Wednesday 6 September 2017

The new Nokia 3310: just another stupid phone

I've read a lot of inaccurate customer reviews of the new Nokia 3310 recently, which probably goes to show that most people don't read manuals anymore.

Well I do, and I've just received my new Nokia 3310 from Carphone Warehouse.

So here is a more accurate than average review.

I've already posted on the smart-phone/dumb-phone issues and the reasons I ditched my last smartie almost 2 years ago for a dumb Nokia 107.

The battery in the Nokia 107 I've been using since then (which is probably 3-4 years old) has started to lose its potency, and now requires charging every 3 or 4 days. Also, others complain that the audio (from the mic) is now a little muffled.

I'm not a great mobile user. I text or make short calls to family members, mostly when they need picking up from airports or train stations. When I want to sit down with a coffee and have a long chat with someone, I usually pick up the house phone. I find the house phone more comfortable on the ear than the flat slab of a mobile.

However, I couldn't be without a mobile. And when I go to use it, I expect it to work! Which is one reason why I demand long battery life. Maybe in a few years, someone will come up with a smartphone that uses a low power screen or a new high-capacity battery (I believe there is a new battery in the pipe-line). When they can produce a smartie with a recharge cycle time of (say) 5 days, I'll probably get one.

so why the Nokia 3310?

I didn't buy this phone out of nostalgia. I didn't own the original 2000 model 17 years ago, and I knew nothing about it until this year.

I didn't buy this phone to play Snake. I'm never that desperate for things to distract my mind that I want to chase a moving line around a tiny screen.

I didn't buy this phone because of the range of colours. Not only do the yellow or red/pink/orange bodies look dreadful, but I grew up in the black & white era. Give me a black bodied phone with a black & white display and I'm happy.

I didn't buy this phone because I thought it was great value for money: it cost me £49.99 and I recon its worth about £35, maybe 40 quid tops. You can get them cheaper if you lock to a network. But mine is SIM free so that I can carry on using GiffGaff.

I bought the 3310 because in addition to needing a phone with a very good battery life, I also wanted a simple camera feature. There are times when we are 'out & about' and I'd like to take a snap of something (e.g. maybe an insect or plant that I'd like to try to identify when I get back home).

so what's it like?

In some of the reviews I've read, people have said things like: no predictive text, the camera is rubbish, can't do selfies, its supposed to have dual SIMthere is no internet, and the case is flimsy plastic.

So to answer these points first:-

Predictive text: Yippee! The default mode is OFF. But you can enable it simply by selecting a dictionary. I come from the Stone Age, so I never use predictive text. Being able to switch it off is a great benefit to me over my previous Nokia.

Rubbish camera: its a 2Mpixel, rear facing camera as described in the sales literature. The photos it produces are just what I was expecting from a 2Mp camera!

Can't do selfies: Well it doesn't have a front facing camera, although you can set the delay timer to 2 seconds, and then just turn the camera on yourself. But yes, its not designed for selfies.

Dual SIM: or "duel sim" (whatever that means) is available on some versions, but not available for the UK market.

Internet access: Its a 2G phone. That means it is capable of internet access at low data rates, providing you have some kind of network data package. Surfing the net is very slow, and possibly only marginally more interesting than chasing the Snake.

Flimsy: Like most cheap phones, the case is made of plastic. But its a nice plastic case, and not flimsy as far as I'm concerned.

The real answer to all this is: do your research before you buy. You can often read the User Manual for electrical products on line. For the Nokia 3310 it is here:

My view on the 3310 is that it is a nice functional phone, if a little over-priced. I could have got the Nokia 150 at a better price (£39.99), but the camera resolution was too low for me.

A shot of my old Nokia 107 taken on the new Nokia 3310

I think this phone has a nice shape and feel, although the 2 dual function keys and the navigation key takes a bit of getting used to. Call audio quality & volume is quite good and clear, both to and from this phone.

You need to be pretty desperate to venture onto the internet with the low data rate offered by 2G. There is a dedicated "Weather" button which works well, as weather forecasts are not very demanding data-wise. However, although I've bought a Giffgaff GoodyBag with data access for this month, I doubt that I will renew it next month.

The microUSB port means I can charge the phone easier than my old Nokia (which had an odd, circular connector) and access the phone's memory to add music or retrieve photos. This phone also has an FM radio which works very well. You need to connect the earphones for reception, but you can play the sound through the speaker.

how long will it last?

While the phone could last a few years, you have to ask yourself how much longer the 2G network will be available in the UK. I'm hoping that my service supplier (GiffGaff use the O2 infrastructure) will maintain support until the end of 2020. That gives me just over 3 years of use before the 3310 becomes a real museum piece.

Although 2G has already been switched off in some countries by some suppliers, switching off 3G and leaving 2G as a fall-back could make more sense. I understand 2G has better coverage than 3G (especially penetration into buildings), so the 3G frequencies could be recycled first to create more space for 4G/5G.


  1. Having trouble getting the volume to turn up. I used the up and down control on the square middle button, but it's a miss or miss on whether or not it will work. Also, Any way to decrease volume for phone ringing and keep it there without having to do it each time. I'd overall prefer lowest.

  2. I haven't had any problems with setting ringtone volume; Menu > Settings > Tones > Ringtone Volume. Set the volume and then press "Choose" and you should see the "Done" tick-box graphic.

    However, if you then press the power/end call button, you can adjust the Volume here as well, and this seems to be the ringtone volume, not the call volume. I think the call volume can only be set during a call using the up/down buttons.

    I hope this helps.