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Nokia 3310: The return of a classic

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-02-2017 Vishal Mathur

Since the Nokia 3310 was first launched in September 2000, 126 million units have been sold. And not without reason, because no one makes phones like that any more. The original 3310 was built like a rock, and could handle an unbelievable amount of abuse without breaking a sweat (or a screen). The battery lasted weeks, not hours, on a single charge. The Series 30 software it used back then, on the monochrome screen, was primed for simplicity and ease of use, since that was a simpler time and no one craved apps. At the ongoing Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, HMD Global, the Finnish phone manufacturer that now has the licence for making Nokia phones, has fulfilled the nostalgic wishes of many—the 3310 is back. And at a time when phone manufacturers are outdoing each other in loading their phones with “smart” features and claiming all sorts of debatable artificial intelligence, the 3310 is turning back the clock.

The reboot is all about going back to the basics. The new 3310 is still a feature phone, not a smartphone. It runs the updated Series 30+ software. In terms of specifications, it has a 2.4-inch polarized curved display (this is now a colour screen rather than a monochrome display), a 2-megapixel camera with LED flash, just 16 MB internal storage space and a microSD slot for storing data.

Also Read | Will nostalgia for Nokia pay off in 3310 sales?

The Symbian Series 30+ software is still pretty much the original piece of code, with slight modifications for a colour screen, new icons, and some tweaks to make it slicker. The Snake game, which was a part of the earlier 3310 phone, is back too, and you can now enjoy it on a colour display.

In perhaps the biggest indicator that it’s staying true to its roots, the new 3310 only has limited Internet capabilities—it works on 2.5G networks, and not on 3G or 4G, or on Wi-Fi. The Opera Mini Web browser is preloaded for basic browsing, but that is it.

The long battery life was what stood out in the original 3310. Things, we are happy to report, haven’t changed. HMD Global claims that the standby time on the Nokia 3310’s 1,200 mAh battery is 31 days, and the battery has a talk time of up to 22 hours. Over the years, we have gotten used to “smartphones” offering a day’s back-up on a single charge, all for the sake of being able to run Facebook, Twitter, listen to music and watch videos.

Also Read | Nokia 3310 is a modern take on a classic phone

That is where the links to the past pretty much end. Unlike the brick-like solidity of the older 3310, the modern avatar is slimmer, lighter and slightly more compact, so it may not be able to handle rough use as well. And it has a more colourful persona. There are glossy finishes as well as less shiny matt colours—the warm red and yellow both have a gloss finish, while the dark blue and grey have a matt finish. But it is still instantly recognizable as a Nokia phone.

HMD Global says the new Nokia 3310 will be available globally in the second quarter of 2017, with a price tag of $52 (around Rs3,480).

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