Nokia Lumia 520, Nokia X and Nokia Asha 503: Nokia’s 3 budget musketeers

The budget smartphone segment is beginning to heat up especially in emerging markets as more people move away from feature phones that barely didn’t have internet access to “feature smartphones”.

Smartphone penetration in sub-Sahara Africa is skyrocketing. For instance, Humanipo reports Kenya’s smartphone penetration is at 67 per cent, with 100,000 new devices being purchased every month, according to the country’s leading mobile operator Safaricom.

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This is mainly due to budget devices introduced by smartphone players such as Samsung with the Galaxy Star, Tecno with the duo-sim Tecno H5 and now with Nokia’s 3 musketeers, the Lumia 520, Nokia X and Asha 503.

Asha 503


The Asha spots a 3-inch screen with 240x320p resolution; 5MP rear camera with LED flash; microSD card support up to 32GB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and microUSB 2.0. With 3G capabilities with social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, WeChat, LINE and the much beloved WhatsApp, you can be sure to stay connected to your friends thanks to 12-hour battery on Edge.

Lack of Dual SIM support and the fact taht you need a Micro SIM for a low-end device especially for an African market is alittle bit of a let-down. Asha 503 goes for about $100 depending on your country.

Lumia 520


The Nokia Lumia 520 is Nokia’s an entry-level Windows Phone 8 smartphone introduced in 2013 at the mobile world congress in Barcelona. The device features a modest 4-inch IPS display (800 x 480), 8 GB of internal storage, micro SD expansion, 512 MB of RAM, dual-core 1 GHz Snapdragon CPU and a 5 MP rear camera.

This device is for those that wish to sail into the Microsoft Windows Phone 8 platform for the first time. First-timers will (probably coming from Android) will enjoy WP bright metro live tiles, 3G connectivity to all major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Skype calls among other over 200 Apps in the Marketplace. In January 2014, the phone began receiving Windows Phone 8 Update 3 and the Lumia Black firmware.

Nokia couldn’t zip in a front-facing camera and NFC much to our dismay since its a budget device.

Nokia X


This is one device also known as Nokia Normandy, Nokia die-hards like myself invented in their imagination even before the company (finally) announced its Android-based device in this years’ Mobile world congress in Barcelona. In an email comment, Moses Sitati the head of Developer Engagement, Innovation and Corporate Relations at Nokia described the Nokia X as “a new, affordable family of smartphones designed to run Android apps using Nokia X services extensions.”. He notes that “The smartphones are targeting ‘the next billion’ as affordable smartphones is the fastest growing segment of across the range of mobile devices (feature phone – high end). ”

The Nokia X runs a modified (forked) version of Android, referred as the Nokia X software platform and comes with three variations; the Nokai X, X+ and the XL. The Nokia X has 512 MB or RAM while the Nokia X+ has 768 MB of RAM as well as with a microSD card included in the box. Nokia XL has a larger screen, front-facing camera, rear flash, and longer battery runtime.

The Nokia goes at about $140 depending on your country. In Kenya, according to Moses, the device goes for 10,000/= (Dubai stock in the open market) to 11,999/= w distributor/operator. Nokia launched the device in partnership with Airtel in 17 African countries.

Nokia X Comparison sheet

  Nokia X Nokia X+ Nokia XL
Screen 4-inch LCD, 800 x 480px 4-inch LCD, 800 x 480px 5-inch LCD, 800 x 480px
RAM 512MB 768MB 768MB
Storage Up to 32GB
Up to 32GB
MicroSD; 4GB card included
Up to 32GB
MicroSD; 4GB card included
Rear camera 3-megapixel fixed focus 3-megapixel fixed focus 5-megapixel with autofocus and flash
Front camera 2-megapixel
Processor 8225 Qualcomm Snapdragon1GHz Dual Core 8225 Qualcomm Snapdragon1GHz Dual Core 8225 Qualcomm Snapdragon1GHz Dual Core
Networks ESGM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900WCDMA 900 / 2100 ESGM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900WCDMA 900 / 2100 ESGM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900WCDMA 900 / 2100
Dimensions 115.5 x 63 x 10.4mm 115.5 x 63 x 10.4mm 141.3 x 77.7 x 10.8mm
Weight 128.66g 128.66g 190g
Standby time 2G = Up to 28.5 days3G = Up to 22 days 2G = Up to 28.5 days3G = Up to 22 days 2G = Up to 41 days3G = Up to 26 days
Talk time 2G = Up to 13.3 hours3G = Up to 10.5 hours 2G = Up to 13.3 hours3G = Up to 10.5 hours 2G = Up to 16 hours3G = Up to 13 hours


What’s your preference? Lets know in the comments.

Images: Nokia

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