When HMD Global unveiled the refreshed Nokia 8110, we went “Ah, remember that slide phone. Those were cool”.
Several months later, I saw an article on MyBroadband advertising the Nokia 8110 for sale in South Africa.
This is not a cheap marketing ploy – I really saw the article while at work, asked our head of finances for the company credit card, and ordered it.
Technically she ordered it and told me to get out of her office and to stop asking for the company credit card, but I got the phone nonetheless.
Why did we order it? I have no idea.
We were supposed to do an in-depth review and be the first South African publication with a “hands-on”, I think, but when the phone arrived we just slid the keypad cover up and down for several hours.
Also, it is essentially a juiced-up feature phone with 4G connectivity and some smartphone apps – so none of us were willing to use it as our primary device for a couple days to gain valuable insight.
The fact that this phone’s forefather was in The Matrix, however, means we did not merely place it in a drawer.
It was time to push some buttons.
The Nokia 8110 has a curved body made of a polycarbonate material, which makes it great for placing on a table and spinning it around.
The keypad slide cover is the obvious standout feature, and closing apps, calls, or menus by flicking the cover up is seriously dope.
Hanging up a call by sliding your phone shut is also the most businessman-like thing most journalists will do in their lifetime – so we all took turns feeling important by ending imaginary phone calls.
There are multiple options you can choose from in this regard:
- Two-hand slide – Take the phone in one hand, and with the other hand gently push the sliding cover closed. For the older, more cautious user.
- One-hand chest slam – When finished with a call, take the phone and push the lid into your chest. For the user who answers their phone at gym and talks louder than necessary.
- Desk close – Like the chest-push manoeuvre, except in one smooth motion you close the sliding lid on your desk and them immediately place the phone down. A favourite of CEOs and presidents.
Underneath the sliding cover you have a regular keypad, with 0-9, # and *, that middle select button with the direction selectors around it, call and end-call/back buttons (you will not use the end-call button, you will only use the sliding cover) and those action buttons under the display which are linked to on-display shortcuts.
It has Wi-Fi and Google Assistant
A first-in-my-lifetime experience was using the old-school keypad to log into the office’s Wi-Fi network.
It was like typing an SMS back in the day, but the text was the SSID password. It made no sense and was not at all a fast experience, but the weird blend of old and new was memorable.
Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity are not the only modern features the 8110 rocks, however – it also has Google Assistant.
I said “Hey Google”, and it said hello back, and opened a Google Assistant web browser. Test complete.
The device’s Nokia Smart Feature operating system, based on KaiOS, lacks apps like WhatsApp, but does include an array of necessities like Twitter, Weather, Birdy, and Ice Breaker.
While the temptation to “follow Birdy as he makes his way through the jungle” was strong, I went with Ice Breaker.
“Eliminate the icebergs that block the route of merchant ships.” Is this phone reading my mind – I have always wanted to run a fleet of merchant ships which traverse the arctic circle.
GPS, Bluetooth, FM radio chip, a 2MP rear camera, microSD card support, and a 3.5mm audio jack are also included – all for R1,199.
Below are images of the device in its two states – closed, and open.
If you are on some sort of technology detox, but still need to make phone calls and receive SMSs – and look awesome while doing it – the Nokia 8110 is for you.
This is an opinion piece.