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The Best and Cheapest
Mar 18, 2003 09:23 AM 3025 Views
(Updated Mar 18, 2003 02:42 PM)

Sound Reception:

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Style & Design:

Other Features:

Look & Feel:

Value for Money:

With fancy technologies such as Bluetooth, General Packet Radio Services (GPRS), and 64,000 color displays now almost standard in new phones, Nokia has taken a step back with the 3350, preferring to concentrate on perfecting the basic phone.

Same Old Formula, But It Works

When the 3310 and 3330 were released, they quickly took up camp on the bestselling charts. Nokia appears to have kept to the same formula with the 3350, turning out a solid, dependable and modest handset.

That's not to say the 3350 is unattractive. With its fading blue color scheme, it is stylish in its own way, although inevitably some will take exception to its full figure and 108g bulk.

However, the size of the 3350 contributes to its usability. Its buttons are large and well spaced, complementing Nokia's usual idiot-proof menu interface. At the same time, the high-contrast text display, good for four lines of text, makes for comfortable viewing.

We had no complaints about the build quality of the 3350. The Xpress-on housing, although replaceable, fitted snugly onto the internal phone body and showed no signs of looseness or creakiness. We found the 3350's back cover tightly secured on, ensuring that your phone won't fall to pieces when dropped.

Tweaking The Features

The 3330 was a very good product to begin with. The 3350 doesn't sport any radical improvements, but finetunes the concept.

The phone comes with a Picture Editor to create personalized picture messages, although it'll take uncommon patience for anyone to create a picture from scratch, pixel by pixel, on this handset.

Another interesting new feature lets the user check the date according to the lunar calendar. Strangely, this feature is available only while the phone is in the Chinese language mode.

Three new games are also available, in addition to the existing Snake II, Space impact and Bumper. In Link5, the first player to connect five dots in a straight line wins. Dance 2 Music cues the user to press some buttons, while the repetitive background music drones on.

The third new game, Magic Draw, could turn out to be a cult favorite. It picks a series of numbers randomly, and you can use this program as a number-generator for Bingo and Toto.

Other functions of the 3350 are a WAP 1.1 browser, SMS chat, and support for Asian languages including Malay and Chinese. Writing Chinese text messages using the Hanyu Pinyin method was quite easily done as the large screen made it easy to spot and select the right characters.

There are also a number of animated and static screensavers, some starring what looks like a panda in striped pajamas. The phone memory is capable of storing 150 names, independent of the SIM card.

SAR Rating

According to the Nokia official Web site, the 3350 measures 0.52 W/kg on Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) tests. Based on the recommendations of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), this is well below the limit of 2.0 W/kg. You can find Nokia's documentation here.

Almost Bugless But For Reception

After a week of usage, we were pleased to note that we didn't experience any auto-restart or hang problems with the Nokia 3350 (software version 5.05).

That said, the phone isn't entirely faultless. In areas of poor network coverage, the 3350 failed to register any signal, particularly when the battery level was low. Fortunately, we experienced no problems with voice quality.

Nokia expects the 3350's Lithium-ion battery to last up to 4 hours 45 minutes, or 260 hours on standby. In our tests, the mobile lasted about four days on normal usage.


The Nokia 3350 is currently retailing for as little as S$68 at some shops. Although it isn't much of an improvement for existing 3330 owners, novice cellphone users won't find a better (new) phone at this price.

After being the owner of quite a few Nokia 3xxx mobile phones, I must say that I find this 3350 the most satisfying model due to its minimal weight, larger screen, and the new picture editor as well as various features of the phone.

The minimal weight was an impressive feature which I must say surprised me in comparison to the other Nokia 3xxx mobile phones. It does not in any way hinder or weighten movement whilst in a pocket. The larger screen fits another line of SMS typing which is a welcomed feature, and the picture editor lets me use screensavers exactly as I would want them.

However, a good phone must always be weighed down by more undesirable effects. Firstly, the software and overall time it takes the phone to open features is much slower than previous models. Also, after much SMS writing, the phone tends to lag and is more unresponsive in the writing of the rest of the message. Another downside is that of a lack of an infra red port.

Overall, this phone is a great, refreshing new model with many good features and some new ones like the picture editor that are well-welcomed, but is weighed down by more undesirable effects and glitches of the phone. Ideal for most average mobile phone users.

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