As a appendage of the Asha family, which is the company’s line of cheap phones aimed at emerging markets, the 210 will not be heading to the U.S. Rather, it will launch in Q2 in parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia for about $72 (before tax and subsidies). It will come in single- and dual-SIM models as well.
Nokia is also partnering with three social networking and messaging apps, and bringing them onto the Asha 210. Depending on where you are, the device will sport a shortcut key for either Facebook, Weibo, or WhatsApp.
The handset is compact and has a sleek, minimalistic aesthetic that’s similar to the Lumia. Save for the top of the phone (which houses a 3.5mm AV jack and Micro-USB port for charging), and a door on the left edge for the optional second SIM slot, its edges remain largely unblemished. It has a polycarbonate construction and a thin, severely bricklike shape. I especially welcome its smooth, almost chalky feel as well.
The Asha 210 measures 4.39 inches tall, 2.36 inches wide, and 0.46 inch thick. At 3.43 ounces, it’s lightweight and fits well in the hand. It comes in four other colors besides yellow: white, cyan, magenta, and black.
The front includes a 2.4-inch QVGA screen, with a 320×240-pixel resolution. So, while it won’t display crisp HD video, text and menu icons still looked clear and easy to read when I handled it. Below the display are two selection keys, two buttons to make and end a call, a center navigation key, a shortcut camera button on the right, and a hot key on the left that will launch a certain social networking service (more on that later).
The four-row QWERTY keyboard lights up when in use and is textured for easy typing. In addition, the space bar doubles as a Wi-Fi launch button when long pressed. During my time with the device, I found the keyboard to be a bit cramped. However, save for a few typos and missed letters, the buttons are easy to press and again, I love the keyboard’s chalky texture.
On the rear is a camera lens that lacks a flash. Below it is a wide speaker grill. With the help of a small indent up top, the back plate is easy to take off. Once removed, you can gain access to the primary SIM card slot, the microSD card slot that’s expandable up to 32GB, and the battery.