It’s out with the new and in with the old as once-great Finnish mobile manufacturer Nokia takes us back to the halcyon days of slow texting, long battery life and phones that can stop a bullet. That’s right, the 3310 is back.
Except that’s not quite true.
It’s not really the 3310. It’s just a similar looking plastic phone.
And it’s not really a statement of intent for the wistful (or even the ironic) luddite, it being announced alongside two new very-much-smartphones.
No, what this is is the most ludicrous marketing gimmick since sliced bread. And look how that turned out.
Nokia is not a name that’s been on many lips for a while now, and its return may stir some excitement inside the more nostalgic among us (which, let’s be honest, is quite a lot of us these days), but this latest offering is not so much a grand resurrection, nor a soothing antidote to the nascent dystopia we’ve found ourselves in. It’s more like a visit from an uncle who you haven’t seen since him and your aunt divorced two decades ago, who used to be fun and cool and play games with you as a child but now just seems out of touch and out of place and slightly misshapen, and turns up to your house uninvited, armed with a Sega Dreamcast.
The new 3310 is basically a ‘feature phone’ (that’s industry euphemism for non-smartphone) that looks a little bit like the old 3310.
Actually just a little bit though, here’s the two compared:
As you can see it’s sort of got the same design, except that all of the buttons above the key pad have changed, and the screen is in colour and takes up the whole top half of the phone instead of a tiny little window, and it’s all a little bit more curvy. In fact, the main similarity between this and the OG 3310 is the name, and anyone who needs a reminder of the fact that you cannot decide the nature of a thing by giving it a certain name need look no further than the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
It comes in three colours (red, yellow and blue), and you can’t switch around the cases like you could with the older version. This means no more impressing babes by looking superfly with the latest hit pop stars in your pocket:
The Nokia 3310 being marketed by HMD (the start-up actually behind the phone who have licensed Nokia’s brand for the next ten years) as a “digital detox” phone. The problem is, plenty of these already exist. Like this one that I bought for a fiver:
The new 3310 is basically the kind of phone that would have been pretty impressive around 2005.
It’s got solid battery life (22 hours talk time, and it’ll last a month on standby), 16MB internal storage and an SD card slot, and comes in single and dual SIM versions.
It has internet connectivity, sort of. The 2.5G connection will just about let you browse websites, albeit fairly slowly, but the whole point of the stripped back phone is that you won’t be using it to browse the internet anyway. Things like WhatsApp that could be useful are absent.
It’s also got a 2 megapixel camera (that’s the same as the camera on the later model Motorola Razrs), which is an odd decision. The old 3310 had no camera, and putting a really not very good camera in the new one does little more than elevate it a tiny bit above the swathes of other, cheaper brick phones on the market.
And Snake. We have to talk about Snake. Much has been made of this phone coming with Snake. But it’s not even real Snake – it’s got too many colours and you can move in all sort of directions and curves it makes me sick.
(Skip to 0:40 in this video. Literally what is this wiggly mess and what has it done with Snake)
Also, you know what else has Snake? This £5 Nokia I showed you earlier:
THE PRICE AND THE FACT THAT YOU CAN LITERALLY STILL BUY AN ACTUAL 3310. ON AMAZON.
The new 3310 costs €49, which isn’t a huge amount of money, but considering that you can get several basic brick phones – many of which are made by Nokia – for less than £8 it’s unclear where exactly this new phone’s niche is.
Also did I mention that you can literally still buy an actual 3310. On Amazon. Meaning that even it’s gimmick value is diminished.
THE NEW SMARTPHONES AND WHY RE-RELEASING THE 3310 IS ACTUALLY QUITE A SMART MOVE
Ok, so the phone is a gimmick. But that is exactly what HMD intended it to be.
And yes, taken alone, it’s a ridiculous gimmick that has no right whatsoever to bear the title of it’s legendary namesake.
But it’s not to be taken alone.
As well as the 3310 re-issue, HMD have released a set of new Nokia-branded, Android-running smartphones, the Nokia 3, 5 and 6.
Now these are all pretty impressive, competitive smartphones, but in a relatively saturated market, and without the cache of a still-relevant name, their release would have likely gone fairly under the radar for many.
However, by bringing out this re-issued 3310, they’ve got headlines all over the place, and irate bloggers like yours truly writing about 800 words about them.
Well played HMD/Nokia, well played.