And so we see a new phone from Nokia, the 3100. I would class this handset as one that is great for the market entry users, who want most of the other features that other phones are bringing out in on cool looking, cheap handset. The 3100 isn’t only good for the beginner though, anyone wanting a new handset from a well-respected company should defiantly consider the 3100. Youngsters and teenagers wanting a phone - ask your parents about this one, I trust you’ll like it!
Looking somewhat similar to the Nokia 2100, but different in many ways the 3100 has a new, fresher design on the outside and the inside. Glow in the dark panels, animated screensavers, Xpress-on™ covers, full colour display and Java games are just some of the things that you’ll see in the 3100. A cheap handset, but not one that does poorly on the feature side.
A huge range of Xpress-On™ covers are available for the 3100 - including gaming covers and other new designs. The phone will look great with every personality, just go out and get some covers to express yourself!
A new design, you may gather as much by just looking at it. But what else does the 3100 bring to the table? Some features available in this handset are an xHTML browser with JPEG and PNG support in WAP pages, polyphonic ring tones, java support, and so much more!
An outstanding feature/design that is implemented on the 3100 that I love is the glow in the dark section on Xpress-On™ covers! The panels will store light from most use just out and about, but when the lights go out your phone lights up! This and more design attributes can be read about in the next section of this article, Physical Aspects.
A 450kB memory is available to be used on the 3100 - for your games, messages, pictures, and ring tones. These things can be downloaded off the mobile internet, or even using a data-cable (not supplied) that is connected to your computer and used with the PC Suite. As we’ve seen in most other Nokia Series 40 phones, a vertically scrollable menu is used, with 13 icons excluding any SIM based menus. This is a great way to navigate around the features of the phone, and manage all your contacts and other information.
Animated screensavers are also something that the 3100 has; that I felt was missing from some older handsets. But here it is now, and you can have fun with pre-installed ones!
The physical side of the 3100 is basic, but with style. The handset I received was the Light Blue Xpress-on™ one, which I like a bit more than the Pink version. Looking at the handset from the front, you can clearly tell where the glow-in-the-dark panel is. It’s slightly less blue than the rest of the cover, and has a tinge of white. It’s also glittery, a very cool touch. The buttons of the 3100 are slightly silver, which also goes great with the light blue or pink covers.
The only external button the 3100 is the on/off button, located at the top of the handset. It’s white, like the middle of the handset, so it fades in and can hardly be seen except for the indentation of the button.
A blue backlight lights up the keypad and display of the 3100, but I did notice something weird when looking at a friends 3100. His backlight was much whiter than the one I was using, clearly visible when the covers have been removed. This may have just been an edit by Nokia, never the less the blue backlight, I feel, looks much better.
Aside from the front cover of the handset which is an Xpress-on™ cover, the back Xpress-on™ cover takes up about ¾ of the handset. Indented into is the word “NOKIA”, a nice added touch. The rest of the 3100 is white, which continues on around the sides and top of the 3100. The button to remove the back cover is white as well, and is easily pushed down. When you push the button down only a little bit of force is required to release the cover and expose the battery. The SIM insert is then easily accessible.
If you are going to attach a wrist/head strap to the 3100, the insert is located at the top left of the handset. Loop the string through, and then loop one end through the other.
User Interface & display
Alike with other Series 40 phones from Nokia, like the 6220 and 6610, the interface has basically been left the same. A few icon changes, nothing big.
As always, the first selection you can make on the menu is Messages. Very convenient, because to start a text message all you would have to do is press the left selection key four times, and the message editor is up. From the messages menu you have Text Messages, Multimedia Messages, Voice Messages, Info Messages, and Message settings. If you idle on a selection for a few seconds the help menu will open, telling what the selected function will do.
The other headings on the menu are Call Register, Contacts, Profiles, Settings, Alarm Clock, Gallery, Calendar, Games, Applications, Extras, Services, and Go To. There will be one extra if you’re on a provider that has a SIM menu. As you can see, most of the functions that you would use the most are in the menu, with sub-headings below that to help you customize and take as much as you can from your 3100. The Series 40 interface is easy to use and find the setting you want.
In the Settings menu, everything is divided in to groups - like Display, Time & Date, and Tone. Under these menus is everything you need is located. Unfortunately you can’t arrange the menus into grid format; they have to be in the scrollable format.
If you know the number of the menu you want to go to, just press the menu key and then the number. This is good for getting somewhere quickly, like your contacts.
The keys that are shortcuts to different menus are the ‘0’, and ‘1’ key. The ‘1’ key is a shortcut to your voicemail, as it always is. The ‘0’ key will however jump to your WAP homepage. Hold down these keys to jump to the function.
Colour schemes are changeable on the 3100, via the settings menu. The colours available are Blue, Violet, Red, Orange, Grey, Green, Turquoise, and Pink. You can change the wallpaper as well, and then the colour scheme to match! Even add animated screensavers as well.
Making and receiving calls
Now onto the area of which phones are made for, making and receiving calls. I didn’t have problems with this on the 3100; the phone is pretty comfy and loud at the same time.
Volume wasn’t a problem at all, I had the audio at half-way and even that was slightly loud for me. When in a call, you can change the volume by pressing the left or right key. This is kind of annoying when you’re in a call, because you have to move the phone away from your face. People on the end of my phone calls didn’t have problems hearing me, so everything volume-wise was okay.
While we’re here, why not go through making a call. When the phone is locked and you want to make a call, your best bet would be to unlock the phone. Left menu key and then star - simple. After the phone is unlocked, feel free to type in the number using the keypad and then press the green button underneath the left selection key. The outgoing call with then start, and you know the rest!
When you need to make a call to someone in your phone book and don’t remember/know the number, go into your contacts. To quickly find a name you want, input the first few letters of their name; ie to call “Andrew” I would want to press in “And” to get him - because he’s probably the only one with the first three letters of his name being and. You can scroll down as well, which ever takes your fancy. Find the name you want, and do one of two things. Press the green button straight away to start a call (this can only be done when one number is attached to the name), or select the name you want, and then select the particular number you want.
When your phone starts ringing, in all its vibration and lighting glory, you only need to press the green button again to accept the call. If you don’t want to accept the call, you can let it ring, or just press the red hang up button to direct the call to your voicemail (if set-up), or just be hung up on. This is the same when you’re in call - all you have to do is press the red button to hang up on the other person.
The set ring tone will play when a contact calls. You can get 4-chord polyphonic ring tones from a wide variety of sources, just have a look around.
SMS and MMS messages can be sent and received on the 3100, and these two formats are defiantly my
SMS and MMS messages can both be quickly written by taking advantage of T9 - predictive text input. Still pressing a key more than once just for one letter? You’re living in the past buddy! T9 removes the hassle of pressing a single key several times for one single letter. Press the key that you want once, and move onto the next key for the next letter. When you’ve finished your word, the phone will take charge and decide on a list of words that match the selection of letters. If you type in something and you don’t get the right word, just press the ‘*’ button until you find your word. If you don’t find you word, press “Spell” and multi-tap the word in. This word is then added to the dictionary and will stay there indefinitely.
MMS messages on the 3100 can include text, images, and sounds. These can then be sent almost anywhere around the globe via e-mail, or to another persons or handset directly. MMS messages don’t take long to send, and are even quicker to set up. The usual MMS message will cost around 75c, which isn’t really that much when you think about it. Show someone how much you care with a delightful MMS message - they’ll appreciate it!
The shared memory on the 3100 is used to store some MMS and SMS messages, but it is reasonably small so you may have to delete some messages if you have too many!
It would have been nice to see something like e-mail support in the 3100, for POP3 and STMP servers. But oh well, most people will live with SMS and MMS, I did :)
There is only one way to really connect your computer to a 3100, and that is by using a data-cable. To connect to the mobile internet you can either use GPRS or CSD. The 3100 is a basic phone, so only the basic connectivity options are supported.
To connect your phone to your PC you will have to use either a data-cable available from Nokia, or a no-name brand one from various other locations. Most of these data-cables will connect to your computer using a USB port, and will connect to your phone via the Pop-Port. Other cables may require removal of the battery - but this isn’t necessarily recommended.
When you have a connection with your PC and 3100, you can use different types of software to perform different actions. The Nokia PC suite available freely from the Nokia website will enable you to do most of the things you would want to do with a 3100, like transfer files, install applications, back-up data and synchronize. The PC suite is pretty use to use as well, its good software.
When you come to the over-the-air connectivity options, GPRS and CSD are the two that the 3100 can use. GPRS is mostly used in Australia by almost every provider, so you will probably use that. CSD could also be used by other networks, but GPRS is generally the default. When connected using either of these you can browse the mobile internet, send MMS messages, and even play some Java games online.
The Nokia 3100 did great in this area of my tests. The two Xpress-on™ covers can be removed and replaced easily, along with the keypad. Other than those two covers, there is nothing much else that can be removed from the 3100. The only problem one might have is putting the battery in backwards, but you’ll soon realize what you’ve done when the phone won’t turn on.
Other than possibly putting the battery in backwards, one issue with the 3100 did come up. It was mainly in part to my lack of reading the manual properly, but it should be brought up! When you take off the back cover, and remove the battery you can clearly see the SIM contacts, but how do you get your SIM card in there? What you have to do is stick your fingernail into the small clip closest to the Pop-Port™ connector, and pull up. The whole frame will come up, and then you have to place your SIM card on the contacts and push the frame down. With the 3100, the SIM card doesn’t actually slide into any thing, it’s held down from the top.
The talk time on the Nokia 3100 is around 6 hours, and the standby time is around 240 hours, all using the supplied battery - a lithium-ion BL-5C at 850 mAh. This is one of the standard batteries used in Series 40 phones from Nokia - and this series of phones have a fairly good battery management system.