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Review GSM-phone Nokia 3220

Nokia 3220. Live pictures

Standard kit:

  • Handset
  • Charger
  • Two extra back covers
  • Manual

Everybody remembers an example of Nokia 3200 that was the first in its class to offer a number of innovations, in particular, integrated FM-tuner, IrDA, comparatively big memory size and a possibility to use own photos on panels. And not even rival phones but high price was the only obstacle on its way to becoming the leader of the sales. And the price made it not very popular automatically decreasing the number of potential customers. The company decided to continue the line of youth phones and represented Nokia 3220.

The design is targeted to youth and there are two white prominent rubber insertions on both sides. Due to them the device doesn't slide in the hand and is fixed surely. The right upper insertion has a hole and here is an output of the loud speaker that is responsible for call signals.

The side insertions hide LEDs that may illuminate the sides of the phone with green or red light during an incoming call. The function seems interesting and is correlated with different events (missed calls, games and so on). In some kind it is a simple realization of Haptics by Motorola (models Е398, v80) or an analog of dynamic light in the phones by Siemens (M55, CX65, M65). A user of Nokia 3220 cannot change the parameters of the indicators' luminescence, there is only a possibility to turn them on or off. The function is global and setting them for different events is forbidden. There is no a possibility to adjust the luminescence in time with the music and it seems a disadvantage (the function is present in the phones by Motorola) and the phone would have been unique in its segment then. In general it is possible to say that side indicators are quite interesting and diversify the appearance of the phone, make it youth.
A possibility to change the grips will become a surprise for many users, they may be not only white, but red, blue, green and pale blue. The process of changing makes no any great troubles, it is enough to take off the back cover, pull the grip up and it is in your hands. No doubt, the accessory won't be widely spread but it seems interesting.

The dimensions are standard for this class (104.5x44.2x18.7 mm) and the same may be said about the weight (86 g). The phone is very comfortable to hold in the hand and to use as well.

The phone is produced in one of five colors or it is better to say color schemes for the body. The difference is in the colour of the keypad, the edging of the front panel, body colour (red, black, white). Colour solutions with black body look the most interesting.

Following a good tradition, a lining for a back panel is included into a delivery kit, you may change the appearance of the device whenever you like and it really changes. The picture on that lining changes depending on the angle (just like many similar picture post cards).

A user may create his own Cut Out Covers with the help of a template and it may be a photo, a press-cutting or a picture drawn by hand. It is a great space for creative work and Nokia repeated the thing that introduced in Nokia 3200 first. Collections of various linings may be bought separately.

Two extra Fun Shell panels may be bought as an accessory. Besides an unordinary picture the panels are not only a piece of plastic with a picture but rather a complicated device equipped with its own memory (512 KB), sensors of movement in two planes and light indicators. The weight and dimensions change with this panel (103.8 x 44.7 x 14.0 mm, 96 g).

There are 12 orange LEDs on the back panel. With their help a user may draw pictures in the air and they will be seen in the dark in the distance of up to 6 meters. In the panel itself a Java application for creating such messages is thread, they may combine graphics and text (up to 15 characters). When the panel is used for the first time, the application is automatically installed into the internal memory (and it is not so much of it, only 2.5 MB). We didn't manage to check how the commercial version of the panels works because they could have been found nowhere. The things we showed earlier do not impress in the candlelight or in the dusk, the note can hardly be read. The best way is to use the panels at discos, on concerts where smoke-machines work. The note is seen clearly in a complete dark and the distance should be 2-3 meters.

Two games are installed in the main memory, they are Swamp racer, Air Express. In the first one you control a plane that is flying in the jungle and avoid obstacles. The second one is similar, but here you learn an archipelago with volcanoes, coastline and peaks of the mountains. The picture displayed on the screen is not very lifelike (do not forget about the resolution) but the games do captivate with the fact that you do not have to press buttons, moving the phone to the sides is enough (and the plane moves with your movements also). The new games got the name of Motion Games and that is right, their base is moving.

Fun Shell panels do not have any analogs in the market but the production will hardly be mass. The company announced that they wouldl be available at the end of the third quarter and the price was not told officially. It is possible to expect the Fun Shells to cost about 55-65 USD. That is enough expensive for a youth device and it makes buying the accessory not defensible. Only a few wishing to stand out will buy the panels. And for Russia that means that the panels will be available only in specialized Nokia shops or huge retail networks in big cities.

The screen has the resolution of 128x128 pixels (27.5x27.5 mm), 65K. In the quality of the screen the model doesn't differ from Nokia 6230, the screens are similar. Preset colour schemes and a set of pictures are not very bright and use the capabilities of the screen partly. The screen is one of the best in its class, the resolution of 128x128 is standard. The thing that seems a weak point of the top level device is not a shortcoming of the youth handset.

Unfortunately Nokia 3220 repeats many of the software disadvantages of the screen in 6230. Thus, even when a standard picture is chosen tips for soft keys are not very clear (the font type is too thin). At the same time there are some improvements. When dialing a number a white background appears and signal level indicators are relief and that increases the visibility. Going further I'll note that the design of the phone, menu, the quality of the screen all together make a very pleasant impression of the phone and it is really a youth device.

The screen fades in the sun and due to its small size information can hardly be read.

The keypad is made of rubber and it is pleasant to touch. There is a five-position joystick, it is comfortable in work and after an hour of working with the phone it is not pressed accidentally any more. The alphanumerical keys have wave-like design and it is comfortable for ones who like to dial numbers blindly. The keys make a mechanic click when they are pressed, working with them makes no troubles. The backlighting is white and characters are seen well in different conditions (including localized versions with two lines of letters on the keypad).

On the top of the phone there is a On/Off button made of plastic. On the one hand it is quite comfortable in work, easy to press on, on the other hand accidental pressure is excluded. I'd like to point out that it is the first time that this key is made of so high quality (among the last models) and one doesn't have to strain himself to press it. And that allows to switch profiles quickly, the button is responsible for this function too.

A standard Pop-port connector and one for a charger are on the bottom. A battery is on the back of the phone (BL-5B, Li-Ion, 760 mAh). According to the manufacturer it works for up to 3.5 hours in the talk mode and up to 350 hours in the standby mode. We tested the device in Moscow and it worked about 5 days in the case of 45 minutes of talk time and up to 25 minutes of using other functions. These results are not very bad for the device of this segment and it is one of the best especially taking into consideration its qualitative screen. Full charging takes about 1.5 hours.

SIM-card connector is standard, no any peculiarities. Having taken the back cover off you'll see a green piece of plastic, this is a strip fixing device.


Nokia 3220 is built on the 40 platform and correspondingly has the same interface possibilities as the top representative of the line -Nokia 6230. Thus, there is a possibility to set different ways to display all the lists. By default it is a standard list with names, then it is possible to choose is a simple list and icons. The last mode is the most interesting, it is ideal for graphics and photos. Here the names of the files are not as important as the images. In some kind the folders with photos look like the ones you may see on a desktop PC.

A possibility to switch from this or that function to other capabilities of the device may be referred to the advantages of the interface. For example, when choosing a picture as a wallpaper, you look through the folders and then you may set the picture or adjust its contrast from the Option menu using the left soft key. It is pleasant that the additional possibilities appeared, but we are dissapointed that many actions that were committed with one touch earlier are to be confirmed now. The phone is controversial, on the one hand the number of possibilities grew, on the other hand the time of making different operations also became longer, not all the menus are logical and that also makes troubles for unprepared users. I often caught myself at the thought that the phone lacks for Fast or context menu similar to the one that is used in the phones by Sony Ericsson.

And the last thing that will seem unusual to Nokia's worshipers. A possibility to choose this or that item or function is assigned to a joystick but not to the left soft key. Sometimes the hand reached for the left key automatically but there is nothing there, only a blank field. Taking into consideration the saturation with functions I see no sense in keeping different items in the menu without using free space.

The menu may be called by pressing the main key and the rows of icons may be seen in the main menu. Up to 9 icons may be displayed on the screen at the same time and if there are more of them (for example, SIM - Menu) you may use a scroll bar.

Moving the joystick in different directions calls this or that function quickly and that make the work with the phone easier. Any function (from the list) may be assigned to the left soft key and a list of the most frequently used menu items may be composed. Before considering separate functions we'd like to draw your attention to the distribution of memory. The total memory size is 2.5 MB. The limit on the size of an application in the phone is 128 KB.

Phone book. It is possible to keep up to 1000 names in the internal memory and it is the maximum number of entries. It is achievable if you enter not much information for a name, just one or two fields. And with medium filling, that is 6-7 fields for a name you may keep about 500 entries but not more. As it have already become clear it is possible to enter up to 5 numbers for a name and choose a type of the number (primary, mobile, home, office, fax). The first entered number becomes a default one and may be changed later if you wish. When entering the number for the first time, you type in only a name and one main number, all the other things are committed later from the edit menu. One may consider this not very comfortable, one will on the contrary say that keeps only one number for a name. Both will be right. Considering that similar input is realized in all the phones by Nokia, we'll surely say that it makes no troubles.

E-mail address, site url, post address and text note may be set as extra information to a number. The one new function should be pointed out, that is USER ID and it is user indication for the presence service. In general it is like an ICQ and signals that this or that user from your list is present or not at the moment. How interesting it will be is not still clear.

A photo may be added to a number (only portrait mode, changing the photo automatically to a corresponding size). When viewing the information on the name you won't see the photo automatically, you'll have to open a corresponding menu item for that. On the other hand, it is possible to set the view of a name and a corresponding image in the list. In that mode the icon is not large and doesn't give a good notion of the photo. Other modes of viewing the list are traditional - only names, names with the primary number. Numbers from both internal memory and SIM-card memory may be displayed in the main list.

There is a possibility to assign up to 10 voice tags for names from the phone book. The function works well even in the street. And traditionally the keys for speed dialing are from 2 to 9.

There is a possibility to assign up to 100 photos to names. During the incoming call the number and the photo of the caller are displayed. The picture is a bit larger than the one you see in the list but still smaller than it is necessary. You'll have to use your imagination to finally understand who is in the picture because a reduced photo has extra artifact. In general a photo takes a very small part of the screen and it is not explicable logically. At the moment realization of this function is the worst by Nokia among all the manufacturers and we hope that in future it will improve.

There are only 5 users' groups in the phone that is not typical for the phones by Nokia. And a special call melody may be set for a group.

Assessing the whole comfort of the phone book it is possible to say that it is average. On the one hand, there are a lot of fields in it, on the other hand its input capabilities are more convenient for working with a PC and not for the phone. I'd like to stress that the phone book in general is typical for the devices by Nokia and there are no any principal changes that means improvements. The widest possibilities of the phone book are represented in the phones by Siemens, then follow the devices by Sony Ericsson and only then Nokia.

Messages. The device supports Nokia's standard - Smart Messaging that allows sending and receiving melodies and simple black-and-white pictures from the compatible phones. Also the same standard is supported by Samsung, LG and some new devices by Motorola. There are up to 10 graphical templates in the internal memory specially for such messages. Unfortunately, the company's standard limits users because the alternative EMS standard, which is spread wider today, allows not only to send melodies and pictures but also format texts. In European countries EMS standard is very popular and ignoring it in the products by Nokia may be considered as a big disadvantage. In Russia only the most popular operators provide the technology and in the regions the presence or absence of this standard is not so critical. This may be disputable but the absence of EMS is still a minus for the phones by Nokia.

The company considers MMS possibility a complete substitute of EMS. And really this technology becomes ordinary and more interesting messages containing photos, colour images, melodies and so on may be created with its help. A message may be up to 100 KB in size. The realization of MMS in the phone is rather good, no any troubles appear with it.

The device has an integrated mail client that works with POP3/SMTP protocols. Its capabilities are extremely poor, attachments are not supported and the device accepts only one Russian coding. Due to the absence of any other alternatives one may use this mail client but we'll hope that a Java-application with more capabilities will appear for the 40 platform. It is rather good that this mail client is also a Java program.

Also a Flash message function appeared in the phone, that means you may send a message that will be displayed on the screen of the addressee's device but not saved in the memory. The same function is available from any phone with a help of codes and here it is realized with the help of a program.

Call lists. There are three lists in the phone. Every list may contain up to 20 entries. And what is convenient that the date and time of the call are displayed in the list. Ppressing the Call button in the standby mode, you get the list of the last dialed numbers.

Settings. Profiles may be activated from this menu or switched quickly by pressing On/Off button. Every profile may be activated for a period of time and then the phone turns to the default profile. Sound alerts may be set for all the events, incoming call for all the calls or special users' groups. Realization of profiles in Nokia is one of the best on the market.

The screen settings allow to choose its color scheme, wallpaper and a screen saver. The screen saver is a picture that is displayed in the standby mode when the backlighting is not active. It is worth choosing one of the preset pictures, they are seen better in this mode than loaded full colour images. The interval may be set for the screen saver and then standard digital clock will take its place.

From other settings it is worth to point out an automatic volume level control for the loud speaker, the device chooses the level automatically depending on the current conditions. You won't notice any difference in the room but in the street the function may be useful.

There is an automatic key lock in the phone, you also may set a special security code in order to nobody could use your phone. A possibility to set the behaviour of the phone from the beginning appeared for accessories, for example, to choose a profile that becomes active when connecting a handsfree headset or a charging device. It is an interesting possibility that allows to adjust the device according to your idea of the necessity.

Gallery. Here all the folders that contain different files are gathered, they have corresponding names. There is a possibility to view the folders as a list, a list with names or icons. You always may create your own folders, sort files. The possibilities of the Gallery are not very wide, it cannot replace a very plain file manager but it would be useful here.

Media. In this part all the settings connected with multimedia capabilities of the device are gathered, let's start considering them from the Camera. The integrated camera allows to take photos with VGA resolution and in the portrait mode. (80x96 pixels). The quality of the pictures on the screen is average. After transmitting them on a PC they do not get worse but still not very good. The settings of the camera are ascetic, there is a night shooting mode, three types of quality and compression levels. The files are stored as JPG.

Samples of photos (630 KB, ZIP)

There is a possibility to record video using the device and these are 3GP clips with the duration of 15 seconds (the resolution of 128x96 pixles, with sound - AMR). You may set the maximum duration of a clip and then have a possibility to record for up to 4 minutes (1.5 MB). The quality is average, the sound matches the pronounced words seldom. On a PC the clips look not very good also and it is more an entertaining function of the device.

Video sample 1 (68 KB, 3GP)

Video sample 2 (108 KB, 3GP)

Video sample 3 (180 KB, 3GP)

Video sample 4 (200 KB, 3GP)

A dictaphone allows to record up to 5 minutes of speech and works during the conversation. The number of entries is limited only by the free space in the memory.

Organizer. You may keep from 100 to 250 entries in the memory and everything depends on their length, there is an automatic erasing of the old entries (by the time characteristic). There is a month and week view of the calendar, the last view has a division into hours, there is a quick switch to an entered date. There is a possibility to enter up to 5 different events (meeting, call, birthday, reminder, memo). A notification may be assigned to an event, they may be recurrent.

A to-do list allows to create events with three priorities (high, normal and low), and set a critical date for every event.

Every note may contain up to 3000 characters, in general it is more than enough even for the most fastidious user. Two different font sizes are supported like in messages.

An alarm clock allows to set both once or recurrent signal.

Applications. All the preset Java-applications are here, also standard functions as a calculator, countdown timer, stopwatch (with intermediate results).

Electronic Wallet is the place where the most important information may be kept protected with a password. For instance, the data about your credit cards. On the other hand it won't be very difficult to get the information if you loose the phone and that is why you'd better keep there only the most necessary.

There are 5 games – Water Rapids (races along a river with whirlpools), Adventure Race (bicycle race), Phantom Spider (space shooting), Club Pinball (needs no introduction, the game is good), Dance DeLight (game for memory development, rather good).

Services. Wap browser version 2.0 is hidden here. The peculiarity of the phone is that there is only a possibility to set the access point in the GPRS settings and choosing it is possible from a profile for the wap-browser. All other settings have to be either loaded to the phone from the beginning or provided by the operator via a network. It is extremely uncomfortable thus the settings by our operator (order via SMS) for our device didn't come for 2 weeks and we didn't manage to use the browser in fact.

Productivity. According to the Jbenchmark 2.0 test the score for the device is 40. And this is a much more less than for all the rival phones of the same class. The phone seems to be an outsider in this parameter.

Synchronization with PC. The device supports working with a standard Nokia Suite you need only to buy a cable. Due to the absence of IrDA the device looks not so attractive. The presence of EGDE doesn't seem necessary, for the moment of the commercial appearance of the service with an acceptable price the majority of people using Nokia 3220 will already have bought another devices.


As for the quality of the connection the model is typical for Nokia, no any troubles, everything is all right. The volume of the 16-tone polyphonic call signal is rather high and it may be heard in different conditions. The melodies are typical and there are no any improvements, the polyphony capabilities are inferior to the majority of the devices by different manufacturers in the market. There is no support for mp3 files but it is possible to set a dictaphone record (AMR file) as a call signal. Another change connected with calls is a support for "enhanced" midi files. Especially for this model and side LEDs the company created a program called Nokia Light Suite (now available only as a beta version on Nokia developers' forum). It is possible to edit light effects for a melody, they are written as extra information to a midi file.

The vibrating alert is average in power and may be either felt from the overcoat or missed as well.

The device is to become youth and has a list of unique capabilities (Fun Shells, Grips) but at the same time has only a basic functionality. It will suit young people who orient on the trademark and want to have light effects for a little price (they are rather good, inferior to Motorola v80 but the price is less). A good phone book and organizer remain things in themselves, there is no synchronization with a PC when the cable is absent. The screen that rouse cavils in Nokia 6230 becomes one of the best here and is quite acceptable. Thus the emphasis was placed on the maximum visual appeal. Some of the functions were refused in order not to lower the sales of the elder models.

As for me, Nokia 3220 lacks only two things - integrated radio and IrDA with a possibility of synchronization with a PC. There functions were present in the previous model Nokia 3200 and it's a pity that they were refused. And with this functionality the price of 230 USD would be acceptable and the device would be the leader of sales. For the moment Siemens C65 (the presence of IrDA, 11 MB of memory, better polyphony, but a bit worse screen, the camera, cheaper design but no possibility to use a modem), Motorola C650 (worse screen, no any light effects and a cheaper cable for synchronization) are the rival models.

In the reality the price of Nokia 3220 is higher because the main function called Wave Messaging is available only with an extra panel Fun Shell. Add 60 USD to the price, then add 30-35 USD for a cable and thus we'll get a total price of the solution. So, a bit more than 320 USD and it is a high price for a youth model, in this price segment other phones with more functions are represented. Unfortunately, Nokia cannot change its way and set acceptable prices for the functionality that offers. In this model as in many other about 20 percent of the price are taken for the trademark. It is possible to say that it is the price for unique functions but they are not included into the complete delivery set. The light effects are just an answer of the company to the appearance of similar functions in the devices by other manufacturers.

Summing up I can say that the model is quite interesting and in a year its price in the retail networks will get about 150 USD. And probably after that the device will leave the market. The device is worth of the attention of young men that like visually gaudy things and are ready to pay a bit more for that (style in the youth segment). All that allows to say surely that Nokia 3220 will remain a niche model and won't repeat the success of Nokia 3200. Its sales will be on the same level.

The SAR value for the model is 0.78 W/kg.

Polyphonic ringtones samples (mp3, 371 KB)

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Maria Mitina (maria.mitina@mobile-review.com)

Published — 30 August 2004

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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