This week the folks at Nokia have released their most popular phone – or their most notorious phone – in a full retro reboot styling. That is the Nokia 3310, re-released with new technology inside a casing that looks much like the original device. The original device became synonymous with both being ubiquitous as a smartphone – the smartphone – and for being majorly rugged. With the reboot – it’s just not the same universe we left back in the day.
When the Nokia 3310 was first released, there were no smartphones. Mobile phones were the cool product of the day – and they hadn’t quite caught on for the masses. It was a time when accessories for the most popular phones were a Wild West of a market, and Nokia reigned supreme in the mobile hardware plane of existence. All those different sorts of leather cases and alternate faceplates went straight to the flea market, where they remain today.
ALTERNATE OPINION: NOKIA 3310 first impressions: Retro Done Right
Now the folks that own the Nokia brand and make hardware with Nokia’s name on it – they aren’t the same crew that made Nokia back in the day. They’re also not an entirely different company. The difference is the dominance of the market, and Nokia’s approach to the user. While back then it was a seller’s market, and anything Nokia made was pretty much going to sell, now the consumer has the reigns.
But where this should be a situation where the Nokia 3110 is everything the average consumer might want, it is instead a set of basics. The newest version of this device has a big fat color display – big and fat compared to the original – and is made of a slightly more brittle plastic than the original. It’s not that we’d expected this model to be just as much of a rugged monster as the original – it’s that we’re surprised that we still want a device that we have no fear of breaking.
Gone are the arrow keys and the C key. Replacing them are a single central button, a call button, and an end call button. These are in place because the software inside has changed so dramatically.
The phone still makes phone calls just fine – and texting certainly still works. This version is a bit better at capturing photos, too – but only just. There’s a microSD card slot inside that allows the user to add a microSD card up to 32GB large.
Then there’s the Snake game – which is no longer truly Snake II at all, but a modern oddity. It’s not flat, and it’s not nearly as addictive. It’s as if they gave the Snake license to developer who works on Android or iOS games and only mentioned that the game would need to work on this Nokia phone at the last minute. It’d be fine for iOS or Android, but here it feels out of place.
Also the Nokia 3310 has no date set for a USA-based release. The release starting today begins this week at carriers in the UK like Vodafone. There the device is available for a cool €49 – or around £50 GBP. That’s around $65 USD, and right around the amount of cash this device is worth. Cross your fingers for a US-based release if you wish – but you won’t catch me crossing mine.