Nokia 3310 Review: For Old-Times' Sake
Nokia 3310 is one of the most recognisable phones in the world. Many adults would have used it at some point of their life. Teenagers, on the other hand, would have been introduced to it via Internet memes. What makes this simple phone from the old times so special is its reputation as an "indestructible" phone. Obviously, that's an exaggeration, but it is a nod to the 3310's sturdy build quality nonetheless.

The popularity of this phone is such that HMD, which owns the rights to sell Nokia mobile decided to relaunch the phone with updated hardware. Unveiled at the MWC (Mobile World Congress) 2017, the new 3310 received more media attention than the flagship smartphones such as the LG G6. So let us find out if it is worth all that hype.

The Good

Nokia has always been a design driven company. It has delivered head-turners such as the Nokia 6800, 8800, 7280, 7600, N90, N95, and Lumia 800. Yet, the 3310 remains the most iconic phone from the Finnish brand. The good thing is that the new 3310 retains the original phone's design DNA. Especially, the fascia is reminiscent of the original phone. Although the new phone feels much more polished compared to the good-old tank that the 3310 was.

It is more curvy and ergonomic compared to the blocky original. Still, I feel that HMD should have retained more of the original phone's charm. For instance, apart from the fascia, it is difficult to tell the new 3310 apart from other recent Nokia feature-phones. Especially, the 3310's (2017) back is quite generic.
To keep up with time, the phone has shed weight from 133 grams to just 80 grams. It has also gone leaner from 2.2 cm thickness to just under 1.3 cm. Despite losing the heft though, the handset is quite sturdy.

The phone has an old-school keypad, which works great for this feature phone. The button layout is almost same as that of the original, save for the addition of a D-pad. It features T9 dictionary word prediction, which used to be a rage in late nineties and early 2000s.

The phone runs Series 30 software. It is a rudimentary software, on which today's kids will frown upon. On the bright side though, the menu navigation is swift due to the limited features. Moreover, you will never have to worry about software updates!

While there aren't many "smart" things you can do with this phone, it has at least got a music player covered. You can load up your collection on a microSD card slot. As for basic functions such as calling, the phone is impeccable.

One of the best things about the 3310 is its battery life. The 1200 mAh battery lasts for around five days on a single charge. Considering that the most people are going to use it as a backup phone, it can easily last for a month over standby. Carrying this compact phone in your pocket for emergencies is much practical than lugging around with power banks for your smartphones.

The Bad

While I loved the modern take on the classic 3310. I think the 3310 (2017) could have been more faithful to the original. For instance, the phone's back looks nothing like that of the original. Mainly because it is too generic and also due to the addition of the camera. What's worse is that the 2-megapixel camera is unusable by today's standards.

The colour screen is another unnecessary addition considering that the phone lacks essential apps such as Facebook and WhatsApp. It doesn't even have 3G support. So instead of going with a pointless colour screen, HMD should have retained a monochrome screen to help shoot-up the nostalgia quotient.

The 3310 (2017) only has 16 MB (yes, it is not a typo) internal storage. Of that, only 2 MB is user accessible. Since this phone costs over Rs 3000, HMD shouldn't have been such a miser in providing features.

If you owned the original 3310, you sure will have fond memories of Snake game. With the advance in technology, you would expect HMD to recreate the experience or make it better. Unfortunately, though, Gameloft's remake of the classic completely drops the ball. The new Snake game is absolutely terrible to look at and even worse to play.

Should you buy it?

I see a lot of people throwing money at the 3310 (2017) purely for the nostalgia. To a certain degree, especially in the design department, it is an interesting nod to the original 3310. So, as a collector, you can go for this phone.

However, if you are looking for a competent feature phone, the 3310 (2017) is not for you. The phone does not justify its price with such limited functionality. The lack of features would have been fine, if HMD at least delivered genuine nostalgia by going completely old-school. Overall, the 3310 (2017) had a potential to be the best backup phone, but ended-up as a missed opportunity.

Chandrakant Isi is a senior technology journalist based out of hyderabad