Product Type: Nokia mobile phones
Newest Review: ... this phone had features that were pretty unique to the market at the time, it still had when Nokia phones are known for. It was pretty inde... more
Hear here! Speak here!
Member Name: MykReeve
Date: 28/10/01, updated on 28/10/01 (1093 review reads)
Advantages: Good battery life, small, light, genuinely entertaining games, good WAP connection, great customisability
Disadvantages: Slight concerns about long-term robustness
After a little deliberation, I decided to plump for the Nokia 3330, and phoned up One2One to order a new handset. As ever, customer support at One2One was superb, and the person I spoke to told me that because customer demand for the Nokia 3330 had outstripped their supply, I should visit a high-street retailer, and ask them to shift me over, because it would be faster. She even gave me the phone number of my nearest retailer, so I could phone and check they had the model in stock.
I've been in possession of the new phone for a while now, and have investigated all of its functions. It's a great bit of kit, with many of the same minor niggles that the Nokia 3210 had, but also with a whole load of new features, some of which are actually useful!
The Nokia 3330, like all of the Nokia 3XXX series has an internal aerial. If you're thinking of shifting over from a phone with an external aerial, you're probably worried that the phone won't be able to get such a good signal, however, I've found the internal aerial is just as good at connecting to the network as the external ones. Also, the 3330's internal aerial is better protected within the shell of the phone than the 3210's was - opening up the back of the 3210, the ceramic aerial was clearly visible, where the 3330's aerial is shrouded in protective plastic. This is important, because the 3210's poorly protected aerial wa
s a major weakpoint in its design, and is costly to repair if broken.
Possibly the only fear you might have is that the internal aerial is that much closer to your head, when you're using the phone. If you are worried about the radiation from your mobile phone, a handsfree headset can be purchased separately - and if you're upgrading from another Nokia 3XXX handset, you can use your existing one!
The unit is smaller than the Nokia 3210 - dimensions are 113 x 48 x 22mm - and it weighs a little less at just 130g. The handset comes with a bland beige and dark blue cover, with silver buttons, a colour scheme straight from a Seventies vision of the future. Fortunately, you can get alternate covers for the phone, which clip on to the front and back as easily as on other Nokia models.
The case itself seems a little less robust than the Nokia 3210, however. Squeezing the handset, as you do when frantically tapping out text messages or are engaged in a particularly exciting game of 'Snake II', there is a distinct creaking sound. I don't think this is a major flaw with the phone, but I have yet to carry out a bounce test. and I'm going to try to keep it that way!
The buttons are considerably smaller than on the Nokia 3210 too, but bulge out from the body of the phone, making it easy to jab them, even if you've got big podgy fingers. The on/off switch on the top of the phone is set further into the case than on the Nokia 3210, and requires a little more effort to press than on the earlier model... but maybe that's a good thing.
The screen is about the same size as that of the Nokia 3210, measuring 33 x 24mm, and with a similar resolution. When you press buttons on the phone, both the buttons and the screen are backlit in green.
The battery that comes with the phone is a Nickel Metal Hydride one, so it is affected by the memory effect, to an extent. Nokia do make a Lith
ium Ion battery unit for the phone, so if you're planning to use it a lot, that might be worth the investment.
The battery unit itself is smaller than that of the Nokia 3210, measuring 53 x 38 x 8mm. The battery life, however, is around the same as that of the 3210. Once you've run the phone through two or three complete charge/discharge cycles, the NMH battery will last for ten days of standby, or around four and a half hours of talk time. I have to charge my phone around every four days, which includes about two hours of talk time.
The Nokia 3330 operates on both the EGSM 900 and 1800 frequencies, which means you can use it in every country in the world that supports mobile phones (depending on your UK operator) apart from the USA, Canada, Japan and Korea.
The menu system of the phone is fundamentally unchanged from earlier Nokia models. Pressing the main button beneath the screen moves you into the menu, and you can either press the up and down buttons to navigate through it, or type the number for the menu item you want to access. Once you've got used to the menu system, you can start a game of Snake II just by jabbing MENU-8-1-1-1, for example. The only thing to watch for is that if you've used older Nokia phones, the menu items you're familiar with will have changed position on the menu.
The front page of each main menu item is accompanied by a little animation - it's not very exciting, but it's quite amusing the first time you see them.
1. PHONE BOOK
The phone stores numbers both on your phone and on the SIM card. 100 numbers can be stored in the phone, the number that can be stored on your SIM card depends on your phone operator. One2One's SIM cards offer space for 100, and to be honest, that's the only place I store phone numbers, because otherwise there's the hassle of typing them into a new phone each time you change.
Entering numbers is as easy as it could be, and there's an option to assign specific ring tones to specific numbers. You can also assign numbers to "speed dial", so that you only need to hold down one button on the phone in order to dial a number.
However, funkiest of all are the voice tags. You can record a voice tag for each number stored in the phone, and to dial them, all you need to do is hold down the Menu button, and speak the voice tag that you've recorded. The phone then compares the voice tag to those in its memory and dials the closest number to what you've said. I've given this a fairly in depth test, and it seems to work pretty reliably, though I have yet to test it in a very noisy environment.
Text messaging is extremely easy from the Nokia 3330. Predictive text has been retained from earlier models, and the lexicon is as large as it always has been - however, I was surprised Nokia hadn't incorporated more "txt spk" phrases into it. Predictive text, for those who've not encountered it before, allows you to type text messages quickly, by guessing what word you're typing. For example, to type the word "NOKIA" on a phone, without predictive text, you need to type 6-6, (pause), 6-6-6, 5, 4-4-4, 2. With predictive text, you only need type 6,6,5,4,2, and the phone assumes that you're trying to type "Nokia", as it is the only word that can be made out of the letters on those buttons, pressed in that order.
Predictive text does still have its problems - it still annoys me that pressing 4,3 offers "he" instead of "if", and I have to press the # button to change the word. However, it's easily the fastest way to type long text messages.
It remains as awkward to type numbers in a text message as it was with earlier Nokia models - you still have to go through the menu and select "Insert Number",
which is a minor pain.
Now, onto the new features of the Nokia 3330. Rather than limiting you to the 160 characters of a single SMS, you can now spread your message automatically over up to three messages using the phone, and typing up to 459 characters. As you type your message, a counter in the top right hand corner of the screen tells you how many characters you have left, and how many messages your current text would have to be spread over.
The Nokia 3330 also includes the option to create text message templates, which can be easily selected from a menu to cut down on the time it takes to type the message out. Also, smileys can be more easily incorporated into text messages using the "Insert smileys" option from the menu while writing, and the included smileys can be customised if you have a particular favourite ;)
Possibly the most redundant feature of the phone, the usefulness of the 'Chat' option is dependent on one of your friends having a recent Nokia phone with this option. Basically, chatting uses SMS technology to send messages back and forth like a conversation. If you only send messages twenty characters long, this is probably great... if you send longer messages, you might as well use the standard 'Messages' feature.
4. CALL REGISTER
This is pretty much unchanged from early Nokia phones. This menu item lists the eight numbers you most recently missed calls from, received calls from, and made calls to, along with details of when the calls occurred.
There are no less than thirty-five tones included with the Nokia 3330. Most of them are unbearable. There are also five empty slots within which you can download or compose your own fifty note long masterpieces.
The included composer is easy to use, and typing in tunes that you've found on websites is not a problem.
The phone also includes a vibrate facility, which is a ne
w and dare I say it, quite exciting feature for me. I think the novelty will wear off quite soon though.
The newest feature in the 'Tones' section is the opportunity to put a screensaver on your phone. Why the screen on a phone should need saving is never really adequately explained - it's not going to get phosphor burn! But, presumably, this is the sort of thing the young folk like, and the opportunity to express your individuality with a lame animation on your phone screen is obviously too much for some to resist. The screensavers that come with the phone are unspeakably twee - the most tolerable involving disturbing spheres with faces bouncing up and down inexplicably. However, you can download new screensavers from the web.
Set up the call, phone and security settings on the phone.
7. CALL DIVERT
Simply set up call divert, if you don't want anyone bothering you... or perhaps, more importantly, if you're about to go roaming abroad, and don't want to run up a huge bill taking phone calls!
Games have come on a lot on mobile phones since the Nokia 3210, and the 3330 includes no less than five different games. There's even the option to connect to the internet to download new levels and upload your highscores!
The old favourite 'Snake' has been replaced by the fractionally more exciting 'Snake II'. The instant death walls have been replaced by a wraparound feature, however for the 'Snake' purist, they can be rendered deadly again by using the 'Maze' option. Essentially, the 'Snake II' game just consists of guiding a snake around the screen using 2, 4, 6 and 8 on the keypad to eat food.
The next game is 'Space Impact', a side-scrolling shoot-em-up, very similar in style to R-Type. Graphics are reasonably good given the limitations of the phone's screen, and although it's not a very exc
iting game, it'll certainly help you kill time.
'Bumper' is a pinball game, which comes with two tables - Snake and Golf. It's considerably more frustrating than the other games on the phone.
'Bantumi' is a great game of strategy, and quite a good way to spend an Underground journey. Basically, you and the computer both get a series of six bowls containing the same number of beans, and have to transfer as many beans as possible into a larger bowl. It's very simple to learn, and yet it takes a while to master - much like Othello.
The final game, 'Pairs II' is essentially just a more graphically sophisticated version of the older Nokia game 'Pairs'. Basically, you uncover tiles to reveal symbols, and have to uncover two identical symbols in a row to remove them. The 'Pairs II' game has two different modes of play - 'Time Trial' and 'Puzzle'. 'Time Trial' involves trying to clear increasing numbers of tiles. 'Puzzle' involves trying to uncover an image under a screenful of tiles.
The calculator is unchanged from earlier Nokia models, allowing you to do simple operations (add, subtract, multiply and divide) as well as including a handy foreign currency converter.
The Reminders option allows you to set alarms, to sound at a specific date and time, along with brief messages. Obviously, the alarms only sound if the phone is switched on. If the phone is turned off when the alarm should sound, the message appears when you next turn the phone on.
The time appears on the screen of the phone whenever it's in normal mode. In the clock menu, you can set the time and date, as well as setting the phone's alarm clock.
The Nokia 3330 also includes both a stopwatch and countdown timer. There's also now an "auto-update" option to automatically deal with da
ylight saving time changes.
This menu item allows you to change to, and adjust, basic phone settings. Specifically, each profile includes the volume settings for the ringtone, message tone, warning tone, and whether the vibration and screensaver are active or not. The phone allows you to set up six different profiles, all of which can be renamed.
You can also change between profiles by poking the on/off button on the top of the phone briefly.
13. WAP SERVICES
Finally, the WAP service on the Nokia 3330 is pretty good, given the small screen. One2One had already stored all the details for the WAP connection on my SIM card, so as soon as I turned on the new phone, I could mess about on the internet. If your operator don't automatically send this information to your phone, it's relatively easy to set up WAP connections using the menus.
When you surf the internet on the mobile, the top line of the screen displays the title of the page you're currently looking at. A phone handset symbol appears in the top left hand corner when you're connected, and a spinning globe in the top right indicates transfer of data.
The bottom line of the screen tells you what pressing the Menu button will do. This essentially means that the content of each page you examine is confined to the middle three lines of the screen. However, despite this limitation, the phone uses a smaller font size to display text in this area of the screen, and reading a large block of text on a WAP site isn't a major hassle.
Connection speed on the Nokia 3330 seems pretty good, though, of course, the phone is only loading pages of text, with occasional monochrome pictures. Connecting to the internet takes under 20 seconds, in general, and loading pages of text only takes a second or two. The cache size is quite big on the phone, storing several pages of text. So, if you want to read several news stories, the bes
t technique is to connect and load several pages, then disconnect, and read them at your leisure.
The Nokia 3330 does represent an improvement over earlier Nokia phones. It's considerably smaller and lighter, and includes a large number of worthwhile features. The phone is also available fairly cheaply - mine cost only £14.99, along with my signature to stay with One2One on a monthly-billed contract for another year. The games are a lot more fun than on earlier Nokia phones, and actually might entertain sufficiently to kill time! The WAP facility is excellent, allowing easy access to the internet (albeit a very cut down version of it).
However, I have slight reservations about the long-term robustness of the phone's construction. The slight creaking sound when the unit is lightly squeezed doesn't suggest that it will withstand being dropped very well. Nonetheless, as my only major problem with the phone is mild concern about how well it would endure being dropped onto concrete, I have no reservations about awarding this phone less than the full five stars - for the money, you'll be hard pushed to find a better phone at the moment.