It’s hard to imagine that the Nokia 8210 was released 20 years ago, in 1999. This phone was one of the earlier models that really kick-started Nokia’s dominance in these years and also was an important milestone in the changing of the mobile phone characteristic from utility to style.
It is easy to see why the Nokia 8210 caused a stir. Models at around this time were starting to attract the casual customer, with phones such as the Nokia 3210 and Nokia 5110 featuring changeable Xpress-On covers. These were initially only available in a few colours, but third party manufacturers quickly filled the gap and an huge range of covers became available meaning for the first time people could really personalise their phone.
But these phones were quite bulky and offered no size increase over previous iterations such as the Nokia 6150. At this time, one of the first super-premium phones was released: the Nokia 8850 featured a metallic design and came at a very high price. This phone wasn’t well supported by the networks and hence relatively few are in existence.
The Nokia 8210 can be considered the budget version of the Nokia 8850. At the time the phone was one of the smallest and lightest phones on the market, and still is today. Full specifications here.
As mentioned, this was a hugely successful handset. Its replacement was the Nokia 8310, but after this the trail goes cold for the Nokia 8-series, perhaps being saved for the premium phones.
Pros of Nokia 8210:
For the time, the design of the phone is incredible. Very small and light at just 79g, yet not so small that the keypad becomes difficult to use (this would be a problem for some phones, as touchscreen was not available).
It was very easy to customise the phone with the changeable covers. Because it changed the front and back, phones could look much different. Aftermarket Nokia covers were extremely cheap to purchase, meaning that one could own multiple covers.
Nokia stuck with its proprietary operating system and changed very little. This was an incredibly sensible decision, as it meant that owners of the previous models would have no issue in upgrading.
Because of the mono screen, battery life tended to be good: several days on a single charge.
Cons of Nokia 8210:
Although coming at a premium price, the phone itself was not an upgrade on its other brothers such as the Nokia 3210. Phone book capacity, screen resolution and other factors remained the same.
The price may have been disagreeable to some. If not on contract, the phone cost was 2-3 times more than the other models at the time. A large premium was therefore being put on the design.
Future Prospects and Current Pricing
It looks certain that the Nokia 8210 will be a collectors model in future. It is instantly recognisable by anyone who had a mobile phone in this era, and is still a good looking handset today, if somewhat clunky to use. But it serves as almost a icon of an era. The late 90’s saw very few good-looking phones released, and this together with the Ericsson T28 were beginning to break the mould.
Current pricing is actually fairly cheap. Because of the popularity of the handset, there are millions in circulation and many are repaired and refurbished, being good as new. It may be a while before the price increases, but over the long run it will.
Where can I get one?
Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.