Was this the best phone ever? Maybe…
These days, predictive text has combined with autocorrect to become a technology that’s all too often the source of mirth, rather than admiration. People laugh at memes that show autocorrect making innocent messages sound rude or inappropriate. But back in the days of the 3210, predictive text was actually really useful. No longer did you have to press each number key several times to find the letter you wanted. Instead, you just tapped the key once, and as you progressed through the characters, the phone would guess what you wanted to type. It might seem run-of-the-mill now, but at the time, it was a huge time saver.
Long before you could just use an MP3 or audio recording as a ringtone, Nokia gave the 3210 a ringtone composer. Using this simple tool, you could program your own tunes into the phone, selecting notes and octaves, as well as the duration of each note. It wasn’t exactly intuitive, and it took a fair while to work out how to input the tunes you wanted, but once it was done and you could impress your mates with the theme tune to Grange Hill, it was worth every moment.
If you’ve ever dropped your iPhone or high-end Android device, you’ll know the sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach as you watch it fall. It lands face down, and with apprehension, you pick it up, praying the screen hasn’t smashed into a mess of jagged glass.
With the Nokia 3210, this never happened. If you dropped it, you didn’t even blink, because you knew it would be alright. In fact, you’d more likely worry about the surface you dropped it on than the phone itself.
It’s weird how accustomed we’ve become to phones that last less than a day. When Nokia was in its prime, phone batteries would last several days – or even weeks, if you were careful. Of course, battery technology has improved since the days of the 3210, but without the demands of a full-colour LCD screen, a quad-core processor, wi-fi, 4G and Candy Crush Saga, the phone had a lot less to do. That meant more time to talk (provided you could afford the PAYG minutes), text and even play games. Speaking of which…
These days, we’re spoilt with HD graphics, touchscreens and accelerometers. But the kids of today don’t realise how lucky they are when it comes to mobile gaming.
If you wanted to play a game on your phone in 1999, then one of the best experiences you were going to get was from Snake on the 3210. Yes, it was a simple game that involved moving a snakelike line around the screen, and yes, it became virtually impossible after a while, but it was also hugely addictive. And it was proof that no matter how simple a phone might be, there’s always a way to make it entertaining if you know how.