Nokia 3310 3G review: nostalgia-packed US$73 phone with long battery life that, unsurprisingly, lacks many 2017 trimmings
From the Snake game to the classic Nokia ringtone, this back-to-basics handset is sure to conjure up some fond memories, but don’t expect to be able to WhatsApp your friends on it
Forget about the Nokia 8, 6 or 5. Since this year’s World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, what’s really been making headlines for the Finnish company marketing the handsets is the updated edition of the brand’s classic model, the 3310 3G.
Released by HMD Global, which owns the licence to sell Nokia phones and tablets, this back-to-basics handset will remind anyone who still remembers the first edition – released in 2000 – of a time when mobile phones were used for, well, calling people. The 3310 3G is an affordable HK$568 (US$73) but, looking past the nostalgia factor, is the retro phone relevant, or more importantly, useful in 2017?
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Design and hardware
I missed holding a phone that I can operate with one hand without fear of dropping it. Measuring 117 x 52.4 x 13.35mm, the handset, with its curved edges, sits securely and comfortably in the hand. Because of this, all the buttons are within easy reach of the thumb, though if you have a big thumb the directional pad is harder to use, and hitting the wrong option repeatedly can be a nuisance. It has a 2.4-inch colour screen and you can just make out what’s on it when viewed under direct sunlight.
The whole casing is made of plastic but feels sturdy. I have already dropped the handset once, when it came flying out of my pocket during a roller-coaster ride (it landed, luckily, inside the cart instead of on the tracks), and it survived without a scratch.
Software and features
Frankly people are not going to use the 3310 3G for WhatsApp, WeChat and Instagram. With the Java-based Series 30+ operation system, you won’t be able to use any of these apps. It does, however, have an internet browser (Opera) via which you can access Facebook and Twitter. I wouldn’t use it for Facebook, though; the slow connection practically renders this app useless. It took me several attempts just to log out from the site.
Curiously, the browser has BBC News bookmarked and that works quite smoothly – though you’ll need to get past the super small font to read the content.
Otherwise, everything that you loved about old Nokia phones is here: the classic Nokia ringtone, the game Snake, the FM radio, the long battery life.
The Hong Kong version of this model has dual SIM card slots, 128 MB storage plus a MicroSD card slot with support for up to 32 GB.
Performance and battery life
The 3310 3G comes with a 2-megapixel camera with LED flash, which is nothing to write home about. But what did surprise me is how easy it is to take selfies with this handset. The camera has a 10-second countdown mode that allows users enough time to hold up the phone, point the lens at themselves and smile without the need to push any button. The result is unexpectedly good.
Call quality is decent and one full charge of the 1200 mAh battery will last you a good part of the week.
My parents (who are in their 70s) were initially very excited when they saw this phone because it is small and simple to use – that was, until they realised they couldn’t WhatsApp their friends with it. The 3310 3G makes a great spare phone and even greater conversation piece for most smartphone users; it is also a realistic upgrade for anyone who still prefers to make/receive calls and text with their phone.
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Dimensions: 117 x 52.4 x 13.35mm
Display: 2.4” QVGA
OS version: Series 30+
Cameras: 2 megapixel
Memory: 128 MB, with MicroSD card slot with support for up to 32 GB
Colours: grey, and orange