UPDATED: Retro Redux, the Nokia 5310 2020 edition review

WHEN Nokia made its comeback in 2017, it also brought an old classic back to life—the equally iconic Nokia 3310. Since then, HMD Global has also been resurrecting a bunch of other classic phones, so-called Originals, bringing back the Nokia 8110 “banana phone” in 2018, and the Nokia 2720 flip phone last year.

This year, Nokia has decided to give the audiophiles a taste of the throwback, with the revival of the XpressMusic phone, the 5310.

The entire “Originals” series’ USP is nostalgia, promising to take you back to the good old times, and remind you that once, Nokia was the “king” of the phone world.  But will nostalgia be enough reason to buy the Nokia 5310 or should you just leave the past and move on?

When I first got my hands on the Nokia 5310, I just couldn’t wait to unbox it. I actually owned a couple of Xpress music phones—the Nokia 3300 that looked like the N-Gage gaming phone, and the 5800 that had a stylus and touch screen. I remember the classic 5310 for how thin it was, so I was a little bit disappointed to see that it has gained a bit of bulk and more rounded edges this time around. Not that it looks “fat”, but I would have preferred a slimmer profile.

Watch our full review and “phonethrough” here:

Thankfully, it retained the rest of the series’ design philosophy, with red colored side panels that housed dedicated music buttons, allowing you to adjust the volume and shuffle through tracks with ease. It’s available in two color options white/red and black/red. The phone comes in a white cardboard box and the retail package includes a micro-USB charger, 3.5mm earphones and phone manual.

Going through the spec sheet, the Nokia 5310 2020 runs Series 30+ OS, has a 2.4” QVGA Display,  a MT6260A CPU, 8MB RAM, 16MB internal storage, and VGA Camera with flash. It has  a removable 1200 mAh battery that can last up to 20.7 hours talktime and up to 30 days standby time. Since this is an XpressMusic phone, it has dualspeakers, wired or wireless FM radio, and a MP3/3G2/3GP/AMR player. It supports Dual Mini SIM, 2G network bands GSM 900/1800, and Bluetooth 3.0.

Is it a big improvement over the original’s specs? The answer is actually a surprising No.

It does have a bigger screen size (slightly up from 2.1 inches) and a bigger battery (from 860mAh), but the camera resolution is even lower than the 2MP of the original and the storage is also down to 16MB from 30MB. Yes, that’s MB not GB. Although a 2MP camera is nothing to rave about, still after 13 years you’d think they’d at least retain it.

After getting over my initial excitement, I turned the phone on, and that’s when I started to question why you should even consider getting a feature phone in the first place.

I’ve been using the phone for a couple of weekends, and it brought me back to simpler times when you could simply turn off your phone and escape. I tried composing some texts and remembered those ASCII graphics I used to create before forwarding some quotes. I decided not to send them out though, because no one replies to text messages these days. I did try calling my partner and call quality was loud and clear. I took a few photos (they were funny bad) and made me appreciate how great phone cameras have become. The built-in FM player was okay, but with only 16MB storage, you need to get a memory card to even use the music player.

Simply put, the 5310 is the antithesis of all the smartphones I’ve reviewed recently.

This article first appeared on Technivore The Business Mirror

But it does have are the all features you’ll ever want in a PHONE. You get a phonebook, messaging app, a pretty tactile keypad that will test your pre-qwerty keyboard texting skills, a flashlight, calendar, a new version of SNAKE, a few other preinstalled games—it even has Facebook!—and of course dual front-facing speakers to highlight its music capabilities. The speakers are loud enough to fill a room, but quality isn’t that good.

At just P2,090, it may just be right phone for those who want to go on a social media detox. If it were not for the pandemic, it would be a great phone to bring on those out-of-town trips when you just want to disconnect from the Internet and enjoy some peace and quiet, yet still remain reachable in case of emergencies.

If you’ve got a spare memory card, it would also be a good running/workout companion as you don’t have to worry about carrying your expensive smartphone and risk dropping or losing it. It’s also a good option for those in the e-load retail business, or those who need a phone to call their staff who are out on the field.

Final word: In trying to keep the price as low as possible, it seems Nokia opted not to upgrade certain specifications to today’s standards. The new Nokia 5310 design is compact, lightweight and easily fits your pocket, but it’s still not as good-looking as the original XpressMusic phone. But if you’re on a budget looking for a basic phone that can double as an MP3 player, has a long-lasting removable battery, then your inner Technivore would be pleased with the Nokia 5310.

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