The Nokia Asha 306 is the little brother to the Nokia Asha 311, a handset we looked at recently. Running the same Series 40 Full Touch interface as its more expensive sibling, the Nokia Asha 306 uses a cheaper resistive touchscreen, has a lower resolution 2-megapixel camera and lacks 3G support. It's also around £20 cheaper, as you can buy it SIM free for around the £70 mark.
In some ways the design of the Nokia Asha 306 is more striking than that of the more expensive 311, as the chiselled angular sections at the top and bottom edge of the phone make a bold statement. That said, it's not actually a better looking device, mainly because there's quite a large bezel around the 3.0-inch touchscreen display and the two call handling buttons beneath the screen are not only big and chunky, but also look a bit on the cheap side. The handset lacks the premium aesthetic of Nokia's mid and high-end phones, such as the Windows Phone loving Nokia Lumia 900, with a bit too much cheap, glossy plastic used in the construction. It does feel quite solid to hold, however, and doesn't creak and flex like a lot of budget phones do.
Apart from the two call handling buttons at the bottom of the screen there are just two other physical controls – a volume rocker switch and a lock button, both of which are found on the right hand edge of the phone. Flip over to the left hand edge and you'll find a pull out tab that reveals the microSD card slot. The location of the card slot here is much better than on the Nokia Asha 311 where you have to remove the battery to get at it.
As with other Asha models, the Nokia Asha 306 has one of Nokia's mini charging ports at the top, which the supplied charger uses to top up the battery with juice. However, you can thankfully also charge the phone using the microUSB port that's next to it. The top of the phone is also home to a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Nokia bundles a set of headphones with this model, but they're a bit cheap and lack the bass-end punch of a decent pair of audio buds, so you'll probably be better off using your own ones with the phone, especially as the sound quality from the onboard music player and FM tuner is quite good.
Naturally the display is hugely important on this type of phone. The one used on the Nokia Asha 306 is quite small, measuring just 3.0-inches across the diagonal and, unlike the more expensive 311, it uses resistive rather than capacitive technology for registering touch input. This does hamper the phone's overall usability a bit, as it's much less immediate at responding to input than the Asha 311 .
The display has quite a low resolution too, as it only stretches to 240 x 400 pixels. As the screen is physically quite small, and the pixels are densely packed together, it still looks reasonable sharp. However, the lack of resolution is noticeable in apps like the web browser, as when you're zoomed out from a page you can’t actually even make out what the headlines on stories say.