller 5MP version which can be shared instantly via social media.

The phone runs Windows Phone 8 and comes with standard features like Nokia Music, wireless charging and free voice-guided sat nav. It will come with 32 gigabytes of storage and judging by the size of some of the lossless images you can take you will need that space.

Scott Hooton, Chief Commercial Officer at Phones 4u, comments: "We're hugely excited to not only be offering the most powerful camera phone to date to our customers, but to be adding another groundbreaking smartphone to our ever growing 4G range. 4G brings mobile content to life and enables people to get so much more out of their phones, so uploading outstanding quality photos and videos to social media will be super-fast and super easy on the 4G Nokia Lumia 1020."

Sylvia Chind, Head of Devices at Three said, "Boasting one of the best camera experiences we've ever seen, Nokia Lumia 1020 is a feat of smartphone engineering. Coupled with Three's all-you-can-eat data, our customers can make the most of their snaps, sharing them quickly over Three's Ultrafast network, without the fear of being stung by out-of-bundle data charges."

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We have known that Nokia is about to launch a high-end camera phone for sometime to follow in the footsteps of its brilliant but flawed 808 PureView. However we didn't know the name... Until now.

With the launch set for New York on Thursday we now know that the mobile is very likely to be called the Lumia 1020.

This is thanks to a Microsoft employee who posted images taken by the phone on Flickr. Apparently two of Joe Belfiore's images were marked as being shot by a Nokia Lumia 1020. Interestingly one image's resolution was listed as 2947 x 1658 (nearly 5-megapixels), while the other was 2352 x 1568 (3.7-megapixels). This may or may not confirm that the phone is able to save an image twice in two different resolutions. The theory being that you save the higher res one and send the lower res image,

The phone's camera is all but confirmed as capable of capturing 41 megapixels and it is thought that will come with a xenon flash.

The phone will run Windows Mobile unlike the 808 PureView. which used the company's now outdated Symbian OS.

For more on the phone check here.

Here's the image that Joe Belfiore took

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If you pine for those days when a mobile phone battery could last a day or so without a recharge then there's some good news for you. Nokia today unleashed a trio of new mobiles which have battery life of, wait for it, 33 days on standby.

Nokia 207 and Nokia 208 are non-touch screen chocolate bar design mobiles that are aimed at users who still want a smartphone experience on a cheap and small device as they are both 3.5G HSPA compatible.

They do however boasts email, WhatsApp messaging (and if you are wondering what that is click here) Facebook and Twitter apps. There's also basic web access too, with Nokia's Xpress Browser compressing data for a smoother, and apparently faster web surfing experience.

The third phone is a dual-SIM variant of the Nokia 208, which enables you manage two separate SIM plans on a single device.

The big difference between the 207 and 208 is that the former has no camera whereas the latter comes with a 1.3 megapixel snapper

"The Nokia 207 and Nokia 208 are designed for people who like a classic phone and traditional keypad but don't want to miss out on smartphone experiences, like staying connected to social media and accessing the Internet," said Timo Toikkanen, executive vice president, Mobile Phones, Nokia.

"As our most affordable 3G devices yet, the Nokia 207 and Nokia 208 offer a perfect balance of performance, features and quality."

They aren't too pricey either

Expect to pay $68 USD (around £45) for the Nokia 208 and Nokia 207 when they start shipping during the third quarter of 2013. Nokia haven't revealed pricing for the dual-SIM variant yet.

For that money they could moonlight as your second phone on the occasions when you need to leave your super expensive mobile at home.

Is Nokia labeling all iPhone users as zombies? Well that appears to be the rationale behind the company's new ad for its Lumia 925 Windows powered mobile phone.

The ad features a street full of iPhone touting zombies taking images in low light with powerful flashes shooting off everywhere. The implication is that if you use the iPhone flash in this way then you'll get whited out subjects with red eyes like zombies.

Unlike with the Lumia 925 which the company says promises: "The best pictures in any light. Even without the flash."

The ad is part of an ongoing campaign by Nokia to underline its credentials as a market leader in camera phones. The 925 certainly has an impressive 8.7 mega pixel camera and Nokia will soon properly unveil the Lumia EOS PureView camera which may boast a 41 megapixel sensor.

Camera quality is one of the easiest ways that other makers can take on the iPhone - for more on that and their other tactics see here.

Apple is however likely to respond with an enhanced camera on the iPhone 5S which ironically enough may deal with some of the issues created by its powerful flash.

So what do you think. Has Nokia gone too far with the Apple-bashing this time?

41-millions-reasons.jpgOne of the most exciting phones of 2013 looks set to be Nokia's 41 mega pixel cameraphone the EOS PureView. Except that the handset hasn't yet been confirmed by the company.

Or has it? Nokia posted the above image on its blog today "41 Million Reasons" in na bid to encourage punters to tune into its launch event scheduled for July 11th in New York.

This follows the teasers that the company sent to journalists last week which had the words "Zoom. Reinvented."

Basically if it isn't a camera phone that Nokia is launching in early July then what the hell is it?

In addition to the 41 megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss lens, which incidentally takes a high res shot for storing and a low res one for sharing simultaneously, the phone also boasts a 720p display, has 32GB of internal storage and runs the latest version of Windows Mobile.

There's more on the mobile here.

Nokia-Lumia-925.jpgThree has announced that Nokia's new flagship Windows Mobile phone, the Lumia 925, is now available for pre-order and will be on sale from 21 June.

It follows Vodafone and O2 which made similar announcements recently.

The handset will cost £35 a month on Three's Ultimate Internet 500 plan and £37 a month on The One Plan. Both plans come with all- you-can-eat data. Three is also throwing in a free wireless charging stand and cover.

The mobile got a fairly warm reception when it was unveiled a few weeks back. It has a 4.5inch screen, runs exciting and near future versions of 4G and sports a very striking aluminum shell.

It also is also compatible with Nokia's signature recent feature - wireless charging.
A great deal of attention though has been focused on the mobile's camera.. It sports an 8.7 MP PureView camera which is packed with six lenses, and features Carl Zeiss optics that Nokia claims are able to let in five times more light than other smartphones which means higher quality low light images.

purevieweos2.jpgSo how do you differentiate your flagship phone from your rivals?If you are Samsung you go for a larger screen size and stack it out with software goodies. If you are Sony you make it waterproof and ensure that the build quality is outstanding.

And as for Nokia, well the maker seems to be focusing on producing the best camera phones ever. To be fair the Finnish maker has always lead the pack with its snappers. They were among the first to really push for serious mega pixels on mobiles while at the same time experimenting with high-end Carl Zeis lenses

Last year they launched the intriguing 808 PureView. This was slightly bizarre handset that featured an astonishing camera which could take 41 mega pixel images and sported Carl Zeiss-branded optics in a mobile that way was thinner and lighter than it had any right to be.

The only problem was that it ran Nokia's rather outdated Symbian operating system which rendered it rather second rate as a general smartphone.

Well judging by the amount of leaks the company is having another crack at re-inventing the camera phone. It has lined up a model, which is known by the moniker of Elvis but is likely to land as with a more sensible name, that pairs the best camera ever on a smartphone with the Windows Mobile OS used on its recent Lumia mobiles. For now we can call it the EOS PureView.

There has been a deluge of leaks of the product in the last few days, which the clever money says will launch in July or August, and they show a phone with a huge bulge on the back which is there to accomodate the rather serious lens that a high end camera phone requires.

As for the rumours about the handset, well it is expected to sport at least a 41 mega pixel camera and a powerful Xenon flash. The really smart bit is that it takes two copies of each image you take - a 35-megapixel shot and 5-megapixel shot so you have one for storing and one for instant uploading - genius idea!

Also on board is likely to be the Nokia Pro Camera app which has a range of effects and tools such as an 11x zoom, anti-shake, manual focus, face detection and a self timer.

The pics and rumours are here and here.

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Nokia-Asha-501-Color-Range_465.jpgSo you want a cheap, but reliable phone and don't give a monkeys about big screens or fancy operating systems. Well Nokia is once again coming to your aid. The company seems intent on cornering this low-end, old school market with its Asha range of phones. And it has announced a new one today the Asha 501.

In theory these handsets are largely aimed at developing markets, where Nokia is doing well, but looking at the specs and the design I do think then might have a cult hit on their hands with these phones in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. This phone, which has the freebie messaging service WhatsApp built in, is already causing a buzz.

Back to the 501. Nokia is billing it as an affordable smartphone in that it is first to run on the new Asha platform which has been optimised for this type of phone. Just like Android and iOS users can create apps for Asha, so hopefully you will see a lot of your favourite apps landing very soon.

On to the phone then. It has a three inch touch screen, comes in a choice of six striking colours and features two parts - a removable casing and the scratch-resistant glass display.

It is light - it weighs only 91 grams, has amazing battery life (Nokia claims that it runs for 48 hours on standdy) has on board Wi-Fi and packs a 3.2 mega pixel camera.

Nokia says they have also kept the interface simple with the user offered the choice of two main screens: 'home' and Fastlane. Home is a traditional, icon-based view for launching individual apps or accessing a specific feature, like the dialler or phone settings. The new Fastlane view sports recently accessed contacts, social networks and apps.

The phone also comes with Nokia Xpress browser which the maker says compresses Internet data by up to 90% to make mobile browsing faster and more affordable.

Lastly the phone is going to be cheap. It will sell for $99 and that's before any network subsidies.

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As has been rumoured for a couple of days now Nokia has unveiled a new phone with an integrated QWERTY keyboard targeted at users who spend a lot of time texting or messaging. The Nokia Asha 210 won't trouble smartphone buyers too much but this phone is aimed squarely at those for whom messaging if their number one reason to own a handset. I guess it will also play well in developing countries where Nokia is currently doing very well.

It also sports a dedicated WhatsApp instant messaging service button. This integrates with the 210's phone book user can chat right from the phone's address book.

Key features include a 2.4-inch QVGA (320×240) display, 64Mb of memory, a two mega pixel camera and from the box support for Facebook and Twitter. Also included is the Nokia Xpress Browser which uses cloud-based technology to reduce web pages by up to 90 per cent of their size thereby keeping data usage low.

In keeping with the Asha range the handset has a very long battery life of 46 days standby with the Single SIM model; up to 24 days with Dual SIM. It will be available in yellow, cyan, black, magenta and white and is expected to be priced at around £50 when it goes on sale in the second quarter of 2013.

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More Nokia rumours this morning. A Chinese site is touting some pictures which it claims show the next generation Nokia smartphone which has been nicknamed the Catwalk.

It has that moniker as, to give the handset a more premium feel it is finished in iPhone 5 style aluminium.

The phone will be an upgrade on Nokia's current flagship the Lumia 920 - but not much of one. According to the leak it will sport a 4.5inch display, an S4 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, 16GB of memory instead of the current 32GB, a 2000mAh battery and an 8.7MP OIS camera with LED Flash. It will also include wireless charging facilities.

There have also been rumours of Nokia phablet and a very high-end cameraphone which you can read about it here.


The FT has a rumour this morning that yet another manufacturer is about to unleash a Phablet - or a phone with a big screen as non-techies call it.

The paper reports sources that say that the company will not only have a Phablet to rival the very successful Samsung Galaxy Note range but also that will boast a more advanced set of features.

In the same story there is an update on the long-time rumoured Nokia EOS - a top-end smartphone that will be shipped with a 41-megapixel OIS camera with Xenon flash and PureView technology. The story says that the handset will be announced in July but doesn't say when it will go on sale.

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Here's an interesting snippet which has been picked up by a number of news sources.

It seems that Windows mobile phones are outselling Apple's iPhone in some important developing markets.

Even though the Microsoft OS only holds around three per cent market share, Windows phones are ahead of Apple in India, Russia, South Africa and three other markets. Not surprisingly these are markets where Nokia phones have traditionally sold well.

The story emerged after a blog post from Frank Shaw, Microsoft's head of public relations, which was then clarified by IDC - the research company that provided the data.

IDC analyst Kevin Restivo pointed out that Windows Phone sold less than 100,000 units during Q4 2012 in Ukraine, South Africa and 'the rest of central and eastern Europe'.

However the fact that Nokia Windows handsets are still popular in India and Russia - two of the most populated countries in the world - is cause for hope for the Finnish brand.

Interestingly it appears that Nokia is being out sold in its home market of Finland though. Ouch!

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