Now in colour!
There was a time when touchscreens were barely a thing, a time when cameras on a phone didn’t matter, and a time when playing snake was the most satisfying thing you could ever play on a phone. Life was simple, no worries for lags, no demanding games, and no benchmarks either.
It’s amazing how far technology has become. Before, screens this size were considered big already and smartphones were unheard of. Today, we see anything below 6 inches as small, but back then, even 4 inches was large for a phone. That’s why I’m happy that phones like the Nokia 3310 exists in today’s modern world. It goes to show that people still appreciate the now-called “feature phones” that once dominated the cellphone race.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
The box has a clear plastic cover revealing the phone on top. The sides are filled with artwork, something that’s missing on most smartphone boxes. This one stands out because it is creatively and colourfully designed. There are smartphone boxes featuring artwork but those are reserved mostly for limited edition phones or some flagships. I wish they brought that back on mainstream phones. The back features the specs of the phone, including a modern version of Snake.
Inside the box reveals the non-removable MicroUSB cable attached to the brick, some paperwork, and cheap earphones. The battery is not installed and you have to do that yourself. However, in our case, we asked the local kiosk to install that for us, as the phone’s back is removable.
CALL QUALITY, TELEPHONY
A feature phone is a type of phone meant to do two basic things: basic calls and texts. The phone has a tiny speaker so we do not expect it to produce high-quality sound, and neither should you.
It has 2G services but nothing else. This can be a little worrying especially since the phone was released in 2017, when 4G is already a thing that even the most basic Android Go smartphones have. To my surprise, the phone CAN receive calls and texts even if the SIM Card inside it supports 3G and up only. So we could safely say, it is still a good backup phone in case you badly need to call or message someone.
In terms of call quality, the calls are surprisingly clear for a phone of this type. Depending on your location, but in my case, there were no chopping present and you could hear the other party seamlessly. The sound isn’t loud enough though, even on loudspeakers, although it is comprehensible enough to get the message through.
To really make it a modernized nostalgia trip, we bought the original blue colouring of the classic 3310.
The phone is made up of polycarbonate plastic all over. Not a single piece of metal (other than its internals) or glass is seen on this phone. Because of this, it feels really cheap to handle, almost like a toy. This also makes the phone rather light to use and thanks to its really small compact size, you can use it with one hand. I have no problems using the buttons and they don’t feel flimsy to me. The buttons are also responsive. And yes, the phone did fall a few times but it lives up to its predecessor because it does feel as sturdy as it. Couldn’t really say for sure how sturdy it is because we haven’t dropped it yet from a 100,000-meter height (and why would we?)
The phone has a dual Micro SIM slot and a dedicated MicroSD slot for extra storage. Let’s face it, you can’t really put anything with less than 1MB storage. The battery inside is removable, although the phone is pretty hard to open.
At the top is the MicroUSB port with the ability to be used as mass storage. There’s nothing to be found at the sides, and at the bottom is the 3.5mm jack and phone opener.
SOFTWARE, OPERATING SYSTEM
The Nokia 3310 runs on a proprietary operating system called Series 30+. This software feels like a successor to the ill-fated Symbian and works like a modernized version. It is also used on other Nokia feature phones.
We actually like how the software looks. It is clean and flat, it is simple to understand, and even those who are not that tech literate can get by it quickly.
This operating system is responsive but not exactly smooth. It takes a bit of time to close confirmation dialogs and these dialog boxes are animated at 2fps. Thankfully scrolling through the main menu is a breeze and the software responds almost instantaneously.
There is an app store available, powered by Opera although we couldn’t get it to work. There are your usual stuff too such as a phone book, the settings app, SIM Card settings, and gallery. The phone has a browser called Opera Mini in case you want to use it for browsing the internet. Take note the phone has no Wi-Fi connectivity, so you have to spend some of your data on it. Thankfully it does have Bluetooth although activating it is actually a little complicated than it should’ve been.
Forget those sophisticated gaming phones, the Nokia 3310 is all you need. Gaming on this thing is such a pleasant experience. The phone has 900 kilobytes internal storage. Nokia did not specify the chipset used.
There is a built-in Snake game developed by Gameloft which is the same company that made the Asphalt series and games like Minion Rush and the Gangstar series. There is also a list of downloadable games which are cheaply made, and some have wonky or rough controls with simplified graphics. Their names are stolen from popular mobile games such as Asphalt 9. There is even a clone of Flappy Bird which, funnily enough, is actually an improvement if not for the choppy gameplay. This one gives you three lives before you have to start all over.
Throw away your 12GB flagships because the Nokia 3310 can play games at the smoothest 1000Hz refresh rate with Dolby Atmos and AMOLED-like crispy graphics. This is the only phone worth buying and it’s currently ranked no.1 on AnTuTu, defeating the Vivo X80 by 1 billion points! Unlike gaming phones, this one can play Genshin Impact in the highest graphics settings possible.
But in all seriousness, the main game here is Snake which is an improvement over the original. The pellets (now shaped like an Apple) now come in droves which means you could now get points faster. Also there are now various hazards that potentially make the game more challenging and frankly, addictive to play. It would be nice though if it had a difficulty option and other things such as different pathways and obstacles, as the original had those. The game does produce different blocks that, when touched, mean it’s game over. Like the original game, the more your snake grows, the faster it moves and when you touch any part of the snake’s body, the game is over. Overall, we enjoyed playing the snake game, it makes for a good time-waster especially when there’s no internet connection.
The Nokia 3310 comes with a larger 1200mAh Lithium Ion battery, compared to the original’s 900mAh nickel-metal hydride battery. The use of a modern Li-ion battery meant that the battery is less prone to leaks and overcharging. It also allows for a longer battery life that degrades slower than nickel. This battery is very common for smartphones too. Although unlike those, this one is replaceable.
With the original’s reputation to have an unrealistically long-lasting battery life, can the newer modernized version live up to the hype?
The short answer is no. Unfortunately, the new Nokia 3310’s battery is disappointing. Sure the battery is larger, but because now it processes heavier tasks, such as a brighter coloured screen, the battery could not last as long. In our record, the phone on a full charge can last up to 3 days on regular use such as playing games and using the camera. The advertised “one-month battery” is for standby and even then, we couldn’t even feel it could last that long.
It charges through a non-removable MicroUSB port by the way. However, if you have a data-eligible USB-A to MicroUSB cable, then you can access the phone’s internals. If you do, you can see the storage maxes out at less than 1MB, not even enough to put one 3-minute MP3 file at 128kbps.
And speaking of the MicroUSB cable, we actually like the build. It feels solid and possibly even better than some smartphone cables in terms of durability.
You may be thinking, “wait this phone has a camera?” Yes! It does come with a camera, although it is a very cheap and disposable 2mp shooter. It also has a LED flash at the side that you can also use for shooting images. This is one of the advertised improvements over the original, as that did not come with any sort of camera.
In a world filled with 48, 64, or even 108MP camera systems, let’s go back to memory lane and reminisce the fact that images that come out of this phone are considered phenomenal. When the iPhone came out, it was pretty mindblowing to see images as if taken with a point-and-shoot camera. Higher MP was not heard of back then either, and when phones like the Galaxy S4 Zoom with a 20MP camera came out, it was quite stunning, as most phones, even flagships, top out at 8 to 13 megapixels. There was even one time when Nokia made a 41mp phone, the Nokia Lumia 1020. It was innovative at the time and pixel-binning was rarely heard of, nor was the process ever known by consumers, or even media outlets.
As expected, the camera quality is… Ehm… well, not really that good. Although we’re giving this a pass considering the storage inside as well as it is a feature phone. We’re not really expecting a lot from a camera this small anyway. The photos come out at a resolution of 240×320 pixels and usually have a size of around 10KB. According to the phone’s settings, you could take up to 1000 photos, although that’s up for debate.
The phone can, however, view FullHD resolution photos stored on a MicroSD card just fine. This is without compression either. I saved a 64MP photo shot on the TCL 10 5G and it showed it had a resolution of 9288x6944px and a size of 22.8MB.
SOUND AND MUSIC
The phone comes with a very tiny speaker at the back and you should not expect it to produce high fidelity sound. We already mentioned earlier that it comes with cheap headphones and they don’t feel comfortable to wear, nor was the sound experience pleasant. The MP3 file was originally 320kbps bitrate.
As we couldn’t put a single MP3 file, we decided to order a cheap 32GB MicroSD card, which is the maximum capacity the phone can handle. With it, we may be able to add music inside and so, we could test the sound quality for real.
Of course, we weren’t expecting top-notch sound quality. Music becomes overblown and ear-rapy the louder the volume. It also lacks clarity. Depending on the earphones, the sound quality might be bad or passable, even if you’re using the most expensive ones.
The default ones have a terrible sound quality and feel hollow. It is also uncomfortable to wear. The design is similar to knock-off phones with questionable quality, hardware, and software. I do enjoy playing music on it with headphones on and to me, it’s adequate enough to enjoy.
The Nokia 3310 is a solid feature phone. It feeds on your nostalgia and HMD knows it. Thanks to its numerous improvements over the original such as a coloured screen and the addition of a dedicated MicroSD card slot and dual SIM. If you bring the phone back in the early 90s, people will be blown away by it and would probably think it’s peak cell phone. It may only be 2G but the fact it can receive and send messages from newer SIM Cards is already mind-blowing.
The Snake game is a lot of fun too. It is also one of the most advertised features of the phone and this iteration is worthy of the original. A great time killer in case the internet is down
The phone is definitely a nostalgic comeback. The loudspeakers need to be louder. The phone’s battery is also a disappointment. For a feature phone, 3 days of battery life is underwhelming. The non-removable MicroUSB cable may also be cumbersome to other users, so if you need to access data, you need a separate cable.
The phone can soon become a collectible. So we suggest getting the 4G version if you could find it as that is more future-proof. If you’re ever planning on collecting it, DO NOT EVER open the box so as to not lose its overall value.
- Solid build, even if it’s mostly polycarbonate
- Colour display that is a noticeable improvement over the original’s monochrome
- Clear calls for a feature phone
- Has a MicroSD card slot for storing larger files
- T9 keyboard is comfortable to type on, it is also responsive
- Smooth and responsive UI, simple to understand
- Can surprisingly send and receive calls and texts from newer 3G-and-up SIM Cards
- Snake game is a worthy successor to the original
- Possible collector’s item, like the original.
- Underwhelming battery life of just 3 days on average.
- Speakers produce low-quality and distorted sound, noticeable especially at the loudest volume.
- Internet services such as the browser and app store barely work
- Camera is disposable, with disposable quality
- Loudspeakers are quiet
- Screen becomes distorted when tilted
- Non-removable MicroUSB cable