Nokia 3210 Vintage Mobile Phone Review – An Iconic Masterpiece

It’s hard to imagine that this handset is over 20 years old now. Together with handsets such as the Nokia 8210, many credit the early Nokia models with really bringing mobile phones to the mainstream audience.

The Nokia 3210 was the best selling handset of 1999. Shifting over 160 million units worldwide, it caught on it almost all countries. It is easy to see why, as the difference between this and its predecessors is quite stark. Much of this came cosmetically. Previous mobile phones were expensive at this era, but the Nokia family of phones gradually brought the price down over time.

At the time though, the Nokia 3210 was still a premium handset. However phone prices were nowhere near what they are today, and typically the phone was free on taking out a mobile phone contract. The previous Nokia 5110 became a solid pay-as-you go handset.

Full specifications here.

Anyone can see the progression of the series. Its successor was the Nokia 3310 which arrived a year later. This retained most of its features but further refined the look and made the phone smaller and lighter.

Pros of Nokia 3210

  • The design of the phone was striking. Together with the premium Nokia 8210, these phones began to recess the antenna inside of the phone, instead of outside. This had some great advantages such as making the phone easier to carry in pockets, at no detriment to call quality.
  • The phone was easy to use, being based on the same software as the older Nokia 5110.
  • Build quality was much improved over the older model. A more metallic design for the keypad and housing was made, with a great upgrade to the keypad, and there were a similar number of available housings for those wanting to customise the phone.
  • The phone shape became much more ergonomic and easy to hold, and the battery size shrunk and was recessed into the phone, making it lighter.

Cons of Nokia 3210

  • The phone compared unfavourably to the Nokia 8210, which featured the same functionality in a much smaller package, the only difference being the price.
  • Display-wise the phone featured the same resolution as the older handsets, which restricted the games to very simple ones.

Future Prospects and Current Pricing

It seems likely that this will be a collectors model in future, as the phone made a significant contribution to the development of the mobile phone. The 3210 also had the advantage of a keypad with non-printed numbers and not silicon style, meaning that many phones appear in good condition despite their age.

Even today second hand models appear in good demand, and good condition models can actually attain a higher price tag than many older smartphones.

With Motorola Startac achieving super-premium prices, will the Nokia 3210 go the same way? It seems not as likely due to the fact that they are still very common (several times more than some iPhones) but I would be confident that they are solid long-term holds.

Where can I get one?

Both Ebay and Amazon have second-hand and refurbished models.

Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.

Nokia 3210 Disassembly Guide

For a guide on how to take apart the Nokia 3210 for repair purposes, please see this link.

Nokia 3210 Video Review

Here is a video which shows the main features of the Nokia 3210:

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