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Dumb Phone

It’s so Satisfying to be Dumb: Nokia’s New 3210 After a Week

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The Nokia 3210 is a throwback to a time when texting was starting to take off and photos were taken by ‘real’ cameras. This is what last week was like for me with the iconic Nokia phone. The modern version of a classic body now made by HMD. And let me make it clear, I love it, despite its massive limitations.

Every week, after I finish my tech chat with Tim Gilbert on Sky News Weekend Edition, we usually share congratulatory texts. But last week there was a problem. I had no idea what Tim was communicating because I had swapped out my iPhone 15 Pro Max for refreshed Nokia 3210.

Instead of a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘fire’ emoji, I got a couple of square characters as you can see in the image below. It did frustrate me, not knowing what emoji praise Tim had fired off to me. Let’s face it, a ‘thumbs up’ is boring but a ‘fire’ or ‘fist’ emoji really gets you pumped. So I had to use my dumb phone, which had no contacts, to call Tim and find out what he sent me. I think it was a ‘love heart’ .. can’t remember.

No emojis with this dumb phone

Aside from missing out on emojis, I couldn’t take a decent photo. The camera has a basic 2MP camera on the back. It also records rudimentary video. This is the big downside to a cheap, dumb phone. We are so used to capturing the moment with excellent cameras on smartphones, it’s hard to go back. Give me a dumb phone with a great camera and we might be able to do a deal.

Having used pretty much every Nokia phone ever made, I found the 2024 update to an old classic extremely satisfying to use. Despite the issues noted earlier. I used it on-and-off for a week, with my main SIM and although fun, it was challenging. Given my job as a technology journalist and reviewer, I could not survive on a dumb phone like the 3210 alone. But I could definitely use it as a secondary device when I want long battery life (couple of days) and only need to talk or text via its dual SIM trays.

It’s also a great option for kids. Very basic with a painfully slow browser that will frustrate even the most patient of kids trying to get on Facebook. It’s comes with the classic game ‘Snake’ and more. You also get a torch on the back (which doubles as a flash) and FM radio. The speaker is also very loud but you get an old school headphone jack at the top.

I must say the 3210 feels great in the hand. As you can see side-by-side with the Samsung S24 Ultra, it’s pretty small.

Considering the design goes back to 1999, I’m impressed with the overall look and feel. HMD has clearly tapped into the nostalgia trend and I’m totally for it. In 2023 HMD saw sales of the Nokia 2660 Flip phone double. The HMD remakes are all 4G VoLTE compatible and ready to handle Australia’s modern networks. The charging port is USB-C and it has Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. It’s also very snappy. So although it’s a dumb phone, it has a lot of modern features that make it more than usable in 2024.

So, when it comes to backup phones, a Nokia 3210 or one of its mates, is a no brainer.

Pricing and Availability

The Nokia 3210, 215, 225 and 235 are all available across Australia from Monday, May 13:

Nokia 3210 – RRP$129 – available in Scuba Blue, Y2K Gold and Grunge Black from JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, Big W and Amazon (colours may vary).

Nokia 235 – RRP$109 – available in Black, Purple and Blue from JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks, Big W (online) and Amazon.

Nokia 225 – RRP$99 – available in Dark Blue and Pink from JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, Big W and Amazon.

Nokia 215 – RRP$79 – available in Meteor Grey and Peach from JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Amazon.Available in Meteor Grey in Telstra (online) in early June.

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3G

Telstra Lends Helping Hand as 3G Shutdown Approaches

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Telstra has started handing out 12,000 free mobile devices to struggling customers ahead of its 3G shutdown on 31 August, 2024. People in difficult financial situations, who live in rural and remote areas or the elderly, will be targeted in the handout.

“This initiative will benefit the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Major Brendan Nottle from The Salvation Army.

Telstra’s Consumer Segment Executive, Marty McGrath with Major Brendan Nottle from The Salvation Army.

“Ensuring that every Australian, from any background or level of income, can take part in our modern digital society is crucial. A phone can be a gateway to social inclusion, community connection and support, and with the upcoming closure of 3G networks in Australia it is important for us to reach out and ensure that this can continue for everyone.”

Although most Australians have moved on to 4G/5G devices, there are many people still using old handsets. Telstra says it will be communicating with eligible customers in the coming weeks to let them know a device is on its way. The devices will be

Telstra’s 3G network will close 31 August, 2024

Along with a new device, customers will receive instructions showing them how to switch to their new phone on the 4G network. Around 156,000 customers from consumers to small business are using devices that are either 3G only, do not support Voice over 4G (VoLTE), have 4G coverage limitations, or are 4G enabled but hardwired to use 3G for Emergency calls. These users are currently receiving pre-recorded messages when making an outgoing call to alert them about the change.

If you’re unsure, SMS 3 to 3498 (3GXT) to check your phone or contact Telstra directly.

There’s a lot more information here about the 3G shutdown.

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Dumb Phone

Resurrected Nokia 2660 Flip phone coming to Australia

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Now, don’t take this the wrong way .. but nobody does dumb phones better than Nokia Mobile. An updated Nokia 2660 Flip phone is due to arrive in Australia late June/early July. The original Nokia 2660 Flip launched in 2007, and the first ever Nokia Flip phone launched in 1998.

The classic flip comes in two new in-your-face colours (Pop Pink and Lush Green) following a surge of interest in ‘dumb phones’ from Gen Z and Millennials who are choosing Flip phones to limit their smartphone screen time for their own mental wellbeing.

According to research from HMD Global, 42 percent of Aussies have done a digital detox for an average of 26 days at a time, while as many as 56 percent would also consider doing a digital detox in the future. 

“There’s been a surge of interest in Flip phones, and we believe that the interest is coming from a need to take a break from the constant flow of incoming digital notifications, social media posts and more,” said Lars Silberbauer Chief Marketing Officer HMD Global.

Lars Silberbauer Chief Marketing Officer HMD Global

“That’s why we are re-introducing the Nokia 2660 Flip, to give people these important beautiful life moments back.”

One third (31 percent) of Aussies are planning to refrain from their devices because they feel that doom scrolling is having a negative impact on their mental health, the pressure of being in constant contact is too much (29 percent) and the constant pinging of emails and messages makes them feel anxious (24 percent). One in five (21 percent) say they are less sociable and feel like they are losing themselves online (20 percent). However, 20 percent admit they couldn’t do a detox because they can’t live without their devices. 

  • ‘Dumb phones’ are on the rise as Gen Z and Millennials choose to limit screen time
  • Self-named ‘Screenagers’ take to TikTok with #bringbackfliphones garnering 49 million views 
  • 16 years on from the release of the original Nokia 2660 flip phone, it’s back with an updated look 
  • Millions of Nokia feature phones sold monthly, globally as people crave going back to basics 
  • 4 in 10 Aussies digital detox for as long as 26 days a year 

“The connection Australians have with the iconic Nokia Flip phones of the late 1990s and early 2000s carry a lot of nostalgia for Australian consumers and especially Millennials who might have had one back in the day,” said Brenden Folitarik, HMD Global’s Country Manager for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

“We’re proud to be reinventing these great phones to support the resurgence amongst young Australians to help them connect more meaningfully with one another.”

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