By Alexandra Burlacu | Apr 24, 2013 10:02 AM EDT
While previous Asha handsets sported full touchscreen displays, the newly announced Nokia Asha 210 returns to the physical keyboard with a full QWERTY.
The Asha 210 is Nokia's previously teased big announcement, and it's a colorful phone that comes in five different colors. The handset also has a dual-SIM option for those who like to keep things separate. With a continued focus on low-end and developing markets, the Asha 210 comes as an entry-level device with a full keyboard, a design update and a dedicated WhatsApp button.
The new Nokia Asha 210 borrows design cues from the company's current flagships in the Lumia line, which is an obvious influence even in terms of colors. Color options for the Asha 210 include cyan, magenta, yellow, as well as the classic black and white. The phone has a soft-touch plastic finish, but considering that it's an entry-level device, it makes sense not to be one piece of polycarbonate.
The dominating QWERTY catches the eye, and the handset also has menu and navigation buttons above and below dedicated WhatsApp and camera buttons. The WhatsApp integration is a great touch for an entry-level handset, as it not only provides quick access to chat, but it also allows users to enjoy the service for life, without any annual fees.
In some markets, however, the new Nokia Asha 210 will have a dedicated Facebook button instead of the WhatsApp key. According to Engadget, this button doesn't seem to be configurable. It's not clear yet which markets will get which version, but Europe and the U.S. will likely get the phone with blue stripes, while other markets would get them in green.
The hardware, meanwhile, is much like a fruit punch. The handset still runs on 2G, so those hoping for 3G/ HSPA are in for some disappointment. The Asha 210 does, however, have Wi-Fi. When it comes to camera, the phone only has a 2-megapixel rear shooter, but it's still an improvement over the 205's lame VGA camera. The dedicated camera button is also a nice touch. While the phone doesn't have a front camera, users can still take those infamous "selfies" with the self-portrait mode first seen on the 301. Nokia did not detail the specs under the hood, but at the entry-level, talk about RAM and processor is pointless anyway.
Overall, the phone is pretty good for its range. It's light, Nokia-style solid, responsive and, most importantly, cheap: $72 for both the single- and dual-SIM versions. In other words, Nokia's offering may be perfect for those looking for a cheap, well-built phone with core functionality and social media integration.
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