In a strange turn of events for a tech world obsessed with newness and inbuilt obsolescence, one of the most anticipated phones of 2017 is 17 years old. Or to be more accurate, it’s a fresh take on a simple-to-use handset that first showed its face back in the dim and distant days of the early noughties.
Revamped for today’s smartphone users, the updated Nokia 3310 mostly sticks fast to the original’s template of robust construction, long battery life, a simple user interface and Snake. Then adds a smattering of new features to bring it up to date.
So how does the new model really measure to the 126 million-selling original? What’s new and what’s not so new? And just how much is this slice of cellular nostalgia going to cost you? Read on, as we compare each facet of the first edition with this year’s effort.
New Nokia 3310 vs Old Nokia 3310 : Design
As one of the most iconic handsets of all time, we all have fond memories of the Nokia 3310’s simple but sturdy design.
Fans of the 3310 will be pleased to see that the updated version has retained the same ‘candy-bar’ shape of the original. And with the traditional number keypad and plastic construction, it feels comfortingly familiar.
However, there are a few key differences worth noting. Although the build feels similar, the new 3310 is significantly less weighty than its predecessor. Almost half as thick as the original and weighing just 79.6g in comparison to the classic 133g brick, it’s certainly a lot lighter, and slips easily in your pocket.
The Nokia 3310 is making a come back and I got luckily got my hands on it before everyone else stay tuned for an early access review pic.twitter.com/2Dfi8fThUn
It doesn’t feel quite as sturdy as our old-school 3310, but Nokia promises the updated version will be every bit as robust as we remember. We won’t know for sure how hardy it is until we’ve put it through its paces, though, so look out for our review when we’ll be subjecting it to some vertiginous drop tests.
New Nokia 3310 vs Old Nokia 3310: Screen
The biggest difference you’ll notice with the updated Nokia 3310 is the screen. Gone is the traditional monochrome 1.5-inch display, which has been replaced by a larger, 2.4–inch colour offering.
But while this might seem like a controversial move to die-hard fans of nostalgists, it actually gives the updated version a much-needed refresh.
Although the 240 x 320 resolution is nowhere near as good as the displays found on even the most basic entry-level Android smartphones, it definitely has a more appealing interface than the original black and white 84 x 48 resolution screen.
This feels like a nice compromise that gives the phone a retro feel without making it disappointingly outdated.
New Nokia 3310 vs Old Nokia 3310: Snake
The one area in which the colour screen may disappoint, however, is with Snake. Yes, the famously addictive game is back on the new 3310, but it’s a lot more colourful and complex than it used to be.
Sadly, the pixelated black line slowly advancing upon small black dots seems to be a thing of the past. On the new version, the snake actually looks like a snake and the food actually looks like food. However, the simplistic graphics do give the game a retro look that’s reminiscent of classic ‘80s arcade games.
The gameplay itself has retained its addictive simplicity, although there are different levels, so you can progress, should you ever tire of collecting food without touching any other part of the snake. Which we never did back in the early noughties, but it’s possible that our 2017 attention-spans require more to keep us amused.
So, although the mere suggestion of any change to the original feels almost sacrilegious, we might well be glad to have the option of additional levels when we’re bored on the bus.
New Nokia 3310 vs Old Nokia 3310: Battery
The original Nokia 3310 was famous for its phenomenal battery. And, given that the biggest bugbear for modern smartphone users is poor battery life, it’s not surprising that we look back wistfully at the Nokia 3310’s 11 days of standby time.
Still, this is one area where the new 3310 completely eclipses not only the original Nokia, but modern smartphones too.
The phone-makers have promised the new 3310 will last a staggering 31 days on standby and offers 22 hours of talk-time on a single charge.
Another useful feature that will appeal to the smartphone generation is the micro-USB charger.
Although we’ve now received official confirmation that the new 3310 will not be compatible with fast-charging, it’s still a step in the right direction as you won’t need to lug around the PIN charger that boosted the batteries of the old 3310s.
This should also mean that you can connect the new 3310 to a computer, giving you the option to transfer files.
Prefer a new smartphone with long battery life? We pick out our top five.
New Nokia 3310 vs Old Nokia 3310: Connectivity
Back when the Nokia 3310 was the must-have gadget, most of us hadn’t got over the novelty of being able to make calls and send messages on the go. And connecting to the internet only really happened with your home PC and a dial-up connection that took forever to load and put your landline out of action.
Fast-forward 17 years, and things have definitely moved on. We now expect super-fast internet speeds on our smartphones and we get extremely frustrated if we receive anything less than 4G connectivity when we’re out and about.
And while Nokia has no intentions of sending us back to the Dark Ages with an offline device, it’s new offering only comes with 2.5G and doesn’t work with Wi-Fi. All it has to offer is a simple Opera Mini web browser.
So rather than using the new 3310 for online shopping, social media and maps, as you would with a modern smartphone, it’ll probably only be worth using to look something up in an emergency. Think: mid-noughties basic browsing.
But for those harking back to a simpler time when kids actually talked at the dinner table and your significant other gazed at you instead of a screen, this limited functionality might not be such a bad thing.
New Nokia 3310 vs Old Nokia 3310: Removable cases
Interchangeable covers were one of the hallmarks of the original 3310, thanks to the removable back and front sections that you could replace with Pokémon-branded cases, or whatever it was that floated your boat at the time.
The same isn’t true of 2017’s 3310. Alas, you can now only remove the backplate. The front part is firmly fixed. So it seems unlikely that swapping covers will be a THING again.
The upshot is that you’re stuck with the colour options the handset comes in: red, yellow, grey and the classic navy blue. But that still means they’ll be more colourful and will definitely stand out from the crowd in a world filled with black, white and gun-metal grey identikit smartphones.
New Nokia 3310 vs Old Nokia 3310: Ringtone
Triggering memories of Trigger Happy TV and its obnoxiously oversized phone and similarly obnoxious owner, both new and old 3310 phones have the classic ‘Nokia Tone’ ringtone pre-installed. However, the version on the new 3310 is a richer, fuller polyphonic version.
New Nokia 3310 vs Old Nokia 3310: Apps and email
You couldn’t pick up emails on the original 3310. Nor could you download ‘apps’ – a phrase that wasn’t even common parlance back then and would only become so when Apple launched the App Store.
We’ve spoken to Nokia officials, who confirmed that there will not be an app store on the new-look Nokia. Users instead will be expected to access online services, such as Amazon, Facebook and Instagram by using the Opera web browser.
Similarly, you will be able to access your email, but only through the basic browser. So, instead of being alerted to new messages via app notifications like we’re used to, the onus will be on the user to log into email and social media accounts via the internet, just like we used to before the days of modern smartphones.
Still, the lack of apps may not be a bad thing given that the new Nokia only supports 2.5G and doesn’t work with Wi-Fi. Not only will checking emails and social networks take a lot longer, but without Wi-Fi connectivity, you’d probably need to top up your data pretty quickly if you attempted any serious surfing.
Once again, we’ll test this more thoroughly in our in-depth review of the new handset, but our initial impression is that using social media and email simply won’t be worth the hassle on the new 3310. Which would actually make it the ideal handset if you’re looking to put an end to out-of-hours work emails and late-night news feed browsing.
New Nokia 3310 vs Old Nokia 3310: Storage
The new 3310 has 16GB of internal storage. That’s room for about 4,000 songs. There’s also the option to boost it by up to 32GB by adding a microSD card.
The original 3310 had next to no capacity by modern standards. But did have space for seven custom ringtones (on top of the 35 built-in). Back then that was as good as it got.
But with only 2.5G and no Wi-Fi or apps, how will you be expected to get your music, contacts and photos onto the phone in the first place? In the early days of smartphones, the best way to transfer files was to plug the phone into your home PC.
And the inclusion of a USB-C charger on the updated 3310 suggests that this will likely be the best way to get stuff on and off your phone.
Although this seems like a lot of faffing, it will probably be quicker than trying to download your music with a 2.5G connection or copying your contacts across manually.
New Nokia 3310 vs Old Nokia 3310: Camera
Back when the Nokia 3310 was amongst the most technologically advanced devices on the market, there was no such thing as a mainstream camera phone.
Nowadays, highly sophisticated cameras with multiple modes, wide-angle lenses and plenty of megapixels are considered a standard feature of a mobile phone.
In fact, the modern mobile user is not content with one camera. For years now, we’ve demanded a front-facing selfie snapper as well.
And in an attempt to create a phone that meets the needs of modern-day consumers while staying true to the retro simplicity of the original 3310, Nokia has included a basic two-megapixel rear camera on the 2017 model.
Although this sounds pretty pitiful by modern standards, it might be that in reality, snaps taken by the new Nokia will look artfully grainy. After all, polaroid cameras are making a bit of a comeback.
On balance though, we suspect the low-spec camera and lack of apps will prevent the new Nokia from taking Instagram by storm. But, it would probably do in an emergency.
So, if you happen to see something spectacularly snap-worthy, like a cat with a comb-over and you only have your 3310 to hand, you’ll still be able to capture the moment.
Even if it won’t look particularly sharp by modern standards and will probably take forever to upload.
New Nokia 3310 vs Old Nokia 3310: Headphone jack
If the iPhone 7 and rumours about the Samsung Galaxy S8 are anything to go by, the 3.5mm headphone jack isn’t long for this world. Thus calling time on something that’s been a fixture of gadgets and electrical equipment since the ‘60s.
But the good news is that the headphone jack is still very much alive in the new 3310 and sits at the bottom of the phone. Which is a major change from the first edition, which arrived when music phones were still a few years in the future.
New Nokia 3310 vs Old Nokia 3310: Software
The new 3310 is powered by a revamped version of the S30+ operating system that was the bedrock of the original.
But it’s a pretty major revamp, all things told. Sure, it doesn’t feel as snappy as the smartphone you’re probably holding right now, but it’s responsive enough when you’re scrolling through menus and it easily handles the new version of Snake.
And there are some welcome additions too. Not least the Opera Mini browser for internet on the go and a functional MP3 music player, with on-board storage of 16GB. You can expand storage by up to 32GB with a microSD card, so you’ve got room for a fairly extensive library of music.
But there are some notable omissions as well. As mentioned above, there is no app store and the apps on-board seem to be limited to Snake.
New Nokia 3310 vs Old Nokia 3310: Price
Way back when a new Nokia 3310 set you back £129 on pay as you go. Fast forward 17 years and the new edition of Nokia’s all-conquering handset will cost you £41, also on pay as you go.
We recently picked up an old model in mint condition online for £30. So if you’ve got an original 3310 in good nick that’s just hanging around gathering dust, you may want to consider selling it and putting the cash towards the 2017 version.