Comparison Between Nokia Asha 501, 502 and 503 – Key Differences & Buying Guide

During the Nokia World 2013 event, Nokia has today announced 3 new Asha devices which aim to boost the feature phone market and connect the next billion. The devices, namely Asha 500, 502 and 503 run on the new Asha Software Platform which debuted on the Asha 501 a couple of months before. First and foremost as Asha devices are budget conscious, we are not going to expect too much from them. Here’s a short comparison done by us which measures the differences between the already existing Asha 501 and the upcoming Asha 502 and 503. We are keeping Asha 500 out of the list for now.

Update: Nokia seems to have played some cards there and the java heap sizes for the new phones is back to 3MB. So pretty much of zero advantage of these new phones besides the camera of course. asha 500 502 and 503

Comparison between Asha 501, 502 and 503
Basis Asha 501 Asha 502 Asha 503
Network Mode GSM (2G) GSM (2G) GSM (2G)
HSDPA (3.5G)
Variants Limited by Regions
Single SIM (RM-899, 900)
Dual SIM (RM-902)
Limited by Regions
Dual SIM (RM-???)
Global Device
Single SIM (RM-920, 927, 959)
Dual SIM (RM-922, 958)
Display Features 3″ LCD
Double Tap to Wake
Glance Screen
3″ LCD
Double Tap to Wake
Glance Screen
3″ LCD
Glace Screen
Double Tap to Wake
Gorilla Glass protection
Camera 3.15 MP
No Flash
5 MP
LED Flash
5 MP
LED Flash
OS Platform Asha Software Platform 1.0
(Update Announced)
ย Asha Software Platform 1.1 Asha Software Platform 1.2
RAM Memory 64 MB 64MB 128 MB
Java Apps Max Package Size – 5 MB
Heap Size – 3 MB
Max Package Size – 5 MB
Heap Size – 3 MB
Max Package Size – 5 MB
Heap Size – 3 MB
Charging Nokia 2MM Connector
Micro USB
Micro USB Micro USB
Bluetooth v. 3.0
v. 3.0
v. 3.0
WiFi Protocols WPA2 (AES/TKIP), WPA, WEP, WPA2-Personal WPA, WEP, WPA2-Personal, EAP-SIM, EAP-AKA WPA, WEP, WPA2-Personal, EAP-SIM, EAP-AKA
Battery ย 1200 mAh (BL-4U) ย 1010 mAh (BL-5A) ย 1200 mAh (BL-4U)

Table Markings

The following markings are used in the above table.
Green – Where there is an advantage over the other products.
Red – Where there is disadvantage over the other products.

The above comparison shows different advantages of three Asha phones. While the dual SIM Asha 502 does put some good steps ahead of Asha 501, such as with a better camera and support for more application heap size, it also falls back at some aspects such as the Battery Capacity and being limited to Dual SIM version only. Although many consider Dual SIM as an advantage over the single SIM versions, there are still many who look forward to a single SIM version of the device.

Asha 503 is really a good development ahead as it marks some nice steps with its 3G capability and improved Memory Heap size for java apps. Although adding a slightly larger screen would’ve marked a better device, the present 3″ screen isn’t too tiny either. Overall all the handsets offer something or the other, but with the introduction of 500 and 502, Asha 501 will have to face a good price cut to stay in the focus.

Buying Guide – Which one to buy?

As we have shown the differences above, you can choose the one that fulfills your needs.

3G – Only Asha 503 has the 3G access, so it can be your only choice.
Better Camera – Both Asha 502 and Asha 503 offer a better camera with their 5MP shooters. Flash is also included for better shooting under low light.
Dual SIM – All the three devices, Asha 501, 502 and 503 offer a dual sim option. So you can choose any oue out of them. If camera is not your need and you need a device which has a longer standby time, you should go with Asha 501 else Asha 502 is the better choice.
Games and Apps – I think this does not make much of a difference. The newer devices offer a bigger heap size, but as developers cannot ignore the Asha 501, most of the apps will work seamlessly with the Asha 501 as well.
Price – Looking at the prices, if you are looking to buy Asha 501, you should consider Asha 502 once as it will be selling for around the same price as the Asha 501 (provided if it does not see a price reduction).

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  • I had never done any updates before.

    However, today I received an update and the new versions are “Nokia Asha software platform 1.4” (looks like they dropped the upper case from the last two words; useless info really) and on the update page it says “Nokia Asha 14.0.4”.

    Dialing that code displays the message “SW package info not available”.

  • I have a Nokia Asha 503 single SIM right in front of me at this very moment and on the “About product” (or whatever it is called, because at the moment, I have a different UI language selected) it says “Nokia Asha Software Platform 1.1.1”.
    If I try to update the phone, it says it’s up to date, current version “Nokia Asha 12.1.6”.
    Nokia managed to make a huge mess about the versions of the Asha platform and there is no place, not even on their developer site where they explain any of it.

    • Okay. May I have the product code please? That can be found via dialing – *#0010#
      Next, sometimes when you update the phone via FOTA, the production file remains unchanged and hence it keeps on showing that you have an older version even when you have the latest. If you can find a WhatsApp launcher in the home-screen, you have the latest update available.
      AFAIK, there is no 12.xx update available for the 501 yet.

  • I am using Asha 501 but my problem is that i can not sign in my yahoo mail. it keep telling me something went wrong in processing your request. I dnt knw wat to do.

  • How come music playback time is more on Asha 502 than 503 even though the battery is bigger in the 503? Which is louder?

    • Hey Anees
      I’ll try to reach Nokia if they can send some trial units. Else, probably not. I won’t be able to purchase these devices. A bit low on cash these days ๐Ÿ˜€

  • When i m using fb on my asha 501 and open a pic after that i m unable to go back from that pic i m press back button but it didnt wrk

  • my asha 501 had a problem,device not able to show data in my phone on memory card but it show data in pc what is this buddy,and my download songs do not show in music library plz suggest a way plzzz…plzzzzzz rplyyy…

  • Nice info- just 1 thing seems strange is that the RAM on the 501 & 502 is the same, however the java apps heap size is 11MB for the 502. Is it due to the newer OS ie. ASHA 1.1?

    • Yep. Its just how he system is configured. As we know these phones can’t multitask, even after allotting 11 MB for heap, remaining 53 MB is kinda enough to handle the OS and the rest of background apps. Nokia may increase the heap size in the next coming update for Asha 501, but that’s not compulsory.

      • My previous phone was an Alcatel Glory 918D android phone, it has a 3.2 MP camera when using the stock ROM. But after using some custom ROMS the camera were upgraded to 8MP…maybe they can do some camera hack or firmware tricks on the asha 501

        • This is completely misleading. No software can ever upgrade the megapixels in a camera as that is a hardware level thing. The only thing that the cooked ROM did was to mark a 3.2MP camera as a 8MP one. Did you notice any difference in the quality of images take by both? ๐Ÿ˜›

  • is it possible to flash the firmware of nokia asha 501 to nokia asha 502/503…is there a way to increase/upgrade the java heap size and the camera (upgrade to 5MP) of asha 501 ?

    • No. Firmware packages are prepared separately for separate devices. So nothing that you can do. However Nokia may increase the heap size via a future Software Update destined for Asha 501.
      Camera is a hardware thing and cannot be upgraded anyway. You can better sell your 501 and buy a 503 if you feel the need.

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