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Nokia 8110 4G Dual SIM — an Australian Review of the banana phone refresh

Remember the days when Nokia ruled the roost and were the phone to have? The Nokia 8110 made its first appearance in the original Matrix movie and this last couple of weeks I’ve been travelling down nostalgia lane with the 2018 update to this classic phone.

The hardware

I’ll be brutal for a moment here: by current market standards, the hardware on the 2018 refresh of the 8810 is not great, in fact it would probably be considered by most as a low end phone at best. Much like the 3310 that Chris had a look at late last year; that’s not the point.

The 2.4” TFT display running 240 x 320 at 167ppi is enough to see necessary details such as caller ID, calendar appointments and the required detail for a good game of snake but lacks the physical size and resolution for other more complex display needs such as video playback.

While the screen is a bit lacking in size, the phone is physically very small by today’s standards (133.5 x 49.3 x 14.9 mm size), offers dual SIM capabilities and has a battery (1500mAh) that has lasted me over 10 days without needing a recharge. This all gives it some reasonably good footing to take the mantle as a secondary or “backup” phone for many users.

As a backup phone you’re not going to be looking to this for photography needs and that’s a good thing: the camera is a 2MP camera that produces pretty grainy photos with somewhat washed out colour. Disappointing results, but not unexpected given the general specs and targeted audience for this device.

The processing specs are low end as well starting with a dual core 1.4Ghz Cortex CPU, 4GB internal storage (that’s not a typo, storage…) and a minuscule 512MB RAM. All of this adds up to the earlier mentioned huge battery life enclosed in the IP52 (drip protection) rated body.

The software

As you would imagine, on a phone like this that has been updated and contextualised to today’s market – the menu system and software functions are very simple.

Covering the most important item first: Yes, it has Snake! For the record, yes I spent far too long playing it and thoroughly enjoyed my time doing so.

Getting back to what the phone is actually about – the call functions, logging, calendar and message handling is reminiscent of the old school Nokia phones with a simple contacts list which can be synced with your Google account easily.

In terms of the modern options on the phone you’ll find the browser, email, YouTube, Google Maps and Google Assistant quite clunky to use, requiring T9 input for your searching which unfortunately removes much of the convenience of the functions. The app store has some very low end options: a few basic games, a weather utility and a basic twitter app.

What it does well

This is a really good phone if you’re looking for great battery life, as a backup phone or just if you’re needing to make and/or receive lots of calls throughout the day. I’m seriously considering grabbing one, charging it once a week and just using it in case of emergency.

I liked having the FM radio built in as I often will sit and listen to the radio but don’t want to chew through huge amounts of data to do so, making this a really nice to have addition and adding some value to the phone.

What’s it not so good at?

Being brutal for a moment, the 8810 isn’t good at any “smart phone” functionality. The fact remains that the phone is a button based input and our requirements and expectations from devices has progressed so far past this that as a primary device, the vast majority of users simply won’t be happy with it.

Conclusion

The 8810 is a really simple phone and a great bit of nostalgia. When all considered, not a bad phone but it’s not brilliant by today’s standards. It lacks screen real-estate, it lacks grunt, it lacks software functionality, text messaging is painful (you really have to work for it!) and it lacks app compatibility. For a user looking for a current phone as a daily driver, this isn’t for you.

If you’re looking for a second phone, with battery life that takes you back to when you felt inconvenienced by actually having to charge your phone, then this is a phone you should really be looking closely at. The convenience of being able to sync your Google contacts is a massive bonus as it means no duplication of this data.

I’ve found that the mobile signal is really solid in both metro centres as well as fringe area’s and it’s got dual SIM so there is some functionality that many of the current breed of phones lack.

At the end of the day it’s currently $136.99 from Expansys and will well and truly meet the expectations of the price tag.

If you were looking at a device of this price point, what would be your must have options?

Journalist
Phil Tann

Phil is an Android enthusiast who spends most of his time reading up on U.S. Android news so he can get the low down on what could possibly hit Australian shores. Coming from a background in IT & T sales, he’s in the perfect position to give an educated view on hardware and software.

View Comments

  • As someone who spends far too much time on his phone during the day, the lack of functionality is actually rather appealing. People can still get in touch with me via phone or SMS, but it would remove the distraction of modern smartphone apps. That might not be a bad thing! I really should buy one. But yellow or black?! That's the impossible question.

      • I do too, Phil. It's that trade off between the "banana phone" yellow, and the "Matrix phone" black. I suspect I'm leaning towards the black, just because the yellow will likely get filthy reasonably quickly.

    • I've got one Adam and you're right it's great to remove distractions and the Google apps are surprisingly usable.....probably just needs a Qwerty version to be a daily phone (I think there may be one coming like the old Nokia Asha 210) as T9 texting on the keypad has reminded how painful this is!

      • To exploit T9 texting, use the multi-tapping technique, just that when one overshot an alphabet/digit, don't stop just keep tapping to start again the cycle. I've got the hang of it after a day of multi-tapping..

      • Speaking of Asha 210, I really, really loved E71. It is the only mobile that I kept for 2 full years of the contract period. I still have a very fond memory of E71 in white. Then came iPhone and Android...

        If 8110 4G came in shiny polished chrome silver, it would be like 8810 that I desperately wanted (but couldn't afford back then LOL).

        Might consider 8110 4G in black for memory's sake...

  • Let's be honest here, you are not buying one of these phones for a smart phone.. You are buying a basic phone for people who don't like smart phones.
    It is a mobile phone with basic functions and that's what you expect, no point moaning about the lack of functionality because it wasn't designed for that. My step-father at 83 would love this phone, real buttons none of this buttons on a screen with things he doesn't understand and annoying emails etc. He can open it up, punch some numbers and talk to people he wants to talk to and be done.

  • You keep referring to the phone as 8810 when it is 8110 4G. If you're use to feature phones then this is a big step up in functionality. You can use Google Assistant by voice. You don't have to type everything in.

  • You compared the Nokia 8110 4G, a feature phone against the requirements of a smartphone is like comparing apples to oranges which is fundamentally not right. Don't compare T9 features against touchscreen features, they are different market. Sure, the Nokia 8110 4G cannot deliver much but it is categorically a budget phone yet with 4G facilities which you don't highlight. How many budget phones are there in the market with 4G facilities? KaiOS Technologies at their blog mentioned that they have set a target to the end of 2018 and hope interested developers can make their apps KaiOS-compatible by then. Like all IT products, there is a teething period to further improvise software shortcomings.

  • For the bloke wanting to know the 2nd sim slot can work 4g sim cards I use my nano sim only and it's fine.

  • To all. Can confirm on my unit that the micro SIM slot is 2G only. The nano SIM slot supports 2G/3G/4G. It’s a bit of a shame as the micro sim slot is useless for us Aussie users.

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Phil Tann
Tags: FeaturedMatrix PhoneOld School

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