When we first saw Nokia’s revamped 2017 version of the venerable 3310 launch at Mobile World Congress earlier this year, it was hard to deny that it was the star of a somewhat less than amazing show; it was unexpected, not leaked, and something completely different. In other words, something that rarely happens at MWC, and it captured the hearts and minds of many attendees, myself included.
However, in Australia at least, we were a bit disappointed, as this phone was only going to be 2G, and largely sold in developing markets. In Australia, with our 2G networks variously shut or shutting down, it would be completely useless. Well, Nokia spotted an opportunity and decided to announce a 3G variant that would (and does) work here rather well.
I’ve had one to play with for the last couple of weeks, and here’s a quick report, and I do mean quick — there simply isn’t an awful lot to know about Nokia’s 3310 3G. It features a fairly average 2MP camera, you can play Snake, it has a web browser which doesn’t do an amazing job, plus you can listen to FM Radio and your own music provided you throw a MicroSD card into the phone.
The stand-out feature? The battery life will last a solid 27 days between charges with minimal use. I took the phone out of the box a couple of weeks ago, gave it a full charge, and it hasn’t seen a power point since. I’ve made a few phone calls, played with it a bit, send and received some messages and it still has 50% battery two weeks later. Granted, the Nokia 3310 isn’t a phone that you use like a smartphone, because it isn’t. There’s (virtually) no apps, the camera is functional but not something you’ll use by choice, and besides taking/making calls, it just doesn’t do an awful lot.
But that’s the beauty of it. For $89 dollars, you get a phone which is a rarity today. It lasts forever, works on every 3G network, has great reception and it’s stupidly easy to use. Why spend hundreds of dollars on giving your kids a smartphone which they’ll — ultimately — destroy, and come crying for a new one, when you could give them such a simple means of staying in touch? Your teenager will probably take one look at the Nokia 3310 and lose interest immediately, but if you’re minded to give a phone to younger kids — think, 7 or 8 year olds — this phone is perfect.
A smartphone is great, but at up to $1,500 its a luxury for some. There are cheaper smartphones, but you could argue that some of them that fit into the $200 – $300 mark simply aren’t very good, and probably aren’t worth the asking price. If your priority is to make and receive phone calls, and the occasional SMS, then something as simple as the Nokia 3310 might be a great idea, freeing up your cash to spend on something more worthwhile.
There’s so many scenarios where the Nokia 3310 would be a great idea, and here’s just a few:
- For your young kids if you need to get them a phone
- To stick in the glovebox to use in emergencies, particularly if your smartphone goes flat
- Your grandparents might like one to stay in touch, and they don’t need to charge it often
- Forced to carry two phones, but don’t want the bulk of a second smartphone
- Activities where a smartphone might break, but you need to carry a phone (and it doesn’t matter if it does break)
I’m sure you can think of more, and that’s the really exciting thing about the Nokia 3310 in 3G — it works in Australia, it’s cheap as chips, and while it mightn’t be a smartphone, it’s a great phone for what a phone was always meant to be. A way to talk to people, anywhere, any time, without having to worry about charging it every night.