Nostalgia is a funny thing, it plays tricks on you. Nostalgia fills the gaps in your memories to make it seem that what you remember from the past are as good as you think they were, you reminisce. The problem with nostalgia is that sometimes what you remember and what actually happened are two different things.
When Nokia announced the 8110 4G in Barcelona ahead of the Mobile World Congress, the stage was filled with talk about nostalgia for the phone and the Matrix – the cult-classic that made the original 8110 famous.
But back in 1996 when Nokia first released the 8110, things were decidedly very different. Even Nokia was a different company 22 years ago. In 1996, I was a scruffy 15-year-old who never studied enough for my PMR. Nintendo released its ground-breaking Nintendo 64 game console. Bill Clinton was president of the United States. Nelson Mandela stepped down as South Africa’s President. Independence Day was released in theatres. Spice Girls released their debut single “Wannabe”. Remember that? The group’s debut album “Spice”, released in the same year went on to sell 23 million copies.
In 1996, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 3.0. If you didn’t like Internet Explorer, Netscape was the next best thing. In the same year, Motorola released the first clamshell flip phone, the StarTAC. 60 million units were sold in its lifetime.
And then we have the original Nokia 8110. The 8110 never managed to outsell the equally iconic Motorola StarTAC but thanks to The Matrix, the 8110 earned its place in modern pop-culture. The 8110 was an instant hit thanks to the curved profile and a sliding front cover that also doubled as the phone’s mouth-piece. I remember my first time with the 8110. It was a joy to hold. The slender, curved design fit perfectly in my hand, just the right size for making calls and texting. The built quality was everything you expect from a Nokia back then, solid, the sliding mechanism was smooth and sure. It was an icon of Scandinavian design. It was a great phone, I would argue one of the best of its time…
But that was over 20 years ago, and we’ve come a long way since then. I’m 37 now with four kids, Donald Trump is president, Keanu Reeves is a sad meme sitting on a bench, and Posh, Scary, Sporty, Ginger and Baby are thinking of a reunion gig….and if you’re my vintage, you’d probably remember the 1990s like how I did, starry-eyed and romantic, the best decade on our lives. Yes, to a certain degree it is and that’s what nostalgia will do to you but in reality however, the best time to be alive is the present.
The 8110 4G runs heavy on nostalgia and the problem with that is when you start using the phone you’ll realise that it’s not how you remember it, it just doesn’t feel the same, not as iconic, not as impressive.
Of course, the main problem is the mobile phone industry has moved on a great deal from when the 8110 was first released. Combine that with the feature set of the 8110 4G and you get a phone that’s not designed for life almost 20 years after the turn of the century. Other than making phone calls and sending text messages, the 8110 4G is practically useless today.
Yes, the 8110 4G has 4G connectivity but it’s not the faster and better LTE-A 4G+, it has support for some apps but limited to Google services like Maps, Assistant and Search, you can also use the 8110 for Facebook and Twitter but not much else. But with a paltry 2.4-inch QVGA display, using Twitter and maps is going to be a chore.
There’s a dual-core 1.1GHz Snapdragon 205 processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal memory. You get a 2MP rear camera and a 1500mAh battery. On specs alone, I consider the 8110 less than basic. You can argue that that’s not the lens I should judge the Nokia 8110, you would argue that it’s nostalgic, it harks back to the original 8110 with its curved-design and sliding front cover. I would tell you, that’s where you’re wrong.
Here’s the thing. In 1996, the Nokia 8110 was one of the best phones you can get. If Nokia wanted to capture the spirit of the 8110, then make a phone that has cutting edge specs, a solid, high-quality build and a beautiful, brave bold design—and—call that the Nokia 8110. That would be fitting for what I am looking for in a phone that made me feel like how I felt when I first held the Nokia 8110 for the first time.
That would be nostalgic.