Nokia 3310 (2017) hands-on review: The original Nokia 3310 has amassed near-mythical status over the 17 years since its initial release and now Nokia has revived the design with a new S30-based colour feature phone that even has a camera.
If you haven’t heard, Nokia’s mobile arm is now owned by a company called HMD Global, responsible for launching its first Nokia-branded handset, the Android-powered Nokia 6 in China earlier this year. The company used Mobile World Congress 2017 as the stage for the expansion of the Nokia 6’s availability into other markets, the launch of two other Android handsets: the Nokia 5 and Nokia 3, and the relaunch the Nokia 3310.
The new 3310 is easily distinguishable from the company’s other recent feature phones and offers enough similarities to the original to tug on your sense of nostalgia.
It’s certainly less brick-like with a wider, flatter appearance and this time around there are no Xpress-on covers to speak of. As such you’re stuck with one of four colourways; dark blue, red, yellow and grey, each with the distinctive off-white band looping around the display. You can peel the back off to get at the phone’s 1200mAh removable battery and throw in a microSD card (up to 32GB) if you want to store more than just messages on the phone, as its internal 16MB isn’t really geared towards holding media.
Other external cues that separate it from its namesake are a glossy finish, a headphone jack and a microUSB port. Thankfully some updates are more welcome than others and microUSB makes the new 3310 a much more usable device in the current mobile space. A proprietary 3.5mm connector would have been a little too true to the original. Fully charged battery longevity is quoted at a month on standby, with up to 22 hours of possible talk time – figures that do the original phone proud.
There are a fair few more navigation buttons this time around, necessary to move through the Nokia Series 30+ operating system onboard. It’s the biggest visual departure from the original phone’s monochrome UI and whilst you’re still be able to play a modern interpretation of Snake (called Snake Xenzia) it’s the most jarring aspect of the phone if you were hoping for a consistent original 3310 experience throughout.
The OS doesn’t just put Snake at your fingertips, the phone’s 2.5G network support means you can jump on the web using preloaded the Opera browser and access services like Twitter and Facebook, albeit in a less complete form than you’d be used to coming from any smartphone.
As there’s a 2.4-inch TFT QVGA (320x240) display you can actually also snap colour photos by way of a 2-megapixel rear-facing camera with an LED flash. Picture quality is as terrible as you might expect, at least when viewed directly on the phone and without a microSD card you’ll only be able to hold a handful of snaps before filling up the memory.
Under the surface, the new Nokia 3310 is essentially the same as any number of the brand’s recent features phones. Many have drawn comparisons between it and the Nokia 150, which arrived at the start of the year, but in truth, its hardware more closely resembles 2015’s Nokia 222 or even 2014’s Nokia 220.
As such, HMD Global better hope that it evokes a strong enough sense of nostalgia in those who remember the original, or see value in it as a first phone or a festival phone if they hope to even come close to replicating the 126 million sales the original amassed over its lifespan.
The Nokia 3310 (2017) is set to hit select markets around March 15th, with European pricing currently set at €49 for both single and dual-SIM variants.