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New Nokia 3310 (2017) review

A blast from the past gets a modern day update

By John McCann | May 19, 2017, 07.30 PM IST

Verdict

For those who fondly remember the Nokia 3310 the new model will almost be a no-brainer of a purchase. Its low price, pleasing feature set and long battery life make it appealing for anyone looking for a back-up handset, festival phone or just a simple retro buy.

PROS:

  • Full-on nostalgia hit,Low cost,Snake!!!

CONS:

  • Only a 2MP camera,Low res screen,2.5G connectivity
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Update : We now know the new Nokia 3310 release date for the UK, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. We've also now got a Nokia 3310 in the office so you can watch our unboxing video just down below.

If any phone can sell itself on nostalgia alone, that phone is the Nokia 3310.  

It’s one of the most popular mobiles of all time, remembered for its near-indestructible build, long-lasting battery and legendary Snake (well Snake II if we’re being accurate) game, and the team licensing the Nokia phone name has jumped at the chance to reignite the love for a phone which was once the leader in the mobile market. 

Enter the new Nokia 3310, a lovingly crafted homage to the iconic handset with a helping of modern-day upgrades. If you were a fan of the 3310, the likelihood is you’ll want to pick this up.

If you're less familiar with the original though, this is just another feature phone which won't satisfy your smartphone sensibilities.

New Nokia 3310 price and release date

The Nokia 3310 price has been set at €59.99, £49.99 (around £65, AU$90), placing it perfectly as a secondary phone purchase and it’s one that will likely appeal to both Nokia fans and festival goers. 

Some may balk at having to even pay that much for a ‘dumb phone’, but the spec sheet of the new 3310 does enough to justify the cost. 

Check out our unboxing video of the new Nokia 3310


It took a while for HMD to confirm the new Nokia 3310 release date, but we now know it will land in the UK on May 24, Germany on May 26 and in the Netherlands and Belgium on June 5.

Meanwhile, UK online retailer Clove has the new 3310 listed for £59.99 with a mid-June release date and a number of UK networks and retailers have said that they will also sell the new Nokia 3310.

We're still waiting to find out when the Nokia 3310 will land in other countries around the world - but those in the US may have a longer wait as the current variant of the new 3310 isn't compatible with the country's mobile networks.

New Nokia 3310 design and display

Looking at the new Nokia 3310 front-on and there’s no mistaking the phone it is paying homage to. 

The distinctive border around the screen and the layout of the 'num' keys give you the retro throwback, but Nokia has majorly slimmed down and modernized the design making the new 3310 supremely pocketable. 

It tips the scales at just 79.6g, making it comfortably lighter than the 137g original, and once you slipped it into your pocket you’ll forget it’s even there. 

The plastic construction feels solid, but only time will tell if it will withstand the kind of beatings the first generation Nokia 3310 survived time and again. 

You’ll be able to pick up the new Nokia 3310 in the traditional dark blue and grey of the original, but also in the new, psychedelic yellow and ‘warm red’. We managed to check out all four colors during our hands on time, and our favorite was the good old dark blue. 

The design is solid, but we can't help but wish Nokia had stuck a little closer to the original 3310 look and feel. We could accept thicker device, and a rear which somewhat resembles the original would have been nice.

Meanwhile the display feels like a real blast from the past, but it’s a significant upgrade over the old 3310. The new Nokia 3310 has a 2.4-inch, 240 x 320 full color display which is bright, but hardly crisp. 

Of course you’re paying very little for the phone so it’s not an issue, but don’t go trying to tap the menu items. Touchscreen this ain’t. 

Text is perfectly readable though, and the new version of Snake is playable. They’re not blockbuster graphics, but if they were it would ruin the appeal of this phone.

New Nokia 3310 interface and performance

What’s waiting for you on screen then? Android? Nope. Windows 10 Mobile? Absolutely not.  

Nokia’s stuck with its feature phone operating system, with the new 3310 running Nokia Series 30+. 

That gives you a number of menu options with classics like Call Logs, Contacts, Calculator and Messages joined by a calendar, a basic web browser, photos, radio, music player, voice recorder and a camera application.

There's even an app store where you can download games and apps - although it wasn't currently functional during our hands on time with the phone. 

We're told that Twitter and Facebook will be coming to the new Nokia 3310, so we'll likely see both crop up in the store when the phone goes on sale.  

For a feature phone there's a surprising number of options in the menu of the Nokia 3310, giving it abilities above the basic text messaging and calls.

Oh, and did we mention, SNAKE IS BACK! Find out all about it in the gaming section below.

One disappointing point is the fact the new Nokia 3310 is only 2.5G compatible. That means no 3G or 4G data speeds, resulting in a very basic browsing experience. 

Certain markets will also be able to download simplified Twitter and Facebook apps, but these weren’t available to use during our hands on. 

It also lacks Wi-Fi, so you won’t be able to connect to a home or office network for a faster connection either. There is Bluetooth though, along with a music player and a 3.5mm headphone jack which allows you to listen to any tracks you put on a microSD card and slide inside the handset.

In a real retro move, the new Nokia 3310 comes with just 16MB of internal storage. That's enough to store about seven photos from the 2MP camera, and that's it! You'll definitely want to slide a microSD card into the slot behind the rear cover.

See how the new Nokia 3310 shapes up against the original 3310 in our versus video below

New Nokia 3310 gaming

Snake is back on the new Nokia 3310, but it's had quite an overhaul from the version which graced the original 3310.

Called Snake Xenzia, the new version is made by Gameloft and features a series of levels with various map layouts as well as the classic survival mode where you get an uninterrupted square to ply your trade.

The snake looks, well more snake-like, and it's all in color for your visual pleasure. If you jump straight into the game you'll find the controls require you to use just the 4 and 6 keys to direct your creature in a similar fashion to slither.io.

Snake purists needn't fear though, as a quick trip to the game's settings menu allows you to select from four different controller options - with the classic 2, 4, 6, 8 directional control present.

You can also opt to use the four way navigation pad on the new 3310 if you don't fancy using the number keys, and it makes it slightly easier to manage when playing one handed.

The navigational pad is small though and you'll need to be accurate (and ideally slender fingered) to make the most of it.

Check out our gameplay footage of Snake Xenzia on the new Nokia 3310 below

Snake isn't the only game you can play on the new Nokia 3310 though, with the handset we got hands on with also packing Asphalt 6: Adrenaline, Diamond Twister 2, Doodle Jump and Drag Race.

Don't get your hopes up too much, as our quick spin on Asphalt offered up some distinctly retro graphics. It still fun though, and takes you back to the old school racing arcade games.

New Nokia 3310 battery and camera

The original Nokia 3310 was also known for its long battery life, and there’s good news for those eyeing up the new 3310. 

A removable 1,200mAh power pack is an instant upgrade over the 900mAh of the original, and thanks to the improvements in phone efficiency the new Nokia 3310 boasts 22 hours of talk time and up to 31 days of standby. 

That’s a huge upgrade over the 2.5 hours of talktime and 260 hours (around 11 days) of standby on the original Nokia 3310. You can charge the new 3310 with a standard microUSB cable too, so you won’t need to trawl eBay for the old-school charger.  

The first 3310 arrived before manufacturers started putting cameras in phones, but this is 2017 and it makes sense for the new Nokia 3310 to sport a snapper – even if it is rather understated. 

What you get is a 2MP camera on the rear of the phone. There’s no flash, HDR, panorama mode or anything fancier than a simple point and shoot app with a digital zoom. It’s not going to dazzle you then, but we can see it being a handy feature on a secondary smartphone. 

We snapped a few quick pics during our hands on time with the new 3310 and image quality is as acceptable as you'd expect from a low-res camera.

Early verdict

For those who fondly remember the Nokia 3310 the new model will almost be a no-brainer of a purchase. 

Its low price and pleasing feature set – not to mention the battery life – provides an appealing option for anyone looking for a back-up handset, festival phone or just a simple novelty/retro buy. 

Those less familiar with the 3310 are likely to be a little more puzzled over this phone’s existence, and the hype surrounding it, but it can serve a purpose for pretty much anyone.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2017 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.

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