The Nokia 3510i certainly looks and feels the same as its black-and-white screen predecessor. But under its bonnet, the list of improvements and new features complete the wants and needs of this somewhat revised entry-level model. Including a colour screen, improved handling of MMS messages and Java application compatibility, Nokia brings the 3510i in line with their other models possessing these same capabilities.
Again, this “i” upgrade brings several vital features bringing the 3510i in-line with some of the other newer Nokia models. The ability to send AND receive multimedia (MMS) messages is something that I welcome with open arms, where previously one was only able to receive up to four MMS messages on the 3510 and not able to send at all.
A basic 4096-colour screen brings new life to the mobile phone, opening up further possibilities for additional applications, which made MMS a possible reality. And Java allows basically all sorts of games and apps to be run directly from the 3510i.
The 3510i has taken up a fresher, more conservative colour schema than its predecessor - which most have complained about its looks being somewhat distasteful (given the standard set of inbox colours available wasn’t anything exciting). The translucent, bright orange frame of the 3510i (when matched up with the white backlights) further conveys this new “feel”.
Its original Xpress-on covers has a soft and sandy finishing, making it quite comfortable to handle the 3510i during and after calls. And they are not at all hard to remove and replace with another cover either! Alike some other Nokia models, you will need to remove the back cover (which keeps the front cover locked down) before being able to take the front one off.
A strap hole is conveniently located right below the soft rubbery material used for the power button. To use this strap hole, remove both front and back covers, lift up the left side of the power button whilst the back of the phone is facing you - and insert the thin loop into the hole.
User Interface & display
Although possessing a very similar user interface, the 3510i’s colour screen adds a bit more spice to the experience with the use of colour graphics for its menus. The user can also change the basic colours used in the menus (signal indicators, scroll bars, etc) to suit his/her tastes, as well as possibly matching up with the current Xpress-on cover being worn by the phone.
Screen resolution is not as high as what you’ll find on other Nokia models (like the 6100/6610/7210). A problem you’ll get with such a display is slightly higher levels of pixilation in the graphics being shown, being especially apparent for photos. For example, I had a situation with receiving some of my MMS messages where I was unable to depict what was actually shown inside the photo. It may be 4096 colours - but the lack of sharpness in the picture was what disappointed me.
Both screen saver and wallpaper functions are available on the 3510i. In addition to displaying the time, the 3510i can now also display the current date on the screen just below the cell ID line at the standby screen. For those interested, the date display function was recently introduced onto the newer Nokia colour screen models (6100/6610/7210).
Making and receiving calls
Something that I liked about the 3510 (and now the 3510i) is its overall keypad design. With its larger-sized buttons, unique shaping of each key, and good tactility, most users would find it quite easy to become accustomed with using the 3510i in any situation. For me, one-handed browsing and two-handed typing on the 3510/3510i was always a pleasure.
And to make things better, I found the rubber attachment on the 3510i’s back cover to assist me ergonomically either when I’m on a call (resting my index finger on it) or using the phone with one hand.
The volume of the polyphonic ringtones has been bumped up slightly when compared to its predecessor. This means that at a volume setting of “level 5” for ringing tones, you will be getting a bit more sound - which is an important point to consider when the phone is used in noisy environments. A problem with polyphonic ringtones is their softer audio levels when compared to monophonic (standard) ringtones, which simply uses beeps and buzzes to generate a ringer tone.
The 3510i’s MMS capability is one of the highlight features of this model, allowing users to send and receive messages that can include images and text. On some other models with MMS, however, they have the ability to include other content such as sound - but this is not available on the 3510i.
However, it does not have the ability to take in any new media (images/tones) from any PC or camera devices directly, simply because the phone does not support any kind of physical connection (for example, data cable or infrared). Therefore, the only way that a user can get new images or sounds onto their 3510i is either through downloading them via WAP or saving those same objects from a received MMS message.
The 3510i has quite a solid build, and both front and back Xpress-on covers lock onto the main phone unit quite well (considering they are not too hard to remove either). Its slightly heavier weight also contributes to the overall solidity of the phone too.
The standard 3300/3510-series battery design is retained for use on the 3510i - as they should provide sufficient battery life even though a colour screen is used. On average use, the 3510i should provide for around 2-3 hours talk time and up to 3-4 days of standby.
As for all colour-screen phones, the amount of time the LCD screen is activated, the shorter the standby time. A digital clock screen saver is enabled by default to maintain low battery consumption.