The Nokia 3310 was a great phone… in the year 2000.
So, I decided to give the phone a shot. In true #throwback fashion, I used the new Nokia 3310 — and only the Nokia 3310 — for 24 hours.
I used the 3310 when I was in high school, and admittedly, I was one of those millennials who gasped in excited anticipation as I learned about the phone’s re-release. I traded in my smartphones (yes, multiple, because I do write about tech for a living) for my new daily driver.
First hurdle: Assembly. The 3310 comes with a detached battery you have to set up on your own. I am reminded of the many XPress-on covers I used on my old 3310, plus the fact that I never had to do this on any of my 2017 smartphones.
I also had to set up the time and date manually — something I hadn’t needed to do in forever — because the phone doesn’t automatically do that. My contacts, too, were lost for the day because this phone can’t sync to Google Contacts.
The Nokia 3310 doesn’t support Google apps nor is it capable of connecting to Wi-Fi. The only way you can connect to the internet is through cellular data, but only on 2G. For those youngins unacquainted with what 2G is, it was basically the fastest mobile data connection — in the 90s. Since then we’ve evolved to 3G and LTE.
The first hour
It seemed like a good idea at the start, but soon enough, 2017 reality came crashing in. Even before hour one ended (more like 15 minutes after the initial turnover), I realized I wouldn’t have access to social media via my phone throughout the day (like I said, no apps). Facebook is accessible through the phone’s built-in Opera browser but when it loads — if it does at all — it does so at a snail’s pace. My messaging apps were gone, too. I was left with only one inbox and good old text messaging.
All this would’ve been fine (well, okay, not really) except I work on the internet. All of a sudden, I had to bust out my laptop for every work-related thing. Even our team communication that’s done on Slack, a productivity messaging app where all our serious worky-work conversations are done, had to be done on the big screen (which, in this context, is my laptop).
Obviously, editing documents on my phone was out of the question. The good news? I still had a calendar and notes function. More bad news: They didn’t sync with my Google account (again, the 2G and app compatibility issue).
At this point, I’d already spent most of my time on my laptop for things I used to do on smartphones — other than calls and SMS. (I also only got a total of three SMS that day since I’m heavily reliant on my internet-dependent messaging apps.) Alone in the outside world with just the 3310, I was forced to entertain myself with the basics.
My Instagram and selfie game also took a blow. Although equipped with a camera, the 3310’s 2-megapixel image sensor was just ridiculous — basically 10 times fewer pixels than OPPO’s latest selfie smartphone camera.
And even then, there was no way of uploading my shots on Instagram. No Snapchat stories for me that day, either.
The 3310’s alarms were still as reliable as ever but my morning ritual of checking emails, messages, and to-do items on a smartphone was not at all possible.
Driving to the GadgetMatch HQ was a feat in itself without my smartphones.
I am very bad with directions and have never really driven without Waze ever since I discovered the app years back. This is impossible with the 3310, because it doesn’t support such features. And even if the feature phone did support apps, it still doesn’t have GPS built in that allows you to navigate offline on your smartphones. This time around, I had to rely on my own navigation skills and do everything without my usual Spotify playlist.
Hour 24: Finish line!
One good thing about the 3310 was that I did not need to plug in to charge in the last 24 hours. The concept of going the whole day without a powerbank is foreign to most these days but it’s certainly possible with this particular phone. While two-day battery life on a smartphone remains a dream, I see now why phones back in the day lasted so long – they really didn’t do as much, at least by today’s standards.
Many things were realized from this experiment: That I’m pretty spoiled by technology, those beauty filters are useless when you’re working with two measly megapixels, and most importantly, that a feature phone in 2017 is pretty fun but mostly unusable. As cute and nostalgic as this phone is, I’m never going back to a 3310.
Now, can I have my smartphones back?