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Ask Arthur

Ask Arthur: Do old feature
phones still work?

A reader’s question has ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK recalling the classic old Nokia 3310 and 8110, BlackBerry Curve and Samsung E250.

Q: Do old feature phones still have a purpose? 

A: Yes, they make great conversation pieces among people who use smartphones, as they see them so rarely. But seriously, they work for certain individuals or in certain situations. They don’t have advanced features and capabilities, but can give basic basic communications, as long as you understand that doesn’t include WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.

They also have advantages: they cost a lot less, and they have far more battery life. My favourite is the Nokia 105, an iconic feature phone that has been around for about a decade, and has been through about five versions, including an Africa Edition, designed for rural circumstances. It has a torch, FM Radio, is dust-resistant, and its battery can last a month on standby.

Feature phones tend to be more reliable and durable, making them great for outdoor activities or harsh environments where a more fragile smartphone might not stay the course.

Many old feature phones are still usable today, although their functionality may be limited compared to modern smartphones. The Nokia 3310, one of the most iconic feature phones ever made, can still be used today for basic communication needs, while the Nokia 8110, the “banana phone,” adds FM radio. Samsung E250 is a classic slider phone that still has a usable camera and music player. Even the old favourite BlackBerry Curve can still be used today for calls, texts, and email, but little more.

There is a catch: some of the old phones may not be compatible with some mobile networks or may need an old-school SIM card or other accessories.

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