10 Things ‘90s Kids Loved About The Nokia 3310 Phone
When rumors started swirling this week that the iconic Nokia 3310 cell phone might be making a comeback, pretty much every older Millennial on the planet started freaking out. Why? Because of all the things ‘90s kids loved about the Nokia 3310, of course. Sure, the smartphones so many of us carry around with us now are leaps and bounds more advanced than this early mobile technology staple — but nostalgia is a powerful thing, and honestly, I don’t think there are many of us that would pass up the opportunity to recapture the glory days of our technological youth.
On Monday, VentureBeat’s Evan Blass reported that an “homage” to the Nokia 3310 was in the works. Indeed, according to Blass, the official announcement is expected soon: It’s believed that the updated classic will make its debut at the Mobile World Congress conference later this month. Now, before you get too excited, it’s worth remembering that right now, it’s just a rumor — HMD Global, which makes all phones marketed under the Nokia name, has not confirmed the news, and Business Insider reports that a spokesperson for the company “declined to comment on ‘rumors or speculation.’” (Bustle has also reached out to HMD Global and will update if/when we hear back.) So, take it all with a giant grain of salt.
But let’s face it: Even the mere suggestion that the hallowed phone might be on its way back into our lives is enough to set most ‘90s kids’ hearts aflutter. While it’s true that the Nokia 3310 was originally released in 2000, not during the ‘90s, many people who consider themselves '80s babies or ‘90s kids remember the device fondly as one of their very first cell phones. Predating the Motorola Razr by more than three years, us older Millennials in particular — by which I mean those of us who were in our mid to late teens by the time the new millennium came around — associate the phone with the kind of freedom that belongs only to early adulthood.
Also, it was really effing cool.
Here are just a few things ‘90s kids loved about their Nokia 3310s. The Nokia 3310 is dead. Long live the Nokia 3310.
1It Was Pretty Much Indestructible
One of the phone’s hallmarks was its durability, which was a boon for people who had a tendency to drop stuff all the time (like, um, me). Don’t believe me? Go to YouTube and search for “Nokia 3310.” Most of the results will be videos of people seeing if the phone can withstand things like being sliced with a katana (yep), used as a hammer to beat up a smartphone (yep), and dropped 1,500 feet (not so much).
2The Battery Lasted Forever
According to Tech Radar, the battery had “an official standby time of 260 hours” — which comes out to about 10 whole days. through one day without our phones dying on us — but as Tech Radar also notes, “Most users of the 3310 will attest that it seemed to last almost infinitely between charges.” It was like magic.
3One Word: Snake
Or more accurately, Snake II. The first version of Nokia’s take on the classic arcade game appeared on the 6110 (which, incidentally, was the very first cell phone I ever owned); Snake II, meanwhile — with its improved gameplay and bonuses — earned lasting appeal with its inclusion on phones like the 3310.
4But Really, ALL The Games
The 3310’s lasting legacy is undoubtedly its game selection: In addition to Snake II, it also boasted Pairs II, Bantumi, and Space Impact. Indeed, Space Impact, while perhaps not as iconic as Snake, pushed the envelope in a way that I would argue paved the way for mobile gaming as we know it today. As CNET once noted, Space Impact “was never a superb game,” but its “length, breadth, and complexity” were far and above what most phones could do at the time.
5You Could Make Your Own Ringtones
The 3310 came loaded with 35 ringtones — but even better than that was the fact that there was space for seven custom tones, too. Sure, you could download one if you wanted… but why do that when you could make your own?
6Super Long (For The Time) Text Messages
You probably remember the length a standard SMS text message used to be thanks to Twitter: There’s a reason that 140-character limit exists. But the 3310 let you send texts that were a whopping 459 characters. You could practically write novels in that amount of space.
7It Was Smart (Before Smartphones Were A Thing)
I’m mainly thinking of the “reminder” function here. Didn’t have a fancy PDA to keep track of your schedule? Your Nokia 3310 could get the job done just as well.
8It Could Be Any Color You Wanted With The Right Case
These days, phones come in pretty much every color under the sun — and if you’d rather it came in a shade that isn’t readily available from the manufacturer, there are an almost infinite array of cases to choose from. Neither of these things were always the case, though; in the early days of cell phones, each model came in a severely limited number of colors, and cases weren’t quite the market they are now. With the wonders of Xpress-On cases, though, the Nokia 3310 could become quite the chameleon.
9It Had Screensavers
Screensavers. On your phone. Unreal! (For the time, at least!)
There’s something immensely satisfying about the brick-shaped 3310. I don’t know what it is, exactly — it’s certainly different from the flat, streamlined slabs our phones generally look like today — but the 3310 just fit the hand so nicely.
But hey, if the return of the Nokia 3310 turns out not to be on the horizon, at least there's this: You can get a case for your smartphone that makes it look like a Nokia 3310. All the nostalgic charm with all the benefits of a modern day mobile device: What's not to love?