Nokia 3310 (2017) Review
HMD Global has released a new iteration to the classic Nokia 3310. It’s may bear the name of the same old Nokia that we used to love, but it has a brand new flair that would you make you think twice about getting one. Is it more than just a nostalgia machine? That’s what we’ll find out in this review.
Announced last February and arrived in the Philippines just this June 30, the Nokia 3310 has made the country in a frenzy (or it would seem so) as stocks were all sold out in MemoXpress stores when we called in last week. We are able to find our own units on the outskirts of the metro, and here we have it for a quick spin.
Fair warning though — we’re reviewing a device originally conceptualized in 2000 and subjecting it to 2017 standards.
Design and Construction
The retail unit comes in a two-material packaging with a paper box covering all of the accessories and papers, while the unit is presented on one side using a plastic covering. At the box is the usual — the unit itself, a micro USB charger (not detachable), a pair of earphones, and a couple of papers for manuals.
When we match up the new Nokia 3310 from its predecessor, we’d see design cues that pay homage to the one who started it all, but the build, for the most part, has already been modernized.
For one, the bib design that surrounds the display which houses the Navi and the directional buttons are still in place. It still has a three-key setup, but packs in more functions: the left one is for accessing shortcuts, and accepting calls, the middle button has evolved from a Navi to a four-way directional key with a middle button for going OK, and the right one is now the new ‘clear’, ‘backspace’ and an area for rejecting calls, quick access to the camera, or your one-way ticket back to the home screen.
The alphanumeric keys underneath are embossed with the silver text and numbers you see and light up as it is being used. The asterisk button also doubles as a default SIM changer while the sharp button mutes the device when pressed and held on.
At the bottom of the device are the 3.5mm audio jack and the microphone, while the micro USB is left exposed up top.
When we flip the device over, we see a huge camera module that speaks one of the 3310’s upgraded features: a 2-megapixel rear camera.and an accompanying LED flash that is placed on its side. A small speaker grille is located up top, and the Nokia logo in the middle with the phone’s color — a dark blue — completes the whole setup. It’s a sturdy polycarbonate shell that has a matte surface and is susceptible to fingerprint smudges and grime. We also experienced this with the glossy yellow version we also bought.
Prying the device open are as what you have seen with our hands-on a few days back which includes slots for two mini SIM cards (yep, the regular ones), a microSD card, and the device’s motherboard that is exposed when you remove its 1200mAh battery.
Contrary to boxed shapes of devices we’ve been reviewing lately, the 3310 takes on an ergonomically curved shape that feels good and grips firmly when held with one hand. It’s a lot lighter than its predecessor which makes it very easy to type and browse with just one hand, even when you’re not looking. It’s a lot durable than other bar phones available locally, and we do appreciate its resilience a few times we dropped it on the ground.
Display and Multimedia
The Nokia 3310 has a 2.4-inch display that has a polarized layer which basically is just a variant of the TFTs we used to see on basic phones. Despite bearing a TFT, the display does present itself with good colors and contrast, adjustable brightness, and good viewing angles.
It does fall short on its 240×320 pixel resolution as it is not that crisp especially when viewing photos on the device. The glare it also produces when out on a high noon is something to take note as well.
As such, its multimedia suffer. While music is decent at its best, watching videos here wouldn’t be your cup of tea. It’s not a good phone for watching or listening to media as current mp4 or AAC standards are not playable on the device, and thus we have to resort to more common formats such as mp3 and 3gp to make it playable. Its loudspeaker can reach an average of 78db but it’s best for poly ringtones. The included headset package is not noise-cancelling but is sufficient for daily activities. It’s best to use your own if you feel like it’s falling from your ears every now and then.
The Nokia 3310 reboot comes with a two-megapixel snapper, which does not have autofocus for that matter. You’re left with capturing portrait photos in well-lit situations with decent colors with a size that’s good enough to upload on social media channels. The LED flash doesn’t help that much in making indoor shots better, and images at times would look at lot smudgy.
Taking photos in itself is a chore as there is a one-second delay between pressing the button and processing you shot, which is quite annoying especially at times where you are capturing quick moments. Likewise, the absence of a front camera would leave you working back like in 2007: turn around your phone to take a photo of you and your friends. Here are some sample shots:
Likewise, video capturing could be bearable but it only produces the same size as its display. Here’s a sample clip:
OS, UI, and Apps
Nokia’s own Series30+ mobile operating system is the star of the show, and it’s very similar to other previously-released Nokia bar phones that feature the basic stuff with a few added features in tow.
The upgraded snake game that we used to love gets its own dedicated menu and new rules to play under Gameloft. If you’re a fan who wants a classic take, then this one doesn’t hit the right spots as it’s a different scenario compared to the original.
There are also other games onboard such as Asphalt 6: Adrenaline and Diamond Twister 2, although they only work as demo trials and you have to purchase them to get the full versions. Despite great titles, they bear retro graphics which also identifies the capabilities of the phone.
Other apps available include a weather app, a mobile browser and an online app store via Opera Mini, a Notes app, and a mobile data counter. Simple multi tasking functions such as playing music while doing other phone functions are available.
As for its internal storage, you’re left with a measly 16MB that could only hold a few photos and a single high-quality mp3 audio file. You’re bound to really purchase a dedicated microSD card just to make more space available.
Performance and Benchmarks
Performance is good for daily tasks such as calls, SMS, and a bit of mobile internet on the side, although your experience with Opera Mini combined with an alphanumeric keyboard could be tiresome for those who are coming in from smartphones. There were times that messages would slow down with a lot of messages or when typing very long texts that span four times than that of the normal SMS limit. Our standard benchmarks do not work here but rest assured that the rest of the phone’s functions are as snappy as your old Nokia basic phone.
Connectivity and Battery Life
The Nokia 3310 features Bluetooth connectivity and mobile data internet via 2.5G, which is something amiss from its predecessor. Bluetooth works really well on both phones and other Bluetooth-connected devices: a Bluetooth Slam function works really well when passing on contacts, and playback works well with my Bluetooth speaker and headset. Heck, I’m considering this to be a phone when I run in the gym.
What’s unbelievable with this device? Its battery life, when used moderately for calls, SMS, a bit of Snake here and there, and music via both wired and Bluetooth connections could last you for 5 days with a few more left before recharging. That’s a lot of juice compared to phones with similar specifications. Our video loop test with the device gave us more or less 21 hours and 15 minutes on a single charge, while charging takes around 1 hour on its dedicated charger.
2017 is the year of the nostalgia indeed as HMD Global revived a global icon for a major update, and the new Nokia 3310 is both a hit and miss in several aspects. What’s really good with this one is the long-lasting battery life, and we did enjoy a phone with a long life though we wouldn’t really see this lasting for up to one month due to its dual-SIM capability. It also has a solid construction you don’t see in bar phones nowadays, and the good features that it brings to the table despite being a feature phone.
With that being said, a lot of gripes are here and we do hope that HMD Global improve on: There’s that disappointing 2MP camera, the Gameloft-developed version of Snake that altered a bit of my childhood, and the fact that it’s stuck at 2G and there’s no WiFi available.
With a suggested retail price of Php2,490, the device is a bit overpriced as other comparable feature phones offer something better for a lot less (like Php1,000).
We’re not denying the power of the Nokia brand, and this 3310 sure have lived up to expectations of a feature phone that had evolved to play with the modern times. This could be your best bet as a secondary phone — that is if you’re not that keen with the high price tag.
But yes, we know you’re getting one not because it’s the best feature-phone at this price category. You’re buying it because it’s a piece of your own history.
Nokia 3310 (2017) specs:
2.4-inch curved window with polarized layer
16MB internal storage
expandable via microSD up to 32GB
2MP rear camera
3.5mm headphone jack
Nokia Series 30+
Removable 1200 mAh battery
15.6 x 51 x 12.8 mm (dimensions)
What we liked about it:
* Great build
* Long-lasting battery life
What we didn’t like about it:
* Snake by Gameloft is a bummer
* 2.5G connectivity only, no WiFi
* limited internal storage
* disappointing camera
* Limited codecs available for playback
Also on YugaTech: How do you spot a Fake Nokia 3310? We tell you the details