Despite the high-profile launches in Barcelona yesterday, the biggest star of Mobile World Congress isn’t a flagship Android smartphone. Rather, it’s HMD Oy’s revival of an old Nokia staple, the 3310. HMD Oy is heavily banking on nostalgia and the near indestructible reputation of Nokia’s previous dumbphone to sell the modernized 3310 to millennials and old hands everywhere.
Initial impressions: a modern day dumb phone
The new Nokia 3310 has been re-designed for the modern age, and to be honest not everyone will like it. People who wax poetic over the original’s near indestructible frame may not like the fact that the rough plastic exterior has been replaced with a smooth, glossy finish, or that the design has a lot of gentle sweeping curves. If you ask us the new phone feels fine in our hands, though we miss the reassuring bulk that came with the original’s size.
Since the 3310 is a featurephone, it uses large, alpha numeric physical keys for texting and calling, as well as a directional pad for navigation. Kids who probably haven’t ever used a dumb phone before will probably have a hard time using the keypad though old hands like us it feels like we’re putting on old, familiar set of gloves.
The screen is tiny, measuring at just 2.4-inches and having a resolution of 240 x 320. It’s a color display which is an upgrade to the previous iteration, though you’re probably not going to be watching YouTube videos on it.
Powering the phone is a Series 30+ operating system which keeps everything going but isn’t going to do much else. The phone is as basic as they come – it has a 2-megapixel rear camera, 16MB (that’s not a typo) of storage that can be topped off with a 32GB microSD card as well as a 1200mAh battery.
The good news is that HMD Oy promises stand-by battery life of up to a month, and talk times of up to 22 hours on a single charge. The battery is charged via a micro USB port on the top of the phone.
Will people buy the Nokia 3310? Probably – there’s a lot of interest in the phone, though to be honest you’d be better off buying a cheap, sub 1K Cherry Mobile featurephone than coughing up the 2.5K that HMD Oy is asking for the new version. Then again there’s nothing quite like owning a Nokia, and if the new 3310 is as tough as the old one, then maybe HMD Oy’s nostalgia machine may generate enough sales to justify its existence.