All I want is a Nokia 3210

All I want is a Nokia 3210Writing about mobile phones means people constantly ask me silly questions such as: “What’s the best phone then?” and “What phone should I get?” It’s akin to asking Jeremy Clarkson what kind of bloody car you should buy. Sort of.

Anyway, a strange thing happened recently while talking to an array of entirely random and unrelated people. Er, when I say “an array of” I actually mean “three”, but they all independently said they craved an old-school Nokia. Bizarre-o.

It seems that - as far as Joe Average is concerned – there have been two peaks in the history of mobile, most recently with the iPhone, and some 12-13 years ago with the Nokia 3210.

Of the aforementioned three people, person the first was my optician. Strange, I know. She asked what the “best” phone was (in an oddly condescending tone, despite being several years younger than me), and I lazily said the iPhone. Look, it’s not like she was up for an iPhone 4S vs. Samsung Galaxy S II vs. HTC Sensation XE vs. Motorola Razr debate, alright? I took the easy way out.

“Oh, I’ve got an iPhone!” she said. No surprises there. Until she added: “I hate it. I miss my Nokia 3210.” What the…? I think that was probably the first time I’ve ever heard someone with an iPhone say that they dislike it. “You hate your iPhone?” I asked, somewhat puzzled.

Turns out my optician simply resents how much she relies on her iPhone, and admitted to “freaking out” if she doesn't have her phone with her. Fair enough; so she doesn’t actually hate her iPhone. Quite the opposite.

Person the second was, uhm, Mel…ody. Yes, my friend, Melody. Despite working in broadband tech support for several years, she is – ironically – a complete technophobe. She had a BlackBerry for years and didn’t go anywhere near BBM, email or even the mobile interweb. Go figure.

Melody recently bought a new phone, a Samsung Galaxy Ace, but wasn’t impressed. She moaned: “I don’t know how to work it. I just want my Nokia 3210 back.” Sigh.

Ok, so far we’ve got resentment and lack of technical prowess.

Person the third was my good friend, er, let’s call him Rob. Like my optician, Rob grew to resent the amount of time he spent looking at his smartphone. Oh, actually, this is a good time to plug Yes, I’m glued to my phone. So what?. Rob inspired said feature when he challenged my abundant phone use.

Where were we? Ahh yeah. Rob’s resentment was further fuelled when his years-old HTC Desire started playing up, turning him against all Android phones (silly, I know), and – since he refused to give Apple any more money – he threatened to go old-school with a feature phone.

“I hate phones. I just want to be able to send text messages and make the occasional call. I’m getting an old-school Nokia.”

Ultimately, Rob opted for a BlackBerry Bold Touch, as it “just works”. Not a bad choice, actually, despite being driven by apparent insanity.

To be fair, I do understand Rob’s resentment concerning our reliance upon smartphones. Incidentally, when I was on the train home last night, I noticed that more than half of the 20-or-so people in my carriage – myself included – were sitting staring at their phones. I kinda miss the days when we would’ve all been reading books instead.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have mobile phones; no one did. If you wanted to find your friends, you had to go out and find them. It was freakin’ great. Or was it? I suggested to Martin the other day that you tend to forget the crap stuff as time goes on. That applies to holidays, relationships, school… maybe it’s the same with mobile phones.

Yeah, we all had great fun playing Snake and discovering polyphonic ringtones and what have you, but imagine not being able to jump on Google or Amazon or Facebook – wherever your are – with the tap of a button. Not to mention the myriad of other features we all take for granted.

Nah, I’m not convinced. Stick your resentment and your lack of technical ability and your nostalgia up your bum. I like my smartphone.

Read more about: Nokia 3210

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13 comments

montblanc  Jan. 20, 2012 at 13:17

3310! :3 All i've ever wanted is a cheap phone that I'm not scared of losing, has good reception and calls people and receives texts.

Stelph  Jan. 20, 2012 at 13:43

A mate of mine has a 3210 at the moment, wows us with its touchscreen (look I can touch the screen!), Snake II, storage space for 15 messages at a time and the battery thats last for a week between charges.

Actually that last one isnt half bad

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 20, 2012 at 13:46

You miss the days when you could have been reading books instead? Well, you can do that on a smartphone.
I miss the day when people during their break at work or on the train or in the smokers corner were actually talking to each other...

I, By the way, know quite a few people who went back to dumbphones last year. Some of them know more about tech than all of us here combined. They are just tired of the reliance, tired of the apps hype, tired ...
I think it's a bit like smoking: either you try one cigarette, cough and say, "never again"; or you try it, get hooked and then, down the line quit and become an anti-smoking campaigner/missionary, or you stay happily addicted in the knowledge that it'll be contributing to your death. But at least you're in "control" ;)

I find the more phones I try out, the less appealing they become. A been-there, seen-that, heard-the-hype-before attitude sets in.

montblanc  Jan. 20, 2012 at 14:17

I wouldn't want to read a book on a smartphone, hurts your eyes D:

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 20, 2012 at 14:20

I wouldn't want to read a book on a smartphone, hurts your eyes D:As opposed to web-browsing and pron-viewing being good for your eyes? :p Hey, a 10 minute commute with an ebook on a 4.3in s-amoled won't hurt your eyes. For longer periods, yes, it can hurt.

dcx_badass  Jan. 20, 2012 at 19:09

Everyone always questions why I am so into tech and gadgets yet have still resisted the smart phone craze. It's easy I want a phone I can charge every 5 or so days with medium use, I want proper buttons not a stupid touchscreen. My 'simple' phone (infact a Sony Ericsson Elm with GPS, 3G, 5mp camera etc, but not a smart phone), never crashes, it never plays up, the battery last for days. I see no reason whatsoever to move over to a smart phone.

equ  Jan. 21, 2012 at 12:22

I use a Nokia5800 as my backup phone as I like having GPS backup as well. And 4 day battery life is nearly a "Feature phone" battery life :)

heebyjeeby  Jan. 31, 2012 at 21:39

Isn't it funny that Apple is squeezing the PC market with its iPad, since it does what the vast majority of casual users need without much fuss. Yet is also doing great in the phone market with a phone that does way more than most people need it to.

Funny the SE Elm is mentioned above; I would have bought that if it weren't so expensive. I settled for a refurbed Samsung Chat as it did everything I wanted: MP3 and basic WiFi browsing for mobile-enables sites like Hotmail. Great battery life, though I think I prefer an alphanumeric pad to be honest.

Companies aren't even trying with feature-phones any more. We are stuck with a gaping void between awful £10 spare-phones and over-engineered smartphones; most non-techie people's needs fit right in the middle...

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 31, 2012 at 22:53

heebyjeeby, hi

agree with regards to the gap between awful feature-/dumb-phones and smartphones. The other day a friend asked me for a recommendation: a good featurephone with a great cam and good batterylife (by which she meant a couple of days.) - I couldn't find one. There are loadsa 5MP Nokias etc but those cams are not "great"...
Gone are the days of a Pixon or Jet...

dcx_badass  Feb. 1, 2012 at 03:16

Funny the SE Elm is mentioned above; I would have bought that if it weren't so expensive. I settled for a refurbed Samsung Chat as it did everything I wanted: MP3 and basic WiFi browsing for mobile-enables sites like Hotmail. Great battery life, though I think I prefer an alphanumeric pad to be honest.


What do you class as expensive? My Elm was £100 on release which I think is pretty good for the features. I can even set an mp3 as a ringtone and send files via bluetooth (both things Apple are still yet to master).

heebyjeeby  Feb. 1, 2012 at 09:43

I couldn't find it below £100, most places around £140. When I saw those prices I guess I didn't bother looking too hard; it seemed too close to the prices of entry level smartphones. Nokia X3-01 was another one in the running.

Then again, it's not really fair to compare those prices with the refurb I got in the end (Was around £40).

tomwatts  Mar. 5, 2012 at 14:29

@dcx_badass - Everyone with a brain knows why apple have locked down the bluetooth side of things, and now with iMessage photos videos files (not music though for the obvious file sharing reasons) can be sent over wifi or 3g easily. With regards to the mp3 ringtone nonsense, it's possible to make an .m4r file so so so easily, but I agree that it could be built into the software but apple have their reasons.

This is coming from an S2 owner btw before the fanboys bite.

SpeedyG  Apr. 6, 2012 at 23:23

I remember buying and losing one on the first day in college lol.

Nokia 3330 I got soon after was a rock-steady replacements and one of my most loved phones ever, after a Samsung D600.

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