In a world where mobile smartphones are becoming increasingly complex (to the point where they have so much going on that they overheat, catch fire and explode), a lot of people have started yearning for a bit of simplicity in their telecommunications devices. And since nostalgia is worth big bucks these days, those clever people at Nokia have gone back to basics by revisiting their most famous phone: the Nokia 3310.
For those of you whippersnappers who don’t recall the Nokia 3310, it was the ‘must-have’ tech gizmo of the early ‘00s and the most popular mobile phone of its day. An intuitive design, user-friendly interface, long battery life and battle tank-like sturdiness made it a real crowd pleaser. So much so, that we were able to resurrect some of these last year while raising money for charity.
Now, Nokia has released a revamped version of the 3310. Fans of the original have met the new version with a combination of excitement and suspicion. With mobile phone technology advancing so much in the last dozen years, the new Nokia 3310 has had some upgrades given to it in order to help it ‘get with the times’. But are these necessarily a good thing? As any self-respecting Star Wars fan will tell you, change isn’t always a good thing.
Is the new Nokia 3310 worth picking up, and how does it compare to the original?
Here’s our in-depth run down.
One of the best things about the original Nokia 3310 is that its battery seemed to be akin to an Everlasting Gobstopper, it just kept on trucking like an Energizer Bunny on performance enhancing drugs. Depending on how much you used it, the original’s battery lasted anywhere between 55 and 265 hours. The new version matches these time frames, which is quite impressive seeing as it is a more complex beast with more going on in there. When compared to most modern smartphones, this is a pretty incredible return on battery life.
With that in mind, the Nokia 3310 is quite ‘travel-friendly’, i.e. if you’re going away somewhere for the weekend you don’t have to worry about bringing your charger with you. This makes it particularly handy if you have a music festival to go to and don’t want to be left phoneless after a few hours.
One of the more controversial aspects of the new Nokia 3310 was the introduction of a 2-megapixel camera with LED flash. While this is a nice feature, purists will note that the original model had no camera at all. While it is by no means the best mobile phone-mounted camera out there, it’s not a bad addition by any means. Truth be told, it would probably be a bit weird using a phone that didn’t have a camera these days, since the camera feature has pretty much become second nature to most people these days. Sure, adding a camera to the 3310 may sound like heresy to some, but you don’t have to use it and it doesn’t really detract from the phone’s overall usability or aesthetic.
Playing That Funky Music
Another thing which the new Nokia 3310 has which the ‘00s version lacked is the ability to play (non-polyphonic ringtone style) music. You can opt to plug into the new FM radio functionality or listen to your own MP3 files (which you can add to the phone via a mini SD card slot which allows you to add an extra 32 gigs of memory, essentially doubling the phone’s storage space). The new version also has internet access, with a pretty basic web browser pre-installed. Internet use on the new 3310 is pretty clunky however, so not recommended for prolonged use.
Looking back at the 2000 original, it’s hard to believe that it didn’t even have basic things like a means to plug in headphones. But hey, at least it had a built in calculator right? Ah yes, the Nokia 3310 truly was the bane of every secondary school maths teacher who ever told a student that, “You won’t just have a calculator in your pocket!” – simpler times indeed.
Perhaps the main reason why the Nokia 3310 lives so fondly in our collective memory is that they were notoriously hard to break when compared to today’s relatively flimsy smartphones. If a modern smartphone were a sleek sportscar, the original 3310 would be an armoured personnel carrier; it’s not particularly fast or pretty, but it’ll take a beating! So ingrained in our subconscious is the durability of the Nokia 3310 that it has its own Know Your Memes page.
This is where most people are going to have a problem with the newly revamped version of the Nokia 3310; it just isn’t that sturdy. Weighing just over half the weight of its predecessor (79.6g compared to 133g), it is noticeably lighter. While this is good in a way, as it doesn’t feel as hefty in your pocket or bag, the downside is that it can’t take the same amount of punishment as the original could. Those things could literally survive bouncing down a couple of flights of hardwood stairs with little to no ill effect (except for the damage caused to the stairs!). In an attempt to modernise, Nokia have scored something of an own goal by taking away one of its best and most iconic features.
Layout and design
When it comes to size, the new version of the Nokia 3310 is a little bit taller and wider (mostly to accommodate a bigger screen) and noticeably ‘thinner’ and sleeker. The screen itself stretches to 2.4 inches and displays in full colour (as opposed to the original’s various shades of green), making for a much better user experience overall.
The extra bit of space to play with has allowed Nokia to add a bit more space between buttons on the new 3310. They say this makes texting easier, and helps users avoid hitting the wrong keys, but truth be told, that was never really a big issue with the original, so it feels like a bit of a moot point/change.
Everyone remembers spending countless hours playing that blasted Snake game. The new version of the 3310 has an expanded version of Snake (Snake Xenzia as opposed to Snake II) which boast a few new features to keep things interesting. Don’t worry, it’s not too complex, so you’ll still be able to go down the rabbit hole and spend many hours instinctively chasing food pellets, missing all manner of bus stops, important meetings and deadlines in the process.
Is the new Nokia 3310 worth getting?
Truth be told, if you are tech savvy, the revamped version of Nokia’s 3310 isn’t going to rock your socks off and make you want to replace your high-end smartphone. Once the nostalgia factor wears off, it quickly gets exposed as the outdated piece of kit that it truly is. Using the internet, in particular, is something of a chore, for the most part, so you probably would get sick of it after a while.
However, it would serve you well as a backup to your main phone, particularly in situations where opportunities to recharge batteries are scarce and the potential to lose your phone is relatively high (like when at a music festival or camping trip for example). Given the reasonable price point (they retail at €85 or lower), they work pretty well in this regard as you do get considerable bang for your buck.
They’d also make a pretty good option for less tech-savvy relatives who need a mobile phone but aren’t interested in “all that fancy stuff” – nice and basic, and easy to use.