MWC 2013: Nokia 105 and 301 hands-on preview

Nokia isn’t all about the Lumia smartphone range. In fact, the Finnish company spent a good deal of time introducing the Nokia 105 and Nokia 301 at its MWC press conference – a pair of handsets which are feature phones.

The Nokia 105 (pictured above) is the logical place to start, as Nokia called it the "entry point to the Nokia brand." It's a successor to the Nokia 1280, which has been very popular around the world with basic users. And this phone is about as basic as you can get. It has a super tiny 1.4in, 128 x 128-pixel display. At least it's colourful, with bright, big icons which make it easy to navigate.

The number pad is dust and splash-proof, which makes this a resilient little phone. But that protective coating doesn't allow for much differentiation between the keys, so it's easier to press the wrong buttons.

Nokia says the phone is good for over 12 hours of talk time, and can last for over a month on standby, which is great if you're looking at the 105 as an emergency or backup phone. It also has a built-in flashlight and FM radio, which makes it the kind of multipurpose tool you'd keep stowed away in the glove compartment.

But that's about it. There's no camera and not much else to speak of in the way of features. But it costs just £13, so what do you expect?

You get a lot more with the Nokia 301, but then again, you're also paying about four times the price (£55). According to Nokia, the 301 features the same design approach as the super high-end Lumia 920 smartphone. I'll let you take a look at the picture of the 301 below and see if you can make that connection, because I can't.

That isn't to say the Nokia 301 isn't a nice phone. On the contrary, this is probably one of the nicest feature phones I've seen in quite some time. It's available in either single-SIM or dual-SIM versions, and comes in cyan, magenta, yellow, white, or black, which is probably as close as the phones get to the Lumia 920, or any Lumia, for that matter. It has a typical high quality Nokia feel.

Nokia has also put a lot more thought into the 301's 3.2-megapixel camera than you'll find in most feature phones. It can shoot in 100-degree panorama mode, or fire off a round of three to five shots at a time so you can pick the best one. There's even a voice assistant to help you take a photo of yourself.

The 301 comes loaded with apps for Facebook and Twitter, and you can access the web with Nokia's Xpress browser, which compresses data automatically. But make no mistake – this phone is 3G-only, and not a replacement for a smartphone. Beyond that, the 301 uses HD voice, which helps to further reduce background noise. And you can automatically share photos over Bluetooth with compatible devices via Nokia Slam. The 2.4in display isn't particularly eye catching, but it gets the job done.

In short, if you're in the market for a simple new phone, both of these handsets – which should be out during the second quarter – look like pretty solid bets.

For more on Nokia at MWC, see our Nokia Lumia 520 and 720 hands-on preview.

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