Depending on how old you were, before Apple and Samsung took over the mobile handset industry, back in the day, Nokia dominated them all and the Nokia 3310 was one of most sought after mobile phones in early 2000s. Back then, dressing up your 3310 was all the rage and people changed cases a lot, and enterprising phone technicians installed “backlight” and basically hacked into the phone to customize its look and features. HMD Global, the start up company that is licensed to make Nokia handsets, resurrected the 3310 this year in a very smart move to revive interest in the Nokia brand.
Well, if HMD Global had an ideal customer in mind, that was definitely me, the X-ennial buying into 80’s to 90’s nostalgia like it was the most precious commodity in the world. As soon as I laid eyes on it, I didn’t care about the price or what the phone did – I just wanted to relive the memory of being a college kid who felt really cool when she bought the 3310 with her hard earned money from part time work.
Strangers struck up a conversation with me (as well as my husband) while we were at the cash register – how much, how cute, where did you buy it, etc. One even said her mom was looking for one – and I cautiously asked her how old her mom was. Out of curiosity I also asked the seller who usually buys the phone and she said, “halos matanda” (almost old people). My jaw dropped and I wondered if I counted as almost old so I asked her for a specific age range and she said in their early 50s. Well, I was only in college at the time so definitely I’m not that old yet.
Having no need for a second phone, I created new and necessary uses for it, and came back for the navy blue version the next day. I bought cheap prepaid SIMs from other networks, enrolled in a bunch of call and text promos and realized I may be spending way too much on my postpaid plan. After using it for the past week or so to call and text Smart/TNT/Sun numbers, I quickly rediscovered the convenience and beauty of a basic phone. I see it as a MomPhone (or KidPhone) and I have no less than TEN reasons why it turned out to be a good buy.
- It’s eye candy with a purpose. The Nokia 3310 takes the best elements from the original look, making it a standout among the boring old glass and metal of today – it’s prettier than your basic feature phone plus it is refreshingly and unapologetically colorful and cute amid the nearly identical generic smart phones of today. Kids who were born long after the Nokia 3310 was in general circulation or who were too young to remember it love the design. I can attest to this, judging from the oohs and aahs of my husband’s nieces and nephews (one is even asking for one as a gift). Who wouldn’t, in this “screen size conquers all” kind of world?
- Adults love it, too, especially those who were born around the same time I was. Snake is back! And a slightly modern version of the trademark Nokia jingle. I suspect that a number of us X-ennials bought into the whole nostalgia gimmick, too. No regrets here!
- It’s a good and reliable second/first phone for kids. It will not be cluttered with games and selfies or questionable apps, for that matter. I doubt that kids would use it for web browsing either, but there is a built in Opera browser in case they do. Plus, thanks to its iconic design, they wouldn’t mind being seen in public using it.
- It doesn’t have video. My soon to be toddler plays with it, too, and mercifully she can’t play 100+ videos of “Finger Family” on it. Plus, I’m wary of letting my kid have too much screen time at such a young age so if this phone is enough to entertain her, I’m more than happy with it.
- It is durable – not as heavy as the original, but it can withstand a playful and impulsive toddler. To be safe though, I put mine in a case since I don’t want the exterior to be chipped by accidental or intentional drops.
- Battery life lasts about 2 to 3 days without charging – based on my very unscientific assessment. I do know that my iPhone cannot make it through the night without being plugged in.
- It’s a great second phone for me. When my phone was stolen, I was only so lucky that I had a pocket wifi and my iPad with me, which enabled me to contact my husband through Facebook Messenger. This lightweight, dual-SIM mobile is discreet and safe enough to commute with (unless the pickpocket loves the 3310, too).
- It’s affordable – I got mine for P2490. Add to that a sturdy plastic case and a customized screen protector, and I spent about an additional P300 for it. There are plenty of cheaper basic phones or even smartphones out there, but none with this iconic look and functionality (battery life!). Back in 2000, I got mine for P8900.00 – very steep for a college student! I also spent even more on backlighting and all them fancy accessories, and changed cases a lot. (Note that you can’t change the phone case or shell unlike the original) Due to its popularity and limited stocks, the price fluctuates anywhere from P2500 to almost P4000.
- For moms of toddlers who like mom’s smartphone a lot, a second phone will let you make that much needed call or send that important text. Because it’s colorful, it will be a welcome toy-looking distraction to your child.
- The earphones are comfortable and decent. Since the baby Bear nearly ripped my stock iPhone earphones to pieces, the one that came with the 3310 has let me watch Netflix on my phone again. I also used it all day without any issue.
Parenthetically, it’s got a bunch of other features you don’t really need – a 2 megapixel camera, some other games (like some racing games and Doodle Jump, but to be honest, I just want the monochrome Snake, to be honest), an expandable memory card slot, a music player and radio.
Although there are many good reasons for getting a 3310, please manage your expectations. Fans are divided on the design – which I am personally fine with, but I think most dislike the version of Snake they installed. I can’t disagree with that. Other than that, please know that cases aren’t removable, the phone doesn’t feel as solid or sturdy as before (see clear plastic case on the navy blue version) and really, you can find cheaper “dumb” phones and smarter phones at the same price points.
However, if you are sentimental like this one, then you’ll check it out and end up buying the 3310 even for no reason at all!