Tamagotchis. Cassette walkmans. The penny farthing bicycle. They all had their time, but now they’ve all been resigned to history.
Until February, you’d have put Nokia’s iconic 3310 among them. But not any more - it’s back, rebooted and ready to cash in on our demand for nostalgia. Hey, anything to distract us from Brexit, Trump and whatever else 2017 is going to throw our way, right?
If you’ve been dying to type out messages in T9 text speak, the 3310 fits the bill, and it’s got battery life that’ll shame the smartphone sat in your pocket right now, but is that enough?
Time to take off those rose-tinted glasses, and see this phone for what it is: a nostalgia-laced marketing ploy that you really shouldn’t waste your cash on.
NOKIA 3310 DESIGN & BUILD: PLASTIC FANTASTIC
With its curvy plastic shell, the new 3310 shows an unmistakable likeness of the original - only this 2017 edition is thinner and lighter. All that plastic means it won’t shatter into a million pieces if you drop it, too - not something you can say about a modern smartphone.
You get a few more buttons beneath the screen this time around, but the two-tone colour scheme is straight out of old-school Nokia’s design handbook. The whole thing feels unmistakably cheap, though - even if the looks might earn you a few retro points when you bust it out on a hipster burger joint.
You can’t replace those front and back shells like you could before, either - the colour you pick will stick with you for the life of the phone.
Look around the edges and you’ll spot a few modern touches, such as the 3.5mm audio socket and microUSB port for charging. There are no proprietary connectors this time around.
Prise off the back cover and you’ll spot a microSD card slot nestled next to the microSIM slot, for taking your tunes with you on the move. It’s practically a necessity, as the phone has a frankly pathetic 16MB of storage - and only 4MB of that is actually available to use.
There’s a removable battery, too, because why not go the whole hog on retro features?
You’ve really got to force that rear cover off, which could be a pain if you’re planning on regularly swapping your SIM card back and forth between this and your main phone.
NOKIA 3310 SCREEN & SOUND: DON’T GET YOUR HOPES UP
In case you hadn’t sensed a pattern here already, the 3310’s screen is as basic as it gets. I really hope you weren’t holding out for AMOLED or a 4K resolution.
At 2.4in, it looks absolutely tiny next to a current-gen smartphone, and the WVGA, 240x320 resolution is blocky and pixelated. Brightness is mediocre, and when you take it outside you’ll struggle to see anything on it at all.
It isn’t touch sensitive, of course - you’ve got to use the physical buttons to get around the OS. With no onscreen keyboard, I hope u rmbr how 2 write in txtspk.
The colour screen makes sense, seeing how Nokia has added a camera, but a part of me wishes this new 3310 had a grayscale display just like the original. If you’re going to reboot a 16-year old phone, you might as well do it properly.
The built-in speaker is a whole lot better than the bleeps and bloops you could create on the original 3310, but it’s not really going to do justice to your MP3 files. Everything sounds tinny and shrill, as you'd expect for such a bargain basement phone.
NOKIA 3310 CAMERA: BACK TO BASICS
Few feature phones find room in the budget for a camera. Most ditch it to keep the price as low as possible, but Nokia has managed to squeeze one into the 3310.
Honestly, though? I'm not sure it was worth the effort.
Things don't look all that bad at first glance, but zoom in and you'd swear the phone was secretly applying watercolour effects to your snaps - there's nothing but blur and warping. The 2MP snapper struggles to capture detail even when you're outside in perfect light, so as soon as the sun starts setting you know you're in trouble.
Move indoors and it's a similar story - only you don't have to zoom in to spot the lack of detail. The LED flash doesn't help fill in the gaps in low-light, either. Colours are muted, and anything in shadow is basically lost to the darkness.
Picture quality really isn't very good at all, and video is even worse - but then what did you expect from a £50 phone?
It might come in handy when you're in a pinch, and having something is better than nothing, but the flash is genuinely more useful as a torch than for illuminating low-light pics.