The Sony Xperia XZ Premium was there, the Moto G5 was there, the LG G6 was announced, and the Huawei P10 made an appearance. However, the biggest splash at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC 2017) was made by Nokia – which announced that the company will be relaunching its iconic Nokia 3310 handset (a market leader of the early 2000s). There is already considerable anticipation about the device – and, putting all nostalgia aside, the phone does have a fair few handy features as well. Over here, we will round up the most important features in the revamped Nokia 3310, scheduled to release in the second quarter of this year:
The new and improved Nokia 3310 has its own camera, unlike its predecessor. What’s more – the 2 MP mobile camera is accompanied with LED flash as well. For people who like to take photos on the go, this is a great feature (even if the picture quality is not the greatest). Users can, of course, record videos with the handset too. There is no selfie camera though.
When it was first launched and became wildly popular, Nokia 3310 had a monochrome (B&W) display. That hardly made a difference – for at that time, buyers were a long way from becoming addicted to sharp colors and cool designs in their mobile phones. The 2017 version of Nokia 3310, however, has a 2.4” QVGA color display. The default screen resolution is 240×320 (no touchscreen feature) – which is good enough for a low-end feature phone.
Nopes, the Nokia 3310 has not been made into a 4G smartphone. It is not going to support 3G either (the original version ruled the markets when there was no concept of wifi or mobile data). However, the handset does have a built-in web browser (Opera Mini) – via which, people can access Facebook, Twitter and other sites (with a 2.5G connection). If you are prepared to wait it out – you might well be surfing the internet on your Nokia 3310…and that’s not something anyone could have imagined 17 years back!
Dual SIM feature
Yet another upgrade over the original Nokia 3310. The new edition of the phone comes with dual-SIM (two micro-SIM cards) support. The phone supports GSM services, and is powered by the robust Series 30 operating system. Although, wifi and infrared connectivity are not supported by the phone (OTG cables cannot be used either) – the new 3310 does offer Bluetooth 3.0 functionality. There is a 3.5 mm headphone jack as well.
Excellent battery performance
Before the days of iPhones and Android handsets, there were plain feature phones (‘dumb phones’, anyone?) – which could be used for several days on single charge. The Nokia 3310 of 2017 is a hark back to those times. It promises a continuous talk time of 22 hours, along with a month-long (744 hours) standby period. The 1200mAh removable battery should last for multiple days – ensuring that users do not have to tag along the phone charger at all times (as is the case for most smartphones at present). More than 50 hours of music can be played on the Nokia 3310, without the phone being completely drained of battery.
With a built-in internal storage space of 16MB, the redesigned Nokia 3310 allows users to store contacts in the Phonebook, save pictures in the Gallery and store music without any worries. Those who require more space can easily add a microSD card to expand the storage space (up to 32GB). Given that there are no mobile apps to be stored on the device (other than the native ‘messaging app’) – that is more than adequate phone storage.
Return of Snake
Snake, on the original Nokia 3310, remains one of the most iconic mobile games of all time. It make a grand return in the revamped version of the phone. At the MWC event, the sheer number of professionals thronging at the Nokia booth to check out the Snake game told its own story about the latter’s still-strong popularity. Slight tweaks have been made to the game (for instance, the Snake can now move in any direction, instead of only at right angles) – and it certainly adds to the overall nostalgia factor of the phone.
While retaining the ‘bar’ form-factor of the original, Nokia has gone with a ‘modern twist on design’ for the new 3310 handset. The rounded corners are similar to what the 2000-model used to have, while the curved, polarized display takes up the screen readability in sunlight by several notches. The overall UI of the phone has been reconceptualized, and there are handy little push buttons present. Interestingly, the new Nokia 3310 is also significantly lighter (79 gm vs 133 gm) and slimmer (115.6mm x 51mm x 12.8mm) than its predecessor. Buyers can also take their pick from as many as 4 different body colors – Dark Blue, Grey (matte) and Yellow, Warm Red (Gloss).
Another great improvement over the older Nokia 3310, from the usability perspective. The pin-charger port has been replaced with a proper microUSB charging point in the device – ensuring that the device can be charged with any compatible microUSB cable. The microUSB port of Nokia 3310 can also be used for transferring items (music, photos, etc.) to and from the phone. The charging process is reasonably quick – and in terms of battery life, this phone is an absolute beast.
It’s not anything too fancy – but the basic music player (MP3) adds a lot of value to the upgraded Nokia 3310. Given the top-notch battery performance of the handset, the MP3 player (with the headphone jack) lets users enjoy high-quality audio/music while on the move. FM Radio is available as well – making it easy for people to listen to their favourite music at any time. With an external SD card, plenty of music files can be stored in the phone.
A backup phone
For all its cool new features and the obvious nostalgia quotient, the Nokia 3310 is not a smartphone – and it probably cannot match up to our everyday requirements from mobile devices (fast internet, for instance). However, the phone does what it is meant to do – voice calling, messaging, music and the Snake game – very well, and it can serve well as an emergency backup device. The superb standby performance of the phone enhances its value further. The new Nokia 3310 can also be bought as a nice, multi-featured mobile phone for kids.
When the Nokia 3310 was last present in the market, DVDs were more popular than internet videos, Gmail and Google Maps had just been launched, ‘Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith’ was about to be released, and Facebook was known as ‘The Facebook’. The year was 2005 – and in the last decade, the global smartphone market has undergone a complete revolution. However, the Nokia 3310 handset – which was the first mobile phone for many 80s and 90s kids – has an old-world charm of its own. This ‘throwback nostalgia’ is one of the biggest reasons for the ‘unprecedented level of demand’ for the new Nokia phone (as reported by Carphone Warehouse). At 49 Euros, it is extremely affordable, and holds its own as a compact, efficient mobile device.
There remains some concerns over the future of the Nokia 3310, after the phone hits the markets this year. Professionals from the software and mobile app development fields have confirmed that the 3310 will work on 900 MHz and 1800 MHz frequencies (for 2G/2.5G connectivity). Now, these frequencies have already been discontinued in North America and South America – ruling out the chances of the phone being successful in these markets. In several other countries too, these frequency bands are likely to be phased out in the foreseeable future. The phone is all hype now and does have strong, upgraded features – but its demand might just be geographically limited.
Well over 125 million units of the original Nokia 3310 were shipped worldwide, before the model was discontinued in 2005. The handset is back in a sleeker, more sophisticated avatar (and with Snake!) – and the competitive pricing will also work in its favour. In India, nearly 55% of all mobile phone shipments are made up by feature phones, and interest levels are high in other parts of Asia and Europe as well. The stage is set for the grand re-entry of Nokia 3310 – and we will soon know whether it manages to match its immense hype.