Nokia Asha 501 preview: First look

GSMArena team, 27 June 2013.

Dual-SIM telephony works fine

The Phone app of the Asha 501 is pretty straightforward and works well. In the new Asha touch interface it integrates with the Call log and the Dialer and that's more than welcome.

Contacts are displayed with a photo and number, and a swipe up from the bottom of the actual list you get the Advanced menu and Add new contact shortcut. Then comes the search field.

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The actual contact details are displayed on a completely redesigned screen. You get a faded contact's picture as a background, with a huge name across and a number below. A few big thumbable icons at the bottom of the screen let you call, text or email the person.

You can add various details to your contacts, like numbers, mail address, ringtone or a URL. You can also choose where to save your contacts - SIM 1, SIM 2 or the phone memory. Only two sorting options are available - by first or last name. Contacts can be copied, moved or deleted either individually or in bulk.

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Editing a contact

The dialer itself is pretty standard, but sadly it doesn't offer smart dialing.

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The Dialer

When you're about to place a call you're prompted to choose the SIM card to use.

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Choosing a SIM

Both SIMs are active at the same time and you can receive calls on either line - the ongoing call is put on hold.

The in-call screen shows options for the keypad, muting a call, putting it on speaker, holding it and entering contacts. If you leave the in-call screen the status bar will notify you of an ongoing call and within a tap on it you'll be back to the Dialer.

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In-call screen • During a call on homescreen

Reception with the Asha 501 was consistently good and in-call sound was loud and surprisingly clear.

Music player and gallery

The Nokia Asha 501's music player has a neat interface and starts up with album art on top of the available sorting options: songs, artists, albums and playlists. There's no folder view and no additional settings for sound, such as an equalizer.

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Music Player

The now playing screen shows the timeline, album art, track and artist name, along with four toggles - skip, FF, play/pause and a home icon which takes you back to the start screen. The now playing screen features a pull-up context menu from the bottom of the screen, which gives you options to fav a song, shuffle, repeat and share.

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Now Playing

The song will keep playing even if you exit the player - you get a shortcut in the Fastlane and on the lockscreen with play-pause-skip controls readily available.

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Music controls in Fastlane and Lockscreen

The gallery on the Asha 501 has two tabs - the all captured tab, which holds all the images and videos you've captured with the Asha 501 and the folder view, which gives you the captured, favorites, modified and received.

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The Gallery

Images are shown in a grid of three and are scrollable vertically. You can pinch to zoom on images but strangely double-tap doesn't work here. You can share photos via email or Bluetooth and edit them. Editing options include rotating, flipping, cropping, lighting and contrast adjustment and adding color effects. The edited images go into the Modified folder.

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Viewing and editing images

You can set images as wallpapers, add them to favorites, see details and start a slideshow from the pull-up context menu.

Files is a great file manager

Nokia has a long tradition of great file managers on S40 and Symbian, which the Asha 501 continues. The app has a very clean interface and first lets you select between phone memory and the SD card. You can mass copy, delete and move items and folders, create new folders and sort by name, size, newest and oldest.

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The File manager