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Nokia 3310 (2017) hands-on preview: Is it worthy of the legendary name?

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Originally introduced way back in September of 2000, the Nokia 3310 has since sold a mind-boggling 126 million units, and cemented itself in the hearts of many fans as the “best phone ever”. Thanks to its amazing durability, stellar battery life, customizable design, and, of course, the legendary Snake II, the Nokia 3310 has gained a cult following like no other phone before or since.

Really, we can’t stress enough how much of a big deal the 3310 was for mobile phones back in the year 2000. It may seem funny to some of our younger readers, but at launch, the 3310 offered many rarely seen features, such as a calculator, a stopwatch, reminders, and SMS text messages three times the then-current standard – a staggering 459 characters!

The Nokia 3310 is a legend that will forever remain in our collective memory as one of the best phones ever. In fact, if anyone had asked us a couple of months ago whether we would like a new 3310, a successor to the legend, we would have answered negatively, for no device — past, present or future — could ever do these four digits justice. Alas, no one asked us, and HDM Global is now bringing back the 3310 from a long and well-deserved retirement.

Enter... Nokia 3310

Yes, it isn’t the NEW Nokia 3310, or the 2017 Nokia 3310, it’s just… Nokia 3310. So, apart from bearing the legendary name of the original, what does this new phone have to offer?

Design


At first glance, the new Nokia 3310 looks similar to its predecessor – it retains the iconic oval outline of its older brother, has a similar whitish border around the screen, and its keypad is almost a carbon copy of the old one in terms of shape and ergonomics. However, when held, the new Nokia 3310 reveals itself as decidedly lighter and a lot thinner than the original. It also doesn’t feel anywhere nearly as sturdy as its venerable predecessor.

Although we’re not doubting that the new Nokia 3310 would be able to survive its fare share of drops, it comes off as a bit hollow and a tad too plasticky.

The new Nokia 3310 ditches the bidirectional navigation button of the original, in favor of the four-directional “square” button we’ve seen on Nokia feature phones over the better part of the last decade. It’s neither very comfortable to use, nor is it very precise. As far as the keypad goes, it is somewhat on the soft side, with some, but not great, feedback when typing.

As we said in the beginning, the original Nokia 3310 was famous for its swappable Xpress-On front and back covers. Well, there’s none of that in the new 3310. Although it comes in a variety of colors (red, yellow, blue, and gray), the new Nokia offer nothing in the way of customization, with only its back cover being removable for providing access to the battery.

Software & interface


The user interface of the new Nokia 3310 bares no resemblance to that of the original, which is something that didn’t surprise us one bit. The original 3310’s horizontally scrolling menu has been substituted by a cookie-cutter Series 30 interface with a 3 x 3 icon grid.

As far as the pre-installed software goes, you have everything you’d expect from a phone like that, including a rudimentary web browser and an app store, though their functionality is severely limited by some of the phone’s technical shortcomings that we will be getting into in a moment.



The new Nokia 3310 comes with only one game pre-loaded, and yes, it is Snake, but it isn’t the original. It is a colorful 2D re-imagining of Snake II, developed by Gameloft, that is also more forgiving and smoother to control than the original. Unfortunately, none of the other classic 3310 games have made the transition, meaning that you won’t be blasting aliens in Space Impact or playing Bantumi on the new 3310.

On the upside, the phone comes with a lot of classic Nokia ringtones pre-loaded. All of them are polyphonic, which can either be considered an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on your point of view (and the thickness of your nostalgia goggles). There are no twangy, ear-piercing, monophonic ringtones like the ones you would find on an original 3310.

Hardware, camera and other features



Battery

The new Nokia 3310 has a 1200 mAh battery, which may not sound like a lot, but it’s actually capable of providing around 22 hours of talk time and a staggering 30 days of stand-by. To put things into perspective, that’s about twice as much as the original 3310 on both counts! That’s perfect for a phone that’s likely to sit in your glove box  for prolonged periods of time.

Camera

The new Nokia 3310 has a 2MP primary camera with an LED flash and no selfie camera. The rear-facing shooter can take stills and record video. That’s about as much as we can say about it.

Internal storage and playback capabilities

The phone comes equipped with 16 MB of storage, which can thankfully be expanded to 32 GB via the SD card slot. The phone also plays video and MP3 files, and has a 3.5 mm headphone jack. FM radio is a plus.

Conclusion


The new Nokia 3310 has no WiFi, no 3G, no GPS, no front-facing camera, no high-resolution display. It is not a 3310 in the sense that it tries to be groundbreaking and revolutionary like the original, it is a 3310 just because HMD Global says so. It doesn't do for the mobile world of today what the original did 17 years ago, but instead relies on its name to garner attention. The new 3310 is just a regular Nokia feature phone, crammed into a shell that bares merely a passing resemblance to the design of the original 3310. There, we said it.

If you are in the market for a cheap backup phone with amazing battery life, then you should absolutely consider the €49 Nokia 3310. Otherwise, even if you are on a powerful nostalgia trip right now, the new Nokia 3310 is not worthy of your attention, time, and money.


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This story is part of:

Nokia at MWC 2017 (11 updates)
  • New Nokia 3310 camera turns out better than Galaxy S7 camera: an unbiased comparison
    28 February New Nokia 3310 camera turns out better than Galaxy S7 camera: an unbiased comparison The original Nokia 3310 from 2000 didn't have a camera, but if it did, we're sure it'd have been rad. Fast-forward to 2017, though, and there's hardly a phone out there tha doesn't come with some sort of a snapper built into it. Good thing, then, that the brand spanking new 3310 from 2017 has one, and of the fancy-schmancy 2 megapixels at that! So we thought... maybe you guys would be interested in feasting your eyes on some real-life camera samples straight from this glorious shooter? You got it!
  • Moto G5 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) vs Nokia 6: specs comparison
    28 February Moto G5 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) vs Nokia 6: specs comparison The Moto G5 Plus, Samsung Galaxy A5 and Nokia 6 offer relatively similar specs, and yet they're very different devices...
  • Nokia 3310 (2017) hands-on preview: Is it worthy of the legendary name?
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    27 February Nokia 3310 (2017) hands-on preview: Is it worthy of the legendary name? HMD Global has brought the Nokia 3310 back from the dead. The new 3310 shares a lot of similarities with its predecessor, but it's coming out 17 years later. What is it and who is it for? Check out our hands-on preview of the new Nokia 3310 (2017)...
  • Nokia 3 hands-on first look: can it compete with Moto G and Xiaomi?
    27 February Nokia 3 hands-on first look: can it compete with Moto G and Xiaomi? The Nokia 3 is a dirt cheap 5-inch Android phone with clean software and the added spice of a sturdy build quality...
  • Nokia 5 hands-on preview: bouncing back on stock Android
    27 February Nokia 5 hands-on preview: bouncing back on stock Android The Nokia 5 is crafted out of a single sheet of anodized aluminum that can be painted in Silver White, Matte Black, Tempered Blue and Copper White colors, so it joins the ranks of premium chassis phones in its class like the Moto G5 Plus or most every Xiaomi handset. The smooth metal body is a looker, especially in the blue or red hues, but it feels a bit slippery in the hand, so we'd advise a case on that puppy. Other than that, the phone is well-made, with no gaps or creaks all around, and with solid, easy to press buttons that give good tactile feedback. The phone carries a 5.2-inch HD display, which is nothing to write home about in terms of resolution, but has good viewing angles, and no visible slant to the overly cold or warm side of the color spectrum. The Nokia 5 also comes with the contemporary USB-C port at the bottom, and a physical home button (no finger scanner, though), making it a nice mix of the modern and the nostalgic trends...

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Nokia 3310 specs
  • Display 2.4 inches 320 x 240 pixels
  • Camera 2 MP (Single camera)
  • Storage 0.016GB, microSDHC
  • Battery 1200 mAh

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