The time has finally come for Nokia to reinstate their throne on the smartphone market. Along with the launch of the Nokia 3, the Nokia 5 and the Nokia 6 Android smartphones, HMD Global also returned a feature phone that used to be one of the most favorites of all time. We get to review the modern and classic Nokia 3310 (2017) feature phone.
Nokia 3310 Design
For those who have never used a feature phone in their early days, the original Nokia 3310 used to be known for its simplistic design, its build quality that resists hard drops, its battery life, profile options and of course, who scores the highest in the classic Snake game. And from the looks of it, HMD Global and Nokia have done quite a great job at maintaining most of the original design with a bit of modern day inspirations.
Nokia got rid of some design cues that helped to increase the display size. For starters, the vertically aligned earpiece that’s found on the old model is completely replaced by a simple earpiece on the top edge. The TFT color display size is 2.4-inches with a modest resolution of 240 x 320 (QVGA). While users looking for the best resolution may consider this as a poor choice, I think it’s decent because the Nokia 3310 was never meant to be a powerhouse in the first place. The colors may not be so great, but the viewing angles are surprisingly good for a cheaply priced phone. The whole screen is surrounded by a squarish plastic with smooth corners touching the four corners of the main display. This plastic covering seamlessly flows towards the control/call buttons.
Speaking of buttons, it looks like HMD Global has revamped the layout a bit as compared to the old Nokia 3310, which had a call button on the left side, directional buttons on the right and a main accept button on the top. The new Nokia 3310 (2017) features a 4-way directional button in the middle, the left button that serves for options and call, and the right button for cancel and back functions. Each direction in the 4-way button is set for quick shortcuts like creating a new SMS, calendar, calendar and more, while the middle button is used to access the main menu.
The oval shaped keypad on the Nokia 3310 (2017) brings memories of the original design where I used to write tons of SMS’s by one hand on the go. The quality of the buttons is surprisingly good for its price. There is the 3.5mm audio jack on the bottom of the device with a slight gap that’s left to open the back panel. Yes, the back panel is removable. Thank you, Nokia, and HMD Global!
There is another new thing that original Nokia 3310 didn’t have- Yes, the Nokia 3310 (2017) features a camera on the rear side with a tiny LED flash and a speaker grill above it. There is a micro-USB port on the top of the device. While many would criticize the lack of a USB Type-C port, you should know that the new Type-C is still yet to be widely used on many devices. As of today, you will still find many micro USB chargers around always in the neighborhood than a USB Type-C charger, and converters may not always be the answer for these situations.
Opening the Nokia 3310 (2017)’s back panel is quite easy. However, it was quite difficult to pop out the battery by my hand and I had to always use a pointed device or some sort to take out the battery, for accessing the SIM/microSD card slot. This device supports dual mini SIM cards or one mini SIM and one Micro SD card. I was hoping that Nokia could have given a separate slot for the MicroSD card.
Last but not least with regard to design aspects, the Nokia 3310 (2017) is 12.8mm think, which is a massive reduction (the original model is 22mm thick) and weighs merely 79.6g (133g for old model). Since the old Nokia 3310 was known for its rigid design and survivability from bad drops, I really wish that HMD Global had implemented a water/dust resistance for the new device. Sorry, but we didn’t try any drop tests for the Nokia 3310 (2017) that we got for review.
Specifications and Software
While not much is known about the processor used, the Nokia 3310 (2017) runs on the Nokia Series 30+ operating system. The internal storage present in the device is merely 16MB. That said, you can insert a MicroSD card up to 32GB in capacity. The menu system resembles most of the older Nokia feature phones. Users will be able to set the menu as 4x4 grid view or as a list. The menu icons include call logs, contacts, photos, internet (Opera), messaging, the mobile store for games and apps, my apps, camera, video player, radio, settings, calculator, file manager, alarm clock, extras, whether, call counter, voice recorder, smart dual sim manager and Snake.
The Snake that’s preinstalled on the Nokia 3310 (2017) is made by Gameloft. You can control the snake with the 4 and 6 numerical keys. While the game is fun to play, it didn’t exactly bring out the nostalgic feeling of the good old and classic Snake game.
The settings options include for connectivity, tones, display settings, date and time, call settings, cost settings, security settings, a backup option which is good and the profile settings. HMD made sure that the menu system and options remain almost the same as the old Nokia 3310. The goto shortcut menu can be configured from the settings menu.
The Nokia 3310 (2017) is quite snappy with no lags while accessing any menu option. There are no transition effects as you would see in a smartphone. However, it takes a bit of time to install an application or a game on the device. I must also mention that the unlocking method of the Nokia 3310 (2017) is quite different from what it used to be on the original Nokia 3310. While it used to be a combination of the main button + the star key, the Nokia 3310 (2017) used the power button + left key.
While the Nokia 3310 (2017) features Bluetooth 3.0 and FM Radio (requires headphone to work), the device doesn’t come with WiFi connectivity. It would have been great if the device had a WiFi option. However, the only way to connect to the internet is by using an Edge based internet connection via the Mini SIM card.
This little device comes with a very modest 2MP camera with LED flash. The image quality is seriously poor, which reminds me of the very first camera phones that hit the market. That said, I was surprised to see that the camera had a burst mode up to 6fps, which was again very slow and unusable, to say the least. You can also choose some image effects before capturing an image. Image effects include standard, greyscale, sepia, green tint, blue tint, and color inversion. The videos are just like the old VGA quality clips which are so slow. There are no front-facing cameras for selfies here. It’s better to look elsewhere for another smartphone if you are expecting a good camera.
Another feature of the Nokia 3310 (2017) that shines is its battery. While it holds a removable 1200 mAh battery, the maximum talktime is said to last up to 22.1 hours and a 31-day standby period. The FM radio playback can last up to 39 hours and mp3 playback up to 51 hours. While these numbers are claimed by Nokia, I did leave the device idle for two weeks straight and the battery life hardly drained by 20% (with SIM cards). After making a series of calls and accessing the internet, the Nokia 3310 (2017) easily lasted for over two days or maybe more in some cases. In short, it lasts way better than most smartphones out there. It’s no surprise because the device doesn’t run on power-hungry software and applications, it’s not powered by 8-core processors and doesn’t feature high-resolution displays or cameras.
NOKIA 3310 REVIEW VERDICT:
With almost everyone now owning a smartphone for themselves, the popularity of feature phones in 2017 comes down to only those who are seriously on a budget, or for someone who cannot handle the complex controls and menu functions of an advanced smartphone. I've personally come across such people often, who would be much happier with using a simple phone like the Nokia 3310 (2017). The design is simple and maintains most of the features of the old classic model. The device comes with a larger color screen and the menu functions are familiar for all Nokia fans alike.
I liked the part where the Nokia 3310 (2017) automatically sent a Bluetooth pairing request to my Sony Xperia Z5 Compact by simply waving the phones behind one another. Nokia calls it the Slam function. The battery life is amazing on this device. However, the camera quality is way far from anyone accepting it in this era. I'm not really surprised because the Nokia 3310 (2017) is supposed to be cheap feature phone at the first place. So, should you buy the Nokia 3310? Yes, because if not as your primary phone, the device serves good as a backup device, in case your main smartphone gets spoiled or lost.