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Nokia reimagined the 3310 and I don’t like it

Yes, the Nokia 3310 is back. It’s modern, it’s classic, it’s got Snake and a whole bunch of other features designed to take you on a trip down Nostalgia Alley. But I don’t like it and I doubt any self-respecting 3310 fan would either.

At its core, the original 3310 was a simple and robust device with a long battery life that you could rely on. It gives you what you need and nothing else. The original 3310 was also a phone you could make your own, with swappable cases (millions of them) and the awesome ringtone composer.

This new one, though, just doesn’t give you that same sense. The very moment I picked it up, I was already disappointed. It was ridiculously light. It felt more like a toy with some phone features than anything else. The cases aren’t removable either, so you can’t swap them out for custom 3rd party ones that look way more badass.

Then, when you go to use it, you’ll notice that navigation is no longer as simple as up, down, C and enter. You get a D-pad on top with a selector in the middle. Although all the buttons on it were a little mushy, the D-Pad was the worst because if you’re someone with fingers, you’ll find it very difficult to navigate without accidentally hitting anything else.

Next, you’ll notice the screen. It’s a QVGA panel measuring 2.4 inches that’s full colour which I think is a mistake. By not sticking to the comically pixelated display on the original 3310, you lose all the charm associated with it. While I didn’t expect this new display to be super crisp, because Nokia went for a full-colour panel, it looked like they tried to make it sharp and modern but didn’t try hard enough to do so.

Then there’s the new Snake. Gone is that black line (which only remotely resembles a snake) eating circles that make its body swell. Instead, you get a “modern” snake that eats berries that disappear upwards towards your score. I can tell you this — it’s not nearly as fun as the original.

I guess my point is that if Nokia was going to go down this path of rebuilding an old phone for the sake of capturing the nostalgic hearts of enthusiasts from a bygone age, why not just go the whole nine yards. Realistically, there’s only one reason someone would buy this phone and that’s to rekindle the magic of a simpler time in their lives — something smartphones have long erased.

The new 3310 is a lot like Nintendo’s NES Classic in this sense, only I think Nintendo did a better job. I’d love to have seen a proper throwback 3310 with fully swappable covers, that awesome ringtone composer and the original Snake II. Or, I would have also loved to see a full-on smartphone-y-fied 3310 with the latest Android, top-of-the-line specs and an 810G-MIL-STD durability rating.

What I don’t want is what seems like a half-arsed modernisation of a feature phone that’s long obsolete at its core. A 2MP camera, really? Who’s realistically going to use it? Give me this “camera” any day:


Oh, and yes, I did ask them if I could drop the phone. They said no.

Photos shot on the Sony RX100 V.