“Every single person who has held the Nokia 3310 (2017) has had a smile on their face. It brings back some amazing memories,” an HMD Global spokesperson said to me not long ago. “I don’t know if we are really trying to play the nostalgia card here but the Nokia 3310 (2017) has definitely done that. It has gathered a lot of nostalgia. Everybody wants to have a look at it, everybody wants to hold it.”
True, the Nokia 3310 (2017) is very nostalgic. It did not take long for folks in my office to go gaga over it. They wanted to see it. They wanted to touch it. They wanted to try it out. The Nokia 3310 (2017) is one of the most nostalgic phones of them all, after all. But problem is, nostalgia can take you only so far and honestly, in the case of the Nokia 3310 (2017) chances are, your journey down that road would be shorter than you would have ever imagined. It would be wonderful while it lasts, that’s for sure. Even more so, if you’ve ever crossed paths with the original. But then, sooner or later, reality would hit you.
Although HMD Global would go to great lengths to say that the Nokia 3310 (2017) makes great sense as a purchase, fact is, it doesn’t for most people. It’s but a feature phone that has been updated to fit, but, it still hasn’t been updated enough for people — but the old-school — to be interested. And because it hasn’t been updated enough, the Nokia 3310 (2017) ends up feeling dumber than most dumb-phones — including some outed by Nokia itself — out there in the market right now. That is, after the nostalgia wears out.Read more ↓
Design: A distant psychedelic avatar of the original
The new Nokia 3310 looks — and feels — nothing like the old Nokia 3310. Well it does, sort of, here and there but all in all it’s a complete revamp of the original, is what it is. Those familiar with the original have had mixed feelings and I have met both the quarters. Some like it. Many don’t like it.
But then, you’ve got to understand the new Nokia 3310 is catering to a whole new audience, one that appreciates both form and function. The new Nokia 3310, it’s safe to say, serves both the purposes. It looks really good and also it feels really good. If you’re someone who most definitively needs a comparison though to get a clearer picture, well, consider this, the new Nokia 3310 looks like a younger, more attractive version of the old Nokia 3310. Also, it gets a couple of psychedelic — ala Lumia — colours like yellow and red, in addition to the more traditional grey and blue.
The new Nokia 3310 has a larger screen, a slightly re-designed key-pad (with slightly lesser key travel), a 2-megapixel camera on the rear with flash, a rear-mounted speaker and a micro-USB port for charging up top. The phone, just like old times, comes with a removable back cover and a removable battery. Underneath, lie two different slots for two micro SIM cards and a separate card slot for a micro-SD. It’s still all-plastic, only smaller and lighter, than the original.
As for sturdiness, well, even Nokia probably had little idea — in the year 2000 — what it was getting into with the original Nokia 3310. That it was building a tank. That it was building something indestructible. Even Finland, the country in which the phone was originally designed and manufactured, made the Nokia 3310 a national emoji — referring to it as The Unbreakable — only in 2015. The Nokia 3310 was marketed largely on the shoulders of two aspects — although it also came with many other industry-firsts — one being SMS chat, and the other being its long-lasting battery claimed to offer up to 4 hours and 30 minutes of talk time and up to 260 hours of standby time. The durability aspect came only later, based on infinite number of (positive) use case scenarios.
The new Nokia 3310 has a larger screen, a slightly re-designed key-pad (with slightly lesser key travel), a 2-megapixel camera on the rear with flash, a rear-mounted speaker and a micro-USB port for charging up top
The new Nokia 3310 also looks like it could take a beating, but whether or not, it could replace the original is something only time will tell. My review unit did survive a couple of easy-breezy and a couple of eerie falls, so I’d like to bet my money on it.
Display: Life in technicolor
The new Nokia 3310 comes with a 2.4-inch full colour display which is certainly a big improvement over the monochrome screen of the original Nokia 3310. It’s brighter too, thus, aiding in outdoor legibility. There’s a catch though. The feature phone ships with a meager 240×320 pixel resolution which is a big let down considering 720p is fast becoming the new normal among smartphones that start at (only) a couple of thousands more.
The resolution of the phone, however, highlights the phone’s basic principle. The Nokia 3310 is a very basic feature phone meant for calling and text messaging. It can display photos and play videos, but, you’ve got to understand the new Nokia 3310 isn’t designed to be your multimedia hub. It’s but a back-up device that you can go to when everything else fails. It should serve you well if you know and understand its shortcomings.
Camera: You either have it or you don’t
The same principle extends to its camera capabilities as well. Yes, the new Nokia 3310 comes with a camera, but, you’d be grossly mistaken if you expect it would replace your point and shooter like the majority of smartphones are out doing these days.
The 2-megapixel camera on the back of the new Nokia 3310 is nothing special to talk about. It’s quite bad actually. But, for a feature phone gunning to become your back-up device, the camera on-board the new Nokia 3310 may just be alright to click a quick snap for reference that is.
The most that you could do with these photos is post them on Facebook and Instagram. That is photos that you’ve clicked in very good light and in outdoors. If you’re fairly selective about which photos to upload, you’d probably have to do more math in the case of photos you click with the new Nokia 3310.
Indoor and low-light photos taken with the phone are just downright disappointing. The included flash does better as a torch than aiding in low-light photography just like it is in the case of a majority of feature phones.
Battery life: To die for
While the original Nokia 3310 shipped with a 900mAh battery, the new Nokia 3310 ships with a bigger 1,200mAh power pack. It is rated to deliver up to 22 hours of talk time and up to a month of standby on a single charge.
The original Nokia 3310 was a force to reckon with in terms of battery life. The new Nokia 3310 gets close. Nay really close. Heavy usage — by feature phone standards — got us through a whole week without breaking a sweat.
But, let’s face it, this is a feature-phone
The world that we live in today, the world of smartphones, takes great pride in marketing a certain breed of protective glass as an added USP of their devices. Those that come without one are deemed inferior. Back in the day, nobody cared. The world that we live in today, the world of smartphones, also takes great pride in marketing new-age fast and wireless charging capabilities as an added USP of their devices. Those that come without one are deemed inferior. Back in the day, nobody cared.
The new Nokia 3310 may be nearly indestructible. The new Nokia 3310 may also have a battery life to die for. But, it’s still pretty much a dumb-phone. And it’s 2017. No wonder, I am having second thought about it. Smartphones have spoiled me for good.
The Nokia 3310 (2017) supports only 2G and doesn’t support Wi-Fi. In a world that’s moving fast way too quickly, a phone without 4G (even 3G) and Wi-Fi, is hard to imagine. Even if it’s the re-incarnation of something as iconic as the Nokia 3310.
“The Nokia 3310 (2017) wasn’t created or thought through to replace a smartphone. It’s not for a consumer who’s a heavy data user,” the HMD Global spokesperson came to my rescue.
“There are two consumers for the Nokia 3310 (2017). One is the feature phone user. We have a running feature phone business and we understand those consumers very well. For me the Nokia 3310 (2017) is like the Nokia 222. It has exactly the same specs only in an iconic form factor. The Nokia 3310 (2017) completely makes sense for those consumers. They are getting a brilliant design, even if it does not bring back all of that nostalgia, still it’s a very rationale feature phone choice. We’ve happened to sell a lot of Nokia 222s. We expect something very similar with the Nokia 3310 (2017),” the spokesperson explained.
It’s most definitely a secondary phone that you could keep at hand for calls and text-messaging while continue using a smartphone as your daily driver for extended connectivity. It’s also a back-up or emergency phone that you could keep at hand for when your daily driver is not up to the task
“Secondly, it’s a companion phone for your weekends, for your travel. It has a day of talk time, and a month of standby. It will ensure you’ll always be reachable, never having to bother about charging the phone.”
And it comes with Snake or a messed up version of it.
The new Nokia 3310, as mentioned earlier, is a 2G phone that supports a maximum of 2.5G Edge connectivity for Internet browsing. It is accessed via the Opera browser. There’s also an Opera store for games and apps although 16MB of on-board memory doesn’t encourage you to download and install stuff on the fly. The phone supports expandable memory of up to 32GB via a dedicated micro-SD card slot which is nice. Facebook and Twitter will be supported, but, don’t expect the same for WhatsApp.
The user interface — Nokia Series 30+ software — is pretty straight-forward and won’t take long to decipher for even the most archaic of users.
There’s FM radio and MP3 playback as well.
Should you buy it?
There are two ways to look at the new Nokia 3310. It’s most definitely a secondary phone that you could keep at hand for calls and text-messaging while continue using a smartphone as your daily driver for extended connectivity. It’s also a back-up or emergency phone that you could keep at hand for when your daily driver is not up to the task.
There are a couple of more use-case scenarios to it. But, they are completely subjective.
The new Nokia 3310 is a homage to an icon. It invariably comes with its own fair share of bragging rights. It’s a phone that you would want to buy and keep for old times’ sake, even more so, if you haven’t ever crossed paths with the original. It is, after all, a collector’s item.
Last but not the least, the Nokia 3310 is meant for all those days when you’re looking to just cut off from the rest of the world and go do your own thing. And yet, be sure, you’re always available on call should there be the need.
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