Nokia 3220 review

Really, folks, I need to get a mental check-up. As I was banging my head on the desk, thinking about the next post for my blog, my phone rang. And then I thought, why haven’t I reviewed my phone till now! Now I’m making amends to that. I guess I may have ignored it because it’s pretty much part of my life now. Note that my model has a different color scheme than the one shown above, it’s black with dark blue buttons.

It’s a Nokia 3220, or shortened to N3220. A rugged little phone, it survived some pretty vigorous PC Mag drop tests. Feature loaded though it is, the lack of Bluetooth and infra-red data transfer capability sometimes irks, but it has nice GPRS and EDGE support. The screen is 65K color and pretty viewable even in bright light. It has got a VGA camera, which takes good photos, that is, if you view it on the phone itself. It can record video too (default length is 15 seconds, but it can record 50 seconds in one stretch too) and also has a night mode for still. Other features include voice recording, event calendar, MMS capability, etc but all that is pretty much standard these days in 2G phones. It is Java-enabled, has some nice games, although the controls of some are pretty cumbersome.

However, there are two feature that makes this phone stand out from the crowd, which made me ‘fall in love with it at first sight’. The first one is what they call the Xpress rubber grip, those four bumps on the sides. Apart from giving a good grip and making the phone look rugged, it contains disco lights, sort-of. It has four colored lights in EACH grip which light up in rhythm to your ringtone, which looks pretty cool. This feature would only work with the 26 ringtones preloaded on the phone, not on any downloaded ones, but the loaded ones are nice and polyphonic. The lights also work with the preinstalled games apps. As far as my experience goes, it doesn’t drain the batteries and is sure to wow the younger audience.

The other feature I was talking about will cost you more, but if you want to impress your pals, take it. It is ‘wave messaging’ or ‘air texting’, courtesy the Xpress Fun Shell. What it basically allows you to do is to write a floating message in mid-air (no kidding)! You type in a message (maximum 15 characters long), or choose a preset message/image and wave the phone in the air. The messages sprout in mid-air, Harry Potter-style. Actually there’s science behind this. There are 12 LEDs at the back of the shell, which light up in correct sequence to display the image. The in-built motion sensors fire up the LEDs to exact timing sequence. It uses a property of the human eye that sees images as a whole for sometimes, rather than separate dots, somewhat like what happens in movies. Nice feature when you want to grab the eyeballs in a concert, or want to connect with your friends when they are lost in a party. Apart from that, it’s high on the novelty factor; ever seen this feature before? Well, there does exist another phone that can do this, but it has a forgettable name from a forgettable company.

That apart, it has super clear audio clarity during calls. It even has a speaker phone function and you can record voice calls too (although the other person too would be informed by the 5-second beep). On the messaging front, it has a cute lizard-type thing that can be added to your MMSs. One con of this phone is its 5 MB shared memory, although it would take quite a few photos, videos, games, and ringtone downloads to fill up. Make it stand though, and switch on the vibrator, and it will dance a little jig for you, lights blazing. It gives 350-450 hours standby time with about 3.5 hour talktime with its Li-ion battery.

Sadly, the phone has not been received well by the market. The adults just HATE it, although it has been received well by kids, teens, and young-at-heart. Again, many teens ignore it for more well-known phones. I heard from my Nokia dealer later that recent batches of N3220 have had the lights permanently disconnected from the circuit. What was the need, anybody who didn’t want them had the option to switch it off. Nokia too seems to have given a cold shoulder to the 3220; apart from the press releases about the wave messaging initially, its ad campaigns didn’t prominently mention it, although it could have made the phone a winner. It was marketed with the tagline ‘It’s a new phone everyday’. That’s because you can change the back cover with different designs. You can even cut-out your own design with the stencil that comes with the phone.

Go ahead, this phone has my personal blessings.

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