Nokia 3120 classic review: Mid-range fighter

GSMArena team, 24 June 2008.
Pages: 12345678

Tags: Nokia, S40

Even if every little Nokia wants to be an N95 when it grows up, most of them end up a decent looking gadget with a neat little perk here and there to top the good old calling and texting. Nokia 3120 classic is just another one of them mixed by the time-tested recipe - do the bare minimum but do it right. Now, the notion of bare necessities in mobile phones is stretching as we speak, so no wonder yet another 3G-enabled junior gets thrown in the midrange skirmish.

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Nokia 3120 classic official photos

Key features:

  • 2" 16M-color QVGA display
  • 2 megapixel camera with LED flash
  • S40 user interface
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Quad-band GSM support
  • 3G network support, video-call
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • Stereo FM radio
  • microSD card slot, microSDHC support
  • Very good battery
  • 2.5mm standard audio jack
  • Rich preinstalled content

Main disadvantages:

  • Slow camera and unimpressive image quality
  • Uncomfortable battery cover latch
  • Weak backlighting
  • Memory card slot under the battery cover

Nokia 3120 classic is going for a piece of the midrange action and it's getting a run for its money both inside the Nokia family and from competing manufacturers. Let's have a quick look at some of the potentially bitter rivalries shaping up. It's a mixed bag and we're looking at the plenty of choice you get for 150 euro or less.

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Nokia 3120 classic views

Nokia

If you are willing to swap 3G for an even slimmer body, 3.5 mm standard audio jack and dedicated music keys, Nokia 5310 XpressMusic might just be the option for you. It is currently retailing at about the same price as the 3120 classic and features about the same specs, except for the differences mentioned above. The lack of quad band GSM support should also count here, as it makes the 5310 less usable globally.

A golden oldie, Nokia 6233 lacks quad-band support and video calls, which might seem valuable to some. However it retails for about 20 euro (35 US dollars) less, so it might just be worth it. Another deal breaker with Nokia 6233 might be the older 3th edition of the S40 UI but the differences aren't really that great. Probably the key thing is that Nokia 6233 can only support microSD cards up to 2GB, while the 3120 classic can easily handle 8GB cards.

Nokia 5300 is another money-saving alternative of the Nokia 3120 classic. It's larger and has neither 3G nor quad-band GSM, but packs in the same fine 2" QVGA screen and costs a good 55 euro (88 US dollars) less.

Another viable alternative is the Nokia 6300, which is slimmer but again lacks 3G and support for high capacity memory cards.

Samsung

The ultra slim slider Samsung U700 retails for about the same price as Nokia 3120 classic. However, it packs a 3 megapixel camera, larger screen, HSDPA and slimmer (and sleeker if you will) body. Once again, the don't-go-to-America tri-band support might be a deal breaker stateside.

The Samsung D900i goes even easier on the wallet but drops 3G. It saves you about 35 euro (55 US dollars) and gives you one of the good 3 megapixel cameras on the market. So if you are not all about 3G or the S40 UI, you might just have yourself a deal.

Another tempting alternative by the South Korean makers is the Samsung E590. The love-or-loathe minimalist design signed by Jasper Morrison and the sweet size might just be enough to steal some market share. A capable three megapixel autofocus camera and a saving worth 65 euro (100 US dollars) are its key advantages over the 3120 classic. On the other hand, the fast data transfers and the QVGA screen swapped for EDGE and a square 220 x 220 pixel display don't sound as tempting.

Sony Ericsson

As we see it, the top dog among puppies in this segment is Sony Ericsson K770. With 3G, a nice 3 megapixel autofocus camera and a cool display, it seems to have all the odds in its favor. The only disadvantage is that its screen is slightly reduced to 1.9 inches. Having the same price as the 3120 classic it looks better and makes it hard to find good enough reasons not to choose it over the Nokia.

The fashion-savvy might consider trading 3G for the sleek looks of Sony Ericsson S500. The slider is virtually identical to Nokia 3120 classic (save for 3G) and costs 15 euro (25 US dollars) less. Not really a big saving but in this price range it can make a difference. The problem with S500 is the numerous complaints about its keypad durability.

The last one in our roundup is the ultra-slim bar Sony Ericsson W880. It only has a 1.8" display but that is the sole difference to the 3120 classic. However, it ships with a 1GB memory card and costs less than the Nokia. Furthermore, it's much slimmer and it does look nicer than the 3120 classic.

Bear in mind that all price differences listed - though currently valid - are likely to change in the future. Still, having in mind that these are not some over-priced high-enders we are talking about, prices probably won't be dropping too rapidly.

Anyway, enough small talk - let's not keep our Nokia 3120 classic waiting. Hit the jump for more.

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