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September 29, 2009

My sixty three ten and I

Nokia 6310GLOBAL – I still had a couple in the drawer up until recently. Even though they’d long since been retired, I couldn’t really face parting with my either my 6310 or 6310i. And neither could a lot of people. Certainly everyone I’ve known who’s used one will testify its many endearing qualities, most common of which seemed to be its ability to last forever. Like the cockroach of phones, it didn’t seem to matter what you did to it, you couldn’t stop the thing from working.

Of course, being born eight years ago means the 6310 is of a different era and as such, it sadly lacked many (most, no? ed) features of today’s devices. No, not for it a fancy camera, or GPS, or decent sized screen (monochrome, 96px) and as for 3G and WiFi – well, who would need ’em?

But, how many of today’s devices can go 18 days without a charge?

Writing in the Guardian, Jonathan Glancey said “I like the fact that it works anywhere in the world and yet, no one would give it a second glance.” He describes the 6310 as an “everyday design classic“, and understandably so.

It wasn’t just battery power that kept the 6310 from self imploding, it was its sheer strength. I’m notoriously hard on phones (I’m even known to take them into swimming pools on occasion) but no matter what I threw at the 6310, it kept coming back for more. In fact, no matter what I threw the 6310 AT, it would continue working. For me, it was therapeutic.

About a year after the original was introduced, the upgraded 6310i arrived. As an avid user, I jumped on the upgrade train and rode it all the way into my local phone store (buying phones online? This was 2002!). But in truth, it wasn’t the same.

Sure, it was still a good device, but it didn’t feel like progress. Of course, the screen was suddenly a little more colourful, and the battery a little slimmer, but the things I loved about it hadn’t changed, or if they had, it was for worse. Battery life was reduced, it didn’t feel quite so chunky (and thus, strong) in the hand and as for the blue screen? Some, might call it progress. For me it was soon time to move on.

Even so the 6310 is a phone worth celebrating. It is a legend in its very own lunchtime. So, why isn’t it in the Almanac, I hear you cry? Well, it is. That’s why I’ve written about it today. Go forth, and reminisce, then share your favourite memories of the Nokia 6310 below.