Remembering the Nokia 3310, the best phone of all time

You still think of those long afternoons playing Snake


You’re probably reading this on your iPhone, taking a brief rest from catching Pokemon or ignoring the constant hum of the group chat.

You’re attached to your phone and can’t remember a world in which you couldn’t check your email from the toilet, use it instead of a bank card or Shazam that song on the radio before getting embarrassed when you realise that it’s by Selena Gomez.

Another six months down the line you’ll be eligible for an upgrade and end up shoving it in a drawer or flogging it to Cash Converters. The truth is that, while you couldn’t live without it, you’ll never love your phone like you loved the Nokia 3310.

33101

No phone has ever captured the public’s collective imagination like Nokia’s iconic handset. The Finnish company sold 126 million of them since they first appeared at the turn of the new millenium. For many of us it was our first phone, or at least the first one that really mattered.

It was one of the quintessential pop culture references of our youth, a happy time before Blair led us to war Iraq, Facebook existed and 911 were just a terrible pop group that appeared on SM:TV Live.

The 3310 is the sort of phone that sparks nostalgic debate whenever it’s mentioned, the bond have with it is unbreakable, much like the phone itself. Anybody who has owned an iPhone will be familiar with the feeling of picking it up off a club floor only to see its shattered screen, soaked in tequila, gazing back at you.

With its curved sides, inbuilt aerial and lack of expensive glass or materials, it was near indestructible. No matter whether you let it slip from your hands, threw it at a wall or drop-kicked it across your school playground, it was strong enough to withstand almost any impact. Tales of its strength are so famous that a whole subculture of YouTube videos have arisen testing its strength.

The ability to remove and customise the phone with various colours of Xpress-on covers led to both its durability and also it’s status as a fashion icon of the early 2000s. The 3310 with it’s ability to represent any style or personality became for your mobile what the Rachel from Friends haircut was to every girl’s hair in your school.

A simplistic piece of technology by modern standards, the 3310 was ground-breaking in its day. Besides its four games and a calculator, it offered little beyond text messaging – up to 459 characters, or roughly three tweets worth – and the ability to make phone calls.

No matter how much you love the ease of ordering an Uber or arranged your next shag with a quick swipe to the right, don’t you crave a return to those halcyon days? The days when a Freddo cost 10p and you liked Craig David the first time around?

If you’ve had your phone die while using it as a sat-nav or when you were deep into a Netflix session on the bus you’ll long for its battery life. Advertised as lasting 260 hours on standby, it was a monster. Even for the busiest of users it could comfortably last days, if not a week, without needing to see a charger.

Let’s cut to the chase though, the real highlight of the 3310 wasn’t Pairs II, Space Impact or Bantumi – it was Snake II. Snake II was legendary; heroes were made when top scores were beaten. Every classroom had somebody who claimed they had completed the game, conveniently on their parent’s phone, so they couldn’t prove it.

snake

Sadly most first loves don’t last, and the Nokia 3310 was no different. That sleek handset is now consigned to the scrap heap of history along with the shop you got it from and the networks it ran on.

So tonight, when your phone dies and you need to put it on charge, take a minute to reflect and raise a glass, possibly of Sunny Delight, to the first phone you ever loved.