Nokia 3310: Hands-on review

Alex Kidman 27 February 2017 NEWS

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Nokia’s reimagined 3310 brings back fond memories of a classic phone, but there’s no point in importing one into Australia.

Sometimes it’s fun to go for a walk down memory lane. Like so many mobile users of the time, I had a Nokia 3310 back in the day, and the fact that I can state that means that I’ve probably been using mobile phones for far too long now.

So when Nokia announced that it was going to re-release the Nokia 3310, I was somewhat intrigued. The era of the Nokia 3310 was, in phone terms, in the absolute pre-history of mobiles, back when we could be happy with just Snake and predictive text messages. 2017 is an era where we expect super-slo motion cameras, water resistant phones and all the processing power we can handle at the premium end, and even mid to budget range phones that should run rings around a phone as old as the Nokia 3310.

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Nokia (or to be more strictly accurate, HMD Global, the effective home of Nokia Mobile phones) has done an interesting job with the style of the Nokia 3310, but it’s not one that I’m entirely a fan of.

Yes, the new phones are colourful, and that’s probably a marketing plus, but they’re more akin to some of the Nokia 3310 knockoffs that you could buy back in the day rather than something truly worthy of the Nokia 3310 name. It probably didn’t help that there was a Nokia 3310 sitting on the desk while I had my hands-on time, because all it did was remind me of what the “proper” Nokia 3310 should look like.

For newcomers that might not matter, but I’m struggling to see why a newcomer would particularly engage with the Nokia 3310 in the first place. This is, it seems to me, a phone for us old fogies, or folks who really dislike touch screens and complex menus.

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The basic menu structure of the new Nokia 3310 is simple and mostly effective. It’s been a while, so getting the muscle memory used to how things used to be wasn’t the fastest process, but for the basic feature set of this particular phone you really can’t go too far anyway. It’s nicely light in the hand, although that does mean that it also feels rather cheap. Nokia representatives were watching, so it seemed unwise to try to bounce one off the wall to determine if it still had that legendary Nokia 3310 durability. Something tells me that it doesn’t.

While the wander down memory lane was fun, it wasn’t an entirely purposeful exercise, for one very simple reason. Nokia has updated the style and indeed the user interface on the Nokia 3310, but the model presented at Mobile World Congress is a 2.5G only phone.

That means that even if you purchased one today, it would only run on the Optus Network until 1 April 2017, on Vodafone until 30 September and not at all on Telstra, excluding Christmas Island. 2G is basically dead in Australia and that means that “new” 2G phones are a non-starter for the local market. Maybe Nokia will see success with the 2G Nokia 3310 and produce a new model with integrated 3G, but in the meantime, if you’re still very keen on feature phones, you can check out feature phones available locally that will work on local networks here.

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