Almost every teenager has a mobile phone. May it be for security or protection, or just to look cool, it’s a must have for most high-school students and even younger kids. That said, every handset isn’t going to suit this age-bracket. Younger users may want different features that most other phones won’t have. Nokia have always been the answer to this small dilemma; again and again coming out with fun new handsets.
The Nokia 3220 is a step ahead the rest of the other teenage-aimed handsets, with many more fun features that we haven’t seen before. They’re very innovative over at Nokia, always coming up with things no one would ever think of.
For the true child inside, or your son/daughter, the Nokia 3220 will be sure to keep them occupied. This review covers the Nokia 3220 and the Xpress-On™ Fun Shell Cover, which is bought separately.
The Nokia 3220 is a stock Series 40 handsets in some aspects, but in other it excels with both new and outstanding features. The display is a 128 x 128 pixel 65,536 colour LCD, with the already mentioned Series 40 interface. The handset is compatible with all sorts of messaging formats, SMS/EMS, MMS, e-mail, and even flash-messaging which I thought died years ago. Polyphonic ring tones, high speed data, and a VGA digital camera all come together in this model for lots of fun.
The 128 x 128 pixel display is small, don’t get me wrong, but quite conventional when you look at the dimensions of the phone and the aimed market area. Nokia recently have liked to upgrade these displays from a 4k to a 65k LCD. You can’t really notice any major changes but it’s a step in the right direction. The Series 40 interface is fully themed on this handset, just like the Nokia 7260 which will be reviewed in the very near future.
This handset like most supports polyphonic MIDI ring tones. These can be up to 16 chords, quite low for a handset of this calibre. The Nokia 3220 has several lights hidden inside, and these are behind the Xpress-on™ grips on either side of the handset. Ring tones that are preinstalled or made specifically for the 3220 will use these lights in tune with the ring tone, with very cool effects. These lights are also activated when the phone rings, and during other functions.
GPRS, HSCSD, CSD, and EDGE data can all be used on this enjoyable handset. HSCSD and CSD data are used for connecting the handset to a computer or laptop to connect to the internet among other things. More on the connectivity of the handset, including the Pop-Port™ interface is available on this page under the Connectivity heading.
The ability to use Fun Shell covers on the 3220 is also an added benefit.
As this review is covering both the Nokia 3220 at the Xpress-On™ Fun Shell Cover, I’ll start off with the handset without the special cover on. The Nokia 3220 looks different from most other Series 40 handsets, mainly because of all the fun aspects of the handset like the Xpress-On™ grips. The Nokia 3220 is a fun handset, so along with the internal personalization options the external sides of the handset are also customizable.
Straight out of the box, the 3220 has back and front Xpress-On™ covers. The back cover has the ability to be used with cut-out covers, which you can either create yourself or use some of the ones that are in the sales package. These were first used in the Nokia 3100, and seemed quite popular so they’ve been put into this new handset. When you make your own cut out covers the handset truly becomes yours, as no cover will be the same!
The 3220 I received was the red variation; there are other colour combinations available like blue and white. I feel that the red makes a much bolder statement than the other colour combinations, all of which look great anyway. The covers that come with the handset are totally red except for some clear sections (like the camera lens window, and earpiece opening). The red cover also has a blue line that circles the display & keypad. Speaking of the keypad – you can buy extra keymats if you wish. By default the 3220 comes with a red keymat.
Now onto those funny little clear sections on the sides of the handsets. These are what Nokia call “grips”, and underneath them you will find some small LED’s. When certain functions are started on the handset these LED’s light up with some cool effects. This is very useful trying to find the handset in the dark recesses of your bag when it calls, or just to press your friends. These grips can be removed and replaced with others, which may be different colours and shapes.
The 3220 measures 104.5mm x 44.2mm x 18.7mm with a normal Xpress-On™ cover, and weighs a very healthy 87 grams. These measurements all increase when you use the Xpress-On™ Fun Shell Cover. This enhancement is sold separately, and gives you the ability to get extra functionality out of the Nokia 3220. The only Fun Shell Cover available at the moment is the wave messaging one, which when connected and setup will enable you to program in a message and display it by waving the handset in the air. Click this link (link to the wave messaging picture in the .zip file) to view the results of a wave message.
The Xpress-On™ Fun Shell Cover package comes with a back and front cover. You can just use the back cover if you wish, as the front cover is exactly the same except the blue line around the display & keypad is chrome. The back cover fits on just as the normal back cover would, but there are some things you must do before attaching it to ensure it will operate properly. Check out the Major Features section for that information.
There is only one button other than those on the keypad on this phone, and that’s the power on/off button at the top of the handset. There is no dedicated camera button or web browser button, but there are shortcuts which are explained in the User Interface/Display section.
User Interface & display
The Nokia 3220 is a Series 40 handset, and therefore uses this user interface. The user interface is very straight forward and easy to use, so no one should have any problems with it. Except for maybe getting the navigational key to work properly – Problems/Issues section has more on that little issue. Some Series 40 handsets use two soft keys and a 4-way directional key; the Nokia 3220 uses a 5-way directional key which means that up to three options can be displayed on screen at one time.
The Nokia 3220 doesn’t have a directional stick, it uses a directional key, or pad if you will. It is square and the three sides are used for left/right/up/down. You can also push the button in, which is used as “select” or “okay”. I find that a directional stick is easier to use but having a look at the 3220, a directional stick just wouldn’t look right. As all the buttons are on a keymat you can also customize this, or even purchase new ones to match your Xpress-On™ shells.
128 x 128 pixels is the size of the 3220’s display, but it has a boost from the usual 4,096 colour LCD up to 65,536 colours. I don’t really see the purpose of going up to 65k with such a small display but it’s better than nothing, really. The display is used as the viewfinder for the 3220’s integrated VGA camera, but because images get squashed down they don’t look absolutely perfect. There is a way around this by using the zoom function.
The Nokia 7260 has the same display as this model, and also shares the same theme compatibility. No longer have you only got the ability to change the colour scheme on your Series 40 handsets, the newest of the bunch can read *.nth files, which contain heaps of theme information; wallpapers, screensavers, ring tones, modified UI look, and more. Several are preinstalled on the handset straight out-of-the-box. After you’ve applied a theme you can also change the colour scheme, and if you don’t like the wallpaper provided you can also change that to whatever you wish. The 3220 is much more customizable than earlier Series 40 handsets. One other thing, you can also change the menu view, list or grid is your options.
The Nokia 3220 has the Go-to menu, so from the idle screen you can go to the go-to menu, the main menu, or your contacts with the press of a single button. For those who aren’t aware of what the Go-to menu is, it’s a list of the most used functions so you have easy access to what you use the most. The right selection key (which is usually contacts) can be changed to 5 different things, just go to the settings menu and “Personal Shortcuts.” The go-to menu can be personalized with more or less functions depending on what you want, and you can also organize the Go-to list.
Making and receiving calls
Nothing new in this section when it comes down to simply making and receiving calls. The 3220 has an integrated speakerphone, an earpiece, and a Pop-Port™ with a Stereo Headset included in the sales package. These three methods are the most widely used, but no Bluetooth connectivity is offered, for that you will need to purchase an accessory.
The 3220 ensures that you’ll never miss a call with the lights placed around the handset. Each side has grips which light up on certain functions – including when the phone is ringing. They are very bright and can be a range of different colours, so even in the dark recesses of your bag you will find the handset in time!
The 3220 supports polyphonic MIDI ring tones up to 16 chords. Several cool light-enabled tones are installed by default, and more can be downloaded as you wish. You can also use your own recordings (AMR files) as ring tones using the voice recording function.
The phonebook in the 3220 is photo-enabled, so you can attach portrait sized images to your contacts so when they call the selected image is displayed. The contacts must be stored on the phone’s internal memory though, and this way they can also have extra details added – other phone numbers, addresses, and so forth.
There have been some slight changes to messaging on the 3220, and also some of the newer Series 40 handsets. The most noticeable is the Shared Inbox, which instead of having separate inboxes for your MMS, SMS, and other messages; they’re all in the same folder. This has its advantages, but also some negatives too as I’ll explain later. The Nokia 3220 has something extra special too, Class 0 flash messaging.
The Class 0 flash messaging support, I thought, was dead forever after we started getting colour screen handsets. However this doesn’t seem to be the case, it’s just been lying dormant for a little while. You may remember on older handsets like the Nokia 33xx models that you could receive little messages where certain sections flashed. Remember? There was also the ability to have messages that appeared straight on the display when received. You can create these flash messages on the 3220, but they only work properly on some handsets. Sending a flash message to a friends 3200 it appeared in a little window straight on the screen, but didn’t show up properly. Sending the same message to a 2100 worked perfectly. You can only have 70 characters in a flash message, so get flashing! The option is in the Create message menu.
As always there is support for predictive text input, aka T9. This is always fantastic for quick and easy messages, and it’s not hard to learn if you’ve been using a different brand handset which may have different key arrangements. This handset supports SMS, EMS, MMS, and e-mail messaging. All the options, inboxes, and anything else to do with messaging can be found in the main messaging window. It’s the first icon when you open the main menu! :)
For MMS messaging the VGA camera is a great addition, and with the ability to capture any moment in video or still images you can always remember that special moment. MMS messages can be sent to both e-mail addresses and handsets that support the format.
The 3220 has a message counter, which can give you an exact digit amount of how many messages you’ve sent from the handset and how many you’ve received. SMS, EMS, and MMS are all added into the total automatically. You can reset this counter at any time. Another fun messaging ability is the saving of messages. There are all different folders and practically hundreds of messages can be stored in the inbox or other folders. When I’d finished with the 3220 for my review I had about 200 messages, SMS, EMS, and MMS.
With the shared inbox on this model, the only problem I had was that it put the MMS messages at the top of the list, even if you had newer SMS messages. This probably doesn’t make any sense but usually messages are sorted by the time and date they were received. Say you had an empty inbox and received 1 MMS on Tuesday, and then nothing until 1 SMS came in on Wednesday morning. The MMS would stay at the top with the SMS underneath. The only way it can be pushed down is by receiving another MMS, but then it will put the MMS’s first and then the SMS messages.
I was quite disappointed with the connectivity offered on this model. Nokia haven’t included much in the means of local connectivity, but more towards the remote connectivity options. Proof of this is no infrared port (or Bluetooth, but you wouldn’t expect it anyway), and only Pop-Port™ USB connectivity. When it comes to remote connection, there is GPRS, EDGE, HSCSD, and CSD data. Most handsets only support three of these protocols.
The only way to connect the 3220 to your computer or laptop is with a Pop-Port™ data-cable and USB/Serial port. This is particularly annoying if you can’t get a hand on these data-cables as they can be hard to find, and also if you planned to send the occasional file using Infrared transfer. With an integrated camera one would only expect Infrared to be available.
If you do have a Pop-Port™ data-cable Nokia’s PC Suite software can be used to transfer files, synchronize, and so on. There is also a lot of 3rd party software that can be used to perform other functions.
CSD and HSCSD data on the 3220 allow you to use the handset as a modem for connection to the internet for your laptop or PC. You have to connect the handset to your computer/laptop with a Data-cable though for this to work properly. You can do anything you want when connected; it acts as though you’re connected to the internet with a regular modem connection.
The quality of the 3220 was exceptional, and the Xpress-On™ covers have to be the easiest to remove out of all the Nokia’s I’ve ever trialled. The button is much easier to press and actually pops off like it’s supposed to. Even the Xpress-On™ Fun Shells were easy to remove, but they had one little problem.
To install the fun shell properly you must remove a small black protector from the inside of the back of the phone and install a connector. This is easy, as it just pulls out and pushes in. But, removing this connector is another story. I couldn’t even get it out, and didn’t want to break the handset so I stopped trying. There must be a way to do it properly, but it’s not in the manual that’s for sure. The only reason I would see to remove it would be to sell the Fun Shell, other than that it causes no harm being installed with no Fun Shell.
The Nokia 3220 runs on a standard BL-5B Battery at 750mAh. I experienced great battery life and couldn’t have anything that I could complain about if I tried. The only thing that will decrease battery life on the handset is use of the camera and more so the use of Fun Shells. The wave messaging Fun Shell uses lights and they are powered by the phone’s battery, so it will decrease slightly.