Nokia’s likely to get the most attention for its Android-powered Nokia X smartphone, but it introduced two new low-cost feature phones at Mobile World Congress that are worthy of consideration as well. The Nokia 220 has an ultra-low-cost unsubsidized price, and the Asha 230 is the latest entry in Nokia’s solid Asha family of devices.
According to Nokia, the 220 (pictured above) is the most affordable data product the company has ever made, at €29 (or roughly $39.70). It’s a small rectangular bar of a phone, with a 2.4-inch screen. It has a traditional high-quality Nokia finish, with a bright color palette across the entire device, including the keypad.
Though it’s still a low-cost feature phone, Nokia wants to bring some data to the experience, preinstalling apps for both Facebook and Twitter. It also comes with Nokia’s Xpress web browser, capable of compressing data by up to 90 percent, which is a huge deal for anyone watching their data usage. The phone’s search engine is automatically tuned to Microsoft’s Bing in the countries in which it is available.
The Asha 230 (left), meanwhile, is the least expensive Asha to date at €45 (or about $61.60). It features a 2.8-inch touchscreen and uses the same software as the Asha 500 series. That means you get access to the Nokia Store and its fairly wide selection of apps, as well as preloaded features like Nokia’s MixRadio and Microsoft’s OneDrive.
Nokia is planning to release an Asha 1.4 software update in April, which will bring a number of improvements, particularly to the Fastlane home screen. It will allow you to see Twitter updates in Fastlane, and improve the way images are handled. The 230 will ship with the current version of Asha software but will receive the 1.4 update when it comes out.
While neither Asha phones are likely to get as much buzz as the Nokia X will, both look like relatively solid, affordable feature phones. And with far more smartphones than feature phones being announced, it’s important that the feature phones out there at least bring some quality to the table, which Nokia’s latest handsets appear to do.
Both phones will be available the first week of March, though I don’t expect either to arrive in the U.S.