It doesn’t matter if you hate the new Nokia 3310, it’s already done its job

The new Nokia 3310 has taken a bit of a beating in a number of online reviews. It’s too expensive, it doesn’t have enough features and it isn't as close to the original as people wanted. 

Thing is, HMD – the firm that's licensing the Nokia name to put on phones – probably isn’t bothered. 

The new Nokia 3310 had already done its job before it hit a store shelf, let alone before the first one was actually bought.

And I’ll be honest. If this phone was called anything other than the Nokia 3310, we at TechRadar wouldn’t have given it a moment’s thought.

We’re not a site that generally reviews feature phones, but when a handset as iconic as the Nokia 3310 is reborn it would be remiss of us to ignore the huge wave of nostalgia that hit phone fans around the world.

So here we are, in a smartphone world where a feature phone managed to steal the limelight from several high-profile, flagship devices. Yet, it turns out that many people are 'over' the retro trend already.

Not the phone you're looking for

HMD knows this isn’t a phone you're going to choose over the iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy S8 or even the budget Moto G5. The new 3310 is positioned as a second phone – something you can take to a festival, give to a child as their first handset, or keep in the car for emergencies.

It’s no different from any other feature phone on the market, and a quick search online will return a number of similar handsets with the same (and in some cases greater) specs and lower price tags.

You can even pick up an entry-level Android smartphone for the same price as the new 3310 - but it won't have a battery that lasts more than a week (you'll be lucky to get a day from a single charge) and it's unlikely to be as hardy.

There's also those who will just want to say they own the new Nokia 3310 - whether it's for a brief moment of nostalgia, or just as a bit of a gimmick.

Sure, the fact this phone is called the Nokia 3310 seems to have inflated the price tag, but what is has done to great effect is put the Nokia name back on people’s lips.

The original 3310 is a handset that’s so fondly remembered it provokes positive memories of the famous Finnish firm’s heyday – rather that the more disastrous later years when it played catch up to the iPhone and Android.

And now people are thinking Nokia, they can be directed towards HMD's new smartphone trio - the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6.

It's a simple, unabashed play that tugs on the heart strings. 

'Hey you, remember that phone you loved back in 2001? Well look at this shiny new version. It doesn't do much in today's world, but have you seen our new smartphones?'

Yet, it's not working out quite like that.

Mind the gap

While the new Nokia 3310 managed to whip up a media storm at MWC 2017 back in February, it took HMD more than two months to get it on sale, in which time the initial hype managed to almost completely die down.

HMD puts the gap between launch and release down to its short lifespan.

“As a business we only came into existence on December 1, 2016, so it’s quite hard to believe with all of these products (the 3310 and three smartphones) we’re just six months old as a company," Sarah Edge, HMD Global's General Manager of UK and Ireland told me.

"I think MWC was a perfect opportunity for us to announce all these products and create the hype, but you will now start seeing activity from us. 

"Although we have been quiet, we are rectifying that, and you’ll see a lot of noise from us now in the market, including some big marketing campaigns over the summer."

From my various discussions with people in the know, it seems the Android smartphones are only weeks away – but even that delay could prove costly as there’s a risk the enthusiasm may die down in the lull in-between launches.

As far as the Nokia 3310 goes though, it can take things easy. If it sells out then it's a win-win for HMD, as the phone's hard work is already done. 

It may not be the reborn Nokia 3310 everyone was hoping for, but it's the only feature phone in the last decade that's even got a look-in in the smartphone dominated world - and that's worth applauding.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.