Microsoft has just launched its most affordable Internet-ready mobile phone for the European and Asian markets. The Nokia 215 is a feature phone targeted at first time buyers, budget conscious consumers, and professionals who need a dependable backup mobile. Microsoft is also hoping that the Nokia 215 will help them gain a solid footing in emerging markets in the developing world. At a meager £20 (before taxes and surcharges) the 215 is definitely appealing, and it includes many attractive entry level features, not the least of which is a battery that can last up to 29 days between charges. But let’s take a closer look at what the Nokia 215 has to offer.
Nokia 215 – Design and Build
For a low cost mobile the Nokia 215 has a fairly solid build. It is small, coming in at just under 5 inches tall and 2 inches wide. Thin and lightweight, the 215 is convenient and easy to handle. It features a basic 320 x 240 pixel display, and a 0.3 megapixel camera. Admittedly, the camera and display are fairly basic, and don’t allow for a great deal of flexibility. But for an entry level handset in this price bracket they equal, or better, the competition. The 215 comes with 8GB of storage, which can be expanded to 32GB via an optional microSD card. The phone supports dual SIM cards, allowing the user to operate two functioning numbers simultaneously.
The Operating System
The 215 runs Nokia’s proprietary Series 30+ operating system, which is fairly intuitive and easy to navigate. This makes it ideal for first time buyers or as a child’s starter phone. As an entry level phone, apps are limited, which is to be expected. That being said, popular applications such as Twitter and Facebook come pre-loaded, along with messaging apps, Bing search, and the Opera mini browser. Users can download and store MP3s, video, and games via Nokia’s app store. Web connectivity is not 3G, so response time is admittedly rather slow. However, with a price tag of around £20 the Nokia 215 certainly holds its own among other budget priced handsets.
The 215’s battery life is getting the lion’s share of press attention, and rightfully so. The Nokia 215 boasts a between charge time of 21 to 29 days, depending on whether or not it is fitted with a secondary SIM card. That translates to roughly 20 hours of talk time and 50 hours of media play. Now, the impressive performance of the Nokia 215’s battery is largely due to the device’s limited features, but it does point the way towards longer lasting mobile phone batteries. Battery life is the single most common consumer complaint leveled against both feature phones and smartphones, and the Nokia 215 proves that it is possible to design a batteries and handsets that can deliver more than 24 hours of use on a single charge.
Tapping the Budget Phone Market
The Nokia 215 is clearly aimed at the competitive budget mobile phone market. While the features are limited, they should appeal to first time buyers; particularly in emerging markets where more advanced apps and features would be largely superfluous and extended battery life is a definite necessity. The 215 also makes for an ideal starter phone, delivering enough features to keep the kids happy at price that suits their parent’s budget. The extended battery life is also a good fit for children who notoriously forget to recharge their phones. Business professionals and travelers should also find the 215 a welcome addition to the low cost mobile phone market, as it provides along lasting backup for those times when they may find themselves stranded between charging points.
The Nokia 215 isn’t about to revolutionise the mobile phone market, but as a low cost entry level handset it definitely delivers. The features and performance are robust enough to satisfy budget minded consumers, and the extended battery life puts it in a class of its own.