Nokia 3210 vs. iPhone 4S

My precious Nexus One lost another life, suffering from a common known issue with a withering power switch. Whilst I wait to receive a replacement part to make the fix, I was in the need for a new phone to tie me over. Nokia still rules the market in developing countries, and I picked up a new Nokia 1280 for just £14 here in Bali.

It feels torturous to be go back to a world of predictive texting, no email or maps, and small screens. Don’t get me wrong – I can’t wait to return to smartphone bliss. That said, it’s been incredible to reminisce in all the wonders of this old technology and contemplate both how far we’ve progressed with modern phones, yet have also taken steps backwards in so many ways.

Let’s review some of these benefits (using the classic Nokia 3210 as a benchmark):

Long lasting battery life. The most obvious, yet the most remarkable point to make. Most smartphones are known for not seeing through more than a day and I’d completely forgotten what it’s like to be able to charge a phone and forget about it for a week. It’s quite profound.

Instant UI. Forget about the latest OS release being a notch quicker than before. The phones of yesterday have a near instant responsiveness. Circling through menu options slows down the overall experience, but it’s amazingly refreshing to not have to wait a millisecond to progress through anything.

Sexiness. Certainly for its time and I think it’s still true today. The phone is light, curvy and just feels right in your hand. You can greatly customise the exterior aesthetics. The clip-on cover market was enormous and no doubt had a big influence in what we see today with iPhone accessories.

Light or dark agnostic. I always find myself ducking into the shade to avoid the sun’s glare on the smartphone screen. No such problem with the Nokia – it’s easy to read in the full glare of the Sun (ala Kindle) or in pitch black.

Smudge free screen.Touch-sensitive screens are amazing, don’t get my wrong, but it’s nice to see a screen that’s pretty much free of any fingerprints.

Bug free. The ultra simplistic UI and lack of upgrade ability means that real care was made to make it essentially error free. Usability is really well thought out.

Resilience to splashes. Getting even just a droplet of water on an iPhone can send you into a frenzy. Yet, many folk can tell of stories where their 3210 has survived rather perilous accidents eg. plucked out of sinks, toilets, pools: a pat down with a towel, maybe a blast of a hairdryer, and it’s as good as new. Extraordinary.

Resilience to drops & knocks. Similarly, a Nokia can survive being thrown to the floor a dozen times, whilst you roll the dice if the iPhone is knocked off a table. You’re going to drop or bash your phone, it’s inevitable, the phone should be able to handle it.

Battery replacement. Of course you can replace your battery, it goes without saying. And they’re two a penny.

Snake. Nah, I seriously don’t know how this was once popular – it’s not survived the test of time at all! 

It reminds me of a story someone once shared with us at Google; if you stick an old Wintel 3.1 box next to something pretty modern, you’d find the task of opening up a spreadsheet, creating a pie chart and printing it off to be a simpler, and often a faster endeavor on the older machine. Probably absolute nonsense in reality, but it’s certainly true technology is progressing at such a rapid rate, but we’re still not always making better products.

 Tags: Random   Published: 10th December '11

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