Most phone reviews these days concentrate on handsets with touchscreens and clever operating systems that are capable of a huge range of media rich, connected functions. Quad-core processors sit in the high-end examples; screens stretch to far more than four inches; you can stream content to and from phones; write and edit documents; watch full blown movies; etc, etc.
But not everyone wants or needs a handset with such highfalutin capabilities, and I’ve noted before that Nokia has made quite a name for itself at the much lower end of the market. While its more basic handsets are aimed primarily at emerging markets, they do get a nose into the UK. And Nokia’s phones don’t get much more basic than its 113.
The 113 is a close relation of the 110, 111 and 112. All are candy bar style phones, with the 110 and 112 both offering dual-SIM support, and the 111 and 113 their respective single SIM variants.
In case you think I’ve got a screw loose in wanting to take a look at the Nokia 113, then be aware that it is available on Orange, O2 and Vodafone as a PAYG handset from around £20 and on contracts from £10.50. And if you’d rather not get it from an operator, then it’s £38 on Amazon.
It is quite obvious that this type of small-screened, candybar shaped handset isn’t designed for the fancy stuff. Its key functions are making voices calls, sending texts, and listening to music or radio on the move.
This type of phone isn’t intended to be a mobile Internet user’s friend. And of course they suit people who neither want nor need complex functions.
So, what you get is a very long way from being at the cutting edge. The Nokia 113 runs the Series 40 operating system. It has 16MB of internal storage but supports microSD cards up to 32GB, which help it earn its money as a potential music player. It does irritate me, though, that neither Wi-Fi nor 3G has been squeezed into the Nokia 113.
Still, there is a web browser, Facebook and Twitter applet on the handset. Testing the web browser, it took 20 seconds for Google to resolve a search for ‘’TProPortal’, which I felt not to be too bad. Then it took another 20 seconds for the handset to resolve the mobile version of the site. Again, that’s not too much of a disaster.
The real pain comes in because of the amount of scrolling involved if you want to actually read anything that you can see in the browser, and in the poor text rendering. The screen measures just 1.8in diagonally and within that its 160 x 128 pixels are not up to displaying a great deal of information. You can see each individual pixel that makes up a text character – indeed you can see the whole pixel grid. If this handset is all you have and it is an emergency, then you might be OK web browsing. But don’t even think about using it in an everyday capacity for web-based stuff.
SMS is easier to live with. While the screen size only allows for the first couple of words of any text to be shown on the summary screen, the font used is larger than that for web browsing, and so text is easier to read.
Text entry itself is via a numeric keyboard, and you have the option of using the old fashioned multi-tap system or a predictive text offering. The latter guesses what letter you want from the three or four on each key you press on the basis of words it knows – it worked well and was my preferred option. It is a long time since I’ve used the multi-tap system, and it took me a while to get the muscle memory back that reminded me where each letter is located and how many taps each required. No world texting championship entry for me, I think!
If you really must have mobile email on the Nokia 113, then it is possible, but if you do need this I’d suggest finding a phone that’s more geared up to it. Nokia’s email client is clunky, difficult to use, and quite frankly, best left to one side.
As for what else is on board here, well there’s a VGA camera on the back – yes snaps are shot at 640 x 480. Software includes an alarm clock, calculator, calendar, voice recorder, notes taker, stopwatch, timer and a little to do list. You also have the free EA games deal that gives you up to 40 games, but really on this screen, I’d leave well alone.
In addition there is an FM radio and music player. The music player is basic. No album art, no equaliser and audio through the speaker gets muffled as you go to the loudest volume. But there are shuffle and repeat modes, the library updated from a microSD card quickly, and a good headset delivered music I could live with as background – though the quality is far from great.
You can control music playback from the home screen, which can also be customised to a degree, with four app shortcuts and two larger shortcut areas. It is minimal as far as customisation goes, but at least it is there.
Build quality is reasonably solid, considering this is a 77g plastic handset. The number pad, D-pad and shortcut buttons are well made and feel responsive under the fingers, and the lack of side buttons isn’t a problem at all. You can control everything easily enough via the D-pad and shortcut buttons. I am miffed at the use of a 2mm round pin charger rather than micro-USB though.
Battery life is, by current standards, spectacular. Expect to survive a weekend with no trouble at all unless you are very heavily into music playback.
For a basic handset, the Nokia 113 does a good enough job. Just don’t expect more of it than voice calls, SMS and music playback and you’ll be fine. Note, though, that if your eyesight is iffy, the screen may be too small for comfort.
Manufacturer and model
1.8in, 160 x 128 pixels
640 x 480 pixels
110 x 46 x 14.8mm