You may have noticed that the 8K Guy Facebook page was rather silent the past two weeks. I was going through 2 weeks of confinement in Tekong due to NS, so apologies for the lack of content. Now that I am back, time for more gadget reviews!
If your son is enlisting for NS soon, one question you may have would be: What phone should he bring? Should he bring the smartphone he is currently using? Or should you get him an affordable backup phone, like the Nokia 3310 (2017)?
After spending two weeks with the Nokia 3310 (2017) in Tekong, here are my thoughts of using it as my daily driver while serving NS, specifically during the BMT phase.
Reason to Get #1 – Affordable Price
Worried that someone might steal your son’s thousand dollar smartphone? Worried that your son might carelessly drop it from the top of a double-decker bed? A screen replacement for that phone would easily cost you hundreds of dollars.
A quick solution would be to get an affordable device to use during this period. The Nokia 3310 (2017) goes for S$99 regularly, but it isn’t difficult to find one at S$89 or even lower, so you do not have to worry too much about repair/replacement cost.
Reason NOT to Get #1 – No WhatsApp & Email
The biggest flaw for many would be the lack of WhatsApp. WhatsApp has become an essential part of our lives, serving as the primary mode of communication for many. Without it, you feel like you are cut off from the outside world.
While serving NS, your child would probably be anxiously waiting for the email from universities, offering him a place. The lack of an email app means that your child will not get notified when the email finally arrives. Also, good luck using email on the browser.
Reason to Get #2 – Durable Feel, Great Looks
Despite being made mainly out of plastic, the exterior of the Nokia 3310 (2017) does not look half bad. Using the philosophy of simplicity, Nokia gave this old piece of tech a modern refreshing design that really catches people’s attention.
Using tricks like curved edges on the rear and a curved front, the 2017 Nokia 3310 looks and feels considerably thinner than other feature phones. Holding it in the hand, the Nokia 3310 (2017) felt light, durable and very comfortable to grip.
Reason NOT to Get #2 – Unusable Facebook & Twitter
One of the reasons you may get the Nokia 3310 (2017) over other feature phones is its support for 3G network* and internet browsing. Unfortunately, the device is not capable of connecting to WiFi networks, so you will have to use 3G for everything.
*make sure you get the version with silver buttons, not white
In the menu there is a Facebook and a Twitter icon, but these are just merely shortcuts to opening the pages on the web browser. So what is it like to use Facebook and Twitter on the Nokia 3310 (2017)? Only one word to describe the experience: horrendous.
Not only is the display significantly smaller than modern smartphones, you do not get touchscreen so navigation is done via buttons. To make things worst, the interface of Facebook and Twitter in the browser is really awfully cluttered.
Reason to Get #3 – Long-lasting Battery
In Tekong, we are not allowed to bring wall chargers; only power banks are allowed. But power banks can be really heavy, so what if you can get your son a phone that doesn’t need to be charged for weeks? The Nokia 3310 (2017) does just that.
With the limited admin time your son have during BMT, the Nokia 3310 (2017) should last through the first 2 weeks of confinement period just fine. Bring a small power bank (even 1000mAh is enough) with a micro USB cable and you will be safe.
Reason NOT to Get #3 – Slow Typing
There is no reason for a T9 keyboard to exist in 2018. Compared to full on-screen keyboards, typing on a T9 is REALLY slow and prone to errors. Using the Nokia 3310 (2017)’s T9 keyboard takes up a lot of your son’s precious admin time.
Reason to Get #4 – Support for FM Radio
Listening to music is a great way to de-stress and one way you can do so is tuning in to a radio station. Many of today’s phones lack support for FM radio, requiring an app and internet access to listen to radio. This is not the case for the Nokia 3310 (2017).
To listen to radio on the Nokia 3310 (2017), all you need is a pair of earphones. In case you do not have one, Nokia included a pair in the box. They feel and sound cheap, but gets the job done.
If you prefer to listen to your own songs, you can always do so from the music app. The local Nokia 3310 (2017) comes with a pathetic 32MB of storage, but it supports microSD card.
Camera – Does Not Matter in NS
With strict rules about photography in protected areas, having a phone with the best camera is as good as one without a camera. While the camera on the 2017 Nokia 3310 is poor by 2018’s standard, it doesn’t really matter when your son is inside of Tekong.
Conclusion – Think Twice Before Buying
There are clear advantages from using the Nokia 3310 (2017) over smartphones when your son is stuck in Tekong. But the compromises of switching to a feature phone is just too big of a deal breaker to justify getting the Nokia 3310 (2017) for NS.
Having to go through 2 weeks of confinement with the Nokia 3310 (2017) would be a nightmare. Fortunately for me, I brought along my iPhone SE, which I switched back to after just a few days.
If you already have the intention to get a budget phone for your son to use in NS, there better options to choose from. You can easily find smartphones that are similarly priced or cost slightly more, and they offer a much better user experience.
I will be releasing my full review of the Nokia 3310 (2017) here on 8kguy.com really soon. In that article, I will go more in-depth about the device, covering questions you may have about the display, games and more. Stay tuned!