Kids these days may not know why a lot of us are losing our minds over a feature phone, but the original Nokia 3310 represented the dreams and desires of a growing and ever modernizing young society. It was an iconic device that brought numerous individuals of all ages into the mobile age, being one of the first truly affordable mobile phones when India first ushered in mobile connectivity. Selling at around Rs 4,000 when I bought it back in the early 2,000s, the Nokia 3310 was a runaway success and has long earned its place among the legendary devices of the mobile phone industry.
The 3310 was quickly antiquated by a Nokia that was innovative, strong and disruptive in those days, as features became the priority. The end of the decade saw smartphones rise to prominence, and with their growth, the feature phone age came to a swift end. Nokia failed to keep up with the smartphone trends, was bought out by Microsoft and turned into Microsoft Mobile, and suddenly the exit of an iconic name in mobile phones was imminent. However, 2017 marks the resurgence of Nokia, rising from the ashes much like the proverbial phoenix thanks to brand license holder HMD Global. And the first of its phones to launch in India is the nostalgia-filled Nokia 3310 (2017).
Priced at a cheeky Rs 3,310, the Nokia 3310 is a feature phone aimed at triggering memories and taking you back to a time when phones were simpler devices. Nokia is making all the right moves and is expected to launch the first of its new smartphone lineup in India in June, but for now, we’re bringing you Nokia’s new (old) feature phone. Check out our review of the new Nokia 3310.
A lot like the original
There are some big similarities between the new Nokia 3310 and the old one. The biggest of these is the design and form factor; the new phone is a candy-bar feature phone with a classic twelve-button telephone keypad and navigation and selection keys above. It’s nearly the same size as the classic 3310, but is significantly slimmer thanks to improvements in battery technology over the last 17 years. The back panel opens up to reveal the removable battery, but that’s where the similarities end.
The differences that exist are there only to add some relevance to the device, such as the 3.5mm jack, micro-USB port for charging and data transfers, dual-SIM connectivity and microSD card slot. There’s also a 2.4-inch color screen and 2-megapixel camera with LED flash, making it significantly more capable than the old 3310. However, as a feature phone, the Nokia 3310 lacks Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity, and only features 2G data connectivity to use with its basic internet browser and app store.
A feature phone with, well, features
Looking through the basic software interface and list of functions takes you back in time, and while these features may have been cutting edge a decade ago, the phone feels far too simple today. There are basic apps for calling and SMS, contacts can be manually added or copied from other devices using Bluetooth, and basic apps exist for functions such as Internet browsing, viewing photos and videos, listening to music and the radio, calendar, voice recording, notes, alarms and calculator. There is no support for WhatsApp or Facebook as of now, except through the phone’s browser.
There’s also a fairly basic 2-megapixel camera at the back, although the paltry 16MB of internal storage will only let you store a handful of pictures. Using an expandable storage card does let you take more pictures and videos, as well as add music to listen to. Dual-SIM connectivity means you can receive and make calls on two numbers at the same time, and of course there’s a refreshed version of Snake too, to add to all that nostalgia. It isn’t quite as easy to play and fun as the original, but it’s nice to play a remixed version of an old classic.
And importantly, the Nokia 3310 has some of that legendary durability that made the original phone famous. I did drop the phone on a couple of occasions, which caused no damage at all. The plastic body of the phone protects it from damage, and the simplicity of the internal components means it’s particularly hard to cause any significant damage with a few drops. The phone is even available in bright new colors, including yellow, orange, black and grey. We liked the eye-catching looks of our orange unit, and of course the battery that takes day to drain out and charges back up in less than an hour.
How is any of this relevant?
It really isn’t relevant. The Nokia 3310 is not a smartphone, and naturally does not do much beyond giving you basic phone functionality and a few somewhat useful apps. You might argue that it works as a back-up device, but even our back-up devices need to be smartphones today. Managing without WhatsApp and basic internet functionality seems impossible, and simply having calling and SMS capability doesn’t quite cut it anymore.
There are some good reasons to buy this phone, though. Nostalgia is the best of these reasons; the Nokia 3310 was a legendary device, and there is a certain amount of pride, joy and conversation value in owning this successor to that iconic phone. Perhaps you want a basic secondary phone only for calls and SMS, and the great battery life and sturdiness might help in these cases. However, there is limited scope for modern smartphone users to find use for a feature phone today, and this Nokia phone doesn’t quite have enough to be worth the Rs 3,310 price.
However, buyers in the market for a feature phone or with a low budget could consider the Nokia 3310, for the quality of the build, the legacy of the brand name and the assurance of quality. The Nokia 3310 is exactly what it’s meant to be; a product that functions on nostalgia, simplicity and a guarantee of quality that only Nokia can give you. ALSO READ: Nokia 3310 stocks to be replenished in offline stores across India this week