Mobile phone manufacturers don’t come off too well when you start looking at environmental issues.
Here are just two examples of why.
One – we have a tendency to buy a new phone and shove the old one in a drawer rather than pass it on to a worthy cause. How many spare mobiles do you need?
Two – the materials used to make mobiles are difficult to recover and can be harmful to the environment.
Nokia has decided to tackle the second of these in the shape of the 3110 Evolve. This is a remodelling of the 3110 and you shouldn’t confuse this review of the 3110 Evolve with any other 3110 incarnations you see out there. If it doesn’t have the word ‘Evolve’ in the name, this review does not apply.
As I write I can only find the 3110 Evolve available to buy SIM free. It’ll cost you £149 at the Nokia online store, for example.
The eco-credentials of this mobile boil down to the following: The phone’s casing is created from more than 50 percent renewable materials. The packaging is small using 60 percent recycled materials and is fully recyclable. The charger minimises its ‘no load’ energy consumption. That means if you forget to unplug your mobile when it is fully charged, it’ll draw minimal energy.
Now, I don’t think these are huge advances, to be honest. The 3110 Evolve still has a battery (a recycling nightmare), and the usual internal components for example. And recyclable packaging should be a legal requirement rather than a pleasant surprise.
I don’t see any notification that the printed user guide is on recycled paper. Maybe it is, but if so the fact is not trumpeted by Nokia. Text in the guide states that it only covers the ‘essential functions’ of the phone in order to cut down on paper use and says a full guide can be found online. (Just don’t print it out!)
This is a candybar handset. It weighs 87g which makes it nice and light for the pocket, but it is a little chunkier than many other candybars at 15.6mm thick. At 45.7mm wide and 108.5mm tall it is on a par with other candybar mobiles though, and it feels fine in the hand.
The two-tone pale grey sides and back are distinctive, and the battery cover and a small section above the camera’s lens are ribbed giving a sort of corrugated cardboard effect.
The front fascia is black and shiny, and thus looks bog standard. It gives nothing away about the phone’s eco leanings.
The number pad is relatively large and I had no problem at all tapping away at keys for number dialling or texting. The same can be said for the two softmenu keys, Call and End keys and the navigation pad, all of which are large and easy to use. Every key gives a slight mechanical click when pressed and you can feel a little mechanical feedback too. These factors help with ease of use.
The screen is disappointing. It is small at just 1.8 inches diagonally, and short on pixels with 128 x 160 of them forming the display. Without putting too much effort into it you can see them individually. The display is TFT rather than being the more battery friendly OLED – a shame since the latter would have helped with the environmental point scoring by giving you more battery life from a single charge.
Side buttons are minimal. There is a volume rocker on the right edge and on the left an infra red port. Remember those? Ideal for transfer of data between two devices, they are relatively slow but easy to configure.
On the bottom edge is a headset slot (2.5mm I am sad to report), mains power adaptor slot (one of Nokia’s mini jacked types), device microphone, and mini USB connector for PC connectivity. There’s no cable provided, but chances are you already have one. Nokia PC Suite is not provided either (there is no CD at all with this phone), but you can download it and use it to sync content.
The 3110 Evolve runs S40 which means it doesn’t have all the whiz-bang features of Nokia’s smartphone S60 handsets. Still, I have already noted you can sync with a PC, plus there is mobile email support and for those that are interested Yahoo! Go is built in.
Communications capabilities are limited with the phone being tri-band GSM. Yet the Opera Mini Web browse is pre-installed. For all the goodness of Opera Mini I’d say the small screen and GSM only capability of this phone make it far from ideal for browsing.
Other software includes a voice recorder, alarm clock, calendar, to do list, notes application, calculator, timer and stopwatch.
There is an FM radio, and the built in music player benefits from an equaliser and stereo widening effects. There is 32MB of available storage for all types of data and a microSD card slot under battery. My review sample came with a 512MB card but you don’t get a card with the phone in retail.
Of course there is a camera. It is limited to 1.3-megapixels and lacks flash, autofocus and self-portrait mirror. It does have a few effects on hand but there isn’t much to write home about. The camera is slow to save images so unless you use the three shot sequence mode candid photos may be out of the question. Oh, and there is a bit of shutter lag too so don’t expect to perfectly frame or capture anything that is moving as you photograph it.
The coloured dish shot indoors under normal household lighting is a little dark but colour reproduction is good. The white chair shot outside is fairly clear though the white has occasional blue and pink hues.
The cherry tree, just coming into blossom as the photo was taken, fares worst and shows how poorly the lens copes with complex lighting and a detailed subject. The focus is not great and the sky was nowhere near the brilliant white the image suggests.
Finally the cat was looking at the camera when I pressed the button to capture the shot, but by the time the phone did the deed she’d lost interest and turned away. Like I said, shutter lag.
Battery life is it’s saving grace though. From a full charge I got ten hours 55 minutes of music played from a microSD card.
So there you are. The 3110 Evolve is one small step in the right direction as far as its environmental credentials are concerned. If you are tempted by the idea, for your money you’ll get a low to mid-range mobile phone with nothing amazing to write home about on the features front apart from good battery life.
Score in detail
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