It costs less than S$100 (US$74) and is 3G compatible
A couple of weeks ago, Apple bedazzled its legion of rabid fans with the unveiling of the latest iPhone 8 and iPhone X. The latter is the star attraction — with its fancy bezel-less design, face-scanning features and, not forgetting, its luxurious price tag.
Undoubtedly, sales of the new iPhones will go through the roof — as it has always done so — in Singapore. Never mind their astronomical prices, people will give an arm and a leg to own these babies. And Apple will remain the reigning king of the smartphone jungle for at least another year.
But, underneath all that noise, a familiar face has reemerged — Nokia. Don’t be fooled, though; this isn’t the case of a faded movie star looking to reclaim the glory and the limelight that once shone so radiantly on them. No, my good sirs and madams, Nokia knows the red carpet will no longer roll out for them; it will no longer be contending with the big-budget blockbusters.
Nokia is done trying to reinvent itself.
Instead, Nokia is harkening back to its simpler, modest and iconic roots — the dumb phone era. Its new 3310 phone — an upgraded version of its classic phone that debuted in 2000 — spots a tiny 2.4-inch display, which is about half the size of the iPhone 8. This display comes with a glorious 24o x 320 pixel resolution (which is to say, very low-res compared to the iPhone 6/7/8’s 750 x 1334 pixels capabilities).
Additionally, it has a 2 megapixel camera. In contrast, the iPhone 8’s back camera takes photos with six times the resolution.
Oh, and did I mention that the new Nokia 3310 has also retained its own alphanumeric keypad? Compared to the touchscreen QWERTY keyboard, this keypad was designed to be operated with one hand — more specifically, the thumb. It was something that took a while to get accustomed to, but it had its charms; just forget about typing out long confessions because your thumb is going to be really sore.
The case for having a dumb phone
So what’s the deal here? Is HMD Global, the Finnish startup that owns the Nokia license, doing this just for kicks? Is this some sort of gimmick?
HMD Global said it was doing this for nostalgic reasons. It is easy to see older millennials (like myself) and middle-aged people picking it up for that very reason — the same reason that prompted Nintendo to launch a HDTV-compatible version of its classic NES. It’s not just about the device per se — it’s about the memories associated with it: whether it be your first crush, first heartbreak, or the rush of excitement when you got to go to the mall with your friends.
When the Nokia 3310 first launched, I was a mere kiddo, and Playstation 1 was the console to have. I remember how blown away I was with Final Fantasy 8’s graphics. Of course, they look really dated now, but it has become a revered classic! And in those days, when you paid for a console game, you got the whole damn game; there were no patches, microtransactions, and DLCs (downloadable content) that are so prevalent nowadays.
I also remember fiddling with an early version of a touchscreen tablet in school. It was clumsy, bulky and slow compared to its present-day successors. Needless to say, that project was shelved soon after.
The point I’m trying to make here is that Nokia 3310 belonged to an era wherein technology was more primitive and life was a lot simpler. And the fact that they had limitations meant that you still had to depend on traditional mediums to get your fix. If you wanted to read a book electronically, you had to do it on a PC or a laptop. I have done it before and, boy, do I not relish it.
(Disclaimer: I’m not extolling the ‘virtues’ of primitivism; just offering a point of view. I would be like a ship without a rudder if I lost my smartphone.)
Which brings me to my next point: The debate over work-life balance has become more complicated these days. The prevalence of cloud software, high-speed internet access, and, of course, the all-encompassing smartphones, has given us the means to produce work not only quicker, but also allowed us to work anywhere the world.
That “freedom” to work beyond the confines of an office has also tragically chained our work to us wherever we go.
How many times have you have been tempted to open up Gmail or Slack on your smartphone while sipping on your piña coladas on a resort in Bali? How many times have you felt the urge to pack your work laptop into your suitcase despite the protest of spouse? How many times have you, in a middle of dinner, told your friends that you needed to step out to “handle a work matter real quick”?
Have a dumb phone excuses us from attending to work 24/7. It allows us to clearly define lines between our social lives and our jobs; it helps us to get off the clock proper so we don’t burn ourselves out.
And beyond work, a dumb phone helps you to snap out of your social media addiction. It helps you to curb the urge to update and check your Instagram or Facebook while you travel. For those looking to fully themselves in a foreign surrounding and recharge, they might find the idea of unplugging completely rather attractive.
And it’s not as if Nokia 3310 is a dumb as a rotary phone. It can still go online, via WAP 2.0/HTML browser. So if there is really an urgent need to update your Facebook status, you could still do it, albeit, via a more laborious method.
And in certain critical life or death situations, the Nokia 3310 could prove to be a more reliable lifesaver. Compared to the iPhone 8, the 3310 can sustain eight hours more talk time. And the 3310 has an FM radio chip, while Apple today revealed that the iPhone 7/8 do not have them, meaning that users will not be able to receive emergency broadcasts via traditional FM bands.
Having said that, it would not be possible, in this day and age, to rely on a dumb phone alone. Smartphones have too many services that have become indispensable in our daily lives: Google Maps, Uber, WhatsApp — the list goes on.
The 3310 would make for a really good backup phone, instead. And at a price tag of only S$100 (US$74), there is really no barrier to owning one.
Image Credit: Nokia
The post Screw the iPhone hype: The new Nokia 3310 is the real deal! appeared first on e27.