Nokia 3310: Blast from the past
We’re not being melodramatic here, but when we first laid our eyes on the new Nokia 3310, it felt as though we were reacquainting ourselves with an old friend. You know, that one good friend who seemingly vanished into thin air right after high school and suddenly rematerializes after what seems to be an eon.
Having grown up with a parent who actually owned the original Nokia 3310 – which, by the way, was launched 17 years ago – just gazing at the newly reimagined 3310 while it was still sitting in its box was enough to bring back fond memories of its predecessor’s pixelated monochrome display, ear-piercing monotone ringtones, and the countless hours this writer has needlessly wasted playing Snake and Space Impact.
There’s no denying that the new 3310 looks unmistakably like its predecessor, but with a couple of subtle aesthetic tweaks to bring it up to date with modern-day conventions. Unlike the original 3310, which you would affectionately describe as a ‘brick’ due to its chunkiness and overall heft, the new 3310 is considerably sleeker and lighter. It appears to be rounder around the edges, too, making it feel pleasantly nice to hold.
Because it would be considered sacrilege for HMD Global to ship the new 3310 with identical specifications as its retro predecessor, the independent Finnish company has given the new 3310 slightly better hardware – specifically a 2.4-inch QVGA (320 x 240) 'polarized and curved' color display, 16MB of internal memory (expandable via microSD up to 32GB), a 2MP rear camera with LED flash, and a 1,200mAh battery that’s purportedly able to deliver up to 22 hours of talk time, 51 hours of MP3 playback, and a one-month standby time.
Pretty meager hardware by today’s standards, no doubt, but it wouldn’t exactly be nostalgia-inducing if the new 3310 had a 4K display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor running underneath its hood now, would it?
Also, you can forget about filling up the new 3310 with apps from Google Play, because unlike its more modern siblings, the Nokia 3, Nokia 5, and Nokia 6 – which will be running on what HMD Global is calling ‘pure’ Android – the new 3310 will be running on Nokia’s Series 30+ operating system. Browse through its very simplistic user interface, and you’ll find basic creature comforts such as a music player, a note-taking app, a weather app, a voice recorder, a calendar, a calculator, a FM radio, and an Opera Mini web browser.
But be warned, don’t expect the web browsing experience to be anywhere near as gratifying as that of a smartphone, because the new 3310 only supports 2G connectivity, and well, it has a tiny 2.4-inch display with a lowly pixel density of 166 ppi. And no, the new 3310 doesn’t have Wi-Fi. Interestingly, however, it does have Bluetooth connectivity, which means you can pair it up with Bluetooth headphones and speakers, if you’re so inclined.
You shouldn’t expect the 2MP rear camera of the new 3310 to do any wonders either. Its image quality is a far cry from what you would expect from the cameras of even the most basic smartphones these days, but we definitely wouldn’t say that the photos are unusable. In fact, with all things considered, we dare say the photos are actually quite decent, it’s just that they tend to appear soft around the edges because of the camera’s shortage of megapixels. Just... try to resist the urge to pixel peep and you should be fine.
Helping you to better appreciate the simplicity of the original Snake is Gameloft’s iteration of the game, which has bright neon colors and a campaign mode that requires you to navigate your snake from one end of the level to the other, avoiding a series of obstacles in the process. It comes with a new control scheme too, one that allows you to move your snake diagonally, instead of the traditional 45-degree angles.
Because not all of us are ambassadors of change, Gameloft was kind enough to include a setting that allows you to revert back to the conventional ‘up, down, left, right’ control mode. They’ve even included a survival mode that’s more reminiscent of the classic version of Snake, where your snake is supposed to devour as many apples as it can before it eventually bumps into itself.
Let’s face it, you probably don’t need us to tell you whether the new Nokia 3310 is a worthwhile purchase.
Because if you spent your childhood days growing up with the original 3310, there definitely will be a part of you that will want to spend RM239 for the new 3310, even if it’s ultimately only going to end up being nothing more than a memento.
But if you read through this review thinking that the 3310 is nothing more than a glorified feature phone, you would naturally be impervious to the nostalgia card that HMD Global is obviously hinging on to sell the device. Those of you looking for a more practical alternative to the new 3310 should definitely consider the Nokia 3, which is only a fraction more expensive, but thoroughly more functional.