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Review: Nokia 3110 Evolve mobile phone

Nokia 3110

Nokia 3110 Evolve mobile phoneOld school. That’s the two words that popped into our mind as we got our hands on Nokia’s 3110 Evolve for the first time. But this isn’t just a modern version of a simple Nokia handset. The Evolve could easily have been called the Eco with its green credentials…

Right from the moment you are handed the packaging, you’ll have an inkling that the Nokia 3110 Evolve is trying to be a little more responsible. OK, so the box isn’t quite Apple iPod small, but it’s as close as you’ll get right now. And 60 per cent of that packaging is recycled.

Things don’t end with the smaller packaging, though. The phone itself has bio-covers that use more than 50 per cent renewable materials, reducing the amount of fossil fuels it takes to create it. The charger also minimises the amount of energy used if you forget to unplug it – using 94 per cent less than is set out in the Energy Star standard.

The phone’s green credentials also follow through on the extras supplied with it. Some of the usual additions, which many may see as unnecessary, have been left out to keep the bundle as simple as possible. If you want the Nokia PC Suite you can get it as a download, not from a disc that’ll eventually be landfill. If you want to connect it to a PC the chances are you already have one or more miniUSB leads from other compatible devices, so you don’t get another here. Besides, you could just as easily sync it using Bluetooth or Infrared.

OK, so some of the green additions aren’t as good. You can’t delete the World Wildlife Fund links in your mobile web favourites, which is a tad annoying if you have a large list of your own sites stored.

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Construction wise, the Evolve is a treat. The back comes off easily and it’s extremely simple to get the Sim and microSD cards in and out (unlike the Palm Centro, which was a nightmare to get the Sim in and out of even if you remembered to remove the stylus). However, removing the Sim wipes the list of recent phone calls. That’s good in terms of privacy, but annoying if you are a Sim swapper and sometimes use that log to quickly call the person you last spoke to.

As for the menu system, it’s might be a cliché to say it’s dead easy but Nokia built its reputation on that and there are no slip-ups here. The only minor niggle we had is that the central logo in the main menu is for the Gallery, when we’re much more likely to head to the Messaging section that’s at the top right.

Perhaps the most disappointing feature is the screen. At 128 x 160 pixels it’s fine for everyday functions such as texting and diary updates, but doesn’t shine when it comes to all the other things we’re starting to take for granted on modern mobiles. For example, the phone comes with three great games, but only Sudoku is easy to play – Snake III and Soccer 3D being too small to satisfy. MPEG movies also made you wish for something bigger, which is a shame when we’ve seen the quality that can be produced on tiny players like the Sandisk Sansa View. That means you’re unlikely to take advantage of the Evolve’s ability to handle 3G video streaming.

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Thankfully, music fans will be mollified by the options available. As well as MP3 playback, there’s also an FM radio to stop you missing Moyles on the bus to work. The dedicated headset included in the box uses a 2.5mm jack and is adequate if not exemplary.

Regular Absolute Gadget readers will have heard us harping on about how annoying it is that nobody seems to be able to take our Outlook contacts list and display it in our chosen format. Well, it seems that Nokia has finally taken note of our enraged rantings and the latest version of its software does the trick. With a full list of contacts displayed on the phone exactly as they were originally typed, we now have an option that can lead us away from our reliance on Windows Mobile.

So, while the Nokia 3110 Evolve might be a fairly basic handset when it comes to other models out there, it’s extremely usable and has its heart in the right place. The green aspect should pull in the crowd who don’t yet use their phone as an all encompassing media tool. Besides, those who have taken to watching mobile videos are likely to have other kit to handle their needs and won’t be frustrated by the small screen.