Gadget Review: Nokia 603, Low Budget, Superb Performance.

There is a whole lot of Drama happening in the mobile phone space. While some are raking in some profit, others are counting losses. Regardless of how Nokia may be tanking, I still fancy some of their devices. One of the reasons I am drawn to Nokia phones is that they really do connect people by providing quality at an affordable price.

With me here is the Nokia 603, a low budget and entry level smartphone that packs a lot of performance. There’s hardly anything you want to do that the Nokia 603 can’t do. Except for the love it is not getting from some developers. Aside from that, it is a lovely device for entry level users and still packs some power too. Before I tell you about its awesomeness, what are the Hardware features?

nokia 603 email nokia 603 iphone 3gs


Key Hardware features of The Nokia 603

113.5 x 57.1 x 12.7 mm in dimensions, 109.6g in weight, 74.4cc by volume; monoblock touch form factor

  • 3.5 inch ClearBlack Display TFT touchscreen; 640 x 360 pixels resolution (nHD); scratch resistant front window made from toughened glass.
  • 1GHz processor with GPU co-processor for accelerated graphics and video (2D/3D Graphics HW Accelerator with OpenVG1.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0 support).
  • 5 megapixel full focus (EDoF) camera (no LED flash); HD video capture at 1280 x 720 (720p and 30 frames per second)
  • Integrated GPS with location support for GPS, A-GPS, WLAN and Cell-ID location techniques.
  • Compass (magnetometer), accelerometer, proximity and ambient light sensors.
  • 3.5 mm Nokia audio connector for audio out FM Radio with RDS
  • microUSB (USB 2.0) for file transfers, charging and USB OTG functionality
  • BP-3L battery with easy access battery cover (standby time of 19 days and talk time of 16 hours (GSM) and 7 hours (WCDMA).
  • WCDMA 850/900/1700/1900/2100 and GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 (HSDPA Cat 10 – 14.4 MBps, HSUPA Cat 6 – 5.76 Mbps)
  • WiFi: WLAN IEEE802.11 b/g and Bluetooth 3.0
  • Processor: ARM 11 at 1 GHz, RAM: 512MB (Which provides a faster processing when you are using it)
  • 2GB mass memory and microSD card slot (supports sizes up to 32GB), 340MB user memory (C: drive)
  • In box contents: Nokia 603, Nokia Battery BP-3L, Nokia Connectivity Cable CA-179, Nokia Headset WH-207, Nokia High Efficiency Charger AC-10.

Those are the hardware features of the phone.

This phone is low budget at N38,000 [$240 USD in a Nigerian Store], but I was able to enjoy some superb performance from the phone. In what ways does the phone excel?

1. CBD – Clear Black Display. Most of the low budget phones, unlike the Nokia 500 and some others that are available out there, the Nokia 603 has awesome visibility when you are under the direct sunlight. You won’t have to squint or use your second hand to cover the screen for visibility. Enough reason to type while walking on the street. Stop! Don’t! A man was walking and texting on the street and almost walked into a bear. But if you are in an emergency or have any other reason to use your phone in the sun, you we find this feature very useful. The display is clearer and sharper than that of my Nokia N8. Only that it does not have the camera power of the Nokia N8.

CBD Nokia 603

2. 5 mega pixel camera – Although the 5 mega pixel camera does not have LED flash, it shoots superb photographs when there is enough lighting from a secondary source—outdoor during the day, indoor with enough lighting.

ozumba indoor

3. Availability of compatible applications – there are some newer phone models, especially those running Nokia Belle that may not be compatible with some of your favourite apps. In this case, I observed that all my favourite apps works well—Gravity, Opera mini/mobile, Youtube Downloader, Podcatcher, Whatsapp, Joiku Spot and more. There are more apps in the Nokia Store, but you don’t want to crowd your phones with apps that you don’t intend to use.

4. Emails management – The email widget is awesome, with clean UI. Sending Emails with the Nokia 603 is a user’s delight. Using Microsoft Exchange Active Sync was easy. I was able to download my contact to the phone using Exchange active Sync. With it, I was able to Sync calendar, Contact and my Note from my Google Mail account.

5. The Text Messaging UI got a facelift especially with the Nokia Belle FP1 that was released yesterday. It makes test messaging more addictive.

6. Well, the Nokia 603 uses a micro SIM. I am not a fan of micro SIMs, but I got my MTNNG SIM cut to micro using a SIM cutter You can do so too, or go get a SIM swap, whichever works best for you.


7. The Phone is what I will describe as a marble. It is a budget phone, but it is also beautiful. Is it does not look cheap.

8. It can view and send attachments easily—PDFs, Word Documents, Excell and more. It has even gotten the complete Microsoft Office Mobile App. With this you can use the apps that are provided by Microsoft themselves and be comfortable with it.

9. If you’re a DropBox user. There is support for Dropbox on the Nokia 603 via a third party app called CuteBox. This is one tool I like using to store my files in the cloud among my devices—laptop and Mobile phone

10. The battery life is impressive. It last a whole day with constant connection over an EDGE network. I connect it to 3G+ only when I have to download. For me, EDGE works just fine, when I am not streaming videos or downloading stuff.

11. Music player is awesome and the speakers have superb output. It has got capacitive touchscreen instead of resistive touch screen. It has TFT-LCD Clear-Black display with IPS technology for improved contrast and viewing angles.Plus the screen is scratch resistance. How is that for a low budget phone? [Thanks to Adam for the input :)]

12. The 512 RAM and 1Ghz ROM makes is more snappier than the Nokia N8. After updating to Nokia Belle FP1, I noticed that the transition from Landscape to portrait is snappier and acts like the normal iPhone would act

13. There is also an option that will allow you to check the amount of data you have consumed over time. You can clear it and reset it. Mobile data tracker. It does not come with the N8.

What are those things I do not like about the Nokia 603?

1. No LED flash for shooting photos indoor, at night and when there is poor lighting.

2. Apps that I have grown to love like BufferApp, Springpad and Evernote are not available

The phone wins with me, especially considering the price. And now it got the Nokia Belle fp1. This is just awesome.

Should you buy the phone? Yes, especially if you’re not expecting some of those apps that are not available on Symbian. Good value for your money. In these parts where power is a problem, you will get some impressive battery performance. Note: first time smartphone users will enjoy this device. Don’t forget it is an all touchscreen phone.

Is there anything you’d like to know? ask in the comments below.


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