Nokia 3310 (2017) hands-on: Nokia has made the perfect second phone

  • Nokia 3310 (2017) release date: Q2/2017
  • Nokia 3310 (2017) price: €49.99

Of all the phones rumoured to be unveiled at MWC 2017, none has whipped up quite the frenzy as the brand-new Nokia 3310. As soon as it had been leaked that HMD – the owner of the Nokia name and brand – was planning to revive the iconic slab of unbreakable plastic, it’s been everywhere.

So it's with great pleasure that I can say that the rumours were true – the Nokia 3310 is well and truly back. The original 3310 was my first _phone_ at the age of eight, and picking up the new model for the first time gave me a feeling of nostalgia that’s hard to replicate.

The new 3310 is such an odd device in today’s market of quad-HD displays, Snapdragon 835 CPUs and 6GB of RAM; but it’s refreshing.

This is a simple phone; one that isn’t going to replace your iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S7, but that might be kept for an emergency. Or a festival, or maybe even given to a child.

This handset isn't a high-end device, tacking on the 3310 moniker for prosperity; this isn't even a smartphone. It’s just a feature _phone_ – when was the last time you read about one of those on TrustedReviews?

Related: Best budget phones

There’s no Wi-Fi, no 4G, no app store, no Android, and certainly no Facebook. Instead, it has text messaging and a phonebook in which you can store all your mates’ numbers. The 2.4-inch display isn’t monochrome like the original 3310, but its 240 x 320 resolution is about as far away from 1080p as you can get.

Like most Nokia feature phones, the OS of choice is Series 30+ and it’s nothing more than a homescreen with a basic menu attached. There’s a messaging "app", dialler, contacts book, picture gallery and...wait for it... Snake.

The most iconic of all the mobile games is back, although it has seen a fresh coat of paint since the last time I played it. Instead of being confined to right-angle movements, your "snake" can move freely in all directions.

I probably should have been working, but within the space of five minutes I was addicted again. It seems to be a big hit at MWC, too, with the Nokia booth packed with folk sitting cross-legged playing Snake. I never thought I'd have been saying that a few weeks ago.

3310 7

I do still wish that Nokia had preserved Snake in its original format. In the transition to colour it has lost some of the magic. Maybe I'm being picky, but I think it would have been great for Nokia to include a completely retro version of the game.

There’s a rudimentary browser, too, although since the phone only works on a 2.5G network and there’s no Wi-Fi, you’d only be likely to use it in an emergency. It's the Opera browser, and Nokia told me that the reason for its inclusion is to give people in developing countries the chance to access services such as Facebook.

3310 13

There are a couple more games available to download – what they actually are wasn't specified – and there is in fact Bluetooth on board too.

What Nokia seemed really proud of was the battery life, however. Leave this handset fully charged in a drawer and it will last a month; you can talk for an entire day without needing to reach for the micro-USB cable. You don’t get that with an iPhone. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack for jamming out to some MP3s, too – no dongle required.

Finally, there’s the design. This isn’t an exact replica of the 3310, but it certainly riffs on it. The buttons are a similar shape and that contrasting border around the display is present and correct.

Until I held an original 3310 during the briefing, I had completely forgotten how thick it was. But, it was almost completely indestructible, too; I’m not sure whether the same can be said for this one.

The colour options are super-bright – the orangey/red, in particular, has a neon glow, and the yellow option would probably be visible in complete darkness.

3310 9

First Impressions

A critical eye might cast this as a simple cash-in; entice customers to hand over £50 for a phone they wouldn’t go near if it wasn’t called the 3310.

But there’s nothing wrong with a bit of nostalgia, and most of us would probably love a day (or a month) with a phone that lacks Facebook, Email, Slack and Twitter.